What do Sport Rehabilitation sessions look like?
During Sport Rehabilitation sessions, our therapists help athletes progress from basic fundamental movement and strength patterns to sports-specific movements that meet the increased physical demands of their sport. These physiotherapy sessions would involve creating a tailored program for the athlete to complete on their own in their sports environment, whether that be on the court, field, or ice rink. We would begin with individual drills and slowly work towards team integration, gradually increasing the level of contact drills.
Alternatively, for our higher level athletes, or rehabilitation that requires further progression, we would refer the athlete to On-Field Sport Rehabilitation sessions. These sessions are more sport specific, where we work with you in your unique sport environment. Sessions last 60-90 minutes in length and incorporate fitness, strength, footwork, and core optimization. This type of training helps bridge the gap between the clinical setting and the high level demands of competitive sport.
An ACL rupture, or anterior cruciate ligament rupture, is a severe injury that can put an athlete's career on hold for an extended time. Unfortunately, these injuries are becoming more common than they were only 15 years ago. It is believed that factors such as artificial surfaces, more aggressive footwear, and increased training times may be contributing to this increase.
Some patient may or may not select to have their ACL surgically repaired after an injury. This is a personal choice depending on your activity level, fitness goals, strength, and severity of the injury. If a patient is playing in high-level competitive sport, a surgical repair is typically advised. The healing timeline and return to activity varies depending on which route you take. Here we will talk more about surgical reconstruction as it is more common with athletes.
The average length of rehabilitation after an ACL reconstruction is about 6-9 months, with return to sport starting around 6 months. A typical rehabilitation plan is broken down into 4 phases of recovery, each focusing on progressive exercises for that stage of healing.
Phase 1 (0-6 Weeks): Start range of motion exercises and strengthening in non-weight-bearing positions, focus on decreasing pain and swelling.
Phase 2 (6-12 Weeks): Start functional strengthening, pool exercises, and cycling to improve cardiovascular fitness.
Phase 3 (12-16 Weeks): Start increasing the volume & intensity of activity, strengthening exercises become more sport-specific, plyometrics begin.
Phase 4 (16-24 Weeks): Start sport-specific cardiovascular activity, defensive and reactive drills begin, re-introduce agility drills - planting & cutting.
After undergoing approximately 6 months of clinical rehabilitation with your physiotherapist, they will discuss the process of returning to sport. This is a gradual process and may involve speaking with coaching staff, trainers, or beginning On-Field Sports Rehabilitation to make the transition smoother and to help maintain an athlete's confidence. Contact sports should only begin once an athlete feels fully confident with non-contact practice. The time this takes varies between athletes and the demands of the sport. Contact sport scenarios should always be trialled first in practice in a controlled environment prior to gameplay. To achieve this, we may refer an athlete to On-Field Sports Rehabilitation for further training.
It's essential to understand what you can expect during the recovery process after an ACL reconstruction. If you want to learn more, click here to read a detailed blog on our website. You can also book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists to have a consultation and discussion.