Full recovery takes time and patience: Work with your physical therapist to find the right balance of activity and rest in the months after ACL surgery. The long-term rehabilitation process typically takes 2-9 months, and most athletes may not return to their sport for at least six months.
- 1 How long is physical therapy after ACL surgery?
- 2 How long until you can walk after ACL surgery?
- 3 What is the fastest way to recover from ACL surgery?
- 4 Why does ACL rehab take so long?
- 5 How long is bed rest after ACL surgery?
- 6 Can you recover from ACL surgery in 3 months?
- 7 How painful is post ACL surgery?
- 8 How do you poop after ACL surgery?
- 9 Is ACL surgery a major surgery?
- 10 Why is ACL surgery so painful?
- 11 What happens at 6 weeks after ACL surgery?
- 12 What should I avoid after ACL surgery?
- 13 Is a repaired ACL stronger?
- 14 When is your ACL the weakest after surgery?
- 15 How do you know if ACL surgery is successful?
- 16 Rehab Timeline Expectations
- 16.1 Other Questions
- 17 ACL Surgery Recovery 101: Timeline & Tips
- 18 ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline
- 19 ACL Surgery Recovery Tips
- 20 How Long Does ACL Surgery Recovery Take?
- 21 The Path to ACL Surgery Recovery
- 22 After ACL Surgery
- 23 Rehabilitation
- 24 Recovery Time For ACL Surgery: Timeline, Tips, and FAQ’s
- 25 Highlights
- 26 Several Factors Affect Recovery Time for ACL Surgery
- 27 Return to Day-to-Day Activities After ACL Surgery
- 28 Return to Sport After ACL Surgery
- 29 What to Expect After ACL Surgery: The Timeline of Recovery
- 30 3 Tips to Speed Up Your Recovery After ACL Surgery
- 31 ACL Surgery: FAQs
- 32 Care from Sports Doctors and Specialists
- 33 References
- 34 Healing and Recovery Timeline Following ACL Surgery
- 35 Knee ligament surgery – Recovery
- 36 Rehabilitation
- 37 Returning to work
- 38 Driving
- 39 Physical Therapy After ACL Surgery
- 40 Physical Therapy in The Hospital
- 41 Follow-Up Visits After Surgery
- 42 Physical Therapy at Home
- 43 Helping Us Improve Care for Other Patients
- 44 The Do’s and Don’ts After ACL & MCL Tears & Surgery
- 45 ACL vs MCL Tears and Surgery
- 46 ACL Surgery: The Fastest (and Often Only) Way to Recover from an ACL Tear
- 47 The Do’s and Don’ts After ACL Surgery
How long is physical therapy after ACL surgery?
After ACL reconstruction surgery, you’ll do physical therapy until you get back to your normal level of activity. For most patients at Shelbourne Knee Center, this takes about four to six months. Physical therapy focuses on regaining full range of motion, which helps relieve knee pain, and strengthening your knee.
How long until you can walk after ACL surgery?
Patients walk unassisted within 2-4 weeks, but for short periods. After 10-12 weeks, expect brisk walking, light jogging, and even plyometric exercise. Full recovery on ACL reconstruction is 6-12 months, or more with physical therapy.
What is the fastest way to recover from ACL surgery?
Make it a less anxious time with these eight ACL surgery recovery tips.
- Work with your doctor on specific recovery goals.
- Take your pain meds so you can focus on physical therapy.
- Wear a brace or use crutches if your knee feels unstable.
- Start out slowly and you’ll gain momentum in time.
- Take care of your incision.
Why does ACL rehab take so long?
Like all ligaments, the ACL takes a very long time to heal. The reason is because ligaments are poorly vascularized. In other words, there aren’t many blood vessels to provide nutrients for the ligaments, and without nutrients, tissue repair is not possible. Oftentimes, ACL tears require a surgical graft.
How long is bed rest after ACL surgery?
Rest: Zero to Two Weeks After ACL Surgery For the first couple weeks after surgery you will need to rest and care for the incision site. Prop your leg — at the calf or ankle — on a couple pillows four to six times a day. This helps reduce swelling. Keep the bandages on your knee clean and dry.
Can you recover from ACL surgery in 3 months?
For most patients, rapid functional recovery occurs during the first 3 months after surgery. Because each injury is unique, it is best to apply patient-specific criteria for recovery and return-to-sport decisions.
How painful is post ACL surgery?
Your knee will feel numb and less painful right after surgery because of the medication injected into it. This will wear off later tonight and the pain could increase. The most severe pain usually lasts a day or two and then gradually subsides.
How do you poop after ACL surgery?
Getting Up and Down From a Toilet: Back up to the toilet. Reach back for the armrests/raised toilet seat/seat. Slide your operated leg slightly forward and lower yourself slowly onto the toilet. To stand, use a grab bar or place your hand at the middle of the center bar of the walker.
Is ACL surgery a major surgery?
Injuries requiring reconstruction or replacement of the ACL are common among athletes. ACL reconstruction surgery can help restore range of motion, function and stability to the knee joint after an ACL injury. ACL reconstruction surgery is a common but major surgery with risks, like any other surgery.
Why is ACL surgery so painful?
ACL surgery can cause damage in many different parts of the knee. This damage can happen due to removing stem cells that the knee needs to stay healthy, damage to the ligaments that hold the meniscus in place, and damage to the knee tendons. These areas of surgery-induced damage can also cause pain after ACL surgery.
What happens at 6 weeks after ACL surgery?
Week 6-12: Patients will begin working on more activity-specific strengthening and weight bearing exercises, such as squats, ascending and descending stairs, and balancing. They can also begin biking with resistance. The muscles begin to recover their normal function and gait becomes more normalized.
What should I avoid after ACL surgery?
Here’s what you need to avoid:
- Do not put too much pressure on your knee and body. It’s easy to feel impatient throughout your rehabilitation.
- Don’t over ice your knee.
- Avoid sleeping with your knee bent.
- Do not overcompensate your recovering knee.
- Do not be afraid to tell your doctor if you are worried about something.
Is a repaired ACL stronger?
The bone portion of the graft allows it to incorporate and heal very quickly into the tunnels used for the reconstruction. It is quite strong. Biomechanical studies have shown that it is about 70% stronger than a normal ACL at the time of implantation.
