An ACL injury refers to the tearing of a major ligament in your knee. The ACL, along with other ligaments, keeps your knee and leg bones in place when you walk or run. An untreated ACL tear may lead to serious knee instability, recurring injury, or damage to other parts of the knee.
With ACL surgery, it’s important to remember that the road ahead will be a slow recovery progress and you shouldn’t try to rush any part of your recovery. Here is what you can expect after surgery.
You may want to have someone help you when you first get home from the hospital, as you will feel weak and immobile.
You should also expect to be out of work from anywhere between a few days to a few weeks, depending on how physically demanding your job is. It is important to rest in the first couple of weeks and ice the knee in your own time. Along with this, it will be important to start focusing on strengthening and stabilising the knee with the help of Dr. Sunner and your physio.
Rehabilitation is an important part of your ACL recovery, and is essential in order for you to get back into regular physical activity. With the help of a physio you will be back to your old self within a few weeks to a few months (again depending on your age and other factors).
Below are some commonly asked questions regarding ACL surgery recovery:
Do I need to wear a brace after ACL reconstruction?
Bracing after ACL surgery depends on the surgeon and patient preference. Some surgeons never use bracing, some always use a brace, and others just use a brace during the immediate post-operative or rehabilitation phases. The ACL recovery brace still remains the subject of much debate. Ultimately It should be decided with your surgeon or doctor whether this is the best option for you.
What are the possible complications with ACL surgery?
Like with any surgery, there is some risk involved. Infection and bleeding are always surgical risks. However, infection rates for arthroscopic ACL reconstructions are among the lowest for surgical procedures, with average infection rates typically cited at 0.2 percent.
How long will I need to use crutches?
Two weeks’ post-surgery you should be learning to walk without crutches - from this point on you will then start to progress from using two crutches to one crutch, and then finally to walking without assistance. If you are experiences any extreme pain or think you may be in need of medical attention please contact your GP immediately or call 000, depending on the severity of the pain.
What else can I do to recover quicker post-surgery?
Some patients may use cryotherapy to help with the swelling post-surgery. While some swelling is normal, and even helpful for the healing process, too much of it contributes to pain and limits range of motion.
If you have any further questions on ACL surgery, please talk to your GP or contact Western Orthopaedics on (02) 4731 8466
You can read more on ACL injuries here.