ACL Recovery - 15 Things I Would Have Done Differently - Indiana Jo (2022)

ACL Recovery - 15 Things I Would Have Done Differently - Indiana Jo (1)

This post is part of a series.You may want to start here.

If your want the quick links, here’s the full series:

My Real Life Guide To ACL Surgery and Recovery

Injuring my ACL – My Story

15 Surprises From My ACL Repair Surgery – What They Don’t Tell You

ACL Repair – Timeline of My Recovery (With Pictures)

Gadgets That Helped My ACL Recovery

This might be another side-venture from my usual travel topic but ‘that post’ about my ACL surgery has fast become one of the most popular on this site. Not only have people told me it’s been a huge help, it’s offered a place for people to share their own stories and, in doing that, help each other.

If you’re here just for the travel, grab a glass of Prosecco and explore how to explore the Prosecco region of Italy while you wait for my next travel post (coming soon, promise).

Back to my ACL surgery recovery.

I’m writing this post because, over two and a half years on, I’m still not as recovered from my ACL surgery as I want to be. But I’m still working very hard on it. In fact, I feel like I’ve progressed more in the last 3 months than I have in the last 3 years. Perhaps it’s because I’ve found an amazing new physiotherapist. Perhaps it’s all of the learnings of the last three years finally coalescing.

I’m deeply aware that many people screw up their knee, have surgery and get back to normal life. No drama. But my experience didn’t go like that. Why? Probably some of the mistakes below. Probably my perfectionist nature where anything under 100% recovery wasn’t going to cut it. Probably both.

Either way, I’m writing this in case you also haven’t had a ‘surgery-return-to-normal’ experience. Or, if you’re about to have surgery and want to take some tips for how to have a speedier ACL surgery recovery, what I’ve learned might help you.

ACL Surgery Recovery Tips

So, here’s my list of things I’d have done differently after my ACL surgery to recover faster and better. It’s starting as a list of 15 but life has taught me that my knee is on a journey. So, there’s every chance I’ll be adding to this list as I continue to learn. Some of it will be very personal to me and you might think – duh, obvious but please be kind – sometimes we need to walk through the woods to see the trees. In my case, I needed to bang my head against a few tree a few times before I realised what I needed to do.

(Video) ACL Surgery & Rehab: Jaylen's Journey Part 2

Also, if you have any of your own tips for ACL surgery recovery, please do share them in the comments below.

1. Better pre-habilitation before my ACL surgery

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You’ve probably been told to work on your leg and knee strength before surgery and in my head I thought I was doing precisely that. In reality I wasn’t doing nearly enough. Why?

First, a practical issue – my knee was locked up and it took me months to get it bending again.

Second, fear – that locked knee was terrifying. In hindsight, I’d done the damage so pushing myself to get more mobile, more quickly would have been the smart thing to do.

Third, and this is critical – ‘go do pre-hab’ wasn’t nearly prescriptive enough for me. Knowing my knee bone was no longer connected to my thigh bone (or something like that), I wasn’t sure what I could and couldn’t do. I’d already had a nasty fall after rupturing my ACL, so I didn’t want to add broken bones to the list. The few exercises the physio gave me were basic. Once I got range of motion going, I went out and did a bit of running and some work at the gym but I could have done a lot more had I known what the hell I was supposed to be doing.

How you can do it differently:

There’s still very little useful info on the interwebs about ACL prehab. This is the most useful article I’ve found. But even this is off kilter – it confuses a sprain with a tear and predicts ACL surgery might ‘sideline you for month’. Wouldn’t it be nice if it was only months? Personally, I wouldn’t do much of the jumping and landing exercises either (detached ACL and all that), but it’s a decent starting point if you’re looking for pre-hab exercises.

In addition, I’d:

  • get a specific set of pre-hab exercises from your physio;
  • get a specific list of what you can’t do (just to be safe);
  • hit the gym and, once you’ve got range of motion and basic strength back, hit the weights progressively harder – many of the strengthening exercises I’m doing now (hamstrings and quads) were possible even pre-surgery and would have saved me a heap of time and pain down the line;
  • get on the static bike and progressively turn that resistance dial up…up…up.