When is your ACL the weakest after surgery?
This usually starts at approximately weeks 6–8 at which time animal studies have shown that the graft is at its weakest point in the post reconstruction process . Some studies indicate that the graft may only reach failure loads of 11 to 50% at 1 year post-operative .
How do you know if ACL surgery is successful?
5. How to know if ACL injury failed? The best means to determine if an ACL reconstruction graft is torn is by either the patient’s history or by a good clinical exam. Unfortunately, MRI scans are not very effective for determining the function of an ACL graft.
Rehab Timeline Expectations
Patients who have had ACL surgery want to know one thing: how long it will take for them to recover. Everyone’s road to recovery will be different, but here are some often asked questions and the answers to those questions.
When does rehabilitation start after an ACL reconstruction?
On the day of surgery. Patients are given a series of exercises to begin performing as soon as they are able in the recovery room.
Will I need to be on crutches after surgery?
Yes, but just for the time being and solely for your own comfort. The patient’s ability to bear full weight is gradually raised as tolerated by the patient. It usually takes seven to ten days following the treatment for the patient to feel comfortable walking about without the use of a crutch. An exception to this guideline would be if the patient has previously undergone a meniscal repair or other type of ligament restoration in addition to the knee surgery. Depending on the circumstances, weight bearing may be prohibited for several weeks.
What do I do in the first few weeks after surgery?
The first two weeks following surgery are spent concentrating on reducing swelling in the knee and restoring knee extension, with less emphasis placed on knee flexion during this time. This is performed through the use of an elevating/icing device and the use of a stationary cycle. After surgery, the aim is for patients to attain and maintain complete knee extension, as well as increased quadriceps muscle function, two weeks after the procedure. While just 90 degrees of knee flexion is the aim at this stage, achieving complete knee extension is a higher emphasis at the later stages.
When can I drive?
Patients are often off crutches two weeks following surgery and have demonstrated appropriate muscle function, mobility, and comfort to allow them to drive. This is based on which leg has been operated on as well as how quickly the patient heals from the operation.
How is rehabilitation after an ACL reconstruction typically structured?
All post-operative ACL rehabilitation protocols, regardless of whether they are performed by different surgeons or therapists, have the same goal: to restore a normal and complete level of function to the patient in the shortest amount of time possible without compromising the integrity of the surgically reconstructed knee. In order to attain this purpose, treatment is often divided into stages (or phases) of activity, with specific goals for each stage of the process. As an illustration, consider the following four-phase protocol:
- Phase I is the first two weeks following surgery
- Phase II is the second two to six weeks following surgery. Six weeks to three to four months following surgery is the duration of Phase III
- Four to six months after surgery is the duration of Phase IV.
- The patient must complete all of the requirements to return to sports. It is not necessary to treat soft tissue or range of motion issues. The patient must be cleared by the physician to resume full activity. The ultimate objective is a safe return to athletic activities. Patient education regarding potential limits
- Preserving one’s physical strength, endurance, and proprioception
- Using functional bracing for the first one to two years following surgery may be suggested by certain doctors to help patients gain psychological confidence.
- All of the conditions for returning to sports must be met by the patient. Not a single complaint of soft tissue or range of motion
- It is necessary for the patient to be cleared by the physician to resume normal activities. Sporting activity should be resumed in a safe environment. Patient education regarding potential restrictions
- And Strength, endurance, and proprioception are all maintained. The use of functional bracing during the first one to two years following surgery may be advocated by certain clinicians to help patients gain psychological confidence
Bracing following ACL surgery is entirely based on the preferences of the patient and the physician. A brace is used by some surgeons exclusively during the immediate post-operative and rehabilitation phases, while others only employ a brace during the immediate post-operative and rehabilitation phases. This is a problem that continues to be the subject of heated dispute in the sports medical literature. ACL surgery has been shown to improve knee laxity, range of motion, and function in the short term, but no such advantages have been seen in the long run.
What type of follow-up is done after an ACL reconstruction?
You will be seen within the first week, at two weeks, at six weeks, at three months, and at six-eight months following the initial appointment.
In particular, the physician will examine and measure the following:
- The existence of ongoing discomfort and edema
- And The range of motion of the knee joint is measured. The graft’s pliability Leg strength is important. Involvement of the knee in ordinary activities of daily living
What are the possible complications of ACL surgery?
Infection and bleeding are always surgical hazards, just as they are with any invasive surgical operation. As with other surgical operations, infection rates for arthroscopic ACL reconstructions are among the lowest in the industry, with average infection rates commonly stated at 0.2 percent. When it comes to bleeding issues, the rates are significantly lower than one percent, and the majority of the cases are single case reports. The most often reported problem following ACL repair is a loss of range of motion.
The primary and most successful approach of treating loss of motion is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Another complication of ACL repair surgery is the persistence of anterior knee discomfort following the procedure.
As a result, during the first two weeks following surgery, range of motion, quadriceps strengthening, and patellar mobility are the most important things to consider.
ACL Surgery Recovery 101: Timeline & Tips
“How long will I be out of my typical routine if I get an ACL reconstruction?” you may be thinking if you have planned an operation to repair your torn ACL. However, while this is an essential concern, there is much more to recovering from an ACL surgery than just being able to walk normally again. Even when you are able to walk without the assistance of crutches or other assistive devices, your body is still recovering and the rehabilitation process is ongoing for you. The majority of people require between 2 and 9 months to properly recover after ACL surgery.
2 The particular suggestions made by your doctor will be depending on your individual circumstances, but in general, the recovery schedule and rehabilitation advice shown below may assist you in recovering from ACL surgery as fast and safely as possible.
ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline
Despite the fact that every individual is unique, you may anticipate the following approximate recovery period for ACL surgery1,2:
The First 2 Weeks After Surgery
This is a vital period in the recovery process since it is the period in which your body is most sensitive to injury or illness. Muscles, ligaments, and other tissues are subjected to a stressful experience during surgery, which is why the body responds by producing inflammation. If you have knee surgery, you may feel discomfort, swelling, and a buildup of extra fluid around the knee joint in the days after surgery. The rehabilitation process begins immediately following surgery, and you may be instructed to conduct exercises on a regular basis in order to aid in your recuperation.
