A study in the Journal of Sports Medicine showed that, while 81 percent of people are able to return to sports after ACL surgery, only 55 percent can achieve the same performance level, due in large part to inadequate rehabilitation efforts. The good news is that you can both accelerate and improve your recovery to return to your pre-surgery performance level. Although some of these tips are based upon new technologies, all are research-proven.
1. Follow Your Surgeon's Post-Op Instructions
You may be tempted to progress either slower or faster than recommended. Don't!Follow your surgeon's instructions--and ask questions when you don't understand how, why or how fast to proceed.
2. Find a Physical Therapist Who Specializes in Knee Rehab
While all Physical Therapists have general knowledge of post-op knee rehabilitation, not all are equal. Find a PT who matches your personality, your athleticism, and your desire to get back to doing what you love to do. Unfortunately, few PT clinics utilize the best available technology--like NeuFit neuromuscular therapy--because insurance may not reimburse at a high enough rate. You have the right to chose, so demand a prescription to a PT who has been trained and certified to leverage the most innovative therapies that actually work.
3. Perform Your Rehab Exercises
Diligently perform the rehab exercise plan that your PT creates for you. There is direct correlation between recovery time and adherence to daily exercises.The work capacity of your knee can be enhanced with therapies like Whole Body Cryotherapy, Cold Laser therapy, NormaTec compression therapy, and NeuFit neuromuscular therapy. These therapies increase your body's capacity to handle exercise stress, which increases strength, which accelerates recovery time.
4. Follow-Up Appointments with Your Doctor
Since every person's capacity to recover is different, you should go to every scheduled post-op appointment with your surgeon. Your doctor needs to monitor your progress, edit or amend your recovery plan, and validate your confidence to move forward as aggressively as you may desire.
Sleep--quantity and quality--is the time during which your body's systemic healing processes take place. Plan to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night and make sure you have the appropriate conditions to facilitate quality sleep.
Your body is working overtime to regenerate cells, tissue and muscle. Proper nutrition is second to sleep in it's capacity to help your body heal faster. Eat plentiful lean protein (red meat, chicken or fish), colorful vegetables (because they are nutrient rich), and plenty of fruit. Nutritionists recommend limiting alcohol, sodas and caffeine.
7. Focus on Relaxation
The better you are able to relax, the better your body will be able to utilize it's energy resources for tissue repair. CBD Oil has been research-proven to reduce stress and anxiety, to enhance sleep quality, and to decrease pain and inflammation better than any NSAID on the market (including Ibuprofen and Naproxen). Find something to help you chill out!
After you've completed your physical therapy regimen, you should be cleared to begin exercising again. You will have experienced strength loss and atrophy of the musculature of your affected leg, so now you need to rebuild that strength in order regain proper function. Failure to do so sets the stage for compensatory patterns, potential injury, and sub-optimal performance. Find a personal trainer who has experience identifying and resolving neuromuscular imbalances, preferably one who leverages technology like the aforementioned NeuFit system.
9. Be Patient With Yourself
The most important thing to remember during recovery is that everyone heals at a different pace. Be patient with yourself even if you're not recovering as fast as you would like to. Celebrate little victories and accomplishments you've made while healing. Realize it takes time, energy and devotion to return to your sport/activity.
Champion Performance & Recovery's mission is to help you get back to doing what you most love to do. Go here to book an appointment with us.