How Long Is Rehab For Acl Surgery?

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.


How long is rehab after ACL surgery?

Rehabilitation: Two to Six Months After ACL Surgery Rehabilitation is a vital part of your ACL recovery and is essential to getting back to regular physical activity. Your program can last anywhere from two months to six months or longer. Your doctor will help you find a program that is suited to your recovery goals.

How long after ACL surgery Can you walk?

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.

How painful is ACL surgery recovery?

How long does pain last after ACL surgery? Most people have some surgery-related pain and discomfort for the first week or so. Not surprisingly, pain decreases with time. By the end of a week or two at the most, you should have very little discomfort.

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.

What can you do 3 months after ACL surgery?

6 Weeks to 3 Months After Surgery

  • Perform lateral training exercises such as lunges and side steps.
  • Do flutter-style swimming strokes.
  • Avoid cutting or pivoting motions.
  • Continue strength exercises, and begin sport-specific training.

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 is the fastest way to recover from ACL surgery?

Make it a less anxious time with these eight ACL surgery recovery tips.

  1. Work with your doctor on specific recovery goals.
  2. Take your pain meds so you can focus on physical therapy.
  3. Wear a brace or use crutches if your knee feels unstable.
  4. Start out slowly and you’ll gain momentum in time.
  5. Take care of your incision.

What is the fastest ACL recovery?

The mid-1990s case of former Vikings tailback Terry Allen marked the first really effective and immediate return from an ACL injury, but it’s worth noting Allen’s occurred during a July 1993 practice, giving him a full calendar year to recover before putting together a 1,031-yard season in 1994.

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.

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.

What happens at 3 weeks after ACL surgery?

Week 3. By the end of this week through the following week, you’ll be walking almost normally. The only thing that might give away the fact that you’ve had surgery may be a slight bend in your knee, which will disappear as your range of motion improves.

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.

How long until you can ride a bike after ACL surgery?

Typically, patients can get on a stationary bike and work the pedals back and forth—without going all the way around— within two weeks of surgery, Celebi says.

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.

What does a torn ACL feel like after a week?

Swelling may last up to a week. Deep, aching pain in the knee. The pain may be worse when walking or climbing stairs. A feeling the knee is “giving out.” Instability may be especially noticeable during activities that strain the knee joint, such as walking downstairs and pivoting on one leg.

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 important for the removal of swelling.

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?


  1. 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. Published April 16, 2015
  2. What to Expect After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction at Home Originally published on September 20, 2018
  3. 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.

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.

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.
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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 help 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

When it comes to physical treatment, it might be tempting, especially for athletes, to push your body to its absolute maximum. Them is crucial to execute the suggested strengthening and stretching activities, but overdoing it too quickly might actually make the healing process longer and less effective. Keep in mind the suggestions of your physical therapist regarding which exercises are suitable and how much you should be able to accomplish. If you believe you are capable of more, consult with your physical therapist before attempting to go any farther.

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.

3 If you are preparing to undergo ACL surgery, speak with your doctor about the possibility of taking Game Ready during your recuperation.


  1. 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
  2. Muscles, Ligaments, and Tendons Journal, 2016. doi:10.11138/mltj/2016.6.4.486
  3. 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.

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 the operation. 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 by elevating and icing the leg while also riding a stationary cycle.Two weeks after surgery, the aim is for patients to attain and maintain complete knee extension as well as increased quadriceps muscle function, which is accomplished by riding a stationary bike. 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

Other Questions

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 complications, the rates are much lower than one percent, and the majority of the cases are isolated 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.

It has also been shown that anterior knee discomfort post ACL repair is related with decreased range of motion. 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.

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

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 seem like an uphill fight at times. Almost always, this is due to the fact that something is true. Rehabilitating from ACL or MCL surgery is a lengthy process that begins as soon as you awaken from anesthesia and continues throughout your recovery.

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?

(Receive information about what to expect during your ACL repair.)

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 little itchy. but it will aid in the protection and stabilization of your knee, as well as the expediting of your recovery. 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.

