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Rehab Exercises for a Torn ACL

by
author image James Patterson
James Patterson specializes in health and wellness topics, having written and produced material for the National Institutes of Health, the President's Cancer Panel and an Inc. 500 Hall of Fame company. He is also a former sportswriter with writing experience in basketball, baseball, softball, golf and other popular sports.
Rehab Exercises for a Torn ACL
Coming back from an ACL tear takes time and rehabilitation exercises. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

A torn anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of the most serious knee injuries a person can suffer. If you've recently torn your ACL, you may be itching to get back out on the field, on your exercise equipment or just back to your regular everyday activities. Rehabilitation exercises can help you restore the range of motion and strength in your knee.

Straight Leg Raises

Once you have permission from your doctor to begin rehabbing your knee, you'll likely start with a series of exercises, including straight leg raises. This exercise helps strengthen the muscles in your upper leg which helps control the knee as well as helps restore range of motion to your knee. To do straight leg raises, sit on the edge of a bed or table with your injured leg hanging over the side. Slowly lift your lower leg up until it is parallel to the ground. Hold for 5 seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times as part of your rehabilitation routine. Once you've gained some strength back in your knee, you can add weight to the leg in order to further strengthen your muscles.

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Sissy Squats

You may feel silly doing them, but sissy squats will help restore strength and function in your knee without subjecting you to possible harm or further injury. Open a door and stand facing the edge of the door, gripping both door handles with either hand. Holding on to the door knobs for support, squat down until your upper legs form a 90-degree angle with the floor. Use your leg muscles to slowly lift your body back up into a standing position. Do as many repetitions as you can until you've built up to 100 in one day.

Stair Steps

One of the main issues with coming back from a knee injury is getting both legs back to normal shape and performing equally. Stair steps will help get your legs back on the same page and strengthen your knee at the same time. Use an exercise stair or find a set of sturdy stairs you can use for your exercise. Step up with your injured leg, then up with your other leg. Step back down with your injured leg, then down with your other leg. Repeat as many times as you can without feeling fatigue or pain in your injured leg as part of your rehabilitation program.

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