Your anterior cruciate ligament, usually referred to as the ACL, is one of the most frequently injured ligaments in the knee. Ligaments are the strong, non-elastic fibers, which connect bone to bone. The ACL crosses inside of your knee and connects the shin-bone and thigh bone. It takes responsibility for stabilizing the knee joint.
Tearing Your ACL
Your ACL might tear if you abruptly slow down from a run, land from a jump with locked knees, or change directions rapidly. Skiers, football, soccer and basketball players are particularly vulnerable, but people with significant muscle imbalances are also susceptible.
In most cases, tears of your ACL, will require reconstructive knee surgery. If you only incur a partial tear, your doctor might advise against the surgical process, as long as you agree to give up high-impact activity and adhere to a progressive physiotherapy program. Whether you opt for the surgical or non-surgical approach, Clinical Pilates will play a key role in the rehabilitation process.
Immediately Post Injury
Pain, swelling and loss of range of motion are inevitable when you tear your ACL. Whilst your physician might prescribe anti-inflammatory and strong pain medications, he will also tell you to practice small leg flexion and extension exercises. Whether or not you are planning to have surgery, you must heed this advice! This pre-hab period determines how quickly you will regain your range of motion.
How Pilates Helps
Many of the Pilates mat and equipment exercises facilitate this type of flexion and extension movement. Since concentration is one of the major principles of Pilates, your Clinical Pilates instructor will teach you how to focus on each movement and avoid further injury. Some people discover that Pilates exercise minimizes the need for pain medication. This is a good thing, because the meds induce drowsiness, and come with a plethora of adverse side effects.
Pilates exercises performed on the apparatus are extremely helpful during the rehabilitation process. Your movements on the equipment allow your Clinical Pilates expert to assess your range of motion, alignment issues and muscle imbalances. Equipment such as the Pilates Reformer offers exercises that are non-weight-bearing, making them safe for the post ACL surgery patient.
As you gain confidence and control, your Clinical Pilates expert will teach you a series of full weight bearing exercises. Examples include:
- The standing leg pump, performed without support of the hands
- The forward lunge on the Chair
- Side splits and front splits on the Reformer
- Assisted squats with leg springs on the Trapeze Table
The progression of your treatment depends on the severity of your injury, the type of surgery, if any, and your level of fitness before the injury. No matter how long it takes, your Clinical Pilates instructor will help bring you back to full functionality.
Call us on (08) 9272 7359 today!