Did you know that there are around 200,000 ACL injuries every year in the US? In fact, ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, injuries are the most common ligament injury to the knee. They can happen as the result of chronic overuse or as the result of an acute injury.
The ACL keeps your tibia from moving in front of your femur. It also provides extra stability to the knee. When the ligament is torn, it can prevent you from moving without pain and stiffness. There are two main suggested treatments for ACL injuries: surgical and nonsurgical. Physical therapy is the main nonsurgical intervention, and it can be used as a stand-alone therapy or in conjunction with other therapies, including surgery.
While ACL surgeries may be the most reliable way to fix an ACL tear, not all patients have the same outcome. Patients who start out with stiff, swollen knees or a limited range of motion before the surgery can really struggle with making a recovery. Recovery can take longer and be more difficult in the short-term. It can also mean a reduced likelihood of total recovery.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to increase your odds of a faster, more complete recovery from your ACL injury. One of those things is using cryotherapy in addition to physical therapy.
One way you can use cryotherapy to increase your chances of full recovery are by incorporating it as part of your pre-treatment regime. Whether you choose whole body cryotherapy or localized cryotherapy, the treatment can reduce swelling and inflammation in the body, especially in the knee. Reducing swelling can improve your range of motion and flexibility. Doing this before surgery or physical therapy increases the odds of a total recovery.
You can also use cryotherapy as part of your treatment regime. A 2012 study by Dambros et al. examined the effectiveness of cryotherapy in the immediate postoperative period of ACL reconstruction. They compared the results of people who received cryotherapy as part of their post-surgical physical therapy and patients who did not. They found that incorporating cryotherapy into the postoperative physical therapy for people who had ACL reconstruction helped reduce pain and improve the range of motion.
What does this mean for you? If you have had an ACL injury and are looking to get surgery, try to solve your problem through physical therapy, or recovering from ACL therapy, cryotherapy may be able to help you maximize your recovery. Every situation is different, but we encourage you to contact us and see if Chill can help you with your knee recovery!