ACL surgery is necessary when a severe injury occurs in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. This procedure can restore function to the affected knee. It allows those with a physically active lifestyle to resume most if not all of their activities. If you are scheduled for an ACL repair, you should start planning for your recovery, as well as preparing your home for it.
Here, we will give you some home care tips for a successful recovery from ACL surgery.
Avoid high-impact activities for at least six weeks after surgery. This means no running, jumping, or contact sports. Always check with your orthopedic surgeon before returning to any physical activity.
You will leave the outpatient facility with a bandage over the incision site. It is important to keep your dressing and bandage clean and dry, and remove it only after your doctor has said it is safe to do so. Keep your knee brace on unless you are exercising or showering.
Prepare Your Home
A raised toilet seat and grab bars in the bathroom make going to the toilet easier and safer during recovery. A shower chair also makes showering much safer and more comfortable. Make sure you have non-slip rugs on your bathroom floor. If you can, recover on the ground floor of your home to avoid going up and down stairs. During the first few weeks after surgery, bending your knees to sit down and eat may not be so comfortable. A bed tray table can make eating in bed hygienic and more comfortable.
Reduce Pain and Swelling
It’s normal to feel some discomfort after surgery, but you should not have to feel pain. Take your pain medications as prescribed, do your physical therapy exercises, and you should be able to wean off pain medication soon. Swelling is also to be expected as it is part of healing. To keep swelling down, you can apply ice to the area for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day for a week or two.
Commit To Your Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
Follow your orthopedic surgeon’s rehabilitation protocol carefully. You may start meeting with a physical therapist soon after surgery and until you have been completely rehabilitated. Your physical therapist will teach you how to properly use assistive devices. Physical therapy exercises usually begin one to two weeks after surgery. Exercise is a crucial part of your recovery, and it’s important to do it as prescribed by your therapist.
Physical therapy exercises after ACL repair surgery will depend on the individual case and what the surgeon recommends. However, some general guidelines can be followed. In most cases, you will usually start with range of motion exercises and then progress to strength training and stability exercises.
- Start by doing range of motion exercises for your knee. This will help prevent stiffness and keep your knee flexible.
- Strengthening exercises are important to regain the strength in your leg muscles that you may have lost after surgery. Begin with simple exercises like straight leg raises and then progress to more challenging ones like single-leg squats.
- Balance training is also important, as it can help you avoid falls and further injury to your surgically repaired ACL. Try standing on one leg or walking heel-to-toe in a straight line.
It is important to follow the surgeon’s recommendations and not push too hard too soon to avoid further injury. Pay attention to how your body feels during and after activity. If you experience pain or swelling, stop immediately and consult with your doctor.
Once you have been cleared by your doctor, you can slowly start incorporating more activities back into your life. The typical ACL surgery recovery time is around 6 to 9 months.
ACL Repair in Bismarck, ND
The Bone & Joint Center can provide for all your needs to recover from an ACL injury. We have two orthopedic surgeons highly experienced in ligament reconstruction surgery and provide state-of-the-art physical therapy services on site. If you have any questions or to schedule an ACL repair consultation, call our Bismark orthopedic office today at (701) 946-7400 / (866) 900-8650 or use our convenient appointment request form.