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How do you discuss return to sport timelines with a patient?

acl rehabilitation return to sport

Want to learn more about how we work with a live patient in the pre-op and immediate post op phase?  Check out ACL Rehab Live Patient Case Series: Setting Up Success.

Phil:  So I have Cam with me who tore his ACL. So you tore your ACL a few weeks ago. Tell me what happened.

Cam:  Yeah. So about a month ago, I traveled up to St Louis for a soccer tournament, and the first game I went into a 50-50 tackle and my knee kind of buckled in.  And then I went and saw my trainer that Monday. And I've been seeing her for about three weeks now.

Phil:  Perfect. Awesome. Good deal. So you've been doing some exercises. Can you give me an idea of the type exercises you've been doing?

Cam: I've been doing heel drags. I've been doing straight leg raises. I've been doing quad sets, and then leg extensions.

Phil:  Okay, great. So, now I assume it was really swollen at first, could hardly walk on it type of thing.

Cam:  Yeah, it was pretty swollen. For the first day, I was more just scared to walk on it, and then I kind of loosened up and I was looking around for a little bit until I got it straight. And then I was walking pretty normal.

Phil:  Okay, fantastic. Well, it sounds like the athletic trainer has given you some great exercises. Seems like the knee is getting under control. This is our first visit in rehabilitation before you have surgery. Surgery is . . . next . . . next Thursday. All right. Okay, so a couple things that we want to go through on what to expect, what you should be looking for in this whole process. Has your surgeon given you an idea of the time frame for returning to sport or anything like that?

Cam: He's thinking it's going to be closer to seven months after surgery. So I'll be back, but obviously we're shooting for earlier, so he's like six months, may be in the picture, but we're not sure.

Phil: Okay. Fantastic. Well, one of the things I think it's really important to kind of understand, have you ever seen a house be built like a new home be built? If you ask a contractor how long it's going to take for this house to be built, they'll tell you anywhere from 6 to 9 months or whatever. But they'll give you kind of a firm, you know, this is nine months. This is how long it takes. But, rarely does it exactly go according to that timeline, right? And you would never want to move into a house that, you know, that the roof was leaking, the pipes weren't working, you couldn't flush the toilet, that type of thing.  You want to move into a house when it's ready, not based on the date, right? So that's kind of what we're going to do here with rehab is we're going to really focus from day one, and you've already done a good job of getting the knee really in good shape before surgery.  But we're going to focus on having you meet guidelines, meet criteria that are going to set you up for a successful return to sport. So, we've got a whole checklist that I'll go through here in a minute, but we're also going to work on your performance, too. So we want you to be a better athlete. So you're playing soccer.  Do you play any other sports?

Cam:  I kick for the football team. Okay, so we want to make sure that you are at your best level going back and that you actually have better performance going back than you even did when you first started.So let's go ahead and get . . . let's talk about this discharge testing checklist that we're going to go through.

Get your copy of the ACL Reconstruction Guidelines here.

Are you looking to gain confidence in taking athletes from injury to high level performance? Looking to simplify the process and gain clarity? Wish you had a community to ask questions and bounce ideas off of? Check out the Coaches Club.

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