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Rehabilitation exercises are important for restoring of knee function after ACL tear injuries. The main goal of rehabilitation exercises is to restore knee motion and increase muscle strength which should provide knee stability.

Rehabilitation Exercises For ACL Tear Injuries

ACL tear injuries are very common, especially among athletes. A number of treatment options are available. While grade III ACL tears (complete ACL tears) are in nearly always treated surgically, conservative treatment can be used for grade I and grade II ACL tears.

Conservative treatment of ACL tear injuries relies mostly on rehabilitation exercises which should increase the strength of the muscles around the knee and provide stability to the knee joint. In the case of an ACL tear, there is usually anterior knee instability so the lower leg can be pulled forward.

Rehabilitation exercises for an ACL tear injury should increase the strength of the hamstrings so that they can prevent anterior knee instability. Patients who manage to increase hamstring strength have a high chance of healing and returning to pre-injury activity levels. [1]

Exercises For An Increase Of Strength After An ACL Injury

It is important to start with exercises shortly after an injury. That way, the patient will have a chance to increase muscle strength and promote healing. [2] In most cases, exercises can be started right after the pain subsides.

Hamstring Strengthening Exercises

Lie down in the prone position and extend your lower legs. You can hold the edge of a table with your hands or let them lie beside you. Flex your lower leg up to 30 degrees. Your assistant will place their palms at the back of your heel and provide resistance, while you try to flex even more. That way, your hamstrings are contracted. Hold that position for four to five seconds and then relax. Next, you should flex your knee up to 45 degrees and again try to flex against the resistance. This process should be repeated at 60 degrees of flexion, 90 degrees of flexion, 105 degrees of flexion and 120 degrees of flexion.

If you don’t have an assistant, you can still strengthen your hamstrings. The only thing you need is an ankle weight or resistance band. Lay down in the prone position with legs in extension. Now try to flex the knee while wearing your ankle weight or while using a resistance band. Repeat this exercise for at least 15 to 20 times.

Another exercise that strengthens hamstring is the bridge. Lay down on the ground with legs in extension and arms beside you. Now flex the knees, pull them towards your buttocks while keeping your feet on the ground, and elevate your buttocks. That way, you will form a bridge. Hold that position as long as you can.

Quadriceps Strengthening Exercises

For this exercise, you should lie down on your back. You can do it alone, there is no need for an assistant. You should contract the quadriceps muscle on one side and hold it contracted for ten seconds. After that relax it, make a three to four-second pause and repeat the contraction. This should repeat 20 to 30 times. Also, this exercise can be performed while standing. So, the next time you are waiting for something or someone, be productive. Do this exercise and build your quadriceps.

You can also do a modification of the previous exercise while laying on your back. Flex your foot, contract the quadriceps and try to lift your leg while holding it in full extension. Hold the leg in an elevated position for four to five seconds and then slowly lower it to the bed, relax the quadriceps and extend the foot. Hold this for four to five seconds and repeat it again. Perform at least ten to fifteen repetitions.

Exercises For Increased Mobility

One of the main problems after a knee injury is restricted motion. It occurs because the patient tries to avoid movements that cause pain. They learn how to avoid knee movements and promote joint contracture. Exercises for increased mobility can be started immediately after the pain subsides.

You can sit at the edge of your chair or bed and flex the knee in 90 degrees of flexion. Try to extend it as much as you can and then slowly flex it. Repeat this action for at least 10 to 15 times.

You can increase knee mobility while laying on your back with the extended leg. Try to flex the knee while holding your heel on the surface all the time. Repeat this action for least ten times.

Rehabilitation exercises for an ACL tear injury can be used before or after surgery for ACL tear injury. Either way, these exercises will provide a significant benefit for the patient and shorten the rehabilitation period, allowing the knee to fully restore to its pre-injury state. There is no difference in the effectiveness of open-kinetic chain (OKC) and closed-kinetic chain (CKC) exercises [3].

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