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Pre-habilitation for Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction

Pre-hab is the term coined for physical preparation before surgery. In the past 2 years, the effectiveness of pre-hab has been researched significantly, and its role in the success of patients returning to pre-injury function post anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction – particularly return to sport – has been widely acknowledged.

Successful return to sport at pre-injury level following ACL reconstruction is approximately 55% at 12 months post-op, and 62% at 24 months post-op. This often leads to a less active lifestyle, and significantly affects the a person's lifestyle.

A 2015 study found successful return to pre-injury sport correlated highly with a structured pre-habilitation program, especially focusing on strength, quality of movement, and other specific risk factors associated with the individual. Several other experts have also found similar results, citing shorter post-op rehabilitation periods and greater proportion of patients returning to pre-injury sport.

A structured pre-habilitation program provides benefit for anyone with a planned ACL reconstruction, not just athletes. The established benefits include :

  1. reduced post-op pain

  2. earlier normalisation of gait (walking) and functional tasks such as squatting

  3. reduced time off work

  4. earlier return to pre-injury lifestyle such as mowing the lawn, physical occupational work, and sport

Pre-habilitation is an investment that is well worth making as it will significantly increase the likelihood of a smoother post-op rehabilitation, successful return to pre-injury sport or activity.

Call us for an appointment with a sports physiotherapist with knowledge and experience in this field.  

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