Crystal City, MO

Crystal City, MO

Our expert team provides personalized care to help you recover from ACL injuries and return to the activities you love

ACL Rehabilitation in Crystal City, MO. Coping with an ACL injury is often overwhelming and challenging, but the right ACL rehabilitation program is essential in your recovery journey. At Axes Physical Therapy, we recognize how challenging it can be to have your ability to move like you used to restricted. Our goal is to assist you in regaining your muscle strength, flexibility, and self-confidence, so you can return to the activities you love, whether that means getting back on the field or enjoying time with your grandchildren without pain.

With various sites in the Greater St. Louis area, our team of accredited physical and occupational therapists serving Crystal City, MO on average boasts more than 15 years of experience. We are dedicated to providing customized therapy treatments designed to meet your particular needs. Employing advanced treatment techniques, we form a team with you and your doctor to secure the best possible outcomes for your recovery.

Prepared to begin your ACL rehabilitation journey? Reach out to Axes Physical Therapy, make an appointment, or call the nearest Axes Physical Therapy center and initiate your recovery process. Let us support you in getting back to the activities you love with confidence and strength.

About ACL Injuries

Common Causes and Risk Factors

An ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) tear is a frequent knee injury common among athletes and active individuals, commonly due to specific movements or traumatic events. During an ACL tear, the anterior cruciate ligament, connecting the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone), gets overstretched and breaks. The ligament fibers tear either partially or completely, causing knee instability and impaired function. Understanding the common causes and risk factors can help in both preventing and managing these injuries.

  • Quick Deceleration and Changes in Direction: One of the most prevalent causes of ACL tears involves rapid deceleration combined with a sudden direction change. These movements exert considerable pressure on the knee, rendering the ACL prone to tearing.
  • Direct Trauma: Direct knee trauma, particularly at an angle, can lead to ACL tears. This is often seen with contact-related sports injuries in sports such as football and soccer.
  • Higher Incidence in Females: ACL tears are more common in females due to biological variations such as a wider pelvis, increased ligament laxity, and differences in muscle strength and coordination.
  • Risky Sports: Participation in sports that require frequent and quick slowing down, directional changes, and jumping, such as basketball, soccer, and skiing, increases the risk of ACL tears.
  • Previous ACL Injuries: Having a past ACL injury raises the chances of re-injury, especially if the initial injury did not fully heal or the rehabilitation process was incomplete.
  • Weak Musculature: Insufficient strength in the muscles around the knee, particularly the quadriceps and hamstrings, can increase the risk of an ACL tear. Robust muscles help stabilize the knee joint.
  • Improper Footwear: Wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support or traction can contribute to slips and awkward movements that might result in an ACL injury.

By recognizing these usual causes and risk factors, you can be proactive to protect your knees, such as participating in targeted strength training, increasing flexibility, and using proper techniques during sports and physical activities in Crystal City, MO.

ACL Rehabilitation Crystal City, MO | Physical Therapy Near Crystal City | Rehab for ACL Injuries and Surgery


Identifying the indications of an ACL tear is crucial for prompt diagnosis and proper treatment:

  • Popping Sensation: Many individuals describe hearing or feeling a “pop” in their knee at the moment of injury.
  • Pain: Sudden and intense pain often comes with an ACL injury, hindering continued movement.
  • Swelling: Swelling usually occurs within the first few hours after the injury as the knee joint fills with blood.
  • Loss of Range of Motion: The injured knee may lose its full range of motion, restricting movement in bending or straightening the leg.
  • Instability: The knee may feel unsteady or give way, particularly during weight-bearing activities, due to the lack of support from the damaged ligament.
  • Tenderness: The knee may be tender to the touch, especially along the joint line.
  • Inability to Bear Weight: Severe pain and instability often make it hard to stand on the affected leg.
  • Muscle Weakness: Weakness in the muscles around the knee, particularly those in the thigh, may develop due to inactivity and soreness.


