Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope my physical therapy videos for common injuries and syndromes will help put you on the road to recovery. If you have a question, just ask! Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.
Dog Knee (CCL) Surgery Rehabilitation Stretches
People are not the only ones that need rehab. If you love your dogs as much as I do, then you might need to give them dog therapy one day. One of the most common dog injuries involves the caudal cruciate ligament (CCL). This is similar to a human ACL. Make sure to ask your vet if it is okay to start rehab on your dog because just like humans, there are many different types of surgeries with different rehab levels.
The first thing you want to do is massage and warm up the muscles in the leg because they can't run around to warm it up themselves. Do this for about 3 minutes. Once it is warmed up, you can start distally (the furthest away from the body). The furthest joint away is like the ankle joint. Hold above the joint and below the joint to stabilize it. Gently push forward and backwards at the distal (furthest) end about 10 times. Then move to the knee joint. This is where the surgery is most of the time, so be gentle but firm. Again hold above the joint and below the joint to stabilize it, and make the movement at the distal end 10 times. If they cry out, you might be pushing too hard.
If they have a scar, you will also want to do a scar massage after it has healed and there is no more scabbing. Just roll the skin around between your fingers for a few minutes. Then you want to move to the hip joint. Again hold above the joint and below the joint to stabilize it, and make the movement at the distal end 10 times. Finally, rotate the hip in a half circle 10 times. Remember, this is just like in humans, this might be uncomfortable, but it shouldn't hurt!
You might need to help your dog put more weight through the leg. After a surgery or injury, they might not want to put all their weight on the injured leg, and we can't tell them they need to do it to get stronger. The best way to do this is stand over them and lift up their front paws forcing them to stand on their hind legs. Make sure you don't injure your back doing this. Use proper lifting techniques! If you have a heavy dog, you can try placing their front paws on a couch while they are standing on their hind paws.