ACL and Medial Meniscus Tear, Nonsurgical Intervention

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 and Medial Meniscus Tear,

Vinny Comiskey, MA, ATC, CSCS


26 y/o female BMX Cyclist sustained an ACL and medial meniscal tear during sport activity. BMX cycling is a dynamic sport, includ- ing explosive bouts of cycling, jumps and turns.

  • Athlete suffered knee injury, crashing after a jump. Diagnostic imaging confirmed diagnosis of an ACL tear and medial meniscal tear.
  • Athlete followed physician’s recommendations for initial care and treatment and elected conservative care and needed ACL Physical Therapy.

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  1. Following release to 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 with a left ACL tear, and a posterior horn meniscal tear
  • Upon consultation with treating physician and review of diagnostic imaging the athlete was fitted for a custom de-rotation brace & chose nonsurgical treatment
  • After physician release to partial weight-bearing, a complementary conditioning program was developed incorporating cutting edge physical therapy equipment – 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 6 weeks
  • AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill® was incorporated at week 1 of sports rehabilitation physical therapy once athlete was cleared for weight-bearing as tolerated
  • Athlete achieved desired competition goals and participated for 3 months

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
  • Pre and post workout pain was recorded and monitored

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 2 weeks of rehabilitation. The athlete achieved the goals of the rehabilitation plan, incorporating a progressive sport special conditioning plan to transition the athlete to full participation. The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill® was incorporated into the athlete’s rehabilitation plan to maintain fitness, manage gait and progressively increase impact on the extremity.

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


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