Knee Surgery

After surgical reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament, young athletes are now recommend to undergo at least a year’s rehab and thorough testing before resuming knee-strenuous sport. Research shows that those who return to sport relatively soon after surgery incur a highly elevated risk of a second ACL injury.

Clinical physical therapist

What’s absolutely essential is to let the rehab take time. Every month’s wait represents a huge gain,” says Susanne Beischer, Ph.D. student at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, who works as a clinical physical therapist. An injury the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most common form of injury to the knee joint.

It mainly affects young players of sports like football, handball, floorball and basketball. In her research, Beischer has focus on adolescents’ and young adults’ return to sport after surgery. Up to 30% prove to have suffer a second ACL injury, in the same or the other knee, shortly after returning to their sport. However, there were major differences depending on how long they had refrain from playing.

Of the adolescents studied, half had return to sport again as usual only eight months after surgery, while the young adults waited longer. Regardless of age group, only a quarter regain their previous thigh muscle strength and jumping capacity before resuming their sporting activities.

Extend their rehabilitation

Young sports participants, especially those below the age of 20; which are recommend to extend their rehabilitation to at least nine months; so preferably a year or more and to ensure that their strength and jumping capacity are restore before they return to sport. To determine whether a person is ready to return; so physical therapists are recommend to assess young sports players; hence by using questionnaires and tests of thigh-muscle strength and jumping capacity.

This takes place today in the “Project ACL” (Projekt Korsband); which in the University of Gothenburg is an active partner. It imposes extreme demands on us as physical therapists. They have to engage, support and create motivation for these people; so that their rehabilitation is complete and they don’t let them go back too soon.

It’s also important for the physical therapist and orthopedist early on; so before the operation, to tell the patient that rehab takes time. It’s a matter of having the right expectations,” Susanne Beischer says. Participants in the study were recruited mainly from the Gothenburg region; so through the physical therapists and/or orthopedists responsible for their treatment.