2. I’d have pushed to have my ACL surgery quicker

Yes, there’s only so much we can control when we’re on a public healthcare waiting list but I waited 9 months for my surgery. During that time, I didn’t chase them once to see what was going on. Having had my pre-surgery health checks in May and then not hearing anything further until September, I’m convinced I got missed or skipped. Coulda-shoulda-woulda isn’t a helpful way of thinking but if I’d followed up, maybe my surgery wouldn’t have been forgotten (if it was), or I’d have made myself known as a cancellation candidate. Of course, psychologically, I felt better putting it off but it only ended up delaying the inevitable and impacted on my overall ACL surgery recovery time.

How you can do it differently:

Find out who holds the surgery appointment list (someone in the admin team at the hospital) and get their number in your phone. Make a casual ‘just checking in’ call every few weeks. Make yourself known. Don’t get forgotten. If you can ‘drop everything’ for a cancellation, let the list-holder know. And if you can comfortably afford to have it done privately i.e. more quickly, I’d go for it.

3. I’d have got on (and stayed on) the static bike

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Go on the bike…use the bike…try the bike…are you doing the bike? Bike. Bike. Bike. So many times, my doctors, physio, friends and strangers all told me to use the static bike to help strengthen my leg muscles after surgery. Did I use the bike? Did I hell. And this is one of the most obviously silly decisions I made. Head. Banging. Trees. Woods. Repeatedly.

My reasoning was I hate the static bike. Boring with a capital BORING. I’m a runner. If I want to burn so few cardio calories, I’ll get on my yoga mat. It just wasn’t in my brain to do bike work. But, you know what, years – yes, years – after the masses advised me to get on the bike, I finally relented (after trying everything…anything else), and, what surprise, it worked. Yes, I still find it boring but as far as working all the correct leg muscles goes, you can’t find a better low-impact, strengthening exercise to help you recover. If only someone had told me that, eh :/

How you can do it differently:

I use the bikes at my gym alternating between 10 minutes on the upright bike and 10 on the more lie-back (official name recumbent – had to Google that) bike. I tend to go for resistance (strengthening) over speed (cardio) training.

If you can hack it for longer without dying of boredom, do it. If you do suffer from boredom, I’ve been using Audible books to get me through (all the power music just makes me want to run).

Alternatively, you can buy a bike relatively cheaply for home. As a non-bike fan, I didn’t want to end up with an object that will become a clothes horse but if you think you’ll stick to it, this bike is an affordable option. Better still, buy someone else’s unused clothes horse from eBay.

4. I’d have got the best professional physio I could afford immediately after surgery

I live alone, have no dependents, have a decent enough income and my main outgoings are biscuits and travel. That means I can afford private physiotherapy. So why I persisted with the free public health physiotherapist when I had serious doubts about his efficacy, I don’t know. After the initial free sessions (six in total), I did absolutely zero in terms of physio. I just tried to get back to my normal running and yoga activities, thinking it would just take time. Experiencing pain and issues doing both and convinced my knee was buckling inwards (my free physio had replied ‘it’s one of those things’), I should have booked myself straight in for more physio from someone better skilled/or with more time available to deal with my specific issues. But no, I persisted, stubborn (and cheap) as I am.

(Video) My ACL Surgery Recovery Journey As a Physiotherapist

What happened is I eventually injured myself (bursitis) two years after surgery and was laid up for months recovering. I at least credit myself with finding a private physio at that point when I could have put myself back on the free physio waiting list.

Although my ‘bursitis physio’ helped immensely, I still wasn’t making the progress I wanted. Cue: physio number 3. Dealing with elite athletes (yes, feel free to actually laugh out loud), I knew that if anyone could get my knee back to full strength, it was him. And, so far, I’ve come on in leaps and actual bounds from just three sessions with the new guy.

How you can do it differently:

If your recovery is not where you want it to be post ACL surgery and post any initial stint with a physiotherapist, get more physio sessions booked. It can take time to find the right person so don’t be afraid to change therapists if one isn’t working out for you.You don’t need to spend a lot of money. Often my sessions are over a month apart and I have a programme to work on in-between so it’s reasonably cost efficient over the course of time.

If you don’t have/want to spend the money on a private physio, get on any public health schemes you can.

Timing can be crucial – I wonder now if I’d have got full over-extension back (I have some hyper mobility) if I’d jumped into more physio straight away.

