If you are looking at this you have likely received the bad news that you have ruptured (torn) your ACL. While this is difficult news to hear there are things you can do before surgery to help speed recovery after surgery and set yourself up for success. Disclaimer: The advice in this article should only be done under the supervision of a trained medical professional and should not be done on your own without guidance. Now that the legal jargon is done let's dive in!!
Full Range of Motion
The more motion you have before surgery the easier it is to get after surgery. Bending is usually not an issue but straightening can be quite difficult. With this I prefer to prop the heel on a rolled up towel and let the gravity do the work over time to try and get the knee straight. If it needs more persuasion you can add a bag of ice over the knee for additional weight as well as to aid with discomfort.
Your surgeon is going to repeatedly tell you that you need to make sure your quad is working after surgery is over. If you go in with the ability to flex your quad and hold it contracted without shaking it will make it much easier to regain this control after surgery. A couple of options here are terminal knee extensions and short arc quads. If you need something easier a quad set can be a great place to start. I prefer to work on this after stretching out as it reinforces the new range of motion and you will be more likely to maintain your new found motion.
A great way to stay active and make big progress during this difficult period is to focus on hip strengthening! After surgery your physical therapist will be focusing on it and what better thing to do then show up and surprise them! Check out our other blog post on bulletproof hips for a killer hip workout that will give you a big jump on your rehab.
Hopefully this will get you started on your ACL rehab and set you up for success after your surgery. Another important point is the mental aspect and damage of an ACL tear and subsequent rehab. Be sure to reach out to friends, family, or a sports psychiatrist if you are having issues dealing with this. The process is VERY stressful and you should not be scared to ask for help!