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ACL Reconstruction soft tissue therapy

Tom Jennings ACL reconstruction ACL tear exercise extension flexibiltiy hamstrings hips knee mobility mobiltiy myofascia myofascial release recovery sports therapy

One of the most important components of early ACL reconstruction recovery is maintaining knee extension. Following ACL reconstruction the knee joint will stiffen and the thigh muscles will begin to atrophy or weaken. In particular, the quadriceps begins to shut down making simple exercises like straight leg raises very difficult. The sooner the hamstrings are relaxed, the sooner knee extension is gained and the quicker the quadriceps muscles will activate for strength exercises like straight leg raises. If knee extension is not maintained it can lead to multiple complications in the recovery process.

Therapy in ACL reconstruction usually begins immediately after surgery and the main focus is mobility in the knee. Usually, therapy is only 2 or 3 times per week so it is very important for individuals to work hard on their own for a better recovery. Improving mobility in the knee is the number one priority of the physical therapists or athletic trainer, and is achieved thru numerous exercises. One way we found to improve mobility and recovery is thru self  hamstring massage or mobilization with a lacrosse ball or therawheel for  self soft tissue mobilization (SSTM). SSTM between therapy sessions can help individuals maintain the gains they make in therapy and expedite recovery.

Note: Discuss SSTM techniques with your therapist before beginning. SSTM is not intended to take the place of other exercises.

In the following video several progressions on self-massage for the hamstrings are shown. In the 4th progression a partial weight bearing technique is used on the floor or table. Simply place a ball or Therawheel on the floor and let the hamstrings  rest on the ball or wheel. No rolling is necessary just move the leg side to side over the wheel and change positions and angles for different parts of the hamstrings.

 

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