How to find a good physiotherapist:

The $64 million question. And I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer except here’s what has worked for me:

  • Use a sports physiotherapist rather than a generalist.
  • Find someone who has had proven results with ACL surgery recovery – my guy regularly rehabilitates footballers (yes, you may laugh again).
  • Make sure they understand what your sports goals are – getting your knee overall well versus having the strength to run will require a different recovery regime (I know from experience).
  • Assess how confident they are – assuming your PT isn’t full of bluster, find someone who is confident they can get you to where you need to be versus someone who accepts ‘we might not get there’. Of course, you need to be realistic but with my same knee, 4 physios had different views on whether I’ll be able to run properly again. Clearly, I want to work with the person who says ‘that’s possible’.
  • Make sure your physio is able to record progress – until my current PT, all measurements of my progress were done by look and feel. ‘It looks better. Does it feel stronger?’ With my new guy, he has a machine that tests my quad and hamstring strength. I get exercises. I do them. I’m re-tested. I like being able to see recorded progress. Or not. One of my muscles isn’t getting as strong as quickly as the others (hamstring on the injured leg, unsurprisingly). Solution: work harder on that muscle.
  • Tell your physio about your lifestyle. If you work 16 hours a day and travel 2 days a week, he or she needs to know so you can have realistic exercises. I have ‘travel compatible’ exercises for when I’m on the road and can’t hit the gym.
  • Check reviews – it ‘s pretty easy to do online these days.

5. Not ignored the running pain…for years

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I developed what I call my ‘running-injury-recovery cycle’ post ACL surgery. I’d decide I want to get running again, go running, continue three times a week for 3 weeks. By week 4 I’d be injured (typically hip pain and then bursitis). I’d then rest for a few weeks before starting the cycle again. Upshot – I never progressed. In all that time, I barely managed a 5k before injury struck. Bursitis was the last straw that took me to a physiotherapist. In hindsight I should have gone sooner.

My current physio and all his wonderful metrics tells me my leg muscles are not only too weak and out of whack with each other (uneven muscle strength across the legs), my knee was buckling (as I knew), which collectively put me at high risk of injury. I’m lucky I didn’t hurt myself more. I now have a muscle strengthening plan in place and running is on the cards – first test run in a couple of weeks.

How you can do it differently:

If you feel pain, yes, RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) but don’t ignore it. Get it checked out. It may well be fixable. Or yelling ‘I’m about to break even more’.

6. Worked on a progressive physiotherapy programme

Let’s be honest, physio exercises are dull. We squat, bridge and lunge for the first few weeks but after that our efforts slacken off. A month ago I took my theraband to Miami and was motivated enough to lie on a hotel floor (that smelt of vomit from previous guests) and do my physio exercises. But I was motivated because they were new exercises with a new plan for my ACL surgery recovery.

A few weeks later, I couldn’t be arsed to do the same exercises when I was so fiercely procrastinating against doing work that I was cleaning inside my fridge. Solution:Work with your physio to get new exercises at regular enough intervals that they don’t become boring. This has the added advantage of helping you progress – you’ll do more and improve your recovery.

How you can do it differently:

Schedule your physio sessions around 4 weeks to 6 weeks apart – that’s the amount of time when my interest in a set of exercises starts to wane.

If you and your physio are doing your work properly, your exercises should get gradually harder. Or, at least different. If something hasn’t produced results in a month, time to try a different exercise?

Get your physio to help you switch it up. Bored of lunges? Do squats. I currently have three different ways of strengthening my hamstrings (TRX at the gym, sliding discs at home and low tables in hotels – my three natural habitats covered).

7. Pushed myself more on the weights

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I realised the other day that I’ve been leg pressing the same level of weights at the gym for decades. Yep, decades. Talk about a fixed gym mindset. It’s like I decided once I got to a certain weight level, that was enough effort, thank you very much. But it turns out that by gently pushing myself I can achieve more (who’d have thought it). And at a time when I can use all the leg strength I can get, it’s a good lesson to learn.

(Video) I don't need Knee Surgery, but my knee still hurts...what now?

How you can do it differently:

Keep an eye on what you’re achieving with your leg weights and gently, gently (I’m doing .25 of a kilo extra each time), see if you can push yourself a bit more. Just don’t go wild – this is designed to improve not ruin your ACL surgery recovery.

