Can doing a course of physical therapy before ACL surgery improve your recovery after surgery? If so, what does that prehab involve? In this week’s Ask Dr. Geier video, I answer that question from a reader who suffered an ACL and MCL injury.
I tore my ACL and MCL five days ago in a soccer collision. My ACL is completely torn, and my MCL is almost completely torn from the tibial attachment. On day 5, I am back to almost normal gait and full extension. My flexion is not terrible but not great. I’m going to do prehab, but the earliest physical therapy appointment I could get was a week from now. I’m trying to at least safely work on range of motion and gait from home, but most of the information regarding prehab exclusively discusses the ACL. Does an accompanying MCL injury have any impact on prehab or the pre-surgery healing timeline?
Prehabilitation is the process of “preparing an individual to withstand a stressful event through enhancement of functional capacity.” In terms of outcomes after ACL reconstruction, we usually refer to work with a physical therapist before surgery to improve quadriceps strength and lower extremity function as prehab.
“Prehab” before ACL reconstruction and other elective surgeries
Prehab can help patients decrease swelling, restore knee range of motion and neuromuscular control of the quads prior to surgery. Doing so can help the patients get back to normal after surgery faster.
Over the years, I’ve seen many patients struggle to set up physical therapy after surgery. Working with one before surgery can ensure that postoperative appointments are in place so they can start four or five days after the procedure. Plus the physical therapist can advise the patient about postoperative instructions and common mistakes other patients make.
In this video, I explain the key components of prehab and its role in MCL and ACL surgery.
Can “prehab” improve outcomes after ACL surgery?
Recommended Products and Resources
Click here to go to Dr. David Geier’s Amazon Influencer store!
Due to a large number of questions I have received over the years asking about products for health, injuries, performance, and other areas of sports, exercise, work and life, I have created an Amazon Influencer page. While this information and these products are not intended to treat any specific injury or illness you have, they are products I use personally, have used or have tried, or I have recommended to others. THE SITE MAY OFFER HEALTH, FITNESS, NUTRITIONAL AND OTHER SUCH INFORMATION, BUT SUCH INFORMATION IS DESIGNED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE CONTENT DOES NOT AND IS NOT INTENDED TO CONVEY MEDICAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE. YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON THIS INFORMATION AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR, NOR DOES IT REPLACE, PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. THE SITE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ACTIONS OR INACTION ON A USER’S PART BASED ON THE INFORMATION THAT IS PRESENTED ON THE SITE. Please note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.