Your ability to bear weight on the injured leg may be limited at this time, so plan on using crutches and restricting your movement for at least 10 days during this period. 3Rehabilitation strategies to try out number four:
- Raise the leg and administer therapeutic cold every two hours for the first 24 hours. Knee flexion can be achieved by extending the leg over the side of a bed or chair. When standing straight for knee extension, use a support beneath the heel. Carry out gait training in order to prepare for the removal of crutches
2-6 Weeks After Surgery
During this period, you may be able to bear weight on both legs, but your activity level may be restricted due to the fact that your tissues are actively recovering. Driving during this period may also be permissible depending on the sort of automobile you drive, your medication regiment, and which leg is damaged, among other considerations. Your physical therapist’s primary focus will be on assisting you in regaining complete range of movement. Given that your knee is still fragile at this point, you may be required to wear a preventive brace to keep it from being subjected to undue stress.
- Walking workouts should be performed in 15- to 20-minute intervals. If your physical therapist recommends it, perform leg strengthening exercises such as squats, leg presses, and hamstring curls. Incorporate stationary cycling and elliptical workout into your routine.
6 Weeks to 3 Months After Surgery
As the healing process advances and your knee continues to strengthen, you may be able to participate in more low-impact sports such as cycling, swimming, and rowing without restriction. It is possible that you will be able to begin mild jogging at the conclusion of this period if your physical therapist believes you are ready. 4 suggestions for rehabilitation to try:
- Exercises for lateral training, such as lunges and side steps, should be performed. Make swimming strokes in the form of fluttering
- Try not to use cutting or turning actions. Strengthening exercises should be continued, and sport-specific training should be initiated.
3-6 Months After Surgery
Your desire to go back into athletics can be stronger during this period. Your physical therapist may suggest sport-specific activities to assist you prepare for your return to the field of competition. It is possible that he or she may also demonstrate continuous workouts that might help preserve the ACL and assist avoid further damage. If you are doing low-impact activities, you may want to consider wearing a knee brace throughout this time period. 4 suggestions for rehabilitation to try:
- Return to running exercises with caution
- Introduce jumping and agility training into your program. Strive to improve your single-leg plyometric workouts.
Providing your injured tissues have entirely healed after six months, you should be able to resume your sports pursuits. Some surgeons advocate wearing a supportive brace for the first 1-2 years following ACL reconstruction.
ACL Surgery Recovery Tips
Being proactive in your rehabilitation may help you heal as rapidly as possible, have less discomfort, and return to your former level of activity more quickly than if you were reactive.
Be Patient During Physical Therapy
Being proactive in your rehabilitation may assist you in healing as rapidly as possible, experiencing less pain, and returning to your prior level of activity more quickly than if you were not proactive.
Use Cold Therapy to Control Inflammation
The first week following ACL surgery is the most painful and swollen period of time. 1 The use of cold treatment during this phase is very significant since it can aid in the reduction of edema and the natural regulation of pain. It is possible to decrease swelling even further by combining active compression with acold treatment device. Active compression will assist your body in pumping out extra fluid and will allow the cold to enter deeper for a longer-lasting therapeutic impact. Following physical therapy sessions, you may find that continuing to utilize cold treatment throughout your recovery may assist to promote healing while also controlling any discomfort and swelling you may encounter.
You might be off crutches as soon as two weeks following surgery if you take the necessary steps to expedite the healing process.
It all depends on your individual circumstances. 3 If you are preparing to undergo ACL surgery, speak with your doctor about the possibility of taking Game Ready during your recuperation. To learn more, please contact us immediately or look for a provider in your area.
- ACL repair surgery: recovery timetables before and after the procedure. HealthBeat from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Published on the 23rd of January, 2019. A. Notarnicola, G. Maccagnano, F. Barletta, and colleagues Returning to sport following anterior cruciate ligament surgery in amateur sportsmen: a retrospective investigation. Muscles, Ligaments, and Tendons Journal, 2016, doi:10.11138/mltj/2016.6.4.486
- Muscles, Ligaments, and Tendons Journal, 2016. doi:10.11138/mltj/2016.6.4.486
- Muscles, Ligaments, and Tendons Journal, 2016. Follow-up on the recovery. On April 18, 2019, the website Emory Healthcare was accessible. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Guide to Rehabilitation On April 19, 2019, the University of Wisconsin Hospital was accessed. Pain can be relieved by using a hot or cold compress. This page was last updated on April 18, 2019. Marshfield Clinic Health System.
How Long Does ACL Surgery Recovery Take?
No matter whether you require ACL surgery because of a sports injury or another form of mishap, the recovery period is generally the same for most people in either situation. Most people need around six months to heal completely from a knee injury, including returning to your pre-injury state and regaining full range of motion and stability in the knee joint. 1 However, it’s crucial to remember that recuperation times might differ from person to person. With the assistance of this tutorial, you will learn how to heal from your ACL damage.
The more precisely you adhere to your doctor’s directions, the more probable it is that you will be able to speed up your recuperation.
The Path to ACL Surgery Recovery
Despite the fact that full recovery from ACL surgery normally takes several months, many people are able to return to low-impact activities within a month or two of the procedure. 2
1. Recovery starts immediately:
Your body begins to repair the day after your operation, and you may assist it in this process by taking an active role in your recovery. It is expected that you will learn strengthening and stretching activities that will assist you in regaining range of motion in the knee joint and ensuring that you return to regular activity as soon as possible. Cold and compression therapy may be beneficial in the initial few days following ACL surgery to speed up the healing process. 2,3 Combined cold therapy and compression can help reduce pain and swelling (especially in the first few days after the injury), although cold therapy alone may not be as effective as compression alone.
Elevating the injured area above the level of the heart is also beneficial for the elimination of edema.
You’ll also require physical therapy during the first few weeks, but you should be able to resume modest activity—such as walking—within a month or two of the surgery.
The majority of the mending occurs within a few weeks: As your recuperation after ACL surgery develops, you will learn new exercises and the intensity of your physical therapy will be increased as well.