8. Kept up my cardio fitness (at the gym)

You probably have the sense by now that I like to run. Ideally outside. So, unless I’m doing that, cardio is off the menu. Which isn’t the smartest move during ACL surgery recovery. I wish now I’d been more strict, making myself maintain some kind of cardio fitness even when I couldn’t run. Actually, especially when I couldn’t run. Because now, facing the idea of running in a couple of weeks time, I’m almost as terrified about how my stamina will hold up as I am about my knee. Needless to say, I’ve become a bit more focused at the gym, hitting the cross trainer in the past few weeks instead of just ambling along on the bike willing every minute to be over.

How you can do it differently:

You may not be able to ski/run/play football but if you want to get back to it, you’ve got to keep your cardio up. I get it – gyms and cardio machines are duller than dishwater but they’re also the safest gateway back to your chosen sport. Commit to a regular cardio workout when you’re doing your strength and physio training. And no, a brisk walk or vinyasa flow on your yoga mat probably isn’t going to cut it.

9. Invested in regular sports massage earlier on

One of the biggest barriers to me pushing myself after my ACL surgery has actually been my leg muscles. Locked up would be an understatement. It wasn’t until, errrr, around year two that I really started to address this and wow did it hurt. Not knowing enough about anatomy and injury, it didn’t occur to me that my legs muscles could get themselves into such a state. Sure, I did some yoga and all that jazz but compared to a torturer…I mean sports masseuse…sticking the pointy finger of doom into the middle of your muscle to get it to release, the yoga was no more effective than a tickle with a feather.

How you can do it differently:

Try a sports massage fairly early on in your ACL surgery recovery regimen. Just a few months after surgery I spent a month in Thailand and let the Thai ladies loose on my legs. I was nervous but they were careful and, though painful at the time, the regular massage worked. Keep it up (I didn’t). As we work to re-strengthen and regain proper function in our legs, our muscles can tighten to the point they’re hindering our recovery.

Be aware, it needs to be a sports massage. Hot stones won’t be as effective, sorry.

At home, I also use these ‘miracle balls‘ – they help to release tight muscles while you sit on your backside watching TV. Bargain and effective for £15/$20. I use mine several times a week.

10.Worked towards recovering my ACL for all of my sports at the same time

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I’ve tried to get back to my sports on a ‘favourites first’ basis which has put running and yoga at the top of my list. So it was only recently I’ve started to enquire about other things I like to do or want to try – hiking (volcanoes are a particular favourite), surfing (I’m terrible but would like to improve), aerial yoga, K08 and getting back to Krav Maga. Some of those sports are going to be more achievable than others. And though I like that I’m specifically strengthening my legs for running, if I’d been a bit broader with my activity list, I could have gone on with some of the other sports in the meantime rather than being so single minded about my recovery and focus. Undoubtedly, this would have helped my overall strength and fitness.

How you can do it differently:

Give your PT a list of all the sports you enjoy or want to try and see which they recommend tackling in the meantime while you work on full strength for your favourites.

11. Managed my weight (and pity picnics) better

“Fine, if I can’t run and still don’t have the flexibility to do the yoga I want, I may as well sit on the sofa and eat a packet of biscuits.” If you’ve suffered with weight increase generally or as a result of what I like to call pity picnics, I get it. Before I screwed up my knee, my emotional outlet was running. Take that away and I turned to biscuits and their salty cousin, crisps. Coupled with a reduced level of activity overall and it didn’t take long for me to gain weight. The problem is, it took me too long to lose it. And I’m still not 100% there.

I’ve had a challenging year emotionally (my mum died at Christmas) and the pity picnics have been an increasingly frequent occurrence. But it’s literally the last thing my ACL surgery recovery needs. So, over the past few months I made a dedicated effort and as a result I’ve said goodbye to over a stone in weight. I’ve stalled a little but I’m determined to push through and lose the last pounds I never used to carry when I was able to run.

How you can do it differently:

Mainly this was about mindset for me. First, I had to accept that that waiting until I could run to lose the weight wasn’t realistic. I had to lose the weight first. I identified my weaknesses (previously cited biscuits and crisps). I then had to apply some pretty serious willpower and stop putting the damn things in my mouth. It came down to: which do I want more – to be able to run without the extra weight on my knee, or the biscuit. Sure, sometimes the genuine answer meant throwing a chocolate digestive in my mouth but I started doing it as more of a treat than a 3 p.m. appointment with half a packet.

