University City, MO

University City, MO

Our expert team offers customized treatment to assist in your recovery from ACL tears and return to the activities you love

ACL Rehabilitation in University City, MO. Dealing with an ACL injury is often daunting and difficult, but the right ACL rehabilitation program can make all the difference in your recovery journey. At Axes Physical Therapy, we understand how hard it is to have your ability to move normally compromised. Our goal is to assist you in regaining your power, flexibility, and self-confidence, so you can return to the activities you love, whether that means returning to the field or enjoying time with your grandchildren without pain.

With numerous locations across the Greater St. Louis region, our team of certified physical and occupational therapists in University City, MO has an average of 15 years of experience. We are dedicated to providing individualized therapy services designed to meet your particular needs. Utilizing advanced treatment techniques, we form a team with you and your doctor to guarantee the best possible outcomes for your recovery.

Prepared to begin your ACL rehabilitation journey? Get in touch with Axes Physical Therapy, schedule an appointment, or call the Axes location nearest you and start your recovery journey. Let us help you return to the activities you love with assurance and vigor.

About ACL Injuries

Common Causes and Risk Factors

An ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) tear is a prevalent injury to the knee frequent among sports enthusiasts and active people, commonly due to particular activities or impacts. During an ACL tear, the anterior cruciate ligament, connecting the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone), is overstretched and ruptures. The ligament fibers tear either partially or completely, resulting in knee instability and reduced function. Understanding the usual causes and risk factors can help in the prevention and management of these injuries.

  • Quick Deceleration and Changes in Direction: One of the most prevalent causes of ACL tears is rapid deceleration combined with a sudden direction change. These movements exert considerable pressure on the knee, making the ACL vulnerable to tears.
  • Direct Trauma: Impact injuries to the knee, particularly at an angle, can cause ACL injuries. 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 anatomical differences such as a wider pelvis, increased ligament laxity, and differences in muscle strength and coordination.
  • Risky Sports: Participation in sports that involve frequent and quick slowing down, changes of direction, and jumping, such as basketball, soccer, and skiing, increases the risk of ACL tears.
  • Previous ACL Injuries: Having a prior ACL injury raises the chances of re-injury, especially if the initial injury was not entirely recovered or the rehabilitation process was incomplete.
  • Weak Musculature: Weakness in the muscles around the knee, particularly the quadriceps and hamstrings, heightens the likelihood of an ACL tear. Strong muscles help stabilize the knee joint.
  • Improper Footwear: Wearing shoes that do not provide adequate cushioning or traction can lead to slips and awkward movements that might result in an ACL injury.

Understanding these common causes and risk factors, you can be proactive to protect your knees, such as participating in targeted strength training, improving flexibility, and practicing proper techniques during sports and physical activities in University City, MO.

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


Identifying the indications of an ACL tear is essential for early diagnosis and effective treatment:

  • Popping Sensation: Many individuals report hearing or feeling a “pop” in their knee at the moment of injury.
  • Pain: Sharp and significant pain often is associated with an ACL injury, preventing further activity.
  • Swelling: Swelling usually occurs within the first few hours after the injury as the knee joint experiences internal bleeding.
  • Loss of Range of Motion: The injured knee may have limited range of motion, making it difficult to bend or straighten the leg.
  • Instability: The knee may feel unstable or give way, particularly when you try to put weight on the knee, due to the lack of support from the damaged ligament.
  • Tenderness: The knee may be sore to touch, especially along the joint line.
  • Inability to Bear Weight: Severe pain and instability often make it difficult or impossible to bear weight the affected leg.
  • Muscle Weakness: Weakness in the muscles around the knee, particularly those in the thigh, may occur due to disuse and pain.


Accurate diagnosis of an ACL injury often includes a combination of physical examination and imaging techniques in University City, MO:

  • Clinical Assessment: A physical examination by a healthcare provider entails 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 free injury screening (and begin your ACL rehab with us via Direct Access Physical Therapy.).
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): An MRI scan offers detailed views of the soft tissues in the knee, showing the presence and extent of an ACL tear.
  • Ultrasound: This imaging technique is used to view the ligament and assess any damage.
  • X-ray: While x-rays do not reveal soft tissues like ligaments, they are used to rule out any associated bone fractures that might have occurred during the injury.

Timely and precise diagnosis is vital for developing an efficient treatment plan and ensuring optimal recovery in your ACL rehabilitation in University City, MO.

