ACL Knee Injury Vancouver Physio Lift Clinic East Vancouver

ACL Pre-operative Vancouver Physiotherapy: Do you need it?

ACL Physiotherapy By Lift Clinic East Vancouver

Let's look at a typical ACL injury story

So your friend has gone out to play Spikeball and felt a pop in your knee when he tried to move sideways to get the ball. The swelling and pain came on immediately. Your physio friend does an assessment with a Lachman’s test and anterior drawer test and recommends that he goes to the hospital. He goes to the hospital and they confirm it’s an ACL rupture through an MRI. The orthopedic specialist recommends surgery in about 6 months time. Your friend calls you crying and tells you that his active life is over and nothing can be done until the time of surgery.

ACL Surgery Wait Times in Vancouver, BC Hopsitals

At time of writing this, looking at the current wait times in BC for ACL surgery, it may take someone 9 months before they’re booked into surgery. During this time, the body can become deconditioned due the lack of exercise, leading to metabolic and musculoskeletal changes. They could end up gaining a few pounds. The leg muscles would deteriorate from disuse. They could be limping for months.

ACL Wait Times for ACL Surgery in Vancouver BC


Current ACL surgery wait times can be over 9 months. Click here to view the most up to date wait times.

Is Pre-op Physiotherapy effective for ACL injuries?

In a 2016 systematic review on the effectiveness of pre-op physiotherapy showed improvements in strength, muscle size, and function with 3 to 24 weeks of pre-op physiotherapy despite the variety of treatment approaches in the studies included. One trial in the study showed that with pre-op physiotherapy, there were more patients that avoided the need for surgery with no complications. Most of the studies used in the systematic review compared different methods of pre-operative physiotherapy for both control and intervention group. However, the one that compared physiotherapy vs no physiotherapy found significant improvements in function and physical performance in the intervention vs control.

Lift Clinic Physiotherapists are trained and experienced to help you with your ACL Pre-op needs from pain and range of motion to redeveloping strength and preparing you for your first week post-op.

Clients love booking online: Easy, fast, no waiting, available 24/7.

Benefits and Goals of Pre-operative Physiotherapy in Vancouver:

  • Restore range of motion to decrease risk of pre-operative stiffness
  • Improve strength and maintain fitness through a progressive and structured exercise program
  • Improve walking ability
  • Learn about the post-op rehabilitation process
  • Improve control of affected limb
  • Learn how to do the exercises prior to the surgery
  • Potentially avoid surgery if unnecessary

What to Expect From Your Physical Therapy Team During ACL Pre-op

  • Manual therapy to help improve joint movement and reduce pain.
  • Swelling management
  • Gait Re-education 
  • Strengthening exercises for muscles around the knee (hamstrings/quadriceps) and also joints distal to the knee (hip and ankle)
  • Functional testing and strength testing to determine phase of recovery
  • Gradual return to activity plan
  • Education about surgical and non surgical options

How can Vancouver Lift Clinic help?

If you’ve had a knee injury, regardless of whether you’re opting for surgery or not, our team at Lift Clinic can help you get your treatment plan started. We will guide you through the recovery process to give the knee the best chance at recovery.



Brukner, Peter. & Khan, Karim. (2017). Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine Injuries. Sydney, [New South Wales] : McGraw-Hill Education Australia

Alshewaier, S., Yeowell, G., & Fatoye, F. (2016). 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.

Meet Lift Clinic - a team of Vancouver Physiotherapy, Chiropractic and RMT Massage Therapy practitioners who believe in strength and movement for life.

Have pain or movement goals?

Lift Clinic is located in East Vancouver on Kingsway and Kind Edward Ave, near Knight Street. Our team of Vancouver physiotherapists, chiropractors and massage therapists is ready to help you reach your goals as efficiently as possible! Click Book Now to get started, or Contact Us if you have any questions or would like to speak directly to a Vancouver physio, chiro or RMT about your situation before you book.

Clients love booking online: Easy, fast, no waiting, available 24/7.

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