ACL rehabilitation update

I am now 4 and a half months into my ACL rehabilitation after my right knee Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction with hamstring tendon graft.

So…what’s happened since my last blog on my ACL rehabilitation?  I’m pleased to say that particularly during the last three weeks, my pain and swelling have reduced dramatically. I now usually only have pain or swelling at the end of the day, after being on my feet for long periods. The range of movement in my right knee ACL has improved and I can now bend my knee to 120 degrees flexion. I can almost straighten my knee fully, however I am still about 3 degrees away from reaching full knee extension. The strength of my right leg has noticeably reduced, particularly in my vastus medialis oblique (VMO) muscle.

The VMO is part of the quadriceps muscle group which is an integral muscle for relieving knee pain and preventing tracking of the patella (knee cap). Weakness of the VMO can lead to a common condition called patellofemoral pain syndrome. Because the strength of my VMO is severely reduced, most of my current knee pain is a result of this patellofemoral dysfunction.

My current ACL rehabilitation program, as prescribed by the physiotherapists at Enhance Physiotherapy, is aimed at VMO strengthening, core and hip stability, and balance retraining.

Some of these ACL rehabilitation exercises include:
3 minute wall sit (see photos)
5 minute single leg balance on a wobble cushion (see photos)

I am also attending regular Enhance Physiotherapy Pilates and hydrotherapy classes.
Overall, the progression of my ACL rehabilitation in these first few months post-surgery has been slow and at times frustrating. However, because I now have adequate knee range of movement, I will be starting to train on the stationary bike this week and am very very excited! I am also hoping to commence running again in the next 2 to 3 months.

I’ll let you know how the patellofemoral dysfunction goes in my next blog.


Stef's rehabilitation Exercises
Stef’s rehabilitation Exercises

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury rehab

Stef’s Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury Treatment

Stef Yeh is one of our fantastic Physio’s here at Enhance Physiotherapy. She started at the Mandurah clinic earlier this year after moving from Melbourne. She has always been a keen sportsperson and in the past has played soccer at an elite level. Shortly after starting work here in Perth she ruptured her right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while playing a social soccer match. Stef has kindly granted us permission to follow her recovery with a series of blogs to give us an insight into the rehab protocol after a major injury. We’ve asked Stef to describe her injury for us:

‘’A few months ago after moving from Melbourne to Perth, I injured my knee following an awkward tackle while playing soccer. During the incident, I felt my knee pop and immediately knew something wasn’t right. After being assessed by my wonderful colleagues I was off for an MRI scan. Results showed that I had a complete rupture of my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)”

Complete anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures typically require surgery where a graft is taken of the hamstring tendon or the patella tendon and is this is used to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) to support the knee. This injury also has a long recovery time, usually in excess of 12 months to return to sport. In order to return to sport the person needs to undergo a long period of rehabilitation to increase the strength in the muscles around the knee to a level where they are strong enough to prevent re-injury.

Post Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Operation Recovery
Post Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Operation – Enhance Physiotherapy

Stef had a right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction six weeks ago:

“Immediately after the operation I was able to put weight on my leg with minimal support. I returned home from hospital the next day and spent about two weeks resting and focusing on swelling and pain management. I am now up and moving about and have already gone back to work. Although walking can be slow and frustrating, I have actually had very little pain. However, I have lost a lot of strength in my right leg and I can see an obvious change in the size of my leg muscles compared to my left leg. Currently my rehab goals are focussed on getting full movement in my knee and doing some gentle muscle exercises.”

Although it’ll be a long time before Stef is able to play soccer again, she is already making great progress with her rehabilitation and her strength is improving every week! We will keep you updated on Stef’s progress. A big thanks to Stef and we wish her a good recovery!