Knee Strengthening Exercises Following ACL Reconstruction Surgery | Phase 3

Learn more about ACL reconstruction rehabilitation following ACL reconstruction surgery here:

Welcome to Dr. Matthew Boes’s ACL Reconstruction Rehabilitation video series. This video is designed to help maximize your recovery following ACL reconstruction surgery. The goals of our Phase 3 program for ACL reconstruction rehabilitation are to improve balance and muscle activation, and progress in strengthening exercises. This phase should be conducted within 4-6 weeks following surgery. Remember the following as you engage in Phase 3 ACL reconstruction rehabilitation exercises:

Continue all motion exercises from Phase 2 until full range of motion.
Conduct 1-2 sets of 20 reps for strengthening exercises; continue daily.
If you feel that there are too many strengthening exercises early on, pick 4-5 to do and increase the number as your strength improves.
If swelling or irritation develops, conduct exercises every other day.
Do exercises on both legs to prevent imbalance.
Balance exercises – progress to no touch; progress to no wall or chair assist.
Gait exercises – continue with 1-2 passes (20ft up and back) daily.
Stationary bike can be increased to 20-30 min as tolerated.
Remember to ice for 10-15 minutes following exercise sessions to prevent inflammation (pain and swelling).
This program involves no special equipment and the majority of the exercises can easily be conducted at home (a jump mat or yoga mat may be helpful, as well as some light dumbbells as you progress with strengthening; a stopwatch or timer can be used for many exercises)
It is important to perform all exercises on both legs – this will help prevent imbalance between the rehab and non-rehab knee

The following ACL early strengthening and coordination exercises, which are demonstrated in this video, should be conducted during phase 3 of your ACL reconstruction rehab:

Hamstring stretch
Calf stretch
Quad stretch
Stationary bike
sTRENGTH – Wall squats
STRENGTH – Front lunges – partial
STRENGTH – Lateral lunges
STRENGTH – Step ups 6”block – front TO back
STRENGTH – Step ups 6”inch block – side to side
STRENGTH – Sumo squats with dumbELL
STRENGTH – Front kicks
STRENGTH – Side kicks
STRENGTH – Bend and squats
Balance – single leg toe raise, alternate
Balance – single leg toe reach
Balance – leaning towers
Gait – Lateral stepovers
Gait – forward zig-zag skater step with pause
Gait – backward zig-zag skater step with pause
Gait – side step in mini-squat position
Core – abdominal isometrics
Core – crunches
Core – reverse crunches
Core – diagonal crunches
Core – back extension

Icing is very important after each therapy session, so be sure to place an ice pack or cooling pad on the affected shoulder for 10 minutes to help limit any irritation from exercise. If the affected joint is stiff, try using moist heat for 10 minutes prior to exercise to help loosen things up.

This is a comprehensive program involving strength, balance, plyometric, agility, cardio and core exercises. You will likely find yourself in much better shape in terms of strength and balance after completing the entire six-phase program. This video should not be used as a substitute for regular physical therapy visits and guidance from your physician. Only progress from one phase to the next based on recommendation from your physician. Most therapy regimens, particularly after ACL reconstruction surgery, are based on a healing timeline. Progressing too quickly, even though it may feel okay at first, may put you at risk for injury. Regular physical therapy visits are valuable for giving you feedback on your progress and helping to ensure you are doing exercises properly. If you develop any questions or concerns regarding your condition while using this video, contact your physician. Best of luck in your recovery from your ACL reconstruction.
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