Rehabilitative techniques for athletes after reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament

Mayo Clin Proc. 1990 Oct;65(10):1322-9. doi: 10.1016/s0025-6196(12)62143-0.


A wide spectrum of protocols is available for rehabilitation after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, and little agreement exists on the specifics of strengthening exercises or the sequence of activities. In this article, we discuss the current rehabilitative techniques used at the Mayo Clinic for athletes who have undergone anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. These techniques are based on established principles of rehabilitation, clinical experience, and new information about the related biomechanics of the knee. An illustrative case reflects the benefits of this rehabilitation program, which lasts up to 1 year and is divided into five stages. The early stages focus on protected mobilization and a strengthening program that emphasizes closed rather than open kinetic chain exercises. Later, neuromuscular-proprioceptive training and sport-specific agility training redevelop the reaction time and the "coordination engrams" necessary for athletic competition. High-quality surgical care and a closely supervised rehabilitation program, based on kinesiologic and biomechanical factors as they pertain to the anterior cruciate ligament, are necessary for a successful outcome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Early Ambulation
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Football / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Knee Injuries / surgery
  • Male
  • Time Factors