3. Full recovery takes time and patience:
The months after the initial phase of ACL surgery rehabilitation can be very difficult, particularly for athletes. It is important to limit your activity until the tissues in your knee have completely healed, even if the pain and swelling subside reasonably fast. Increasing the amount of exercise or the intensity of the activity too quickly might result in re-injury or the needless prolongation of the recovery process. In the months following ACL surgery, consult with your physical therapist to determine the appropriate mix of exercise and rest.
3,4 Despite the fact that ACL surgery recovery can be difficult, the majority of people achieve a full recovery and are able to return to their previous level of activity, especially if they remain devoted to physical therapy and strictly follow their healthcare provider’s recommendations.
Find a Game Ready provider near you now if you are interested in incorporating cold and compression treatment into your ACL surgery rehabilitation. Have you ever undergone an ACL reconstruction? How long did it take you to get back on your feet?
- Expectations for the rehabilitation timeline. Emory Healthcare is located in Atlanta, Georgia. ACL surgery recovery timetable, courtesy of UPMC HealthBeat, accessed on July 10, 2019. The date of publication is April 16, 2015. What to Expect After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction at Home MyHealthAlberta.ca. Originally published on September 20, 2018
- B. Futterman, L. Goldstein, and P. Kibrik. Pain treatment following ACL reconstruction. Pain Management in the Real World. The date of publication is May 8, 2014. Recovery timetable following ACL surgery. This is the UPMC HealthBeat. The date of publication is April 16, 2015.
After ACL Surgery
Tend to your ankles by moving them up and down an average of ten times every ten minutes after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery. To improve blood circulation and prevent blood clots from developing in your legs, repeat this exercise every two to three days for two to three consecutive days. Inform your doctor if you get sudden, severe discomfort in the back of your leg. This might be a warning indication of blood clots developing.
Maintain an elevated position with your operated leg at a minimum of a 45-degree angle. During the first three to five days following surgery, elevate your leg using cushions or pillows so that your knee is at least 12 inches above your heart level. If your knee swells or throbs while you are on crutches, elevate your leg to relieve the swelling and throbbing. Avoid placing cushions behind your knee since this restricts the range of motion of the knee. Pillows should be placed beneath your heel and calf.
Take pain medication
Pain and discomfort should be expected during the first few days. Take pain relievers according to your doctor’s instructions. These might include over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, as well as heavier narcotic medications.
Starting with little movements, begin bending your knee. Straighten your leg and bend your knee at the same time. If required, place your hands behind your knee to aid in the bending of your knee joint. You should have a range of motion from 0 to 90 degrees by the time you return for your first post-operative appointment, which should be one week after the procedure is completed. Read on to find out more.
Monitor for fever
For the first four or five days following surgery, it is usual to have a low-grade fever that can reach 101 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.3 degrees Celsius. Inform your doctor if your fever rises beyond normal or persists for an extended period of time. With acetaminophen, your temperature should begin to decrease.
The dressing that has been placed over your knee is often removed the next day. For the next two days, there may be some little fluid outflow. During this time period, sterile dressings or bandages may be applied. Maintain the cleanliness and dryness of the wound following surgery. Take sponge showers for the next few days until the stitches are removed.
Starting from the time you wake up in the recovery room, your rehabilitation program to regain knee range of motion will get under way. Most patients are advised to elevate their legs without assistance while laying on their backs during the first week following surgery. Straight leg lifts are what these are referred as as. Patients are often able to walk without crutches by the end of the second or third week. Sessions with a physical therapist are often scheduled to begin seven to fourteen days following surgery.
For the first two months, a range of motion of 0 to 140 degrees is a decent target to shoot for.
Cycling on a stationary bike or using a lightweight leg press is advised for the first three months following surgery to keep the joints moving.
For the next five months, refrain from swimming or running. Approximately two to three months following surgery, you can swim with your arms only, rather than paddling with your feet.
Recovery Time For ACL Surgery: Timeline, Tips, and FAQ’s
According to the surgical approach used and the degree of the damage, recovery time for ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery can range from 4 to 8 months (or more). Find out what you can do in the meantime to help your recovery go more quickly.
- ACL injuries are the most prevalent ligamentous injuries in the United States, with 250,000 instances occurring each year. Approximately 100,000 ACL operations are performed annually by orthopedic surgeons. The majority of patients experience quick functional recovery over the first three months following surgery. Because each injury is unique, it is essential to consider patient-specific criteria when making judgments about healing and return to sport.
Several Factors Affect Recovery Time for ACL Surgery
There are two basic categories that may be used to characterize the healing process following an ACL damage. First and foremost, return to normal activities such as walking without crutches, returning to school or work, and driving once more are encouraged. They are referred regarded as “functional milestones” in the industry. After that, it’s time to get back to training or competitive sports activities. Patients can attain these milestones within weeks after having ACL surgery, but it may take several months before they are ready to return to training or sports.
- In general, healing following an ACL damage may be divided into two types. For starters, resume normal activities such as walking without crutches, returning to school or work, and driving once more if necessary. Functional milestones are a term used to describe a group of related events. After that, it’s time to get back to training or competing in sports. While a patient can attain these milestones within a few weeks after having ACL surgery, returning to training or sports can take many months after the procedure is completed. ACL surgery recovery time is influenced by a variety of variables, including the following: 22
Return to Day-to-Day Activities After ACL Surgery
An overview of the typical recovery time for recovering each functional milestone following ACL surgery is provided in the table below: 33
- Stopping the usage of pain relievers for nine days
- Stopping the use of crutches for fifteen days
- Return to school takes seven days
- Return to work takes eleven days
- And return to driving takes eleven days.
Patients who have been using crutches for more than 30 days may require more time before they may return to moderate or heavy duty job. Check out this article: When ACL Surgery Is the Best Option – Maintaining a Patient’s Active Lifestyle
Return to Sport After ACL Surgery
Injury anxiety, pain, and strength deficiency are the three primary elements that influence a player’s choice to return to the field of play after a layoff. Unfortunately, according to the Italian traumatology specialist Albert Gobbi and colleagues, approximately one in ten individuals who undergo ACL surgery never return to athletic participation. Similarly, one in every four people has a drop in their level of activity, and six out of ten people return to their pre-injury level of activity.
