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Returning to sport after ACL surgery - the secret to our success.

Published: 27 July 2023


Getting Back In the Game: Returning to Sport After ACL Surgery

If you’re an athlete who has undergone ACL reconstruction surgery, you know how eager you are to get back to playing your sport. However, returning to sports too soon after ACL surgery can increase your risk of re-injury. Follow these tips from The Physio Clinic Glasgow to help ensure a safe, successful return to the activities you love.

Listen to Your Knee - and Your PT. After surgery, it’s crucial to follow your physiotherapist's guidelines for rehabilitation. They will assess factors like knee range of motion, swelling, and pain levels before progressing your rehab routine. Your PT will also evaluate knee strength and mechanics using tools like a dynamometer for muscle testing.

Objective Testing is Key. Your physiotherapist will use functional performance tests to help determine your readiness to return to sport. Tests may include single and triple hop tests, isokinetic strength tests, and agility drills. Quantitative criteria like limb symmetry indexes help compare your operated leg to your healthy leg for strength and hop distance.


Take a Gradual Approach. Your return to sport program should progress gradually. In the early stages, focus on range of motion and strengthening exercises. As you build strength and confidence, you can begin more sport-specific drills. Eventually, after meeting strength, balance, and functional testing benchmarks, you'll be cleared for full participation - but don't skip steps along the way.

Practice Sport-Specific Movements. Drills and practice focused on the movements required for your sport are vital parts of ACL rehab. Jumping, cutting, pivoting and reacting all stress your knee differently. Practicing these actions will help you rebuild neuromuscular control and skill in your knee.

Our experienced physiotherapists have worked with many athletes recovering from complex ACL injuries, whether they opt for surgical reconstruction or conservative management. We develop customized programs to help each patient safely return to their chosen sport or activity.

With our expertise guiding your progress, you can get back in the game feeling strong, confident and injury-free. Let the team at The Physio Clinic Glasgow help you each step of the way.


Arran and Robb


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