Uncomfortable, to say the very least.

In addition, it’s really warm. Perhaps a bit scratchy. but it will assist to protect and stabilize your knee, as well as accelerate your healing time. Everywhere you go, you should be wearing it at all times.

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.

It is important that you return to all of your favorite activities as soon as possible after your ACL, MCL, or other knee injury has been resolved. If you have any more concerns concerning your ACL, MCL, or other knee injury, please contact us and we will do our best to assist you.

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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.

  • Surgery of a certain type. Patients who undergo allograft surgery are able to wean themselves off of narcotic pain medication sooner. The influence of surgical methods on recovery time, on the other hand, is up for debate. Sex. When compared to women, men are more likely to return to work/driving earlier. High age and low body mass index (BMI). Both of these qualities are associated with a quicker return to work. The body’s reaction to surgery is called the biological response. Depending on the patient, graft maturation might take up to 2 years or more. Alignment of the knees. Bowlegs might increase stress on the anterior cruciate ligament
  • Motivation. Optimism prior to surgery may help patients recover more quickly.

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. Continue reading to learn what to do after you get home from surgery, when to call a doctor, and what to expect in the weeks and months following your operation. 76,7,8

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.

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 pain, or any other symptoms, call your doctor right away. 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?

However, if you are required to stand, it may take around 5 weeks.

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:


  1. 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)
  2. When, how, and why should you return to sports following ACL reconstruction? “A narrative review of the most recent research.” 7th June 2015
  3. Obermeier, Michael C et al. Joints, vol. 3, no. 1, pages 25-30
  4. 8th June 2015
  5. 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
  6. Gobbi, A., Karnatzikos, G., and Lad, D. G. (2015). Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: Factors Influencing Return to Sport after Reconstruction Sports Injuries, 1059–1066
  7. Nagelli, Christopher V., and Timothy E. Hewett. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-36569-0_264
  8. 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
  9. Doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0584-z
  10. 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
  11. 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.

Weeks 1-3:

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. This is a critical time for the body as it recovers from surgery and requires an optimal environment to ensure that the muscles are ready to make the necessary strength gains. Regaining control of the leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps (thigh) muscle, is essential to regaining normal gait and increasing strength for activities such as stair climbing and standing from a seated position.

Weeks 4-6:

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.

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.

Week 6-12:

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.

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Maintaining high levels of enthusiasm and dedication is essential for success in the following step.

3-6 months:

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. As a result, complete recovery in function is critical in order to reduce the risk of future damage.

6-12 months:

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.

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.

How long is recovery time from an ACL tear?

The average recovery period for an ACL injury is eight to nine months, while some people may be able to heal in as little as six months. Image courtesy of Getty Images. Written by Rick Ansorge for the University of California Health System. A torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was a common injury that ended the careers of numerous amateur and professional athletes in the not-so-distant past. As a result of recent advancements in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of anterior cruciate ligament injuries, most athletes are now able to return to their prior level of performance.

It joins the thighbone to the shinbone and helps to stabilize the knee joint by preventing it from moving forward and backward in the joint.

Eric McCarty, an orthopedic surgeon with UCHealth who practices at the CU Sports Medicine and Performance Center in Boulder and the UCHealth Steadman Hawkins Clinic – Denver.

Despite the fact that the ACL is robust, it is susceptible to sprains, partial rips, and total tears, among other things. Every year in the United States alone, an estimated 100,000-200,000 ACL tears occur, according to statistics.

What causes ACL injuries?

According to McCarty, ACL injuries are frequent in “twisting and turning” sports, which entail rapid pauses or changes in direction, as well as jumping and landing, among other things. Downhill skiing, gymnastics, and tennis are examples of non-contact sports; contact sports include football, soccer, basketball, and rugby; and a variety of other activities in between. Dr. Eric McCarty talks about ACL injuries and how long they take to heal. According to McCarty, “a serious knee injury is typically thought of as the result of someone rushing into or smashing into you,” as occurs during a football tackle.

Female athletes are four times more likely than male athletes to sustain an anterior cruciate ligament injury, for reasons that are now unclear.