Proper diagnosis of an ACL injury generally involves a combination of clinical assessment and imaging techniques in Crystal City, MO:

  • Clinical Assessment: A physical examination by a healthcare provider involves tests like the Lachman test, anterior drawer test, and pivot shift test to evaluate the integrity of the ACL. You can come to Axes directly for a no-cost injury screening (and begin your ACL rehab with us via Direct Access Physical Therapy.).
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): An MRI scan gives comprehensive images of the soft tissues in the knee, showing the presence and extent of an ACL tear.
  • Ultrasound: This imaging technique can be used to visualize the ligament and check for damage.
  • X-ray: While x-rays do not depict soft tissues such as ligaments, they are used to identify any bone fractures that might have occurred during the injury.

Timely and precise diagnosis is vital for creating an appropriate treatment plan and ensuring optimal recovery in your ACL rehabilitation in Crystal City, MO.

Stages of ACL Rehabilitation in Crystal City, MO

ACL rehabilitation following an injury or surgery is a structured process that aims to restore function, strength, and stability to the knee. This process is typically divided into several phases, including rehabilitation before and after surgery, each with specific goals and activities designed to gradually improve recovery. Here are the key phases of ACL rehabilitation in Crystal City, MO:

1. Pre-surgery Preparation (Prehabilitation)


  • Reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Restore full range of motion, particularly knee extension.
  • Strengthen the muscles around the knee.
  • Enhance proprioception and balance.


  • Light range of motion exercises (e.g., heel slides, wall slides).
  • Strengthening exercises (e.g., quadriceps sets, straight leg raises).
  • NMES to improve muscle strength.
  • Cardiovascular exercises that are low impact, such as swimming and cycling.

2. Immediate Post-surgery Recovery (0-2 weeks)


  • Manage pain and reduce swelling.
  • Preserve the surgical repair.
  • Start early mobility and muscle activation.


  • Use of ice, compression, and elevation to control swelling (POLICE approach: Protect, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
  • Gentle passive and active range of motion exercises.
  • Weight-bearing as tolerated, with crutches if necessary.
  • Ankle pumps, quad sets, and heel slides.

3. Early Rehabilitation (2-6 weeks)


  • Achieve full range of motion.
  • Commence strengthening and stabilizing.
  • Achieve a normal walking gait.


  • Gradual increase in range of motion exercises.
  • Introduction of closed kinetic chain exercises such as mini squats and step-ups.
  • Balance training exercises.
  • Riding a stationary bike for gentle exercise.

4. Intermediate Rehabilitation (6-12 weeks)


  • Enhance muscle strength and endurance.
  • Enhance proprioception and dynamic balance.
  • Commence low-impact cardiovascular workouts.


  • Strengthening exercises for quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes (e.g., leg press, lunges, hamstring curls).
  • Proprioception exercises (e.g., single-leg balance, balance board exercises).
  • Low-impact aerobic exercises (e.g., elliptical, swimming).
  • Water therapy can benefit certain patients.

5. Advanced Rehabilitation (3-6 months)


  • Enhance strength, power, and agility.
  • Prepare for return to sport or high-level activity.


  • Plyometrics (e.g., jump training).
  • Athletic drills (e.g., agility ladder, cone drills).
  • Gradual return to running program, starting with jogging and progressing to sprints.
  • Functional training to simulate sport-specific movements.

6. Return to Activity (6-12 months)


  • Resume sports or activities without risk.
  • Preserve muscle strength and prevent re-injury.


  • Ongoing advanced strengthening and plyometric exercises.
  • Active engagement in sport-specific training.
  • Continuous proprioception and balance exercises.
  • Frequent consultations with your Crystal City, MO physical therapist to track progress and make adjustments.

All phases of ACL rehabilitation in Crystal City, MO, from pre- and postoperative rehabilitation to a return to activities, is vital for completing a full recovery and preventing future injuries. Adhering to a structured rehab program under the guidance of qualified physical therapists helps patients regain confidence and strength to return to their activities. For custom ACL rehab plans in Crystal City, MO, contact Axes today.

Role of Crystal City, MO Physical Therapy in ACL Rehabilitation

Personalized Rehabilitation Plans

Physical therapy plays a pivotal role in ACL rehabilitation by offering customized rehabilitation programs that meet the unique needs of each individual. Every ACL injury is unique, and individualized recovery plans are essential for optimal results. Experienced Crystal City, MO physical therapists examine your situation, set realistic goals, and develop a structured program that includes workouts, hands-on therapy, and modalities to aid healing and recover function.

