Physical therapists advise rehab and recovery for ACL injuries during busy sports season

by Liz Bonis, WKRC

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CINCINNATI (WKRC) – It’s a busy season for sports injuries, especially for knees.

Ask the team physicians that sit courtside in March Madness time, and they will tell you they see a lot of ACL injuries.

Those who’ve had to recover from these injuries, such as Dawson Brandt, say the anterior cruciate ligament is a tough rehab.

He actually injured his playing football.

“Most of the ACL tears are like non-contact, so I was just running and planted on it, and I tried to shift, and it didn’t shift with me,” Brandt said.

Brandt’s physical therapy team says we’ve learned a lot about rehabbing these injuries. The ACL is one of the strong bands of tissue that connect your thigh bone to your shin bone.

“Early on, we’re starting on basic stuff such as range of motion, getting the quad firing and getting the swelling down; once those things are under control, we can progressively load the knee, progressively strengthen, and as long as the knee is responding well, we can continue to push the boundaries,” said Samantha McCracken, a physical therapist at OrthoCincy.

McCracken says don’t rush a return. After nine months, you drop the risk of a re-injury when you return almost by half in most cases.

She says guys tend to injure the other knee more than girls in recovery.

“There’s always been a really big push in weight training for men and what we are finding is it’s just as important in our female athletes to get them stronger and to help them prevent injury,” said McCracken.

Brandt is trying to be patient but is ready to do his other sports, such as the javelin throw in track and field as soon as he’s given the green light.

“I’ve been playing since third grade, and track is just a thing for football to try and get faster, so everything is about football,” said Brandt.