Dr. Long currently runs www.thebarbellphysio.com.
Jared will have a unique rehab process following his ACL reconstruction. First, his graft was taken from a cadaver. While this often is said to be a weaker graft, Jared’s requirements for the strongest possible tendons make it a better choice than a hamstring or patella tendon graft. Secondly, Jared had a meniscus REPAIR versus debridement. The repair is a slower rehab process than a debridement (cutting out a minor tear).
The meniscus repair will delay our weight bearing as well as limit our knee flexion range of motion to 90 degrees in the first six weeks. It will also prevent us from doing heavy closed kinetic chain (foot on the ground) strength work such as wall squats, squats, step-ups, lunges, deadlifts.
In a typical rehab process following this surgery, we would focus on two things. First, restoring full knee extension. This is the most important goal in early ACL reconstruction rehab. Second goal would be to minimize quadriceps atrophy as much as possible. With Jared being so highly trained, and having such lofty goals (Olympics!), simply minimizing atrophy isn’t enough….we want to be encouraging HYPERTROPHY!
Unfortunately, due to him no being full weight-bearing, we can’t do most typical exercises we’d use to build quad size. And because of too much strain on the ACL, we can’t perform leg extensions. So we are basically stuck with straight leg raises. This doesn’t give us much room for loading to encourage hypertrophy.
So our solution to this problem is...COMPRESSION INDUCED INTENSITY. We will be using compression wrapping techniques to slightly restrict blood flow. Recent research has shown that loads as light as 20-30% of 1 Rep Max can produce hypertrophy effects as compared to the typical need to load a muscle with 70-80% of one rep-max.
Compression induced intensity should allow us to strengthen Jared during the time period in which his meniscus is repairing. We will be able to perform an otherwise light exercise (straight leg raises) that won’t stress the healing ACL. This will allow us to progress faster when these limitations are lifted.
Stay tuned for further updates on Jared’s rehab.