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Expert Insight: Mental and Physical Breaks From ACL Rehab

Mick Hughes is the co-founder of Learn.Physio and an APA titled Sports & Exercise Physiotherapist. He consults at the Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre, and has a strong clinical interest in ACL injury prevention and rehabilitation, seeing approximately 20-30 ACL injured patients a week.

With his passion of improving outcomes in ACL injured patients, he helped develop the Melbourne ACL Rehabilitation Guide.

Usually between months 3-4 post-op ACLR rehab, I'll notice patients getting SICK or SORE; and it's usually a sign that they're cooked and are in need of a temporary break from rehab.

There's only so much progressive overload that the body can take, and although it may seem counter-intuitive; having a week off from structured ACL rehab every 6-8 weeks will do you the world of good - both physically and mentally.

ACLR rehab is a massive 9-12 month commitment (at least), and it's impossible to train week in/week out for this length of time - with progressive overload - and expect to get a great outcome.

For some, having a week off structured rehab may be difficult to do. Remember, it doesn't have to be a week of bingeing Netflix without leaving the house; but doing something with less structure and less intensity during this time, will do you and your rehab a whole world of good.

Just make sure you work with an experienced sports physiotherapist and/or exercise professional throughout your ACLR rehab to work in periods of rest/recovery with blocks of progressive high-quality rehab & training.

If you're interested in learning more about ACL rehab, consider signing up to the Learn.Physio online ACL Masterclasses here. And if you'd like to hear more from Mick, check out his website which provides evidenced-based information on the diagnosis, treatment and management of lower limb sports injuries.

Are you a physiotherapist or currently going through the injury recovery process? The free Brace app can be downloaded from our home page to help you or your clients take control of the recovery journey in a positive and connected way!

Also, if you’d like to contribute to our Athlete Profiles or Expert Insights on the Brace Blog, contact

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