Rehab ACL Tears: Phase 6
I’m ready to get back to athletics, is there a return to play test protocol that I should use to help solidify this decision?
The best preventative ACL programs are multifaceted incorporating a combination of strength, plyometrics, agility, balance, flexibility, & feedback components. Strength exercises should focus on using body weight or force production through sport specific movements, plyometric training should use repeated jumping from various obstacles or bounding variations, agility exercises should have a fast change of direction such as the pro-agility drill often used in professional combines, balance should have different variations to eliminate different body systems such as sight, & dynamic stretching should be performed.
The sixth & final phase of rehab is focused on sport specific skills & return to sport testing. In this phase, it is necessary to go through proper functional/specific testing to measure the athletic output of the injured leg compared to the healthy leg before going back to practices or games. In the sixth phase of our ACL rehab protocol, our favorite return to play test is the single leg hop test. To perform this:
- Line up on either a straight line or a yard line in your field of play
- Jump as far as you can on your healthy leg first for two consecutive hops
- Mark where your heel was after landing
- Measure the distance from the front of the line you started at to mark you made.
- Repeat the above with the injured leg
- Compare these two distances
Ideally the distance of your ACL injury side should be within 90% of your healthy leg’s distance in order to return to sport. Thank you for tuning into our ACL rehab series!
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