Physiotherapy: Your ally to treat an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury

If you are an athlete, you have probably already heard about anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. This ligament is located at the knee and is frequently injured in the world of sport. Our client Melanie tore this ligament in a fall while skiing. Her doctor referred her to a physiotherapist since it is the health professional who was best placed to help Melanie recover from the injury and return to her sport. Whether you are a good candidate for surgery like Melanie, or the doctor prefers a conservative approach of exercises, physiotherapy will be your ally in the path to healing. Here we explain how we treated Melanie’s wound in physiotherapy; her symptoms, her progression, her challenges and her recovery.

How is the anterior cruciate ligament injured?

Physiotherapy-CMIEach year, many people injure their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

ACL injuries occur in both amateur and competitive sport.

Indeed, the ACL is one of four ligaments that provide stability of the knee and is sensitive to the torsion movement of the leg.

Exceeding the limit of the maximum tension of the ligament will cause its tearing. Like Melanie, patients consult physiotherapy because they want to make sure they can return to their favorite sport as quickly as possible. Most patients treated in physiotherapy for ACL tears are injured especially in sports that require stop-and-go movements: tennis, squash, soccer, football, handball or basketball. ACL injuries are also common for skiing, just as it did for Melanie.

“By consulting the physiotherapist, Melanie has maximized her chances to avoid the recurrence of her symptoms by returning too quickly to the sport or even worse the secondary failure, which meansthe ligament injured again. You need to know the right steps and the best exercises to ensure a safe return to the sport. “

Symptoms and diagnosis of anterior cruciate ligament injury

Physiotherapy - CMI

In most cases, this injury includes the following symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Color change
  • Decreased mobility
  • Instability while walking
  • Pain

The visit to the doctor allowed Melanie to receive a diagnosis of her injury and a treatment adapted to her injury. Magnetic resonance was used to assess theintegrity of the ligaments and confirm her diagnosis. In Melanie’s case, an operation proved to be the best way to heal her injury and, combined with physiotherapy, we ensured the success of her recovery.

Restore mobility, flexibility and control pain with physiotherapy

“Untreated ACL injuries can lead to significant degenerative knee damage. Whether you are a good candidate for surgery like Melanie or the doctor prefers a conservative approach of exercises, the physiotherapist will be your best ally.


We will begin with treatments to restore mobility and flexibility and control pain. In addition, we will prepare an exercise program adapted to the patient’s situation, which enables rehabilitation to continue at home.

When goals are achieved, patients begin a reinforcement program with deficit-specific exercises following the physiotherapist’s assessment. The treatments also improve endurance, stability and motor control.

The final step is to review the patients’ goals related to returning to sport or work. It is then easier to direct the treatment and the exercises to achieve the goals of the patients.

“For Melanie, the goal was to start walking and snowshoeing for the coming winter and then downhill skiing towards the end of the season. “

The physiotherapist therefore made sure that she passed functional tests to determine if she was ready to resume her activities. Specific exercises including leg control and jumping receptions were included in the program.

The benefits of rehabilitation with physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a crucial step in rehabilitation following an ACL injury. It helps greatly in reducing pain and improving physical abilities. It also provides guidance to ensure that rehabilitation is achieved without difficulty.

“Any premature return to activities can lead to a new sprain.”

What is my role as a patient in physiotherapy to avoid a secondary failure?


For Melanie and many other patients, following the exercise program and respecting the recommended progression allows a good healing. Patients are impatient to return to their sport and we understand this, but to ensure optimal recovery and avoid a secondary injury, follow your physiotherapist’s advices.

Physiotherapy: Before or After surgery?

In cases where reconstruction surgery is planned, it is recommended to start physiotherapy before the surgery to strengthen and prepare the knee. Following the operation, you will have regular follow-ups with your physiotherapist, who will ensure that you receive the treatment that will help you achieve your goals or return to your sport.

Thus, it should be remembered that if you hurt your knee, be it ACL, another ligament or menisci, it is best to consult a physiotherapist.

Meanwhile, the physiotherapist has as much pleasure as his patients to guide them through rehabilitation and to see them progress.

Do you feel pain while practicing your sport? Contact us today and a health professional from CMI Clinics will guide you to the best service for your needs!

Looking forward to guide you in your recovery,


B.Sc. M.Sc. pht

 Physiotherapist-VincentVincent has a masters in physiotherapy from the University of Montreal. Avid skier, Vincent is bringing his knowledge of skiing as an instructor for the Quebec Foundation for the Blind since 2014 and also works as a savior for Patro le Prévost, one of the oldest non-profit organizations in Quebec.

About CMI Clinics

CMI Clinics supports you with doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, acupuncturists and massage therapists. Whether you are already diagnosed or not, the CMI Clinics will welcome you and guide you through your healing processwith physiotherapy, or with a combination of our professional services to continuously improve your comfort and mobility.