The current thoughts on ACL rehabilitation are based on the so-called accelerated programme, first used in the early nineties by American surgeon Donald Shelbourne. Shelbourne and his colleagues astutely noticed that those patients who did not adhere to the 'softly softly' program used then, actually got better more quickly than those who did and, furthermore, they had less instability in the knee. The key observation made by Shelbourne was that the patients who achieved early full range of motion tended to do better.
Based on these findings, a four stage rehabilitation protocol has been devised. In all cases, the surgeon dictates the type of rehabilitation followed, depending on the surgical technique used. It must be stressed that this progamme is only appropriate if the surgeon uses a bone patella tendon bone graft.