12. Tracked my ACL recovery to within an inch of its life

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Every heard the saying ‘what gets measured gets done’? Or, more specifically, if you write down your goals, they’re more likely to be achieved. It’s been proven.And I knew this, which is what makes it so frustrating that I didn’t think to apply this approach to my ACL surgery recovery. Instead of having goals and targets, I let my recovery amble on. Which is probably why I’m writing this post nearly three years after my ACL surgery.

And, d’you know what, even as I write this, I don’t have specific goals set. Not measurable ones. So, that’s my next task after I hit publish on this post.

How you can do it differently:

Make a list of your goals. Discuss it with your physio. Put that list somewhere you can see it. Check it often and revise it as necessary. We don’t always hit our targets 100% but you’re 100% more likely to hit something you’re aiming at (run 10ks without risk of injury) than some idea (I should run again) that floats vaguely around in your head.

(Video) Torn ACL in Dogs - $1,095 Surgery to Repair the Cranial Cruciate Ligament

13. Set deadlines for my progress

What I like about my new PT is that I know where I’m heading and, most importantly, by what date. I know that for the next 4 weeks, I’m trying to make my hamstrings more solid than Mr Schwarzeneggers’. I know that if I manage to do that (or do the best I can – he’s got some very fierce hammies), I will try to run. I will try to do it across the space of 40 minutes with the view to being able to run outdoors on my own for 20 minutes the following week.

Without tough but achievable deadlines, I’ve not made as much progress in my ACL surgery recovery as I’d have liked.

How you can do it differently:

Put some deadlines on your plan and make yourself accountable. Deadlines will also help you spot any flaws. While you might be working towards a goal in one month, are you realistically going to hit the gym every day if you’re on honeymoon for two of those weeks?

14. Invested in motivational gadgets and fitness kit

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I love a gadget – nothing motivates me more than new kit. When I couldn’t sleep years ago, I went out and bought a Fitbit to track all the sleep I wasn’t getting. Not exactly motivating, confirming how little I slept each night, but it at least helped me understand why I was so goddam exhausted all the time. I now use my Fitbit to motivate me to get fitter (cardio) and lose weight during my ACL surgery recovery journey.

How you can do it differently:

The best gadgets I’ve bought for my ACL recovery are:

  • a set of smart scales. Not only do they track my weight loss, I can see my muscle mass increasing bit by bit as well as my bone density and water levels – all measures of a healthier, fitter me (not sure how scales can measure this? Answer: it’s science not magic). It’s often the prospect of stepping on those scales than makes me push harder at the gym or remove that 6th…ok, 7th biscuit from my mouth.
  • Training gadgets – I’m not talking about anything expensive (all under $20) – sliding discs (to work on my hamstrings), miracle balls (to unlock my muscles), dumbbells (for some quick lunges during a work break) and a gym ball for all sorts of fitness fun including gentle flexion during the early days of ACL recovery.

Yes, it’s my inner child demanding new toys to play with but if those toys are helping me get fit and strong, I’m happy to continue to indulge her.

15. Woken even morning to ‘You Better Work B*TCH’ by Britney

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Ok, I’m only partly serious (though Britney’s song is often enough to get me to the gym when I’m not in the mood). My main point is, I would have applied a bit more tough love. It can be hard getting fully recovered after ACL surgery but I’m not a stranger to hard work. And this really is one of those times where effort and outcome are directly correlated.

How you can do it differently:

Persist. Persist. Persist.

So, that’s my list of things I would have done differently to help my ACL surgery recovery. Got any extra ACL recovery tips and suggestions? Let me know in the comments below.

Interested in some of the photos you saw in this post? I wrote about a few of the destinations here:

20 Things To Do In Verbier in Summer

The Best Places to Visit in Colombia

How to Spend One Day At The Grand Canyon

Isla De Ometepe – My Barefood Volcano Hike

Like this blog post of ACL surgery recovery tips? Share it on Pinterest…

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(Video) Top 6 Exercises To Do After Total Knee Replacement

FAQs

What can I 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.
Jan 23, 2019

What is the fastest way to recover from ACL surgery? ›

Tips for Healing Faster after ACL Surgery
  1. Physical therapy. A physical therapy program designed specifically for you will help you recover function, mobility, and strength. ...
  2. Cryotherapy. ...
  3. Bracing. ...
  4. Rest.