- Returning to training takes 4 to 6 months, while returning to competitive sports takes 6 to 8 months. Soccer players must wait 186 days before they may participate in an official match.
Despite this, some physicians advocate waiting at least two years between ACL surgery and resumption of athletic activity. This guideline is based on the discovery that young athletes (those under the age of 20) are three to six times more likely than older athletes to sustain a second injury following ACL surgery. 65
What to Expect After ACL Surgery: The Timeline of Recovery
When it comes to rehabilitation following surgery, there is no one size fits all approach. Some surgeons may divide recovery into three phases, while others may prefer to use a five-phase rehabilitation approach. Regardless of the number of steps involved, all kinds of ACL rehabilitation have one thing in common: they all aim to restore normal function in the shortest amount of time feasible after injury. An ACL reconstruction is performed as an outpatient treatment. As a result, your doctor will normally allow you to return home the same day as your operation.
Right after surgery: Do’s and Don’ts
The goal of treatment is to alleviate pain and swelling while also preparing you for more advanced healing stages. The pain and discomfort will last for the first several days after the surgery. Therefore, you may choose to take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Advil (ibuprofen) or Tylenol (acetaminophen), or a prescription pain reliever, such as morphine. Make certain that you only take these medications in the manner prescribed by your doctor. A low-grade fever (98.7 to 100.4°F) might linger for 4 to 5 days and should subside if you take acetaminophen as soon as possible.
It is important to move your ankles on a daily basis to enhance circulation and avoid blood clots in your legs. If you are experiencing discomfort in your calf, consult your doctor right away since it might be related to a blood clot in your leg. It is best not to apply heat to the afflicted region.
First 2 weeks: Do’s and Don’ts
The goal of treatment is to increase range of motion (ROM) with a combination of active and passive activities. Once your discomfort has subsided, you should try to regain as much of your pre-injury knee movement as possible by bending and straightening your knee as much as possible. In addition, you should focus on strengthening the muscles that assist you in bending your knees. Quadriceps and hamstrings are examples of such muscles. Generally speaking, orthopedic doctors and physical therapists advocate the following exercises:
- Knee extensions, static quads, heel slides, pronated knee bend, active straight leg raise are all exercises that may be done.
Walking without a brace is not recommended, as is standing or walking for extended periods of time.
2 to 6 weeks: Do’s and Don’ts
By this point, you should have been able to walk without crutches and have regained your entire range of movement. The goal of treatment is to enhance knee stability while also restoring muscular strength, power, and speed to the patient. Exercises that may be performed throughout stages include:
- Balance training, agility drills, and plyometrics are some of the exercises you may do. Hamstring stretches and Calf raises are some of the exercises you can do.
If you have not regained your entire range of motion, you should refrain from performing any of these exercises.
6 to 12 weeks: Do’s and Don’ts
This is the final phase of therapy, during which you have achieved adequate joint mobility, muscular strength, and balance to continue your recovery. Your physical therapist will personalize the workouts for you based on your objectives and sports needs. Some examples of these exercises are:
- Specific strength training
- Power and agility drills
- And other activities
Depending on the recommendations of the physical therapist, you may swim, bike, or work. Furthermore, you will gradually return to your workout program. If the injured knee is swollen or has not regained its complete range of motion, refrain from performing any of these exercises.
More than 3 months: Do’s and Don’ts
The goal of treatment is to get you back into sports shape so that you can compete again (about 6 months after ACL surgery). As a result, it is possible that the workouts performed in the prior phases will continue and intensify. It is important that you be able to sprint and jump in all directions throughout this time. Furthermore, your therapist will recommend particular programs to limit the likelihood of sustaining a second injury. If your knee is swollen or has not regained its full range of motion, refrain from performing any activities.
3 Tips to Speed Up Your Recovery After ACL Surgery
It may take several weeks or even months for an ACL surgery patient to fully recover. Having said that, the following suggestions can assist you in healing more quickly and achieving the greatest potential results.
Take your medicine
While performing the rehabilitation activities, take your medication as directed to reduce discomfort and enhance your performance while doing so.
Get enough sleep and nutrition
The importance of sleep and diet in your recovery cannot be overstated. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night, and eat enough of lean protein, dairy, fruits and vegetables to keep your energy levels up. You may also be interested in:How Much Sleep Do Teens Need?
Talk to your doctor
If you have a persistent fever, calf discomfort, or any other symptoms, call your doctor right once. You will be better able to prevent issues if you do so.
ACL Surgery: FAQs
Walking with crutches should be doable after 1-2 days of ACL surgery, and walking without crutches should be possible after 15 days. Some patients, on the other hand, may require up to one month before they are able to walk without crutches. 2.Do I need to wear braces after having ACL surgery? While wearing a brace after ACL surgery, you can minimize your mobility, which helps to stabilize the afflicted knee and relieve stress on the ligament. 3. How long will I be unable to work following ACL surgery?
If you stay in your job, you will most likely be able to return in 2 weeks or less. However, if you are required to stand, it may take around 5 weeks. If your job necessitates moderate to intense physical exercise, you may be required to wait up to 6 months.
Care from Sports Doctors and Specialists
SportsMD provides Virtual Care and Second Opinion Services to its patients and clients. In addition to providing an efficient alternative to the emergency department, urgent care, or waiting for a doctor’s appointment, it also allows you to communicate with a sports medicine professional swiftly and easily. You may receive Virtual Care from the comfort of your own home or from anywhere in the world via phone or video chat. More information may be found here. @RIV PT Emcee is 12 weeks post-ACL reconstruction.
It will take time.