ACL injuries that occur as a result of direct contact generally occur when an athlete’s knee is forced inwards toward the other leg by a direct impact.

ACL tears are frequently associated with other knee ailments, including injuries to the other ligaments and one or both of the menisci (the cushions in the knee that help to protect the cartilage).

Who is at risk of ACL injuries?

Participation in twisting and turning sports, as well as being a female, are both connected with an elevated risk. Other characteristics that contribute to an increased risk include:

  • Poor physical condition
  • Incorrect mechanics, such as pushing the knees inside during a squat
  • And a lack of motivation. Putting on shoes that are not well suited
  • Using sporting equipment that has been improperly set, such as skis with bindings that will not release upon a fall
  • It is possible to play on artificial turf.

What are the symptoms of an ACL injury?

According to McCarty, the “typical” initial sign is a loud pop or popping feeling in the knee joint. Most patients experience acute pain and the sensation that their knee is unstable or “giving out” shortly after suffering an ACL tear. Almost everyone develops swelling in the knee within a few hours as a result of bleeding from the wounded blood vessels in the leg. Immediate first-aid treatment after a knee injury might help to minimize discomfort and swelling. McCarty promotes the R.I.C.E. model of self-care at home, which stands for Rest, Invigoration, Change, and Empowerment.

  • Rest is essential for recovery and should be limited in terms of weight bearing on your knee. Attempt to ice your knee for 20 minutes at a period at least every two hours while you are awake
  • Wrap an elastic bandage or compression wrap over your knee
  • Placing cushions under your knees can allow you to lie down comfortably.

“It’s critical to get medical attention as soon as possible if you have any form of injury that causes you to feel a pop and/or swelling,” McCarty added. To ensure that you receive appropriate care, it’s critical to determine the degree of your damage.

How are ACL injuries treated?

Surgery and post-surgical rehabilitation are the two primary alternatives, with the latter being a non-surgical rehabilitation program in between. Since the early 1980s, surgeons have been able to restore damaged ACLs by using autografts, which are tendons that have been extracted from another part of the patient’s body to fill the gap. The patellar tendon, which originates from the front of the knee, as well as tendons from the quadriceps and hamstrings, are examples of such tendons. Occasionally, especially in older folks who are still physically active, surgeons will employ allografts, which are tendons that have been donated to research by people who have died and left their bodies to science.

ACL repair is a significant yet minimally invasive operation that may be performed in the hospital.

Patients should be placed on a “pre-hab” regimen that gently exercises and strengthens the knee in the weeks leading up to surgery.

To get the best possible outcomes, complete devotion to the program is necessary.

Many variables must be considered while deciding whether or not to have surgery. If you have any of the following symptoms, your doctor may recommend that you avoid surgery and instead finish a non-surgical rehabilitation program to strengthen and stabilize the knee:

  • Are you suffering from a partial ACL injury that might be healed with rest and rehabilitation? Do not participate in activities that involve twisting and turning (particularly if you are above the age of 55)
  • Accept the prospect of renunciation of pivoting sports such as skiing in favor of non-pivoting activities such as jogging and biking

In order to run or ride a bike, you do not require an ACL, according to McCarty. According to McCarty, athletes who have extraordinary muscular strength and control may be able to continue participating in pivoting sports even after tearing their ACL. “However, I believe that the majority of athletes cannot.”

How has the treatment advanced to improve ACL tear recovery time?

“Since the early 1980s, there has been significant advancement in the operation,” McCarty added. As a result of its evolution into a less invasive technique, it is now commonly performed as an outpatient operation. Patients who were previously immobilized in a cast or splint for a week following surgery are now able to begin physical therapy the next day. “We’re working hard to get them going. As McCarty put it, “we’re getting the muscles to work.” “I believe that is significant.” Technological advancements are also aiding in the reduction of recovery time following an ACL injury.

