Functional integration may begin with basic activity as early as 12 weeks post-surgery and can be progressed toward athletic activity between four and six months. The goal during this time (i.e., 12 weeks to six months) is to safely load the knee in all planes of motion without compromising the graft site.
Stretching the muscles around the knee is a priority for the client. Specifically targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves should maintain adequate flexibility around the knee.
Balance activity should have been implemented in
the early stages of rehabilitation. At the time of fitness activity, the client should have good balance with basic single-leg activities. Progressively challenging the knee in multiple planes will help prepare the joint for higher- level activity.
Training should focus on developing symmetrical strength between the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip muscles. Strengthening of the hip muscles helps restore stability in the lower limbs and decreases strain on the reconstructed ligament. The hamstrings and quadriceps are particularly important because they add stability to the injured knee and are critical in long-term knee function and prevention of further injury.
Month 6 – 9
- Sport specific training and preparation to play phase.
- Improve fitness, Improve strength, Improve proprioception, and Return to sports training.
- Plan to return to sport when confidence has returned – usually 9 months
Month 9 – 15
- Return to sport phase
- At 9 months the knee will start to free up and feel less tight
- Full proprioception to where the knee feels normal usually takes about 15 months.
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