A torn ACL involves tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament which is a piece of tissue that connects the femur bone to the tibia bone. The treatment usually involves surgery to fix the tear and then followed by physical therapy for rehabilitation.
The non-surgical treatment involves rehabilitation to restore the range of motion of the knee joint. There are some types of exercises in physical therapy such as cycling that are considered safe as well as beneficial in restoring the use of after sustaining a torn ACL.
Rehabilitation for a torn ACL
A torn ACL every so often develops as a consequence of sports especially in cases when an individual turns on the knee with the foot in a fixed position or hurdles and lands in a forceful manner on the knee joint.
If an individual sustained a torn ACL, there is difficulty in placing weight on the knee and it might feel unstable or even collapse under the weight. Other symptoms that can occur include the following:
- Popping sound at the point of injury
- Swelling in the affected joint
Depending on the extent of damage, surgery might be required to correct the condition. Whether the individual opts for non-surgical treatment or surgery and rehabilitation, the individual will have limited capability in weight-bearing activities.
Right after sustaining a torn ACL, the individual might start a rehabilitation program to minimize the pain and restore function to the knee. Cycling using a stationary bike can help improve the range of motion in the knee joint.
Since the individual could not place much weight on the affected knee, rehabilitation is aimed on regaining some stability that might have been lost. Using a bicycle can improve the circulation to the lower extremities and also works both muscles above and below the knee to improve joint support.
What can I gain from cycling?
Riding a bicycle especially a stationary bike with a torn ACL can provide a number of benefits that help improve the healing process. It is a low-impact activity that does not place a lot of weight on the extremities.
Cycling also provides range of motion exercises to move the knee joint as well as supporting the cartilage. By using a stationary bike, it has specific settings in which the amount of resistance placed on the knees can be controlled and the individual can also cycle as fast or as slowly as tolerated.
It is important to note that cycling might be part of a rehabilitation program on a stationary bike while starting the healing process. After some time, the individual can ride on a regular bike outdoors again as long as allowed by the doctor.
When using an outdoor bike, avoid the trails that have large number of hills since going uphill can further strain on the knee. The gears must be adjusted to a low level that allows a minimum of 90 repetitions per minute.
Pedaling at a slower pace can also add pressure on the knee. It is best to slowly work to build up tolerance for outdoor cycling as well as ensure to spend some time on a stationary bike to know if he/she can tolerate riding outdoors after the injury.