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Before Your Operation

I haven’t had my operation yet, but I’ve been told that I need physio beforehand.

That’s ok and you’re right. Trying to ensure that your muscles are strong and in their best condition before your surgery is normally associated with better outcomes afterwards (de Jong et al. 2007). The main focus of any exercise programme before you undergo an anterior cruciate ligament repair should be on regaining as much leg strength as possible, especially in your quadriceps (front of your thigh) (Adams et al. 2012).

Ok, what should I be doing?

We’ve pulled together a programme of exercises that are often really useful for trying to help you improve your leg strength. These are shown below. Click on the gym programme to download a pre-filled programme for yourself.

It is worth knowing that a 3-14 week period of pre-hab (exercises before surgery) was found to have better outcomes in strength and function at 6-12 months following ACL reconstruction surgery (Aishewater et al. 2017).

How long should I keep doing these exercises?

You need to continue these exercises (or other ones if you want to), all the way up to your surgery to make sure you and your leg are in the best condition for the surgery.

Exercise tip

You should aim to complete the exercises (as many or as few as you want to) about 3 to 4 times a week.

Each exercise should be completed between 8-12 times (or repetitions) for 3 to 4 sets. Make sure you have about 1 minute's rest in between each set.

In order to change your muscles, you need to challenge them. In other words, you should really feel the effort with each set of exercises and should really not be able to do more than 12 each time around.

Download our blank gym programme here.

Aishewater, S., Yeowell, G. & Fatoye. (2017) The effectiveness of pre-operative exercise physiotherapy rehabilitation on the outcomes of treatment following anterior cruciate ligament injury: a systematic review. Clinical Rehabilitation. 31(1) 34-44.

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