You begin the second phase of your ACL rehabilitation when your physical therapist, athletic trainer or physician evaluates you and determines:
This will be normally about two to three weeks after surgery. However, function, not time, is what matters!
Keeping full extension of your knee continues to be critical to your rehabilitation
To control swelling, inflammation and pain after your exercise sessions, place a pillow under your entire leg—not just your knee—and apply ice to your knee for 15 minutes.
MOON Knee Group ACL rehabilitation exercises are designed to move you step by step to complete recovery. The exercises are identified as primary, alternate and optional.
Consult with your rehabilitation team about which exercises are advisable for you, particularly if you experience increased pain and swelling.
The evidence-based MOON Knee Group anterior cruciate ligament post-surgery rehabilitation program has five phases. Each has specific goals, exercises and instructions based on two decades of research.
Success depends on completing each phase before moving on the next. Your physician, physical therapist or athletic trainer will measure your progress and instruct you on when to advance.
The quadriceps set is vital in restoring your quadriceps strength. It is also the foundation for many other exercises as you progress. Focus on correct muscle activation (tense and then relax) and technique.
You have four hamstring muscles along the back of each thigh. These help control the knee with many activities including walking and stairs. Restoring hamstring strength is just as important as it is for the quadriceps on the front of your thigh. These two hamstring sets help improve muscle activation on the back of your thigh.
Standing hip extensions increase your ability to bear weight on your operative leg while walking. They also strengthen muscles around your hip.
Do this exercise with smooth and controlled movement.
Side-lying hip abductions improve muscle strength in the side and the back of your hip. This helps you walk. Follow the instructions and cues carefully to improve exercise effectiveness.
Standing terminal knee extension improves quadriceps strength and walking. You’ll need an exercise band and stable item or partner to hold the band. This exercise is recommended for after surgery and is unnecessary before.
This exercise is a next step from quadriceps sets. The straight-leg raise is a great exercise to improve the strength and function of your quadriceps muscle to return to walking and daily activities. It continues to be a main exercise in your postoperative rehabilitation. While doing this exercise, focus on working the correct muscles.
This is a weight-bearing next step from straight leg raises. Standing hip flexion challenges your single-leg stability on the stationary leg and the strength of your hip flexors and quadriceps of your moving leg.
This exercise is a weight-bearing next step from the prone stomach-lying leg raises from Phase 1. Single-leg standing hip extensions challenge the stability of your stationary leg and the strength of the hip extensors of your moving leg.
This is a weight-bearing next step from side-lying leg raises. Standing single-leg hip abduction challenges your stability and hip strength on the stationary leg and the strength of your hip abductors of the moving leg.
Double-leg quarter squats provide an important transition to strengthen further your quadriceps, gluteal muscles and hamstrings. They also enable you to improve weight-bearing movements through your knees.
There are multiple important steps to this exercise. Avoid having non-targeted muscles perform the workload (called compensation). This will help you achieve your goals more efficiently.
You might find it useful to do these squats in front of a mirror. This will show you whether you’re keeping weight evenly on each leg.
This exercise will strengthen your calves. This improves your ability to walk, jump and later in your rehab, run.
This exercise improves the strength of your calves. This improves your ability to walk, jump and, later in your rehabilitation, run.
Standing anterior reach improves the stability and strength of your stationary leg.
This body-weight exercise improves your single-leg stability and hip extensor strength. As your strength improves, you can hold a small weight when advised by your physical therapist.
This exercise develops strength and stability. This is key for developing base lateral movement skill.
Patellar mobilization helps you more easily bend and straighten your knee. It also helps reduce knee tightness symptoms. All steps are critical.