Phases of ACL Rehabilitation in University City, MO

ACL rehabilitation following an injury or surgery is a structured process that focuses on restoring function, strength, and stability to the knee. This process is typically divided into several phases, including pre and post surgical rehab, each with specific goals and activities designed to progressively enhance recovery. Here are the key phases of ACL rehabilitation in University City, MO:

1. Pre-surgery Preparation (Prehabilitation)


  • Minimize swelling and inflammation.
  • Achieve full range of motion, particularly the ability to fully extend the knee.
  • Build strength in the muscles around the knee.
  • Improve proprioception and balance.


  • Gentle range of motion exercises (e.g., heel slides, wall slides).
  • Strength-building exercises (e.g., quadriceps sets, straight leg raises).
  • NMES to enhance muscle strength.
  • Low-impact cardiovascular activities, such as swimming and cycling.

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


  • Mitigate pain and decrease swelling.
  • Safeguard the surgical site.
  • Initiate early motion and muscle engagement.


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

3. Early Rehabilitation (2-6 weeks)


  • Restore complete range of motion.
  • Commence strengthening and stabilizing.
  • Normalize walking pattern.


  • Advancement of range of motion activities.
  • Beginning closed kinetic chain exercises, including mini squats and step-ups.
  • Stability exercises.
  • Riding a stationary bike for gentle exercise.

4. Intermediate Rehabilitation (6-12 weeks)


  • Enhance muscle strength and endurance.
  • Improve proprioception and dynamic stability.
  • Begin low-impact cardiovascular training.


  • Strengthening exercises for quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes (e.g., leg press, lunges, hamstring curls).
  • Balance and proprioception activities (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.


  • Plyometric exercises (e.g., jump training).
  • Sport-specific drills (e.g., agility ladder, cone drills).
  • Incremental running program, initiating with jogging and moving to sprints.
  • Functional training to simulate sport-specific movements.

6. Return to Activity (6-12 months)


  • Resume sports or activities without risk.
  • Keep strength and avoid re-injury.


  • Continuation of advanced strengthening and plyometric exercises.
  • Complete involvement in sport-specific training.
  • Continuous proprioception and balance exercises.
  • Periodic visits to your University City, MO physical therapist to review progress and modify the program.

All phases of ACL rehabilitation in University City, MO, from pre- and postoperative rehabilitation to getting back to activities, is vital for completing a full recovery and reducing the risk of future injuries. Sticking to a structured rehabilitation plan under the guidance of experienced physical therapists helps patients regain confidence and strength to return to their activities. For custom ACL rehab plans in University City, MO, contact Axes today.

Role of University City, MO Physical Therapy in ACL Rehabilitation

Personalized Rehabilitation Plans

Physical therapy is crucial for 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 University City, MO physical therapists assess your condition, establish achievable goals, and create a detailed plan that includes workouts, manual physical therapy, and treatment techniques to support healing and regain 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 ice therapy, compression, elevation, and gentle range of motion exercises assist in controlling pain and decreasing inflammation. Early activity is vital to prevent joint stiffness and boost blood circulation to the affected area, which supports healing.

Strengthening and Stability

As you move forward in your ACL rehabilitation journey in University 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 build strength and improve joint stability.

Proprioception and Balance Training

Regaining body awareness—the body’s ability to sense movement and position—is a critical aspect of ACL rehabilitation. University City, MO physical therapists incorporate balance and coordination exercises to enhance proprioception and reduce the risk of re-injury. These exercises may include balance boards, single-leg stands, and dynamic activities that challenge the patient’s stability in a controlled environment.

Advanced Functional Training

In the final phases of ACL rehabilitation, University City, MO physical therapists focus on advanced functional training to get patients ready to return to sports or routine activities. This includes activity-specific drills, agility training, and plyometric exercises that mimic the movements and demands 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

University City, MO physical therapists also provide ongoing support and education throughout the ACL rehabilitation process. You will learn proper techniques, injury prevention methods, and the significance of following your rehab plan. Knowledge enables patients to engage in their recovery and preserve knee health beyond formal therapy.

By working with a skilled physical therapist in University City, MO, patients can more effectively handle the challenges of ACL rehab, achieving a full recovery and a return to the activities they love. For personalized ACL rehabilitation plans and expert care, visit Axes Physical Therapy.

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

An ACL injury recovery can seem daunting, but with the right ACL rehabilitation program in University 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 University City, MO physical therapists use advanced techniques and tailored programs to guarantee optimal results for your specific injury, goals, and lifestyle. By focusing on muscle strengthening, stability improvement, and functional exercises, we help you build a solid foundation for sustained knee health.

Prepared to begin your ACL rehab in University City, MO? Contact Axes Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment or call the closest Axes Physical Therapy center. Let us support you in reaching your recovery objectives and maintaining an active lifestyle with confidence and strength.


Begin Your Recovery Today

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