Prehabilitation – a Key Part of Recovery for ACL Reconstruction

Prehabilitation ACL recovery

Are you about to undergo ACL reconstruction surgery? Did you know what you do before surgery could affect your knee function for many years down the track? And may even affect your chances of returning to sport?

Prehabilitation is the term given to rehabilitation before surgery and has the purpose of improving strength and function prior to undergoing the procedure.
In the case of ACL reconstructive surgery, prehab has been demonstrated to be extremely beneficial and have long lasting positive effects on knee function after surgery.  It’s also really important to achieve a quiet knee pre-op so you can exercise within guidelines while you are working on getting the swelling down in your knee.

One study found that completing 5 weeks of ACL pre-operative physiotherapy, including intensive strength and neuromuscular training, greatly increased the likelihood of returning to sport. 72% of patients who completed prehab returned to pre-injury level sport compared to 63% of patients who did not complete any prehab (Failla et al, 2016).

Research has also shown that patients who had weaker quadriceps (muscles in the front of the thigh) before undergoing ACL surgery had much greater quadriceps weakness two years later. Interestingly, pre-operative quadriceps strength was also the stronger predictor of knee function two years after ACL reconstruction surgery, meaning that the stronger these muscles are prior to surgery, the better the knee function two years after surgery, and visa versa.

So, if you have recently injured your ACL and are awaiting ACL reconstructive surgery, why not use that time to build strength and improve your knee function as best you can. What you do now will significantly impact your knee years from now!

If you need help with getting your knee ready before ACL surgery, come and see us at either Burleigh or Broadbeach and start your prehabilitation program today.

Written by – Addie Green, Physiotherapist

1. Eitzen I, Holm I, Risberg MA. Preoperative quadriceps strength is a significant predictor of knee function two years after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2009;43:371-376.

2. Failla MJ, Logerstedt DS, Grindem H. et al. Does extended preoperative rehabilitation influence outcomes 2 years after ACL reconstruction? A comparative effectiveness study between the MOON and Delaware-Oslo ACL cohorts. Am J Sports Med. 2016;44(10):2608–2614.

3. Grindem H, Granan LP, Risberg MA, et al. How does a combined preoperative and postoperative rehabilitation programme influence the outcome of ACL reconstruction 2?years after surgery? A comparison between patients in the Delaware-Oslo ACL Cohort and the Norwegian National Knee Ligament Registry British Journal of Sports Medicine 2015;49:385-389.


Our Response to Covid-19

This page is up to date to our best knowledge, however, this is a rapidly evolving situation so we apologise for any potential delay in updating this information.

We want to reassure all our patients that we are following stringent infection control procedures in our clinic, and screen all people coming into the clinic, to exclude any patients that have any signs or symptoms consistent with Covid-19, as well as screening any patients that should be in isolation ie recently returned from overseas, or have been advised to isolate due to recent exposure with a known Covid-19 patient.

All our staff have now completed the Department of Health Covid-19 Infection Control Training.

What are we doing to minimise risk?

  • Screening patients for risk factors over the phone or through text messages before they attend appointments. Those with risk factors or symptoms are advised not to attend & to seek medical advice.
  • Hand sanitiser station at the front of the building must be used before you enter.
  • Following stringent infection control measures within the clinic. This includes
    • Disinfecting all beds, door handles, EFTPOS machine before and after each patient use.
    • Linen changed between each patient and commonly touched surfaces through the practice are cleaned regularly throughout the day.
    • Minimising the distances between clients in the waiting room- some chairs are outside undercover.
  • We have advised our team members not to come to work if they have cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • We are following all Department of Health recommendations for our type of business.

On the 30th March 2020 – the Australian government issued a statement that “People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.”

The decision to come in for physiotherapy treatment really is an individual one – if you feel that your treatment is medically necessary, and are comfortable with the risks of leaving your home and coming to physiotherapy, then rest assured that when you attend our physiotherapy clinic, we are following our strict infection control processes and doing everything we can to minimise your risk whilst in our care. However, we completely understand if you are not comfortable with coming in for treatment.

TELEHealth Consultations

We are offering telehealth consults and home visits (where suitable) for patients who cannot attend our clinic.

Read more about TELEhealth Consultations here.

Staying Healthy

  • Wash your hands often (and for 20 seconds) with soap and water
  • Cough into your elbow or use a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Social distancing practices – Avoiding close contact with others, such as touching, including shaking hands
  • Limit contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick and encourage employees to stay home when sick
  • Get 7-8 hours’ sleep a night to help your immune system stay strong
Please stay safe and take care of each other!

We are monitoring the situation very closely and will make adjustments to our business as we are further informed. Our priority is the health & well being of our patients and our staff. Thanks for your understanding.

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