Rehab ACL Tears: Phase 1

Rehab ACL Tears: Phase 1


So, I tore my ACL and had reconstruction surgery, what can I do to start my road to recovery?



Our rehab protocol for ACL tears is divided into six phases based on what the goal of therapy is for certain time points during an individual’s progression with the goal of returning back to sport.


The first phase is focused on controlling swelling, gaining full knee extension (straight legg), producing normal gait patterns, & quad strengthening. In the first phase of our ACL tear rehab protocol, our favorite exercise is called quad sets. In order to gain full range of motion, control extension while walking, & produce normal movement of the patella it is critical that quad strengthening be implemented early in the rehab process. Quad sets are an easy exercise that can be performed throughout the day to facilitate gains in strength & neuromuscular control. To perform this exercise:

  1. Sit in a long sitting position with your healthy knee bent & your reconstructed knee straight with a towel roll under your knee
  2. Forcefully straighten your reconstructed leg trying to push it towards the table/floor trying to squish the towel underneath your knee
  3. Once in this position, hold for 10 seconds & repeat.

This can be done in sets of 10 throughout the day.


Check out our favorite exercise for the second phase of our ACL tear rehab protocol here!


Featured Image By: youtube.com

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