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The ACL post-operative rehabilitation program we use in our physiotherapy clinic, is based on current research, the patient’s individual needs and our clinical experience.

The rehab program has 5 goals, which succeed one another, however they often overlap. For example, when the patient begins strengthening exercises, he or she will also begin some simple balance and proprioception exercises.


The 5 goals are as follows:

  1. Pain and inflammation control
  2. Restore range of motion
  3. Increase strength and aerobic capacity
  4. Balance – proprioception
  5. Sports-specific exercise


However, the rehabilitation process is divided into 4 functional phases, in which the athlete must meet specific functional criteria in order to proceed to the next level. The 4 operational stages and the criteria for moving to the next stage are as follows:


  • When do I walk without crutches?
  1. Absence of contraindications by the surgeon
  2. The extension ROM of the knee is the same as the healthy side
  3. Edema 0/1 +
  4. Restoration of the normal walking pattern


  • When can I start running?
  1. No pain in walking
  2. Active knee flexion ROM> 120 °
  3. Satisfactory muscle tone in the torso and the extremities


  • When can I start “on field” rehabilitation?
  1. Isokinetic evaluation: strength> 80% compared to the healthy side
  2. The patient can run on the treadmill at 8 km / h for 10 minutes


  • When can I return to the team?
  1. The orthopedic surgeon’s agreement
  2. Isokinetic evaluation: 100% strength compared to the healthy side
  3. Aerobic capacity test: S2> 11.5 km / h, S4> 13.5 km / h
  4. Complete the “on field” phase of the recovery program


The success of the recovery program is based on:

  1. The communication between the members of the rehabilitation team (orthopedic surgeon, physiotherapist, gymnast, etc.), in order to achieve fast and safe recovery of the athlete, without relapses or unjustified delays
  2. The succesful completion of all the rehabilitation phases
  3. Using functional criteria to enter the next phases