Every ounce of strength you have is required.” – Brooke Blumenfeld (@Brooke blume) on Twitter, October 8, 2020: pic.twitter.com/PMRauzXH3h
- Stephanie R. Filbay and Hege Grindem collaborated on this project. Rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL): evidence-based guidelines for therapy. Optimal practice research. Clinical rheumatology, volume 33, number 1, pages 33-47 (2019). Zaffagnini, Stefano, and colleagues (doi:10.1016/j.berh.2019.01.018)
- When, how, and why should you return to sports following ACL reconstruction? “A narrative review of the most recent research.” 7th June 2015
- Obermeier, Michael C et al. Joints, vol. 3, no. 1, pages 25-30
- 8th June 2015
- Early Functional Recovery After ACL Reconstruction: Achievement of Functional Milestones and Self-Reported Function is a study published in the journal “Examination of Early Functional Recovery After ACL Reconstruction.” 345-354 in Sports Health, volume 10, number 4 (2018). Gobbi, A., Karnatzikos, G., and Lad, D. G. doi:10.1177/1941738118779762
- Gobbi, A., Karnatzikos, G., and Lad, D. G. (2015). Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: Factors Influencing Return to Sport after Reconstruction Sports Injuries, 1059–1066
- Nagelli, Christopher V., and Timothy E. Hewett. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-36569-0_264
- Nagelli, Christopher V., and Timothy E. Hewett. If an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is performed, should return to sport be postponed until two years after the procedure? “Biological and Functional Considerations,” says the author. 221-232 in Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), volume 47, number 2, 2017. Cavanaugh, John T., and Matthew Powers
- Cavanaugh, John T., and Matthew Powers. “ACL Rehabilitation Progression: Where Are We Now?” is the title of this article. (2017). Current reviews in musculoskeletal medicine, volume 10, number 3 (pp. 289-296). doi:10.1007/s12178-017-9426-3
- The Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust is a public-private partnership. Physiotherapy recommendations for people undergoing ACL reconstruction. The following article was accessed on August 29, 2021: Filbay, Stephanie R, and Hege Grindem. In this paper, we present evidence-based recommendations for the management of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture. Research into best practices. Clinical rheumatology, volume 33, number 1, pages 33-47 (2019). doi:10.1016/j.berh.2019.01.018
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Healing and Recovery Timeline Following ACL Surgery
In the case of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair, the length of healing and recovery time may vary depending on a variety of circumstances, which might include everything from prior fitness level to activity objectives, surgical method, and post-operative protocol requirements. However, there are a few basic rules that apply to the majority of patients, and the timeframe provided below serves as a guideline for what to expect following an ACL reconstruction surgery.
The first three weeks following surgery are the most critical in terms of healing time and recovery. It is vital to be diligent in terms of adequate nutritional intake and the usage of ice to manage excessive inflammation in order to produce an optimum healing environment. When the body is healing from surgery, it requires an ideal environment in order to guarantee that the muscles are ready to produce the essential strength gains to keep the body healthy. For tasks such as ascending stairs and standing from a seated position, regaining control of the leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps (thigh) muscle, is critical in order to restore normal gait and strengthen the muscles used in these activities.
Remodeling of the tendon replacement, or graft, takes place during this period of time in the post-operative timeline. When a person utilizes their own tendon (a part of the patellar or hamstring tendon are the most commonly used grafts) to repair a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, the tendon must be remodeled to ensure proper function. It is during this remodeling process that the tendon will break down (or remodel) into ligamentous tissue that will be able to sustain the stresses required by an ACL.
Many patients may be able to walk without the need of an assistive device or brace if their quad recruitment has improved adequately.
This is true as long as no additional structures were repaired in addition to the ACL. They may also have more mobility as a result of the reduction in inflammation, allowing them to do tasks such as bending the knee to put on pants.
When the knee is at this phase, it is capable of withstanding heavier loads, and individuals may notice the biggest improvements in functional strength 6-12 weeks after surgery. In addition to general strengthening and weight bearing activities, patients will begin focusing on more activity-specific strengthening and weight bearing exercises such as squats, stair climbing and descending, and balance exercises. Resistance is an option for those who want to start biking right away. Eventually, the muscles will regain their normal function, and the gait will become more normalized.
Maintaining high levels of enthusiasm and dedication is essential for success in the following step.
By this time frame, adequate bone healing has happened and the ACL has recovered sufficient strength to allow patients to return to running and leaping, as well as other impact activities, without restriction. It is also common to see improved muscular control and stability following a workout. Despite the fact that the ligament can withstand larger stresses, patients typically continue to have poor coordination in their lower extremities after surgery. Because of this, it is critical to ensure that the exercises are performed with proper form and control in order to minimize excessive stress on the rebuilt ACL and surrounding tissues.
Individuals can return to cutting activities if they have demonstrated adequate lower extremity control by leaping, hopping, and squatting.
Often, an individual will incur an ACL rupture as a result of inadequate leg stability or control during activities such as pivoting and landing from a jump.
In most cases, when a person exhibits adequate functional strength and stability while performing activities such as squatting, hopping, leaping, running, and cutting, they are approved by their physician to return to their previous activity, such as work or sports. There is evidence to suggest that the return to play should be based on objective criteria rather than on time constraints alone. However, while the six-month time limit is often the earliest that patients are permitted to return to contact sports, graft healing and recovery can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months.
As a result, an individual must be conscious of the need to maintain lower extremity alignment and control during the execution of cutting, running, and landing in order to reduce the danger of recurrent injury.
Returning to Sport
The recovery period following ACL surgery might be lengthy, but with the right therapy, you can get back to the sport you like again. If you have any issues during your healing process, make sure to check with your physical therapist for answers. If you would like more information about Athletico’s ACL 3P Program, which can assist athletes in their recovery from an ACL injury, please contact [email protected] The Athletico blog is a learning resource published by Athletico workers for Athletico employees.
Unless otherwise stated, the material published in blog entries is the personal opinion of the individual author based on their knowledge and experience.
It should not be relied upon for the purpose of making personal health decisions.
Knee ligament surgery – Recovery
It might take up to a year to fully recover from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery on the knee. Following knee surgery, the incision will be closed with stitches or surgical clips to prevent infection. If the sutures are dissolvable, they should be gone in approximately 3 weeks if they are not already. If your sutures are not dissolvable, you will need to have them removed by a medical practitioner as soon as possible. This is something that your surgeon will counsel you on. They’ll also provide you instructions on how to care for your wound.
It is possible that you will be given a Cryo/Cuff to wear while your knee is wrapped.
It is possible that you will be given painkilling medication as well.
These symptoms are very transient and should begin to subside after around one week.
