Is Summit’s ASCEND Program A Fit For You?

ASCEND is a specialized rehabilitation program designed to boost physical performance after a hip, knee, or ankle injury and prevent future injuries. Although this program was developed to support athletes, other patients can also benefit from ASCEND conditioning.


The ASCEND program was developed for patients rehabbing after an ACL tear or other injuries of the hip, knee, and ankle. Following surgery, patients traditionally receive three to nine months of physical therapy to help them regain functionality to perform their daily activities—but some patients have higher performance goals.

Therapy after ACL surgery

“The first three months of rehab after an ACL injury are dedicated to building strength to do things like climb stairs again,” explains physical therapist Kyle Hall. “After that, some patients want to recover higher-level activities like pivoting, jumping, and running; the ASCEND Return to Sport program was designed to help with that additional conditioning, while also focusing on injury prevention. The skills developed through the ASCEND program are designed for several types of patients.”

Who can benefit?

  • High school and college athletes. “Nearly all ASCEND sessions include a high school soccer player,” says Kyle. “ACL tears are common in soccer, and these athletes want to get back to playing at their varsity or club sport level. They’ve been through surgery and have done standard physical therapy. They are strong and can do some jumping and plyometrics, but they still don’t have optimal neuromuscular control or core strength and may favor the surgical leg. ASCEND addresses these issues to help them feel confident and strong.
  • People in physically demanding professions. “Anyone who has an occupation that is more physically active and demanding will benefit from ASCEND conditioning,” says Kyle. “These patients include police officers, gym teachers, firemen, coaches, referees, and anyone who needs to be able to sprint, climb, cut, stop, pivot, jump over fences, or run as part of their job while feeling really secure with their knee, hip, or a chronic ankle sprain. And remember—ASCEND isn’t just for surgical ACL patients. It could help someone struggling with chronic ankle sprains.”
  • Weekend warriors. “Young professionals committed to recreational sports or coaching find ASCEND very helpful after an injury,” Kyle explains. “An example would be a 25-year-old guy who likes to play recreational hockey. He may have a desk job and may not practice every day, but he wants to play pickup basketball, continue playing hockey with his buddies during the winter, and play on his softball team in the summer. When an active young professional is injured, he or she wants to regain the ability to sprint, stop, start, and pivot. ASCEND helps these patients reclaim that higher level of conditioning so they can safely return to the sports they enjoy.

Environment designed for success

“One of the nice aspects of ASCEND is that it happens in a group setting,” Kyle concludes. “When you are exercising with others, it helps you push a lot harder and run faster than you may do in a one-on-one physical therapy session. Competition is in our nature, and ASCEND is designed to harness our competitive nature in a collegial way that benefits everyone in the program.”

Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive sports medicine expertise

From Olympians to pro athletes to kids in youth sports and those that just want to be more active—Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.

Start your journey to stronger, healthier athletic condition. Find your sports medicine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a sports medicine consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNVadnais Heights, MN, Plymouth, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as several additional community clinics.

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