On Track Physiotherapy

ACL Tear in Ann Arbor

ACL Tear Recovery at On Track Physiotherapy

Have you recently injured your knee playing sports or through another activity? Did you hear or feel a “pop” at the time of injury? Does your knee now feel unstable or unable to bear your full weight when standing or walking? An ACL tear may be the cause.

An ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear is a common knee injury, especially among active teens, adults, and athletes. This crucial ligament helps stabilize the knee joint, preventing excessive forward movement and twisting. When the stresses placed on this ligament become too great, it can partially or completely rupture. This causes pain, swelling, a feeling that your knee will “give out”, and difficulty bearing weight through your injured leg.

Left untreated, an ACL tear can limit your ability to participate in sports, exercise, or other activities you enjoy. It may also increase your risk for further injury or early-onset knee arthritis down the road. The good news? With proper rehabilitation from our experienced physical therapists here at On Track Physiotherapy in Ann Arbor, you can successfully recover from an ACL tear and return to an active lifestyle.

How An ACL Tear Impacts Your Life

An ACL tear significantly impacts your quality of life, especially if you lead an active lifestyle or regularly participate in sports like football, soccer, basketball, skiing, gymnastics, or lacrosse.
Without this important stabilizing ligament, quick cutting movements and landing from jumps become difficult and unsafe. Your knee joint is at risk of buckling and giving out.
You’ll also likely experience:

  • Pain and swelling
  • Joint instability
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Alterations in gait and movement patterns

This not only limits your ability to participate in athletic activities, but also everyday tasks like walking, using stairs, squatting, kneeling, or sitting.

Over time, untreated ACL tears can also lead to further injury, early-onset arthritis, and long-term disability if the instability causes damage to other structures in the knee like cartilage and other ligaments.

Benefits of ACL Tear Physical Therapy Treatment

Seeking proper treatment for your ACL tear is crucial, whether you hope to return to sports or regular activity levels.
Here at On Track Physiotherapy, our licensed physical therapists offer customized rehabilitation programs to help you effectively recover from an ACL tear.
Benefits of working with our skilled therapists include:

Pain Management & Reduced Inflammation

  • Manual therapy techniques
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Ice, compression, elevation
  • Targeted exercises

Improved Range of Motion & Strength

  • Stretching and flexibility training
  • Progressive strengthening program
  • Muscle re-education

Enhanced Movement Control & Stability

  • Proprioceptive and balance training
  • Sport-specific agility drills
  • Bracing and external support

Education & Self-Management Techniques

  • Home exercise program
  • Strategies for swelling, pain management
  • Preparing for return to activity/sport

With an individually tailored rehab plan focused on your unique goals, our therapists help you recover optimally after an ACL tear so you heal properly and reduce recurrence risks.

Common Treatment Methods for ACL Tears

There are both surgical and non-surgical treatment options available for ACL tears depending on the severity.

Here at On Track Physiotherapy, we focus on non-operative treatment methods to help you regain function and return to activity. Common techniques we utilize include:

Targeted Therapeutic Exercises

  • Range of motion stretches
  • Progressive strengthening
  • Neuromuscular re-training
  • Simulated sports maneuvers

Manual Therapy

  • Massage
  • Joint mobilizations
  • Myofascial release
  • Instrument-assisted soft tissue work

Pain Management Modalities

  • Ice/heat therapies
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Ultrasound
  • Kinesio taping

External Support

  • Hinged knee braces
  • Crutches or assistive devices
  • Temporary activity modification

Our skilled therapists design a customized treatment plan utilizing the most effective techniques and modalities for your unique injury and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still walk with a torn ACL?
Walking is often still possible with an ACL tear, though it may be painful at first. Using crutches can remove some weight and stress from the injured knee until the initial pain and swelling resolve. A hinged knee brace also helps stabilize the joint. As pain and inflammation decreases through rest and therapy, range of motion and strength improves, restoring normal gait and mobility.

Can a torn ACL heal itself without surgery?
In some cases, an ACL tear may heal through nonsurgical rehabilitation only. Success depends on the severity of the original tear, with partial tears more likely to heal than complete ruptures. Committing to the proper rehab program to restore range of motion, strength, and neuromuscular control is key to optimal recovery. Our experienced therapists help determine if nonsurgical treatment is appropriate based on your injury status.

Can a fully torn ACL heal without surgery?
While very uncommon, there are cases where a fully torn ACL may heal without surgery through dedicated rehab and external bracing. The ligament tissue may reattach on its own if given the proper environment to heal. Much time and commitment to rehab is vital, along with avoiding reinjury through limiting riskier physical activities temporarily. Our therapists guide you through the process if nonsurgical treatment is appropriate for your complete ACL tear.

What happens if I don’t treat an ACL tear?
If left untreated, an ACL tear can cause chronic pain, swelling, feelings of instability in your knee joint and limit mobility. You have an increased risk of developing early-onset knee arthritis without the ACL to stabilize and evenly distribute forces through the joint. Ligament tears often damage surrounding structures like meniscus cartilage over time as well, leading to more involved, invasive procedures down the road. Getting proper treatment sooner than later is crucial for your long-term wellness.

Meet Your ACL Rehab Team

Our licensed physical therapists have advanced training and years of experience helping patients recover optimally from ACL tears and other complex knee conditions. Dr. Greg Schaible leads our orthopedic rehabilitation team. With years of practicing outpatient orthopedics, he provides customized care plans tailored to each patient’s unique injury status, goals for recovery, and lifestyle demands.

Dr. Greg Schaible works closely with local orthopedists, sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers, and physical therapists to deliver coordinated care for optimal recovery from ACL tears and other common knee conditions. He holds certifications in sports rehabilitation and strength & conditioning.

To learn more about Dr. Greg Schaible’s experience and background, visit our Meet the Staff page. We also have a full team of skilled therapists ready to help you recover from ACL tears and other orthopedic conditions.

Start Your ACL Tear Recovery Today

If you’ve suffered an ACL tear and are looking to restore stability, strength, and function in your knee, we can help. Avoid compensating movements and further injuries by seeking proper treatment right away.

To get started on your path to recovery, give us a call today at 734-972-6529 or request an appointment online now. Our caring staff is ready to answer your questions and discuss treatment options to help you bounce back from an ACL tear quickly and safely.

About The Author

Dr. Greg Schaible, a licensed Physical Therapist, empowers patients to unlock their full potential with Strength & Conditioning and Sports Rehab. Years of experience fuels his passion for helping individuals reclaim vibrant lives. At On Track Physiotherapy in Ann Arbor, Dr. Greg Schaible combines innovative techniques with personalized care, tackling a broad spectrum of physical challenges.

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Keean Mccartin

Greg is hands down the best PT I have ever had!

alvaro salcedo

Morgan is thoughtful, listen to you and takes care of you.