Accelerate ACL Recovery with Targeted Exercises

Accelerate ACL Recovery with Targeted Exercises: A Comprehensive Guide

An ACL can be defined as the two joints that join at the knee. Recovering from an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury can be tedious and daunting. However, with the correct exercises and outpatient therapy plan, athletes can significantly improve their recovery and return to the active lifestyle they enjoy, and can accelerate ACL recovery with targeted exercises. In the United States, ACL is one of the most common injuries. The ACL affects athletes in any sport. For example, ACLs affect over 50 percent of American baseball Players. There are 1 in 3500 people who get an ACL injury or any common injury due to Sports. 

Additionally, O2 Sports Insurance provides Comprehensive Insurance for Sports programs. Therefore, this blog will be divided into eight parts. Remember to consult with your physician before doing these exercises. We can not formally offer medical advice. 

Part 1: Range of Motion Exercises

Ankle Pumps: Ankle pumps can be performed by flexing and stretching your ankle, moving it up and down. It improves blood circulation and enhances arm circulation, which lowers swelling. 

Quad Sets: These sets help build and stabilize the existing strength in the muscle on top of your tight. In this exercise, hold your quadricep muscle by contracting your muscles. Do 8 to 12 reps several times a day, but at most 6 seconds; rest for 10 seconds. The best way to accomplish this exercise is to sit on the floor with the injured leg in front of you. By activating the sets, tighten the musicals and press the back of the wounded knee flat down to the floor. 

Heels Slides: Heel slides aid in regaining range and mobility by stretching the back of the calves and your thigh. When doing this stretch, do 2 to 4 reps each set during the exercise. To optimize the best stretch, lie on the floor with your leg flat. Then, begin to slide your heel toward your buttocks. Keeping your heel to the floor – let your knee bed. Make sure you feel pressure from inside your knee. Hold it for 6 seconds, then release.

Knee Flexion and Extension: Knee Flexion and Extension are joint exercises that increase the range of motion in the joint. The muscles used in this exercise are pretty simple. It engages the quadriceps and hamstrings in your legs. The flexion activates the hamstrings on the backside of your thigh; therefore, your leg curls to the glute once you release it to extend to the floor. There are multiple variations of knee flexion, but this is the most accessible version. 

These range-of-motion exercises are crucial to flexibility on and off the field, which is essential for a Player’s top performance. O2 Sports Insurance provides coverage to help you recover from your injury, no matter what it is. O2 Sports Insurance understands that range of motion is the key to any Player’s flexibility. 

Part 2: Strengthening Exercises

Leg Raises: Leg raises are precisely how the exercises sound. Lift your legs, hold them, slowly lower, and repeat. Over time, leg raises help build strength and core muscles. These exercises improve leg strength and ultimately increase knee strength.

Hamstring Curls: Hamstring Curls can vary depending on how you do them. They can be very beneficial for maintaining and growing strength from injury. The benefits of a hamstring curl are strength and flexibility in the legs and glutes. You perform a hamstring curl by lying on your stomach and then curling your leg back and forth until you feel pressure. However, this strengthening exercise has multiple variations, making consulting with your physician important. 

Straight Leg Raises: The straight leg raise is used primarily in therapy and rehab for an injury. It helps strengthen the hip and thigh muscles and provides flexibility from the hip joint. There are various benefits, including hip stability within hip flexors, core strength, and preventing knee or hip muscles from weakening and leading to injury.  To perform the exercise, Lie on your back with one leg straight on the floor or mat and the other leg bent at the knee (with your foot on the ground). Raise the straight leg towards the ceiling, keeping your leg as straight as possible. Try not to hyperextend. This could lead to further injury. Hold for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds for each. 

Wall Sits/ Mini Squats: Wall can be achieved by standing against the wall, lowering up and down, and activating your abdominal muscles, which allows you to stay still. Wall sits lead to less fatigue on the field due to strengthening the core muscles and legs. They also provide endurance and increase stamina. Wall sits are an essential conditioning exercise that is common within Sports practices. However, they are precious for recovery. 

Mini Squats are similar to wall sits. However, the only tool you use is a chair. To balance like ordinary standing up, use the chair as a brace. To do the exercise, place your hands on the back of the chair and slowly bend up and down your knees. Mini squats help activate and maintain strength in the following areas for your ACL recovery: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, adductors, lower back, core muscles, and calves. 

Part 3: Balance and Stability Exercises

Single Leg Balance Exercises/Balance on an Unstable Surface: Standing on one leg is a stability and balance exercise that activates the mind and body when recovering from an ACL injury. Additionally, adding an uneven surface can activate the power behind activating the muscles of your legs by a wobbleboard or a bosu ball. Make sure you consult with your therapist when performing this exercise. Recovery, especially balance, can take time and patience to recover from post-injury. 

Heel-to-Toe walk: The heel-to-toe walk is another balance exercise for recovery. A heel-to-toe walk is simply walking but making sure your heel-toe is touching, and you stay balanced. During an ACL recovery, this is vital to master because the knee joint is critical to balancing and staying stable in a sport. 

