Phase I: preoperative period.
The goal for this phase of
the accelerated rehabilitation program is to obtain full range of motion.
This means that you should be able to flex and extend your knee as far
as the uninjured side by the end of the program. This period is a good
time for you to prepare for ACL surgery and to learn as much as possible
about the type of surgery and rehabilitation that you are going to have.
this period of time, you should concentrate on maintaining as much strength
as possible in your quadriceps muscle. The quadriceps muscle brings your
knee into full extension. This is one of the strongest muscles in your
body, but unfortunately, it can loose a significant amount of strength
after any type of knee surgery.
The quadriceps contracts, pulling
on the patella which is connected to the tibia by the patellar tendon.
The force of this contraction brings the knee into extension.
Regaining the strength in your
quadriceps muscles can be difficult, because your knee may hurt quite
a bit in the first few weeks after your injury. Some common exercises
that orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists usually recommend are
knee extensions, quad sets, heel slides, and straight leg raises. These
exercises are performed in the following manner:
Knee extensions and quad sets
perform these two exercises, place the heel of your injured leg
on an object that is a few inches thick (like a phone book). Gradually
relax and let your leg come to full extension. This first part of
the exercise helps you to maintain a normal range of motion.
your knee has stretched out for a while, perform a set of ten quadriceps
contractions with your leg in the same position. Without lifting
your heel up in the air, tighten your quadriceps muscle as hard
as you can for ten seconds. Then relax for ten seconds before tightening
your muscle again. Repeat this ten times. This exercise helps you
to maintain quadriceps strength.
Heel Slides-- For
this next exercise, start with you injured leg stretched out. Then,
while keeping your heel on the floor, gradually bend your knee and
slide your heel towards your buttock. Bend your knee until it becomes
just slightly uncomfortable and you can feel a bit of pressure inside
your knee. Hold it in this position for ten seconds. Then straighten
your knee out again and relax for ten seconds. Repeat this exercise
ten times as well. This exercise will help you to maintain range
Straight leg raise
--This exercise helps you maintain your quadriceps strength. Start
with your leg flat on the bed. Begin by tightening your quadriceps,
as in the quad sets exercise. Then lift your leg off the bed until
your heel is approximately eighteen inches off of the bed. Lower
your leg back down and relax for ten seconds.
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