Get Back in the Game Faster: What You Need to Know About Recovering from an ACL Sports Injury

Whether you’re a competitive athlete, a weekend warrior, or a spectator, you can easily end up with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in your knee. It’s common in sports because it happens when you stop or change direction suddenly, which happens in basketball, football, and many other sports. But it can also happen in a car accident or stepping off a curb. 

Regardless of what caused your injury, all you want to do is stop the pain, heal the injury, and get back into the game, even if it’s just the game of life. But how you go about your treatment and recovery makes all the difference in the timeline.

Our team of expert orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine therapists, and athletic trainers at The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre specializes in ACL injuries and guiding you through the most effective treatment plan so you can regain your full function as quickly as possible. But both the success and speed of your recovery rely on you. Here’s how you can help us help you.

Take physical therapy seriously

Naturally, repairing the damage to your ACL is critical to your recovery, but physical therapy may be the most important part of your treatment. Whether you have surgery or not, physical therapy generally starts immediately following your injury and picks up again after surgery or other corrective procedure.

We structure your physical therapy program to gradually increase motion, strengthen the surrounding muscles, improve your ability to control your knee, and, ultimately, relieve your pain. Our specialists guide your rehabilitation and push you just enough so your progress is as quick as possible, but we never put more stress on your healing knee than it can handle.

Do your physical therapy homework 

It’s not enough to simply participate in physical therapy at our facility. The difference between those who recover quickly and those whose rehab extends past the average 6-9 months is the work done at home.

Physical therapy is an individualized treatment that takes into account all of the factors that impact your injury and recovery, including your age, weight, physical condition, overall health, and post-recovery goals. Some patients get impatient and try to rush the process or get frustrated when they don’t see rapid progress. But deviating from the plan or abandoning it altogether is a mistake.

If you do less or more than prescribed, you can’t properly build the foundational strengths that allow your knee to support more stress. As a result, you run the risk of slowing down your recovery and even re-injuring your ACL.

Some people heal at a faster pace than others and can handle more activity sooner. If that’s you, just make sure you talk to us first so we can evaluate your knee and determine whether it’s safe to add more to your rehabilitation. 

Form matters

As an athlete, you know the importance of body mechanics. If you don’t have the right form, you can’t be an effective competitor, and you put yourself at risk of injury. It’s the same with physical therapy. We fully explain each element in your rehabilitation plan to avoid stressing your knee so you can safely exercise without risk of harm. 

Feed your knee

Anytime you’re healing from an injury or illness, your body uses more nutrients than normal. So, if you’re rehabbing from an ACL injury, it’s important to watch what you eat and be intentional about your nutrition. Here are just some of the nutrients that support healing:

 Another nutrition mistake some people make during recovery is decreasing calorie intake. Especially among athletes and other physically active people, there is a natural inclination to cut calories because their activity level has plummeted.

But rehabilitation from an ACL injury is not the time to skimp on calories. You need about 15-20 calories per pound of body weight to fuel healing. Without enough calories, your body breaks down muscles for energy, which slows your recovery.

If you’ve suffered an ACL injury, we can create an ACL repair treatment plan for you and get you back in the game faster. Call our team at The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre in Woodlands, Texas, or book an appointment online.

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