What to expect afterwards
You’ll need to rest until the effects of the anaesthetic have passed. You’re likely to have some pain, stiffness and discomfort as the anaesthetic wears off, but you’ll be offered pain relief as you need it.
You’ll be encouraged to get up and move around, and to put weight on your leg as soon as possible. You may be given crutches and a knee brace to help support you.
This operation is usually done as an out-patient procedure. This means you’ll be able to go home once the anaesthetic has worn off. However, you’ll need someone who can drive you home and stay with you overnight.
You’ll have dressings over the wounds around your knee. Before you go home, you’ll be given some advice about caring for your healing wounds, signs of infection to look out for and pain relief you can take at home. You’ll also be given a date for a follow-up appointment.
Having a general anaesthetic can really take it out of you. You might find that you’re not so co-ordinated or that it’s difficult to think clearly. This should pass within 24 hours. In the meantime, don’t drive, drink alcohol, operate machinery or make any important decisions.
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Recovering from an ACL reconstruction
It usually takes about six months to a year to make a full recovery from ACL reconstruction. You’ll see a physiotherapist within the first few days after your operation, who will give you a rehabilitation program to follow with exercises specific to you. These will depend on many things, including the extent of the damage to your knee and the level of activity you’re hoping to get back to.
Following your rehabilitation program will help you get your full strength and range of motion back in your knee. Many people are able to progress to walking without crutches within about two weeks after surgery. It usually takes about six to nine months to be able to go back to playing sport. This varies from person to person though and will depend on the sport you play and how well you’re recovering. Some people wear a knee brace when they return to playing sport. However, they can be bulky and awkward to wear. You don’t need to wear one – it doesn’t seem to make a difference to how well your knee functions. But you might find that it helps build your confidence as your knee will feel supported.
During your recovery, you can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen. Make sure you read the patient information that comes with your medicine and if you have any questions, speak to your pharmacist for advice. You can also apply ice packs (or frozen peas wrapped in a towel) to your knee to help reduce pain and swelling. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin though, as it can damage it.
Your surgeon will be able to advise you about when you can return to work, driving, and other activities.
10 common questions about Acl Repair Surgery Recovery
How long does it take to walk after ACL surgery?: You will need to use crutches when you go home. You may be able to begin putting your full weight on your repaired leg without crutches 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, if your surgeon says it is OK. If you had work on your knee in addition to ACL reconstruction, it may take 4 to 8 weeks to regain full use of your knee.
Is ACL surgery a major surgery?: ACL surgery is the surgical reconstruction or replacement of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. … ACL surgery is a common but major surgery with risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options.
Is ACL surgery painful?: Pain Management After ACL Surgery. Women more likely to tear the anterior cruciate ligament than men, especially younger athletes. Knee injuries are the most common musculoskeletal complaint reported to health care providers. … These ligaments both hold the knee bones together and help control the movements of the knee.
Why is ACL recovery so long?: Why Does a Torn ACL Take so Long to Heal? 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.
How long is ACL recovery?: Recovery from an ACL surgery can take anywhere from two to six months. However, it can nine months or more before you return to your pre-injury condition with a full range of motion and stability in the knee joint. A longer rehabilitation period doesn\’t mean that you\’re doing anything wrong.
How long are you in the hospital after ACL surgery?: Most patients are able to walk carefully without crutches within two weeks. When you\’re fully awake, you may be allowed to go home. Your nurse and doctor will determine when you are ready to leave the hospital or if an overnight stay is necessary.
Can you walk with a completely torn ACL?: When you tear the ACL, you may feel a sharp, intense pain or hear a loud \”pop\” or snap. You might not be able to walk on the injured leg because you can\’t support your weight through your knee joint.
How do you sleep after ACL surgery?: Rest and elevate your leg (above the level of your heart if possible) for the first 24 hours by placing a pillow under your calf and/or ankle. Do NOT place a pillow under your knee as it will keep you from straightening your knee. Start physical therapy (PT) within the first week after surgery.
Is your knee stronger after ACL surgery?: Immediately after ACL surgery, you will not be able to extend your knee completely. … By performing physical therapy on a regular schedule, the range of motion in the knee joint will drastically improve along with an increase of strength in the supporting muscles around the knee.
What happens if a torn ACL is not repaired?: If you wait too long to fix a torn ACL and you start to get chronic ACL deficiency, the surgeon may not be able to fix all of your joint damage. You may still have pain and swelling even after surgery. It\’s important to have surgery before your unstable knee leads to other joint problems.