Using Aquatic Therapy to Overcome Rehab Plateau: ACL, MCL, Meniscus Tear Case Study

Using Aquatic Therapy to Overcome Rehab Plateau: ACL, MCL, Meniscus Tear Case Study

ACLCasestudyDrEbyIt was 8 weeks post-op for the volleyball player who had endured an ACL, MCL and Meniscus Tear on her right knee during a volleyball tournament. While she had been receiving land physical therapy since the first day after surgery at Dr. Daniel C. Eby Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Centershe had hit a plateau in her rehab and was having problems with her ROM and her endurance. Despite their best efforts, Alyssa could not get past the hump. She had 0 degrees of extension and 95 degrees of flexion in her affected knee.

Her physical therapist, Rodney Crawford, PTA, ATC decided aquatic therapy could be the key to getting her past the frustrating point of her rehab so that they could see some renewed progress. In her first session in the pool, he took her through some simple exercises to improve her ROM. During this first session, she noted that it was much easier to move her knee in the water and her PT noted that although she wasn’t able to march on land, she was doing much better in the pool.

The first session included the following exercises:


  • Straight Leg Raise (20 reps)
  • Hip Adduction (20 reps)
  • Hip Extension (20 reps)
  • Knee Flexion (20 reps)
  • Heel/Toe Raises (20 reps)
  • Standing Marching (2:00 minutes)

Underwater Treadmill Walking (10 minutes)

Cool Down

  • Calf Stretch (30 second hold)
  • Hamstring Stretch (30 second hold)
  • Knee Flexion (30 second hold)

Using the pool, Rodney was able to get Alyssa back to land exercises in just 3 weeks of pool therapy.

Watch her first pool session and hear her full case history below:


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