Every season, long after the snow has progressively melted away, sports enthusiasts are often still nursing sports injuries. While most experience muscle tenderness and fatigue, some unfortunately suffer with a serious injury that has longer term consequences.
We asked Capital Physio senior physiotherapist Holly Sandelands to interview a recent patient. The interview provides insight into the role physiotherapy has played in her recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.
Question: How did you injure and tear your ACL?
Patient’s Answer: I tore my ACL skiing in February while on holiday and fell while trying to change direction on my skis and twisted my knee. It instantly hit me that I had badly injured my knee as I remember hearing a pop just before crashing to the ground.
Question: How long after the injury did you wait to see an orthopedic knee consultant?
Patient’s Answer: Since I injured my knee right in the middle of my holiday, I was not able to schedule an appointment and see a consultant until about a week after the injury. Once I saw the knee consultant and had an MRI on the area, it was determined that I had torn my ACL.
Question: How long after the initial injury did you wait to start physiotherapy?
Patient’s Answer: At my appointment with the consultant, he immediately referred me to begin physiotherapy at Capital Physio as soon as possible. The consultant encouraged me to see the physiotherapist at least 2-3 times a week for a minimum of 6 weeks, prior to even considering surgery. I officially began physiotherapy within two weeks of my initial injury.
Question: How long did you have physiotherapy appointments for and how did you feel it went?
Patient’s Answer: Physiotherapy with you was great! I initially had three appointments a week for the first month, then twice a week leading up to my surgery. You provided me with a large variety of exercises to improve my knee range of motion, strength, and stability. I felt confident in my progression through rehabilitation under your guidance. After 11 weeks, I had gained full range of motion, in fact my knee was stronger than before the initial injury!
Question: What was the most challenging part of your recovery process?
Patient’s Answer: Finding the time to complete the exercises. However, I was 100% committed. If I wanted to get back to my active lifestyle of dancing and hiking, I needed to give as much time and energy as I could when attending physiotherapy sessions.
Question: Would you recommend physiotherapy rehabilitation, especially before surgery?
Patient’s Answer: I would 100% recommend physiotherapy to anyone. Having now completed intensive pre-operative physiotherapy, I feel very confident and physically stronger heading into my ACL reconstructive surgery.
A final thought from senior physiotherapist Holly Sandelands:
Pre-operative physiotherapy is now considered to be the standard of care prior to ACL reconstructive surgeries. This leads to better functional outcomes following surgery.
Pre-operative physiotherapy should include a large variety of exercises. The goals should include normalizing gait, controlling swelling/edema and improving the knee’s range-of-motion, strength and stability.
Studies show that patients who complete physiotherapy prior to surgery make quicker gains in strength and function. This leads to an earlier return to sport and everyday activities. As always, preparation and hard work are the key to a faster and more successful recovery.
Interested in how physiotherapy could benefit you? Click here to find your nearest Capital Physio clinic and book an appointment with one of our expert physiotherapists for a programme tailored to your body’s needs. If you’re a social butterfly, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for our latest news, offers and expert advice.