Standing leg lifts: Stand on one leg and slowly lift the opposite leg out to the side, keeping it straight. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then lower back down. Repeat on the other side for equal coverage. Doing leg lifts targets hip abductor muscles and improves hip flexibility and strength. 

O2 Sports Insurance provides comprehensive options for the best resources and equipment. Recovery is a critical part of our coverage, so we ensure you can get the coverage you need to rejuvenate and be your best Player. Recovery takes time and patience, even weeks or months, so we understand every step of the recovery journey and are there for your Team. 

Part 4: Cardiovascular Exercises

Other vital to success ACL exercises are cardiovascular exercises. Many think exaggerating yourself while injured is terrible, but doing the correct exercises with low resistance can heal any joint injury. 

Stationary Cycling: Using a stationary bike with an adjustable resistance setting to perform low-impact cardiovascular workouts can benefit recovery. Start with a comfortable resistance level and gradually increase strength and range of motion. Low-impact training with a stationary bike can be beneficial muscle workouts that cause less strain on the legs. It also works for major muscle groups all together in one session. 

Swimming: Swimming and water aerobics can provide a full-body workout while minimizing the stress on the joints due to the water flow. Water has a buoyancy factor that supports a person’s weight. Water aerobics supports the whole body with shallow impact and stress on the muscles. 

Elliptical Training with Low Resistance: An elliptical machine provides balance and strength in the lower body. With a low resistance setting, this exercise can benefit recovery under supervision. Engaging with the lower body muscles can reduce the impact on the knees. However, pushing the resistance only a little is ideal to prevent strain. Keep smooth, controlled motion in mind to optimize the best result. 

Part 5: Flexibility and Strengthening:

Gentle Stretching: Basic limb Stretching is about staying consistent. Athletes can only create strength without flexibility. Gentle stretching covers the essential muscle groups to ensure optimal improvement and recovery. Flexibility aids in the recovery of an ACL injury. 

IT Band Stretches: The IT band, or iliotibial tract, is the connective tissue that runs from the hip to past knee along the lateral side of the thigh. There are three different stretches for your IT brand. Crossing your legs in a front fold, standing side stretch, and standing quad stretch are the most common. Stretching the IT band is critical to maintaining efficiency when doing a sport and staying loose. 

Calf Stretch: Do this exercise while holding onto a chair. Keep one leg back with your knee straight and the other flat on the floor. Slowly bend your elbows and front knee and move your hips forward until you feel the stretch in your calf. Hold this for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch legs for repetition. The calf stretch stretches the bottom of the foot tendons, optimizing flexibility from the back of the leg to your knee. 

Part 6: Core strengthening 

Pelvic Tilts: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tilt your pelvis backward, pressing your lower back into the mat and returning to neutral. Pelvic tilts engage the deep core muscles and improve pelvic stability. The benefits of pelvic tilts include helping with posture, stretching tight muscles within the lower back, and covering lower back pain. They then deepen in building core strength in the abs and trunk muscles, which can benefit you when you squat or lift machinery or something heavy.  

Transverse Abdominal Exercises: Perform exercises such as drawing-in maneuvers or vacuum exercises to activate the transverse abdominals, a natural corset supporting the spine and pelvis. Transverse abdominal exercise reduces lower back pain and lowers the risk of injury by building strength in the spine and pelvis. 

Planks: Planks are simply a push-up position with elbows directly beneath your shoulders and feet hip-width apart. In this position, engage the core muscles to maintain a straight line from head to heels. Hold this position for 60 seconds, focusing on proper form and trying not to cave. The benefit of planks is that they focus on the lower muscles in your abs. 

Part 7: Functional Exercises

Steps Up: You need a small step stool with no wheels and a shallow height; the exercise can also be done on a stairway. Put the leading foot you want to practice with, lift your body onto the step, and then step backward back to the starting position. Do this for 20 reps, and then repeat on the opposite side—functional exercise like the step-up aids in maintaining the monitoring skills of your legs on a functional level. 

Lunges: A lunge is lunging forward and holding. It is a balance/leg strengthening exercise. To do this exercise, lower your body toward the ground on one foot with the other extended back and then repeat from the starting position. Make sure to do the form correctly and stay balanced. Also, consult with a therapist to ensure it is not hindering your recovery. 

Sit-to-stands: A sit-to-stand is simply arising and standing up from a chair without using hands to power or assist. It aids in improving strength and balance in your leg muscles and core. It also helps anyone struggling with an injury, such as an ACL or the hip. Sit-to-stands benefits increase core, thigh, hip, and glute strength. The benefits of sitting and standing are improving the ability to do everyday activities, better balance and independence, and increased mobility and endurance. 

An ACL injury takes time, patience, and sometimes weeks to recover. These exercises speed up your recovery and prevent injury on the field. O2 Sports Insurance understands that injuries are hard to recover from; therefore, O2 Sports Insurance offers comprehensive assistance in choosing the right coverage for your event or Team. O2 Sports Insurance is there for every step for each Team, from injury to recovery. Consult with your physician or a physical therapist to assess your injury and treatment plan to ensure the utmost safety for your unique situation. O2 Sports Insurance can not offer medical advice.