  1. The CPM machine drives the knee through a full range of motion, which helps to avoid the production of scar tissue in the knee joint area.
  2. Others may prescribe devices that reduce pain and inflammation following surgery by chilling or compressing the knee, depending on their clinical judgment.
  3. In order to circulate cold water and produce compression, it makes use of an inflatable sleeve that wraps around the knee.
  4. The solution, according to McCarty, is preferable than “a bag of ice.”

How long does it take to recover from ACL surgery and return to sports?

According to McCarty, it takes time for the graft to become a part of the body and go through a process known as ligamentization, which is the process of turning into a new ligament, to become functional. “It may take nine or ten months to complete that procedure.” Although some outstanding athletes can return to sports in as little as six months following an ACL tear, a more reasonable expectation is a recovery time of at least eight to nine months after the injury. “Even after you’ve completed excellent therapy and returned to athletics, it might take up to a year before you feel completely normal again,” McCarty explained.

Because everyone recovers at a different pace, there is no predetermined period for athletes to return to their previous sport.

Doctors and physical therapists are often the ones who make the ultimate decision on whether or not an athlete is physically prepared to participate safely.

Approximately one-third of athletes suffer another ACL rupture in the same or opposite knee within two years, indicating that a recovery period of 10 months or longer after an ACL tear may be related with a decreased risk of re-injury in the future.

Can ACL injuries be prevented?

ACL tears are not completely preventable, although the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American College of Sports Medicine have both recommended training regimens to help lower the chance of tearing an ACL. Football players, skiers, and other athletes at high risk of ACL damage are among those who should consider participating in such programs, according to experts. The objectives of such programs are as follows:

  • Muscles in the legs, hips, and core should be strengthened. Improve your leaping and landing methods in order to avoid inward movement of the knee.

According to research, a complete training program that combines strength training, balance training, and specific education regarding optimal placement and movement is connected with a lower injury rate. Female athletes, in particular, may benefit from such programs because they have a higher risk of ACL injury. A single session of strength or balance training is unlikely to provide any positive results. Athletes should participate in preventative training at least twice per week for a minimum of six weeks prior to the start of their season, in the ideal case.

  1. You could be in excellent physical condition as a result of your summer hiking, jogging, and bicycling.
  2. The ability to maintain enough neuromuscular control, strength, endurance, and flexibility is required in order to ski safely on snow.
  3. Sporting athletes, such as those who play soccer, basketball or volleyball, are trained to be conscious of how they take hard, rapid steps to speed in another direction (or “cut”) and how they land on their feet after jumping or taking a step (or “plant”) in order to avoid injury.
  4. Initial instruction and supervision should be provided by a sports medicine physician, athletic trainer, or physical therapist who can customize a preventative program to meet your specific needs.
  5. “However, the rotation you perform on the court is distinct from the twisting that occurs when you lose your equilibrium when skiing.

What’s on the horizon for ACL treatment?

According to McCarty, the most intriguing new invention in the field of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is the bridge-enhanced anterior cruciate ligament restoration implant, also known as the BEAR implant. Unlike ACL restoration, which requires a graft from either the patient or a donor, BEAR can repair a damaged ligament without the need for a transplant. The treatment involves placing an implant containing bovine collagen and the patient’s own blood between the torn ends of the ACL in order to stimulate healing and fill the space between the torn ends.

“There are a number of variables that preclude it from happening.” These include reduced blood flow to the ligament following an injury, as well as cells inside the synovial fluid in the knee that impede healing from taking place.

“Now there’s the possibility of being able to cure your own body,” McCarty explained.

Martha Murray, orthopedic surgeon-in-chief at Boston Children’s Hospital, has demonstrated such promising early results that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its commercialization for late 2020.

Patients will be randomized to get either BEAR or standard ACL repair without being aware of which operation was performed on their knee.

However, years of research and analysis will be required to do this.

In the future, McCarty believes there is a chance for it to become a reality.

Our understanding of how to harness the power of stem cells is still in its early stages.” The most forward-thinking technique would be to create a totally new ACL in the lab, which would then be transplanted into the patient.

“We may be able to biogenetically develop something that is as excellent as your own tissue in the future, but we are not there yet,” McCarty said.

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