When to Resume Full Activity after ACL Surgery
By Gorby Sangco
Head Physiotherapist/Clinical Manager
A lot of factors come into play when considering if an individual is already prepared to return to his previous activities. Following surgery, patients undergo progressive physiotherapy program with the goal of resuming previous activities safely. In the past few years, it has not been clear which criteria truly predict individuals’ readiness to return to function until recent studies provide an insight on what criteria should we take into consideration for us to able to return to our previous sport safely.
1. TIMELINE OF RECOVERY
Recovery after ACL reconstruction vary depending on different factors like the surgical method, type of graft, other concomitant injuries (eg. MCL, menisci tears) & previous lifestyle. After surgery, it would take time (6 to 24 months) before the newly incorporated graft could completely function as its new ligament.
2. FUNCTIONAL TESTS
One of most commonly used functional test after ACL surgery is the Hop Test. Discharge criteria & test varies depending on their previous lifestyle. It is important that these tests are employed by professionals in the field to avoid biases and made sure that the test is done properly.
Fig. 1: Y-Balance Test: Test for Single Leg Stability
3. PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS
Athlete’s readiness to return to their previous sport doesn’t only depend on physical factors but the mental aspect must be taken into consideration. Most of the time, the mental trauma after an injury can impede an athlete to confidently return to his sport even if his/her physical condition is already at the optimal level.
Fig. 2: Hop Test: Test for Single Leg Strength and Power