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January 5, 2021

How exercises can help ACL tears recover without surgery

ACL Tear


The knee is a complex joint, and one of the many structures in this joint is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). If you’ve recently torn your ACL in Edison, New Jersey, you may be looking for ways to shorten your recovery time and avoid surgery.

Physical therapists can help you reach both of these goals. One reason they can do so is that they can show you how to do strengthening exercises for the muscles that support the knee. Here are two such exercises that are commonly used to help ACL tear recovery:


Quadriceps setting


Physiotherapist doing ACL therapy to a man using foam roll in clinic


With passive strengthening exercises, a physical therapist can start working to decrease your ACL tear recovery time within days of your injury.

These exercises may even help you do without costly knee surgery. One example of a passive strengthening exercise your therapist may show you is the quadriceps setting. 

This exercise can be done on the floor or a bed, and it starts with you sitting on one of these surfaces with your legs straight out in front of you.

To get into the starting position for the quadriceps setting, you’ll need to lean back so that you’re resting on your forearms. Then, bend the uninjured leg until your foot is flat on the floor or bed. 

From this starting position, focus on contracting the quadriceps located on the front of your thigh. At the same time, make sure your knee stays straight.

If you’re doing the exercise properly, it should feel like your kneecap has slid upward slightly toward the thigh muscles.

Hold the quadriceps contraction for about five seconds before releasing. For the best results, try to complete 20 repetitions of this exercise three or four times throughout the day. 


Standing hamstring curl


As your ACL tear recovery process progresses, your therapist will start showing you how to do active strengthening exercises.

An excellent example of an active exercise you might be shown is the standing hamstring curl.  This exercise is designed to strengthen the hamstring, and this muscle is on the back of your thigh.

To start the standing hamstring curl, you’ll want to stand behind a stable chair with your hands resting on the back of the chair.

Next, put all your weight on your uninjured leg, and then, you’ll start to slowly raise your heel toward your buttock. After you raise your heel as high as possible, hold this position for two to three seconds before slowly lowering your foot back to the floor.

Make it your goal to complete these steps 20 times per set.


Find out how Health Plus Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Center in Edison, NJ, can help with ACL tear recovery


Do you live in Edison? Have you recently torn your ACL? Health Plus PT has a clinic in Edison that can help treat your injury.

We offer one-on-one treatment plans that can help speed up your ACL tear recovery, possibly without a costly knee surgery.

Our plans are designed using multiple effective therapy methods, and some of the therapy methods used in your plan could include:

• Active release
• Cupping
• Therapeutic exercises

Contact Health Plus PT team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment to start treating your ACL injury.

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