The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) plays the important role of helping to keep the knee joint stable. When this essential ligament is torn or overstretched, it can lead to uncomfortable and persistent symptoms such as swelling, pain and a popping sensation in the knee. While many ACL injuries can be effectively treated using conservative methods, surgery may be needed in some cases. Should your orthopedic physician recommend surgical ACL reconstruction, it is important to be aware of what to expect after ACL surgery.
What to Expect After ACL Surgery: Recovery Time, Exercises & More
If you are considering surgery as a treatment for your ACL injury, here are a few key things you should know about the rehabilitation process:
- What can I expect immediately after surgery? Carefully following your orthopedic surgeon’s post-surgery instructions is crucial, particularly in the first two weeks after the procedure. During this time, your primary focus will be managing your pain and swelling while preventing fluid buildup around the affected knee joint. You will be advised to elevate your leg and apply ice every few hours. Further, you should plan to use crutches during this time. You will be partial weight bearing on your operative leg during these first few weeks.
- What exercises will I do to aid in my recovery? Throughout the rehabilitation process, you will be instructed to perform certain exercises to strengthen your knee and regain full range of motion. You can expect to start out with low-impact movements, such as squatting and walking. You’ll gradually work your way back up to more intense exercises like jumping and jogging.
- How long will it take for me to recover fully? As every patient is different, there is no way to predict exactly how long it will take for you to get back to normal. However, you should expect to spend at least 7-9 months recovering from ACL surgery. Assuming your knee injury has fully healed at this point, you will likely be cleared to return to all of your normal activities, including sports. Still, you may be advised to wear a knee brace during activities for one to two years after surgery to prevent a repeat injury.
Hopefully, these guidelines have provided valuable insight into what to expect after ACL surgery and you now feel well informed about the rehabilitation process for this procedure.
Find the Right Treatment for Your Knee Injury with Dr. Soffer
If you are experiencing lingering symptoms which seem to indicate an ACL injury, it is important to consult a skilled orthopedic surgeon for prompt diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Stephen Soffer is a qualified surgeon who can walk you through your various treatment options. He will help you choose the most appropriate option given your individual circumstances.
As a knee specialist with extensive experience performing ACL surgery, Dr. Soffer will treat you with compassion and ensure you receive the very best care for your knee injury. If you would like to arrange an appointment, please call our office at 610-375-4949. We look forward to helping you resolve your knee symptoms so that you can get back to doing what you love.