Should I go to physical therapy before my ACL reconstruction surgery? This is a question I have been asked a lot. When we have torn our ACLs and are preparing for surgery we wonder if it would be beneficial to go to physical therapy before the knee surgery. Common sense may lead us to believe that there is no ACL surgery rehab that can be done if we are yet to have the surgery. For me, I did go to physio and am glad that I did, here is why…
The simple answer is that the stronger your leg is before surgery the stronger your leg will be after surgery and the quicker your recovery will be. I believe the work I put in before at physio and the gym certainly helped in my recovery so far.
1. Leg Extensions
2. Squats(body weight and weighted)
3. Hamstring Curls(especially important if you will be using your hamstring as a graft)
4. Biking – I did a lot of biking because it was easy on my knees and helped me build strength in my leg and maintain a reasonable(not exactly ideal) level of fitness.
The Most Important Physical Therapy Exercise Before ACL Surgery…
Balance exercises before ACL surgery are the most important to your ACL surgery rehab since you have likely been favouring your injured knee for awhile now. By favouring your injured knee you will have limited the amount of balance work it has needed to be doing and therefore the small muscles responsible for fine tuning balance will have already started to atrophy.
Some balance exercises you can be doing include
a. Standing on one leg. If this is too easy shut your eyes and hold for 30 seconds.
b. 747’s You do these by standing on your injured leg and bending over with your arms out, back flat and holding a “flying” position like a 747. Dont worry I didn’t make the name up.
c. Balance boards. Standing on any surface that requires you to put effort in to remain balance will help improve your ability to balance before the surgery.
d. Yoga? I have never done yoga but I would imagine any yoga exercises you can do before surgery that involve strength/balance around the knee would be helpful. Some people have told me that yoga can help prevent knee pain as well. I am yet to try it out.
Any balance exercises that can be done before surgery will help to improve your recovery time.
In my opinion don’t wait until surgery to start your recovery. Focus on strengthening all muscles around your knee without forgetting your hamstrings and the smaller muscles used for balance.
The Top 5 At Home Exercises
I did that helped get me walking 4 days after surgery
Click Here to see the exercises