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Why You Should Request An ACL Functional Test Following ACL Surgery! 02/05/2019 0 Comments

You recently had surgery, endured pain, swelling, tightness and discomfort in your knee. You have pushed yourself through months of rehab and all with thoughts in your head about when you can step back on the field. But your nervous, you don’t show it or tell anyone, but in the back of your mind you wonder, will I be the same athlete I once was? […]

You walk into your doctors office 7 months following surgery and he takes a quick look and says, “wow you look great! You are cleared for practice.” There’s a big part of you that is relieved, all this hard work you put in and now you can take your rightful place back in the game. However, your mind starts to drift out, some self doubt starts to sink in. A sudden nervousness comes over you, “am I really ready?” You haven’t been to PT in months because your insurance company cut you off a long time ago, they were satisfied that you can walk to the bathroom and up and down your stairs. The truth is, most insurance companies don’t care you have a soccer scholarship on the line and you require more focused care and treatment. So now what?

​As your mind comes back to reality, you refocus to your surgeon saying, “your good to go if you have no questions for me.” Well this is your chance to speak up. I am telling you from experience I have seen to many athletes returned too soon, without proper guidance and readiness. Three things happen to these athletes:

  1. They continue to play, but are never the same
  2. They injure their opposite knee within a year
  3. They reinjure their same knee

You don’t have to be that athlete. At RPA we specialize in ACL injuries and getting athletes back to the sport they love safely and with confidence. One of the best recommendations we can give you is at minimum for you to get a whole body functional test. This would consist of a battery of tests to not only challenge your newly reconstructed knee but your body as a whole through strength, balance, and movement testing. In addition to physical tests we would recommend psychological readiness. This injury is a big deal, you miss many months of practice/games, and being away from the team. This takes a toll on psyche. Mental readiness is just as important as physical ability.

If your surgeon doesn’t speak about this type of testing, then ask about it. Request that he or she send to you to a place that specializes in ACL injuries. After all, this is your body, you want to make sure you are fully ready before being cleared.

At RPA, testing is first recommended around 4 months post surgery and should be reassessed multiple times prior to returning to competition to ensure progression. In addition to functional testing, our team provides performance care in order to bridge the gap between rehab and return to play. This will consist of strength training, performance and agility drills, along with movement correction exercises.

Our testing consists of:

  1. Strength Testing: Using a Electronic dynamometer By using a digital strength tester we ensure accurate and reliable results, which can be reproduced each visit to track patient progress.
  2. Hop testing series:This series of single leg hoping consists of movements which are comparable to an athletes patterns on the field of play. The test measures power, speed, and control, and has been highly researched specifically when looking at ACL rehab.
  3. 3D Running and Movement Analysis: Using our state of the art 3D Analysis system we will be assessing the players running gait, jumping/landing mechanics, as well as single leg movement patterns
  4. Agility testing: Most sports involve quick changes of direction, and cutting/pivoting at high speeds. This assessment will look at quality and speed of movement comparing each leg.
  5. Psychometric testing: We know that after an ACL tear, both fear and lack of confidence can play an integral role in an athlete returning to their previous level of play. We use various surveys/outcome measures specifically used to test an athlete’s self-readiness.

Following testing, the results are computed and then reviewed with both you and your surgeon. From here we will make a recommendation for you about the next steps. Our promise to you….We will both be 100% confident before we get you out there. Now, Let’s get started –Come see how we can help!

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