Early Mobilization and Pain Management

During the early phases of ACL rehab, physical therapy is centered on pain reduction, swelling control, and early mobilization. Techniques such as cold therapy, compression, elevation, and light range of motion activities aid in pain management and inflammation reduction. Prompt movement is crucial for preventing joint stiffness and encouraging blood flow to the affected area, which supports healing.

Strengthening and Stability

As you progress through the ACL rehabilitation phases in Crystal City, MO, the priority becomes strengthening the knee-supporting muscles, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Building strength in these muscles is crucial for knee joint stability and injury prevention. Physical therapists use a variety of exercises, including closed kinetic chain exercises like squats and lunges, to increase strength and stabilize the knee joint.

Proprioception and Balance Training

Restoring kinesthetic sense—the body’s ability to perceive movement and position—is a critical aspect of ACL rehabilitation. Crystal City, MO physical therapists include balance and coordination exercises to boost proprioception and lower the risk of re-injury. These exercises may include balance boards, single-leg stands, and dynamic activities that test the patient’s stability in a safe setting.

Advanced Functional Training

In the later stages of ACL rehabilitation, Crystal City, MO physical therapists concentrate on advanced functional workouts to prepare patients for a return to sports or daily activities. This includes sports-related drills, agility training, and plyometric exercises that imitate the actions and requirements of the patient’s chosen sport or activity. Functional training helps ensure that the knee can handle the stresses and strains of real-life movements.

Ongoing Support and Education

Crystal City, MO physical therapists deliver ongoing educational support throughout ACL rehabilitation. We’ll teach you about proper techniques, injury prevention strategies, and the importance of adhering to your rehabilitation program. Knowledge enables patients to engage in their recovery and preserve knee health beyond formal therapy.

By working with a skilled physical therapist in Crystal City, MO, patients can successfully manage the difficulties of ACL rehabilitation, achieving a full recovery and a return to the activities they love. For custom ACL rehab plans and professional care, visit Axes Physical Therapy.

Call Axes for Your ACL Rehabilitation in Crystal City, MO Today

Healing from an ACL injury can feel intimidating, but with the right ACL rehabilitation program in Crystal City, MO, it is entirely possible to regain full function and return to the activities you love. At Axes Physical Therapy, we are focused on delivering individualized, specialized care throughout every phase of your recovery. Our experienced Crystal City, MO physical therapists use cutting-edge methods and tailored programs to ensure the best outcomes for your specific injury, goals, and lifestyle. By focusing on strengthening, stability, and functional training, we help you build a solid foundation for lasting knee health.

Eager to commence your ACL rehabilitation in Crystal City, MO? Reach out to Axes Physical Therapy now to schedule an appointment or call the nearest Axes location. Let us support you in reaching your recovery objectives and maintaining an active lifestyle with confidence and strength.

Services Offered

Services Offered
  • Physical Therapy
    • Pre/Post Surgical Rehabilitation
    • Acute Injury Management
    • Chronic Injury Management
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Advanced Work Rehabilitation
  • Work Conditioning/Hardening
  • Functional Capacity Evaluations
  • Certified Hand Therapy
  • Vestibular Therapy/Concussion Management
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Sports Physical Therapy
  • Pediatric Orthopedic Physical Therapy
  • Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
  • Spine Specialty – Certified Manual Therapy
  • Free Injury Screenings
  • Kinesio Taping®
  • Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

Our Team

Stephen Brunjes
Mary McKinney
Front Office
Kaila Mikesch
Clinic Director, PT, DPT, CMPT
Eric Meyer
Assistant Clinic Director, PT, DPT, CMPT
Haley Finnegan
Ernie Goddard
Partner, PT
Natalie Carter
PT, DPT, Astym. Cert.
Emma Witte
Kelly Barnes
Physical Therapist
Jennifer Zweigart
Front Office
Shannon Blum
Nick Baldwin
Front Office


Begin Your Recovery Today

Injuries and pain shouldn’t keep you from moving and doing the things you love.