There are between 150,000 – 200,000 ACL tears every year in the US, and nearly 100,000 ACL reconstruction surgeries performed.
Out of all the data available with regards to these surgeries, there is one piece of information that is most telling about the future health of the affected knee.
This data point is so telling that one group of researchers drew the conclusion that people who don’t hit this target would have been better off if they hadn't gone through the ACL reconstruction surgery at all.
So what is it?
After ACL reconstruction surgery, one of the primary focuses of rehabilitation is restoring full extension of the knee (or being able to completely straighten the knee).
If full extension is not restored to within 5 degrees of being straight, those who undergo ACL reconstruction surgery will be 2x more likely to develop osteoarthritis in the knee.
A loss of 5 degrees of extension is also tied to:
All of these consequences make it very unlikely that the patient will be able to return to a high activity lifestyle. Without full extension, even every day activities like walking, climbing the stairs, and bending over to pick things up can become difficult.
It goes without saying that restoring full knee extension range of motion after surgery must be one of the top priorities in a successful ACL reconstruction rehabilitation.
And the sooner the better. One research group found that range of motion in the knee at 4 weeks was strongly correlated with range of motion in the knee at 12 weeks.
In other words, if you’re behind in restoring range of motion 4 weeks after surgery, it’s likely you will still be behind 8 weeks later. When you hit the 12 week mark, the likelihood of restoring ROM becomes less and less.
In a recent case study with one of our clients, Bobbie, she started Neuro Therapy protocols 4 weeks after surgery. At the time she started, her knee lacked 5 degrees in extension, which could have been problematic if it remained that way.
In many cases, it takes months to restore the range of motion with traditional therapy. However, within just 1 week of work, Bobbie’s knee extension range of motion was restored, drastically decreasing her chances of developing osteoarthritis in the affected knee.
Neuro Therapy protocols have consistently delivered these types of results for ACL Reconstruction Rehab, as is evidenced by Cameron and Naja’s words on the rehab process below (both returned to their sports at a high level).
Neuro Therapy can yield these types for a variety of ACL reconstruction clients, including the following:
Just click the link below, fill out the form, and we’ll have someone get in touch as soon as we can.
Noll S, Garrison JC, Bothwell J, Conway JE. Knee Extension Range of Motion at 4 Weeks Is Related to Knee Extension Loss at 12 Weeks After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction. Orthop J Sports Med. 2015;3(5):2325967115583632. Published 2015 May 4. doi:10.1177/2325967115583632
Shelbourne KD, Urch SE, Gray T, Freeman H. Loss of normal knee motion after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is associated with radiographic arthritic changes after surgery. Am J Sports Med. 2012;40:108–113
About the Author
Evan Lewis is a nationwide leader in Neuro Therapy and founded the Baltimore area's only specialist Neuro Therapy facility.
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