ACL Surgery, Do You Need It?
It’s the final quarter of the game and the fatigue is starting to catch up with you. Every movement is an effort. You have to make a lead so you sprint towards the play and then suddenly cut to the left to try and shake your opponent. POP! Your body goes one way but your leg doesn’t follow. You collapse on the ground grasping your knee.
Have you recently experienced that heart-wrenching feeling? A torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is often seen as one of the most devastating injuries that recreational and professional athlete can sustain. Therefore, the thought of certain surgery and being sidelined for over twelve months before being able to return to play can be heartbreaking. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Now, many people are surprised to learn that current research recommends 3-6 months of intensive physiotherapy rehabilitation before even considering surgery. In turn, this can mean a quicker return to play and none of the risks inherent with any surgery. Australia has the highest rate of surgical repair of ACLs in the world! Often, conservative management is not given a second thought.
What Does the Research Show?
In spite of this, there are no high-quality studies to show that patients who have surgery will do better than those who engage in a physio-supervised, structured rehabilitation program. This includes people who return to high-level sports. For example, look at Perth Glory’s Dino Djulbic, who went back to playing in under 5 months without having surgery. Or DeJuan Blair, who plays in the NBA with no ACL in either knee!
So what does that mean for you?
Well, if you are an appropriate candidate and decide to try physiotherapy management first, you have a really high chance of a great outcome! Even if you do end up deciding to have surgery, the ‘prehab’ you have already done will make for a better recovery and less hard work during your rehab after the surgery.
So what are you waiting for?
Come and see our physiotherapist, Karis, in Perth CBD for an assessment and opinion on how you can get the best outcome for your knee and if conservative physio management is an option for you. Feel free to share this article with people who you feel may benefit from physiotherapy for ACL recovery.