ACL Rehabilitation Case Study
Firefighter injured during a club soccer match late summer of 2022 and underwent anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction and meniscus repair. This was his second soccer related knee injury in the past 2 years, and he had concerns about returning to work and to the soccer field.
Initial rehabilitation goals were as follows:
- Decrease swelling.
- Regain full range of motion.
- Strengthen surrounding muscles in the ankle, hip and core.
- Proper positioning of the knee in the knee brace during weight bearing activities.
During the patients ACL reconstruction rehabilitation, it was crucial to rebuild the strength in his quadriceps and lateral hip musculature since they play important roles in stabilizing the knee while running and performing powerful movements required for sport related activities. After about 6-8 weeks, the patient was allowed to unlock the knee brace and progress to compound movements, such as stair climbing, squats and even lunges.
The patient’s physical therapy had progressed to work related activities, such as ladder climbing with a weighted vest to simulate his work gear and carrying over 100 pounds to simulate helping others in a burning building. For successful rehabilitation, it was important to get this patient back to the activities he enjoyed, and, in his case, it was definitely soccer. In order to return to soccer following a procedure like this he had to perform a number of single-leg hop tests to show symmetrical strength, stability and power production between both legs. This patient is scheduled to return to work in the upcoming months and will continue his therapy of running, jumping and single leg stabilization drills.
Aaron M. Salaga PT, DPT