ACL Injury Management

A female athlete recovering from an ACL reconstruction surgery performs a functional testing maneauver while a sports therapists evaluates

About ACL Injury

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)  is one of the major stabilizing ligaments in the knee. It is a strong, rope-like structure located in the center of the knee. It connects the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia) and prevents the shin bone from moving abnormally on the thigh bone.

There are two major types of ACL injuries: ACL sprains and ACL tears.

When the ACL tears, it does not heal by itself. This makes the knee unstable and limits an athlete’s ability to perform cutting and pivoting activities frequently required to participate in sports.  

St. Charles Sports Medicine's orthopedic sports medicine physicians will diagnose an ACL injury after considering an athlete’s medical history, conducting a physical examination, and examining diagnostic images such as X-Rays and MRI. ACL tears may require reconstruction surgery.

Preventing ACL Tears

At St. Charles Sports Medicine, we focus on keeping our athletes healthy, injury-free and on the playing field. To help prevent ACL tears, we offer individualized screenings to identify athletes who may be predisposed to ACL injuries and deliver programs which teach them injury prevention exercises and techniques.

Rehabilitation Following ACL Reconstruction Surgery

At St. Charles Sports Medicine, we know that not every knee is the same, not every recovery is the same, and not every athlete is the same. While recovery after ACL reconstruction surgery can be long, and sometimes arduous, there are many factors we consider in order to safely return an athlete to the field following surgery, including both physical and psychological factors.

The team of specialty trained sports therapists at St. Charles work closely with our Sports Medicine Orthopedic surgeons to ensure athletes are progressed according to the most recent evidence-based practice. Our treatments are designed to specifically address the individual needs of every patient and safely return them to play at an optimal level.

Patients, parents, and athletic trainers are integral members of the team and included in the rehabilitation process from the beginning.

Functional Testing Following ACL Reconstruction Surgery

In addition to  high-quality, customized rehabilitation, St. Charles Sports Medicine offers functional testing following ACL reconstruction surgery. Functional testing provides an objective picture of an athlete’s progress, performance, and ability to return to play.

Athletes are put through through a battery of tests with strict passing guidelines which ensure player readiness and helps reduce the risk of re-injury.  At St. Charles, we test athletes four, six, and nine months after ACL reconstruction surgery, prior to returning. After testing, results are analyzed by our specialty trained sports therapists and then shared with the athlete's surgeon.

Patients are educated about their performance, and a personalized plan is put into action.

Functional Testing consists of:

Strength Testing: Using an Electronic dynamometer to ensure accurate and reliable results.

Balance Testing: Dynamic balance testing involves using standardized measures that examine balance while also providing valuable information about strength and control.

Performance Testing: This series of tests consists of movements which are comparable to the athlete’s necessary skills on the field to play. They provide objective information about neuromuscular control, power, and speed as well as identify compensatory strategies that athletes may have developed which can increase risk of re-injury.

Psychometric testing: Following a serious injury, such as an ACL tear, both fear and lack of confidence can play an integral role in an athlete returning to their previous level of play. An athlete returning, before being psychologically ready, can increase the risk of injury greatly. We use various outcome measures designed to test an athletes self-readiness and identify any deficits.

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More from St. Charles Sports Medicine

ACL Injury Management is just one part of our St. Charles Sports Medicine's comprehensive approach. Select a feature of our program to learn more

ACL tears and injuries can be managed at the following Outpatient Rehabilitation Network locations:

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