How do you stay positive after ACL surgery? ›

The usual suspects—funny magazines, books, television shows, and movies—are a good place to start. Seek out friends with whom you've shared laughter in the past and hang out with them. Let them help you get in the mood to laugh and smile your way to better knee health. Go to a park and people watch for a while.

When is ACL graft weakest? ›

The graft complex is actually at its weakest at around the 6 week post operative mark. Kinematic research has shown that open chain exercises cause significantly more anterior tibial displacement and hence more strain on the graft than closed chain exercises.

Why is my knee still swollen 9 months after ACL surgery? ›

While the healing process of the injured tissue may have occurred and the weakened tissue is back to full tensile strength, there still may be swelling which is activity dependent.

Why does my knee hurt 2 years after ACL surgery? ›

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.

Is cycling good for ACL tear? ›

Cycling can also help promote the health of knee cartilage and support the healing process in patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.

Is walking good for ACL recovery? ›

It's important to start walking within a day or two after ACL surgery, but only a little. Walking for a minute or two can help reduce swelling, but you shouldn't walk any more than that. After two weeks, you can start walking around unassisted without crutches for short periods of time.

Can I do push ups after ACL surgery? ›

While you're in recovery from your knee injury, create a series of exercises that get your heart rate up without putting stress on your knee, especially if your knee injury was considered mild. Warm up with a 10-minute walk or swim, or try the following exercises a few times a week to stay in shape: Push-ups.

Will your knee ever be the same after ACL surgery? ›

In some patients, their knee is not the same. In some patients, ten years later their knee is not the same. Some people do very well with ACL reconstruction surgery, some do very well with second or revision ACL surgery. Some do well with the third ACL reconstruction/revision surgery.

Is it OK to bend knee after ACL surgery? ›

Get the knee bending

Difficulty with knee bending (or flexion) is much less common following ACL reconstruction surgery. It is very safe to bend the knee and the physiotherapist will have you onto the CPM machine day one after surgery. The bending won't come back without some gentle pushing on your part.

Will I gain weight after ACL surgery? ›

Conclusions: Weight change in young adults after ACL rupture is not uniform. Some gain weight, while others do not. Athletes who were male, younger, and sustained a 2nd ACL injury were more likely to gain weight over 5 years.

How long does it take to get quad muscle back after ACL surgery? ›

This study shows a potential link between persistent thigh muscle weakness and quality of life up to 10 years after ACL surgery. It is important to restore your quadriceps and hamstring strength within the first 9 to 12 months after your surgery.

What should I be able to do 2 weeks after ACL surgery? ›

Phase I: First 2 weeks after surgery

During the first two weeks following your surgery, the main goal is limiting pain and swelling as much as possible, while also focusing on partially regaining your range of motion. You will likely be on crutches for at least 7-10 days following the surgery.

Why is my knee clicking after ACL surgery? ›

Knee clicking and popping are extremely common during the first year after any knee surgery. These are usually due to soft tissue swelling or early scar formation. Soft tissue massage is the trick to resolving the naturally healing tissue's excess thickness.

What happens to the screws after ACL surgery? ›

We use specialized screws or pins to hold that ligament in the bone tunnels until it heals, which takes about six or eight weeks. Those screws or pins are either permanent, made out of titanium or made out of a substance that will be reabsorbed by the body over the course of one or two years.

Why does my knee hurt 6 months after ACL surgery? ›

Potential longer term problems after ACL knee surgery are: Lack of Stability: Sometimes the new ACL graft does not provide enough stability to allow return to full sporting activities. This is usually due to either the ligament not healing in a tight enough position or from associated damage inside the knee.

What can you do 8 weeks after ACL surgery? ›

Usually by 6-8 Weeks After ACL Surgery patients should be able to have full flexion to 135 degrees, be able to consistently use the weight room and moderate speed strengthening training or agility and sport specific drills.

Can I squat with torn ACL? ›

You have full terminal extension within the first week of rehab and you want to be at 90 degrees of flexion (doing bodyweight squats) by the end of week two. Full range of motion should come by no later than five to six weeks.