Your surgeon or physiotherapist can provide you with information on how to begin an organized recovery program. It is critical that you adhere to the prescribed treatment plan in order to get the best potential outcome for your recovery. You’ll be given workouts that you may begin doing in the hospital following your operation and continue doing at home after you leave. The exercises will include bending, straightening, and raising your leg in various positions. If you have any questions regarding how to complete any of the exercises, please ask.
Crutches will also be provided to assist you in your daily activities. It is possible that you will need to wear them for around 2 weeks, but you should only put as much weight on your wounded leg as you feel comfortable doing so at any one time.
Weeks 1 to 2 of your recovery
Your knee is likely to be swollen and stiff for the first 1 to 2 weeks after surgery, and you may need to take pain relievers. Your surgeon or primary care physician will advise you on the sort of pain management that is most appropriate for you. You’ll be encouraged to elevate your leg as much as possible – for example, by placing cushions under your heel when you’re sleeping in bed – to avoid further complications. It is possible that you may be given a Cryo/Cuff to go home with you in order to assist alleviate the discomfort and swelling.
Instead of a Cryo/Cuff, you might use a frozen pea pack wrapped in a towel to apply pressure to your wounded knee.
Weeks 2 to 6 of your recovery
Once the discomfort and swelling have subsided, your doctor may recommend that you increase or modify your exercise regimen. Your physiotherapist will provide you with recommendations on which exercises to perform. The exercises will assist you in the following areas:
- Fully extend and bend your knee
- Strengthen your leg muscles
- Enhance your balance
- Begin to walk properly
- And, finally, relax.
After 2 to 3 weeks, you should be able to walk without crutches without any difficulty. In addition to particular exercises, sports that do not place a significant amount of weight on your knee, such as swimming for fitness and cycling, may be advised. For further information, see the website of the charity Cycling UK.
Weeks 6 to 24 of your recovery
After your knee operation, you should be able to gradually return to your previous level of activity between 6 weeks and 6 months after the procedure. Continuing to participate in activities such as cycling and swimming will be recommended; however, sports that require a lot of twisting and turning should be avoided. The reason for this is that you must leave enough time for the transplanted tissue to become permanently attached to the inside of your knee.
After 6 months
The possibility of returning to sports after 6 months has been discussed previously. Some people may require more time before regaining the confidence to participate in sports again, while great athletes may require additional time before regaining their prior level of performance.
Returning to work
Following knee surgery, the speed with which you may return to work will be determined by the nature of your employment duties. It is possible that you will be able to return to work after 2 or 3 weeks if you work in an office setting. If you engage in physical labor of any kind, it might take up to three months before you are able to return to work, depending on your job duties and activities.
Your doctor will be able to tell you when you will be able to drive again. This will normally occur around 3 to 4 weeks, or whenever you are able to put weight on your foot without discomfort. The page was last reviewed on September 15, 2021. The deadline for the next review is September 15, 2024.
Physical Therapy After ACL Surgery
Following ACL repair surgery, you will need to undergo physical therapy until you are able to return to your previous level of activity. The majority of patients at Shelbourne Knee Center require between four and six months to recover. Regaining complete range of motion, which can help decrease knee discomfort, as well as strengthening your knee are the primary goals of physical therapy.
The majority of your physical treatment will be completed at home under the supervision of your physical therapist or athletic trainer. Physical treatment, on the other hand, will begin while you are in the hospital.
Physical Therapy in The Hospital
Starting your workouts while still in the hospital is something you should consider doing. We’ll show you and your family how to do the following: In addition, we’ll provide you with a booklet including the exercises and other information. You’ll begin knee exercises while still in the hospital. Knee with ACL reconstruction:
- Props on the heels (doing quad sets at the same time)
- Make sure the opposing leg is propped up to provide equal extension
- For complete hyperextension (equivalent to transplant leg), use a towel stretch.
- Make use of the CPM machine to assist you with flexion
- Pull the ankle as far as possible toward the buttocks (with the help of your hands)
- Flexibility is measured with a yardstick (in cm)
Knee replacement surgery:
- Heel slides
- Flexion is measured with a yardstick (in cm)
- Heel slides
If you do the following, you can return home the next day:
- Have the ACL-reconstructed leg’s full extension be equivalent to the other leg’s full extension
- Ensure that the ACL-reconstructed limb has at least 120 degrees of flexion and that the other leg has complete flexion. You have the ability to lift both legs with your leg muscles. Can walk without assistance
Before you leave the hospital, we will provide you with instructions on how to care for yourself at home for the following week, as well as information on your post-operative physical therapy regimen. Before you leave the hospital, you must make sure that you understand the instructions.
Equipment to Reduce Swelling
A Cryo-Cuff® will be placed on the ACL-reconstructed knee following surgery to help reduce swelling, with the exception of when you are performing your activities. You will continue to use the Cryo-Cuff® for as long as your physical therapist or sports trainer believes it will be beneficial to you. A continuous passive motion (CPM) machine will also be used to treat your leg. The knee is elevated above the heart with this machine, which helps to minimize edema. Your knee is softly bent and flexed as a result of this.
For the first seven days, you’ll be confined to bed with the ACL leg raised above the level of your chest.
Follow-Up Visits After Surgery
The majority of your workouts will be done at home. You will, however, return to Shelbourne Knee Center for follow-up appointments after your first surgery. You’ll see your physical therapist on every appointment, and he or she will explain everything to you. He or she will examine you and assess your strength, range of motion, and swollen tissues. If you’re ready, your physical therapist will demonstrate new exercises for you to try. Your orthopedic surgeon will also be present at some of your appointments.
- 1 week following surgery
- 2 weeks following surgery
- 4 weeks following surgery After that, you should see a doctor every 1–3 months, depending on how you’re doing.
Physical Therapy at Home
Our team will create a regimen for you that includes workouts, equipment use, and follow-up sessions. For the first seven days, you’ll be confined to bed with the ACL leg raised above the level of your chest. Using your Cryo-Cuff® on the ACL-reconstructed knee and the continuous passive motion (CPM) machine will remain a part of your routine. The continuous passive motion machine is typically used for seven days by the majority of patients. In order to determine how long you should use the Cryo-Cuff®, see your physical therapist or athletic trainer.
