Abbreviate Your ACL Recovery Timeline
You can go home on the same day as the surgery, but recovering from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery can be lengthy. From the time you first undergo surgery through full rehabilitation, the process can take up to six months or more. You need to be patient and follow a rehabilitation program to first regain range of motion and then strengthen the muscles around the knee. Traditional rehabilitation is a long and can be a painful process, particularly when it comes to building range of motion during that first 4-6 weeks after surgery.
You should follow your doctor’s instructions for your recovery. Continue reading to learn more about what will happen after ACL Surgery and how to accelerate your own rehabilitation.
Rest: 0 to 2 Weeks After ACL Surgery
You may need someone to help you when you first go home from ACL surgery and expect to be out of work a few days to a few weeks, depending on how physically demanding your job is.
For the first two weeks after surgery you will need to rest and care for the incision site. And you have to be mindful of swelling. Swelling is the body sending fluid to the wound site to fix and rebuild tissue. To learn more about scar tissue buildup from Dr. Michael Moon of Crittenton Hospital, click here. But recognize that swelling is an enemy of a fast recovery. You want to build out your range of motion before star tissue can get in the way.
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.
You can usually move your knee right after surgery, but it will be painful. Your doctor will give you some exercises you can do to keep the blood flowing in your leg and help prevent blood clots. It is important that you work on quad sets. Quad sets will assure your knee is fully straight and you won’t develop a contracture later on. Your doctor will also send you home with medication or advice for managing pain.
Move around: 2 to 4 Weeks After ACL Surgery
Two weeks or so after surgery, you will be able to start putting some weight on your knee. Your doctor will probably fit you for a knee brace to wear for a few weeks.
You will also begin physical therapy within two (2) weeks of your surgery. This is when the X10™ Knee Rehabilitation Machine can begin to accelerate your recovery. The ease and speed of your range of motion gains on the X10 can give you full range of motion within a few weeks.
As with many knee surgeries your approach to rehabilitation is… everything. One major problem with most hands-on PT is called “protective muscle guarding.” Simply put it is your body’s natural resistance to a PT person trying to push your leg beyond where you are comfortable. To learn how the X10™ Knee Rehab Machine completely solves protective muscle guarding to accelerate your ACL recovery timeline, click here.
Rehabilitation: 2 to 6 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 2 months to 6 months or longer.
To view a case study of a patient who recovered quickly with the X10 Knee Rehab Machine with this video of Luis’ from Hackensack, NJ. He was stuck nine weeks after surgery at a subpar 75 degrees range of motion. His surgeon was considering a Manipulation Under Anesthesia if he did not quickly improve.
Physical therapy programs include basic programs to help you regain strength and stability. X10™ offers a complete video series of home exercises that compliment your work on the X10 Knee Rehabilitation Machine. The X10 offers superior outcomes for range of motion and a full set of strength training exercises that allow a patient to recovery 100% in the home.
Time to Call the Doctor?
If you have any worries about how you’re healing or have signs of infection, call your orthopedic surgeon right away.
Blood soaking through the bandages
Discharge coming from the incision
Swelling or pain in your calf
Fever above 101°F
Pain that does not go away with medication
Your knee needs time to heal, so be patient and take it slow. Do not rush the recovery process or try to speed up recovery. It’s important to listen to your doctor and work with him or her to be sure your knee is healing correctly and that you’re not pushing yourself too fast or too soon.
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