Is stationary bike good for ACL rehab? ›

Stationary Bike: The stationary bike is one of the best rehab tools available for the knee. It helps build range of motion, strength and endurance. In phase III, it is used mostly for range of motion. Set the seat position high and set the resistance at zero.

When can I drive car after ACL surgery? ›

A. You should not drive as long as you are taking narcotic pain medication. If it is your left knee, you can resume driving when you feel your reaction times are back to normal (typically 1 week). If it is your right knee, usually allow driving 4-6 weeks after surgery.

How long does it take to bend knee after ACL surgery? ›

When the patient can control their range of motion progression, their perceived threat is reduced and motion often comes back easier. Knee flexion is restored more gradually, with about 90 degrees achieved at 1 week and full knee flexion gradually advanced and achieved by week 4-6.

Why is ACL recovery 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.

How can I make my legs stronger after ACL surgery? ›

Top Rehab Exercises After ACL Surgery
  1. Quadriceps Contractions. Lying flat, tighten your thigh muscle with a straight knee until the back of the knee pushes into the bed. ...
  2. Straight Leg Raises. ...
  3. Heel Slides. ...
  4. Patellar Mobilizations. ...
  5. Seated Knee Flexion. ...
  6. Prone Hangs. ...
  7. Core Training. ...
  8. Ambulation Training.

When can I start lifting upper body after ACL surgery? ›

For many athletes, this is about 6 weeks after surgery. Delaying the start of strength training will only prolong your rehab and decrease your chances of ever getting back to playing. It is important to follow the advice of your therapist before surgery (ACL prehab) and immediately after your surgery (early ACL rehab).

How long after ACL surgery can you spin? ›

Weeks 7-12

Side-to-side, pivoting sports — such as basketball, soccer, and football — must be avoided.

Why are ACLS so weak? ›

This vulnerability is due to the anatomy of the hips and knees and a lack of muscle support structures to protect the ACL from experiencing high levels of strain during jumping, landing or cutting movements.

Will I be slower after ACL surgery? ›

The rehab you do after an ACL tear sets the stage for the level of play you are able to return to. Poor rehab (or poor effort / attendance during rehab) = a slower, weaker, less athletic, more injury-prone you when you go back to your sport. This article provides a brief summary of the four stages of ACL rehab.

Is new ACL stronger? ›

It is quite strong. Biomechanical studies have shown that it is about 70% stronger than a normal ACL at the time of implantation. Some studies on patellar tendon grafts have demonstrated higher functional scores postoperatively and lower failure rates.

Why does my shin hurt after ACL surgery? ›

You may have painful bruising, swelling and redness down the front of your shin and ankle, caused by the fluid inside your knee joint (synovial fluid and blood) leaking down your shin. These symptoms are temporary and should start to improve after about 1 week.

How long does it take to get full knee extension after ACL surgery? ›

Immediately after surgery

The first two weeks after surgery are spent reducing knee swelling and recovering knee extension. You should reach and maintain a complete knee extension two weeks after surgery.

How often should I do physical therapy after ACL surgery? ›

2 weeks after surgery. 4 weeks after surgery. About every 1–3 months after that, depending on how you're doing.

How do I not get fat after knee surgery? ›

Focus on lean protein.

After surgery, remember to incorporate some form of protein at every meal or snack. To avoid gaining weight, concentrate on lean or low-fat protein sources such as skin-less white-meat poultry, lean cuts of beef or pork, fish, eggs, low fat dairy products, nuts, beans and legumes.

How much does titanium knee weigh? ›

The metal parts of the implant are made of titanium- or cobalt-chromium-based alloys. The plastic parts are made of medical grade polyethylene. Some implants are made of ceramics or ceramic/metal mixtures such as oxidized zirconium. These implants typically weigh between 15 and 20 ounces.

Is ACL rehab painful? ›

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. Swelling and bruising are also relatively common, and like discomfort, they're temporary.

Why is the quad so weak after ACL surgery? ›

After an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery, it's common to experience quadriceps weakness, which was thought to be caused primarily by muscle atrophy, or shrinkage.

Can you deadlift after ACL surgery? ›

Deadlifts to protect the ACL - wk 5 post-op surgery | Feat. Tim Keeley | No.45

How much muscle do you lose after ACL surgery? ›

People with anterior cruciate ligament injuries can lose up to 40% of the muscle strength in the affected leg -- with muscle atrophy remaining a big problem even after ACL reconstruction and physical therapy.

