ACL Injuries: Recovery, Post Surgical Care And Home Care Tips

Surgery is done through knee arthroscopy under general anesthesia and is a minimally invasive procedure. This surgery usually has shown to have good outcomes and will give you a stable knee. You can expect 6-8 months of rehabilitation after surgery before you return to your regular sport activity. Physical therapy is vital to achieve the desired outcome following surgery.

You will need to adhere and follow the rehabilitation program to strengthen muscles around the knee joint to ensure that you can regain complete range of motion.

Zero To Two Weeks Post Surgery

  • Complete rest after surgery: you will require someone at home to help you.
  • Prop your leg at the calf or ankle on a few pillows for about four to six times in a day. This reduces swelling and improves blood circulation.
  • Keep the area around the bandages clean and dry.
  • Moving your knee immediately after surgery can be painful.
  • Certain exercises will be explained by your therapist and should be performed. This helps to prevent blood clots and improve blood flow.
  • Quad sets should be done, as this ensures that your knee is fully straight and will not develop contractures.
  • Pain medication will be prescribed by your physician.
  • No car/bike driving in the first 10 days following surgery.

Two To Four Weeks Post Surgery

  • You will be able to put slight weight on your knee.
  • You may be advised to wear a knee brace for a few weeks. This brace will be locked in extension.
  • While bearing weight, your brace should be locked and kept in extension.
  • It is best to avoid using stairs in the early post-operative period.
  • Physical therapy will be started.

Two To Six Months Post Surgery

Your rehabilitation program can last from 2 to 6 months. This can vary from individual to individual. During rehabilitation, you will be advised simple exercise that will help you build strength, stamina, and overall fitness.

Post Surgical Care

Wound Care

  • Dressing will be removed within 48 hrs after surgery.
  • You can shower after the removal of bandage.
  • After a shower, the incision site should be patted and kept dry
  • No soaps, creams, or lotions should be applied on the incisions

Check For

  • Bleeding coming from the bandages
  • Discharge coming from the incision
  • Swelling or constant pain at calves or knee
  • Fever above 101 
  • Consistent pain not relieved by medication
  1. Do not skip your follow up appointments. This allows you to establish a rehabilitation program with your physical therapist.
  2. Eat well as it helps your body to heal faster. Recommended foods include lean protein, dairy, fresh citrus fruits, and plenty of green leafy veggies. Reduce intake of alcohol, caffeine, and sodas.
  3. Take enough sleep and rest.
  4. Practice relaxation techniques that are simple breathing exercises to ease stress and anxiety.

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