ACL Knee Injury Again!
Scottsdale, AZ – How many athletes have said those words? Sadly way too many! It breaks my heart and boils my blood when I hear someone get a “repeat” ACL injury or tear the opposite knee soon after returning from their previous ACL therapy. This is a topic that I know can be reduced significantly if health care professionals and strength coaches would educate themselves on what type of therapy and strength training should be done with an athlete recovering from surgery for a torn ACL. I also blame health insurance companies for putting these healthcare professionals (physical therapist specifically) into a bad position and allowing restrictions on the the appropriate rehab to provide and length of time they work with an ACLR patient (i.e. number of sessions and body parts they can provide therapy to).
If an athlete sustains a non-contact ACL knee injury, then there MUST be a CAUSE for this to happen. Is it the muscle imbalances, or hip flexor tightness, glute weakness, or muscle firing patterns that caused this to occur? I personally believe, we are the experts and we must find out the cause when it comes to providing physical therapy to a post-surgical ACL patient and not just follow a general protocol or just focus on strengthening the knee. And more importantly, if it occurred to one of the knees, it will most likely occur to the other knee if the cause is not addressed on BOTH sides of the body. Therefore, therapy should include balancing out the entire body, including surgical side and non-surgical side, including hips, glutes, ankles, feet, and knee imbalances or whatever it may be that has imbalances, weaknesses or immobility.
So my heated discussion, is why are these health care professionals not seeking better ways to recovery and prevent ACL injuries? Multiple times, I have observed physical therapists allowing PT techs to work with ACLR patients on their exercises. But PT techs typically have minimal education on recognizing improper biomechanics of these exercises. So the reason they most likely received a torn ACL is improper biomechanics and now they are doing their therapy with improper biomechanics. Does this make any sense?? Why are therapists not watching EVERY repetition and EVERY exercise and CONSTANTLY analyzing the patient’s biomechancics to ensure the proper biomechanics and proper exercises are being done with each patient? This is a soapbox with me….every exercise has a right and wrong way to do it (squat isn’t just a squat and a lunge isn’t just a lunge, and a glute bridge isn’t just a glute bridge)…how the core is activated and how the glutes are firing and how the body is moving through those exercises is essential to ensure proper biomechanics. You shouldn’t just do “squats” because it’s on the ACLR protocol the doctor prescribed. If the quads are being fired before the glutes, then the knee will continue to have an anterior stress to it and risk of injury is still just as high as prior to the first knee injury.
Please please please do yourself a favor, if you are an athlete that has sustained the unfortunate torn ACL injury, then find expert clinicians that really do know how to assess the most likely cause of your knee injury and fix it and fix it in both sides of the body, not just the injured side.
Please learn more about building a foundation and preventing future knee injuries from the Experts at Efficient Movemement.
Efficient Movement | 9332 N 95th Way #104, Scottsdale, AZ 85258 | (602) 358-8862