Acl Repair Surgery Recovery

When does rehabilitation start after an ACL reconstruction?

On the day of surgery. Patients are given a set of exercises to start immediately in the recovery room.

10 Ways to Speed Recovery

Some basic recommendations for recovering quickly from ACL surgery include the following. Patients who follow them tend to have a better surgical outcome and a faster recovery than patients who don't.

  1. Follow your post-op instructions.Immediately after ACL surgery, you will receive specific instructions from your surgeon, including the schedule of post-operative medical visits. You will also be referred to a physical therapist to establish an ACL rehabilitation program. It is important to adhere to these recommendations and to ask questions if you don't understand what is being asked of you.
  2. Go to your follow-up appointments.It's important that your progress is monitored and your plan tweaked when needed. There is a direct correlation between the number of post-operative doctor visits and the speed by which you recover from surgery, according to a study published in the journal PLoS One.
  3. Get a referral to a physical therapist.Physical therapy is generally prescribed after ACL surgery as a matter of course.1 If you don't receive a referral to PT, ask your surgeon for one.
  4. Perform ACL rehab exercises.Your physical therapist will determine the appropriate exercise program based your age, surgery, current health, and current fitness level. These exercises should be performed by routine and continued well after mobility has been restored.
  5. Ensure proper nutrition.Eating well after surgery can help your body heal faster. Recommended foods include lean protein (red meat, chicken or fish), dairy, and fresh citrus. Vegetables are nutrient-rich, so eat plenty of green leafy plants including spinach. Many nutritionists recommend stopping or at least limiting caffeine, alcohol, and sodas.
  6. Get ample sleep.While you sleep, your body repairs tissues and promotes healing, so be sure to get at least eight hours of quality sleep each night. Learn sleep hygiene techniques rather than reaching for sleeping pills.
  7. Take your medications as prescribed.You most likely will be on some pain medication after your surgery. Talk to your doctor about how and when to take new medications, and if you should add multivitamins or other supplements to your daily rehab plan. If you stopped medications before your surgery, ask how and when to start them again.
  8. Inform your surgeon about any problems you experience.If pain suddenly increases, you develop a fever, or there are symptoms you feel are abnormal, it's important to let your doctor know right away.
  9. Use relaxation techniques: Use relaxation exercises to maintain a confident and relaxed state of mind and reduce any anxiety you may have about recovering from your surgery.2
  10. Ask for help: After surgery, you will be less mobile and will probably need additional help with daily activities. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your friends and family.

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The first two weeks after surgery concentrates on decreasing the swelling in the knee and regaining knee extension, with less concern about knee flexion. This is accomplished by elevating/icing the leg and riding the stationary bike.

Two weeks after surgery, the goal is for patients to achieve and maintain full knee extension and increase quadriceps muscle function. While knee flexion of only 90 degrees is the goal for this stage, obtaining full extension is more of a priority.

When can I drive?

Usually by two weeks after surgery, patients are off crutches and demonstrate adequate muscle function, mobility, and comfort to allow driving. This is dependent on what leg has been operated on and how fast the patient recovers.

How is rehabilitation after an ACL reconstruction typically structured?

Although different surgeons and therapists will have slightly different protocols, the goal for all forms of post-operative ACL rehabilitation is the same: to return the patient to a normal and complete level of function in as short a time possible without compromising the integrity of the surgically reconstructed knee.

10 common questions about Acl Repair Surgery Recovery

1How 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.
2Is 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.
3Is 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.
4Why 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.
5How 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.
6How 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.
7Can 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.
8How 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.
9Is 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.
10What 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.

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