- Our staff will create a regimen for you that includes workouts, equipment usage, and follow-up sessions. Your ACL leg will be raised above your heart for the first seven days, and you will remain in bed. Using your Cryo-Cuff® on the ACL-reconstructed knee as well as the continuous passive motion (CPM) machine will continue to be beneficial. The continuous passive motion machine is typically used for 7 days by the majority of patients. Your physical therapist or athletic trainer will advise you on how long you should wear the Cryo-Cuff® for maximum benefit. Exercising will be your goal.
Your first follow-up visit will be scheduled for one week following your operation.
During this week, the majority of patients gradually resume their usual daily activities. You’ll keep up with your knee strengthening routines. We’ll determine your level of exercise depending on how well your knees are performing at the moment. Knee with ACL reconstruction:
- Cryo-Cuff® can be used to reduce swelling as required. Keep the extension in place:
- Leg lock while standing
- Heel supports
- Prone hangs
- Towel stretches
- Lock knee straight while standing
Knee replacement surgery:
- Enhance your ability to maintain full extension and complete flexion. Exercice with a step-down
Following your operation, you will have a second follow-up visit two weeks following the first.
2 to 4 weeks after surgery
You’ll keep up with your knee strengthening routines. Work on range of motion for the ACL knee will continue in the following ways: Strengthening will be your primary emphasis on the graft knee. Your physical therapist or athletic trainer will create a personalized rehabilitation program for you that is based on your specific requirements and objectives.
Your third follow-up visit will be scheduled for four weeks following surgery.
2 to 12 months after surgery
Your third follow-up visit will be scheduled for 4 weeks after surgery has been completed successfully.
Follow-up appointments will be scheduled about every 1–3 months during this period. The number of times you come in is determined on how well you’re doing.
Helping Us Improve Care for Other Patients
Our study has led to the development of our current therapy for ACL injuries. By tracking patients after they complete their rehabilitation, we’ve discovered what works best. Please consider participating in our research so that we can better assist other patients in the future. You may do so by participating in our yearly survey and returning for free follow-up visits at the following address:
- 2 years after your surgery, 5 years after your surgery, 10 years after your surgery, 15 years after your surgery, and 20 years after your surgery are all possible outcomes.
The Do’s and Don’ts After ACL & MCL Tears & Surgery
No matter where you sustained your knee injury—on the slopes, in the gym, on the field, or as the result of a slip and fall—getting back to 100 percent following knee surgery might feel like an uphill fight at times. Most of the time, this is due to the fact that it is. Rehabilitating from ACL or MCL surgery is a lengthy process that begins as soon as you awaken from anesthesia and continues for the rest of your life.
ACL vs MCL Tears and Surgery
The two most frequent knee injuries in active people are ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears and MCL (medial collateral ligament) tears. ACL tears are more prevalent than MCL tears. In addition, while these two ligaments are implicated in the majority of knee injuries, their function within the knee and associated therapy after damage are not same as you might expect. Ankle ligament sprain While the ACL extends diagonally across the centre of the knee, it is responsible for both rotational stability and regulation of the back and forth motion of the knee joint.
The ACL and MCL (as well as the PCL and the LCL) are critical for maintaining knee stability and functioning when doing activities such as running.
Tissue damage to the MCLFortunately, all but the most severe MCL injuries can usually be resolved with physical therapy.
MCL rehabilitation and recovery can be a lengthy process including a variety of mobility and strength exercises, although it is typically not necessitated by surgical intervention. ACL tears, on the other hand, are a very other issue.
ACL Surgery: The Fastest (and Often Only) Way to Recover from an ACL Tear
In contrast to the rehabilitation from a torn MCL, which can normally be brought back to health by physical therapy, the recovery from an ACL rupture nearly always begins with surgery. In the event that you’re contemplating ACL reconstruction– or have already undergone ACL surgery– you’re almost certain to have a few queries.
- The recovery time following ACL surgery varies from person to person. What is the most efficient method of recovering following ACL reconstruction? So, what should I do following my ACL surgery?
The recovery time following ACL surgery is around one month. In order to recover after ACL surgery as quickly as possible, Following my ACL surgery, what should I do?
ACL Surgery Recovery Time
The answer to the first question is straightforward yet imprecise: it depends. Providing your surgery was successful and there were no problems, and you intend to adhere strictly to the rehabilitation instructions of your orthopedic physician, the best bet is that you will be out of commission for no less than six months. To regain 100 percent function, it may take up to two years for some people.
The Fastest ACL Post-Surgery Rehab Program
Step 1: Pay attention to what your doctor is saying. Step 2: Pay attention to what your physical therapist is saying. Step 3: Do precisely what they tell you to do, at the exact time they tell you to do it. It’s really that straightforward. The most challenging aspect of ACL rehabilitation is staying on track with the regimen – whether that means pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone or reining it in so that you don’t overdo it. Pushing the boundaries while remaining within the confines of therapy might look different from person to person and day to day.
but it’s one you can win if you work hard enough.
The Do’s and Don’ts After ACL Surgery
Yes, this will be uncomfortable, but it is critical to maintain the total straightness of the knee joint immediately following your ACL repair surgery. This allows the joint to recover properly without placing further stress on your freshly repaired ligament.
Don’t: Put weight on your new knee.
Yes, you are correct. A wheelchair and/or crutches are required until your orthopedic physician gives you the green light to begin placing light pressure on your injured knee again.
Do: Wear your knee brace!
It’s a little unpleasant. In addition, it’s hot. And perhaps a bit scratchy. but it will aid in the protection and stabilization of your knee, as well as the expediting of your recuperation. It should be worn everywhere, all of the time.
Don’t: Walk, swim, cycle, bend and extend your knee, etc. until you’re cleared to do so.
You’d like to get your ACL rehabilitated. That’s fantastic! Don’t try to force it. (See the section above under “The Fastest ACL Post-Surgery Rehab Program” for more information.)
Do: Physical therapy. All of it.
It’s going to hurt. It will become monotonous at times. You’ll want to take a break. Don’t. Your future knee will be grateful to you.
Do: Go to your scheduled follow-ups with your knee surgeon.
The sooner he or she clears you, the sooner you can go back to doing all of the activities that you like doing most of all. For any more concerns you may have concerning your ACL, MCL, or any other knee injury, please contact us and we will do our best to assist you.