Much has happened in the world of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair and rehab in the last 20 years. Years ago we thought the leg had to be immobilized while the graft healed. Now we know that early movement is the best form of rehab possible.
Today patients are allowed to move the knee as much as possible. They can put as much weight on the leg as tolerated. Many patients return to unrestricted activities within six months of the surgery.
A recent study comparing regular rehab (32 weeks) to an accelerated program (19 weeks) showed no difference in joint laxity between the two groups at the end of one and two years. The concern in speeding up rehab is that the graft will get stretched out and the joint will be too loose. Joint laxity wasn't a problem for the accelerated group in this study.
ACL rehab will continue to change and progress as research shows just what the limits are for healing and recovery after ACL repair.