Tips for Improving Your Recovery After ACL Surgery
It is estimated that up to 175,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions are conducted each year in the United States. ACL injuries are most common in athletes and high activity-level people. Those that play football, soccer, basketball and baseball are at higher risk due to either direct contact, sudden jumping and landing or quick change in direction that these sports entail.
The first question most patients ask me following ACL surgery is, “when am I going to be back to 100 percent?” My typical answer – It takes 6-8 months to get back to full, high-level athletic activity. However, for the average person engaging in recreational sports, recovery is often much quicker. Whether you are a Division I athlete or an avid gardener, one thing is certain – proper recovery comes with work and YOU can set the overall tempo of your healing.
Keep these following tips in mind as you approach undergoing ACL surgery.
They will help you minimize your downtime and steadily hasten your recovery. Steps taken early on will pay huge dividends later in your recovery.
- Minimize swelling after surgery. Swelling creates stiffening in the tissue, causing pain and inhibiting progression of your rehab. Adhere to the post-operative guidelines your surgeon provides, which will include information about keeping the leg elevated and using cold therapy (ice packs).
- Achieve full range of motion of the knee as quickly and safely as possible. Full extension or straightening of the knee should be achieved within the first few days. Bending of the knee should progress steadily over the next few weeks with the goal of full bending by 3-4 weeks following surgery. Stiffness of the knee is difficult to work out once it has set in.
- Prevent muscle weakness after surgery. Muscles can become significantly deconditioned after the procedure. This can lead to muscle weakness and difficulty in getting your full strength back. Your surgeon will prescribe simple exercises to prevent this. It may seem that these exercises are not doing much at first, but it is important to adhere to these to ensure your muscle strength returns.
Call Dr. Matthew T. Boes today and schedule an appointment.