Knee pain can impair an athlete’s movement on the field as well as their overall livelihood and enjoyment of the sport. Described as swelling, sensitivity, shooting pain, or a dull ache in the knee area, knee pain may be the result of a common sports injury: a torn ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament.
There are various treatments for knee pain including over-the-counter pain medication and a heat compress. However, if your arthroscopic surgeon has performed ACL arthroscopic surgery and has determined treatment necessary you can be sure to make a visit to your local sports injury rehabilitation center or other sports injury rehabilitation facilities.
What can I expect from physical therapy?
Physical therapy assists in the recovery of a patient after an accident, surgery, or illness. For those with a torn ACL who may or may not have undergone ligament replacement surgery or arthroscopic knee surgery, a physical therapist will evaluate and assess your injury before developing a treatment plan specifically for you.
In sports injury rehabilitation facilities, a physical therapist regimen for the healing of a torn ACL may include the following:
- Swelling management
Swelling is one of the common symptoms of chronic knee pain and can be treated utilizing the RICE method, or Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Be sure to keep your knee elevated after exercise and minimize your movement while applying ice to the injury.
- Walking ability
If your ACL injury is causing difficulty walking, a physical therapist can help you improve your ability to walk utilizing balance exercises and proper pain control. In sports injury rehabilitation facilities, using a traditional balance board may help you regain balance and the confidence to walk with your injured leg.
- Strengthening exercises
Like in the case of nerve dysfunction, the muscle surrounding an ACL tear may be affected and cease activity all together, which is where muscle strengthening exercises come into play. In sports injury rehabilitation facilities, a physical therapist may utilize electrical stimulation to improve the contraction of your quadriceps as a means of regaining normal muscle control and ability. Normal strengthening exercises are also used including leg raises, standing leg curls, and stiff legged dead lifts to increase strength in your hamstrings and other leg muscles.
Physical therapy is a common treatment for those who have undergone sports injuries and the use of exercises which increase strength, range of motion, balance, and pain control enable athletes to return to the sports they love at a faster rate than they would otherwise on their own.