ACL Reconstruction Rehab and Microfracture

One Patients Story to Treatment and Recovery

““Orthopedic injuries can only bear a certain amount of weight. With this machine, we can gauge how much weight and be compliant with the doctor’s orders. The patient can exercise without as much pain.””

Trent Leonard, Rehabilitation Service Manager, Life Care Center

One Patients Recovery from a ACL Reconstruction and Microfracture Procedure

Karen Shuler, PT, DPT


19 y/o female Snowboard athlete sustained an ACL tear and medial and lateral meniscal tear during sport activity. Boarder Cross snowboard is a dynamic sport, including explosive bouts of snowboarding, jumps and turns.

  • Athlete crashed during a race. Diagnostic imaging confirmed diagnosis of an ACL tear and medial and lateral meniscal tear.
  • Upon diagnosis the athlete elected for surgical intervention

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  1. Following release to partial weight-bearing, incorporate de-weighting into rehabilitation protocol
  2. Develop a progressive return to activity
  3. Maintain fitness and function during rehabilitation
  4. Return to participation

History / Progression

I. Plan

  • Athlete was diagnosed with an ACL tear and medial and lateral meniscus tear requring ACL reconstruction rehab
  • Upon consultation with treating physician and review of diagnostic imaging, the athlete elected to undergo surgery to reconstruct the ruptured ligament and to address the torn meniscus. A microfracture procedure of the femoral condyle was also performed
  • After physician release to partial weight-bearing, a complementary conditioning program was developed incorporating the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill®
  • Along with traditional medical treatment: modalities, therapeutic exercise and NSAID’s, the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill® was added to the treatment protocol
  • Program duration was for 20 weeks
  • AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill® physical therapy equipment was incorporated after post-op week 12, athlete was cleared for partial weight-bearing
  • Athlete achieved desired competition goals and returned to full participation

II. Considerations

  • Pain/ soreness levels were considered and used to gauge weight percentage and speed. Pain level reported by athlete was not to exceed 4 on a scale of 1-10 during Phase I, and not to exceed 3 on a scale of 1-10 during Phases II-IV
  • Gait training was incorporated into treatment protocol
  • Athlete feedback was considered prior to each workout

III. Progression

Download Case Study to see Table 1 and Table 2.


The athlete was released for return to sport by the treating physician after 20 weeks of physical therapy exercise. The athlete achieved the goals of the rehabilitation plan, incorporating a progressive sport specific conditioning plan to transition the athlete to full participation. The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill® was incorporated into the athlete’s rehabilitation plan to establish athletic confidence, maintain fitness, manage gait and progressively increase impact on the extremity.

The athlete resumed full activity after release from rehabilitation and continued using the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill® as part of the reconditioning and sport specific training program.