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ACL Rehab: Testing and Benchmarks

ACL Rehab Knee Test

Testing is an integral part of ACL Rehab. We often think about and like to discuss end stage, return to sport testing. However, there is a tremendous amount of time and work that takes place prior to even getting to that point. Whether it be an initial evaluation, progress note, discharge day or even just a traditional rehab session, the acquisition of data and information is critical to a successful rehab regimen.  

Clinical Testing with ACL Rehab

Clinical testing provides us with valuable information on a variety of fronts.  First, it allows us to identify impairments and limitations that an individual possesses. The awareness of these impairments help shape our plan of care and how we allocate efforts and resources towards that individual.  It is difficult to construct a program for someone if we do not know what the goal or desired outcome is to begin with. 

Second, it allows us to track our progress and the efficacy of our current regimen and plan of care.  If we have not made as much progress as intended, then we know we need to re-evaluate out methods or potentially supplement or enhance what we are currently doing.  On the other hand, if we have achieved our goals, we may progress forward onto the next phase or desired outcome, improving the efficiency of our programming as we are no longer spending excessive time on areas that we have hit our requisite benchmarks. 

Finally, testing helps to remove unnecessary or extraneous subjectivity to decision making.  There will always be a human element to test design and procedure and the interpretation of said results.  However, having objectivity to guide your decision helps validate your decisions and provide affirmation to your recommendations, with hopes of reducing bias. You can provide context in areas of uncertainty to show a potentially apprehensive individual that they are ready and able to move forward. It may also add weight to your argument that an individual is unwise to progress forward due to poor performance on benchmark testing.  

There are numerous ways that clinical testing supports our rehab process, but these are three large areas that come to mind when discussing ACL rehab.  Familiarize yourself with common testing procedures and find ways to implement them into your clinic based on your clinical set up and resources.

-Dr. Zach Baker, PT, DPT, SCS

A Guide 2 ACL Rehab

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ACL Rehab Recovery

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