What happens at 4 weeks after ACL surgery? ›

Those who achieve full and symmetrical active range of motion in extension and flexion within the first 4 weeks typically have less difficulty later on with anterior knee pain, chronic swelling, abnormal gait mechanics, and secondary complications.

What can I do 6 months after ACL surgery? ›

3-6 months Post ACL surgery - YouTube

Why does my knee still hurt 5 months after ACL surgery? ›

Potential longer term problems after ACL knee surgery are: Lack of Stability: Sometimes the new ACL graft does not provide enough stability to allow return to full sporting activities. This is usually due to either the ligament not healing in a tight enough position or from associated damage inside the knee.

How long does it take to get full knee extension after ACL surgery? ›

Immediately after surgery

The first two weeks after surgery are spent reducing knee swelling and recovering knee extension. You should reach and maintain a complete knee extension two weeks after surgery.

Can you walk too much after ACL surgery? ›

The total recovery time for ACL surgery is 6 to 12 months before you can get back to life as normal. At a minimum, you shouldn't try to do any excessive walking or heavy lifting for 10 to 12 weeks, and you should take it extremely slow when you do.

How soon can I 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.

Will I gain weight after ACL surgery? ›

Conclusions: Weight change in young adults after ACL rupture is not uniform. Some gain weight, while others do not. Athletes who were male, younger, and sustained a 2nd ACL injury were more likely to gain weight over 5 years.

How long after ACL surgery can you lift weights? ›

Your strength training program begins once your pain, swelling, range of motion, and walking are back to normal. For many athletes, this is about 6 weeks after surgery. Delaying the start of strength training will only prolong your rehab and decrease your chances of ever getting back to playing.

Why does my knee hurt 1 year after ACL surgery? ›

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.

Does your knee ever feel normal after ACL surgery? ›

The authors conclude that the majority of their patients (85 to 90 per cent) had close to normal (if not fully normal) knee motion and function after ACL reconstruction.

Is swimming good for ACL recovery? ›

Don't swim or run for five months. You can swim with your arms, without paddling your feet, at about two to three months after surgery.

Why won't my leg straighten after ACL surgery? ›

Achieving a completely straight knee (referred to as extension) is actually the single most important thing following ACL reconstruction surgery. However, to get it out fully straight, you will need to have your pain under control and reduce the swelling. Do an extension stretch exercise repeatedly throughout the day.

Why is my knee so tight after ACL surgery? ›

Arthrofibrosis, also known as “stiff knee syndrome,” occurs when excessive scar tissue forms around a joint, limiting range of motion and causing pain and disability. It can be a complication of knee replacement or anterior cruciate ligament surgery, with infections and bleeding as known contributing factors.

Can fully extend leg after ACL surgery? ›

The most common complication and cause for poorer outcomes following ACL reconstruction is motion loss, particularly loss of full knee extension. The inability to fully extend the knee results in abnormal joint motions, scar tissue formation in the front of the knee joint, and subtle changes in normal knee mobility.

Is cycling good for ACL tear? ›

Cycling can also help promote the health of knee cartilage and support the healing process in patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.

What can you do 8 weeks after ACL surgery? ›

Usually by 6-8 Weeks After ACL Surgery patients should be able to have full flexion to 135 degrees, be able to consistently use the weight room and moderate speed strengthening training or agility and sport specific drills.

How many times a week is physical therapy after ACL surgery? ›

The program should be designed to improve balance, strength, and sports performance. Strengthening your core (abdominal) muscles is key to preventing injury, in addition to strengthening your thigh and leg muscles. Exercises should be performed 2 or 3 times per week and should include sport-specific exercises.

Videos

1. Stranger Things 4 | ST Cast Recaps Seasons 1-3 | Netflix
(Stranger Things)
2. Soft Tissue Injuries.
(Sports Authority of India)
3. ACL Injury Prevention For Female Athletes
(Max Velocity Fitness)
4. Kawhi Leonard is down and bleeding pretty badly after colliding with Serge Ibaka
(MLG Highlights)
5. Live Presentation | Adam Menner: Speed Hierarchy
(Business of Strength)
6. The JuggLife | Mike Guadango
(Juggernaut Training Systems)

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