I am facing knee surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). When I went to see a knee specialist, I felt rushed. I was told I needed surgery right away. My family doctor thinks I should have some physical therapy before surgery, but the specialist is adamant that I have surgery right away. Is it usually helpful to have some PT before having surgery?

Some doctors prescribe up to 12 physical therapy visits before scheduling ACL surgery. Doing some physical therapy first can help prepare you for the surgery. The visits help by getting control of the swelling, restoring knee movement, and improving knee stability. Getting the swelling down before surgery may keep scar tissue from developing after surgery. Improving knee movement and joint stability before surgery can also affect your progress after surgery. Your physical therapist can use the visits before surgery to answer your questions. He or she can train you to use crutches, and go over the exercises you'll do after surgery.