Tips and Tricks to a Successful ACL Reconstruction

The first few weeks after ACL reconstruction surgery are by far and away the most important as far as the long-term results are concerned. With a wide range of shoulder and knee reconstruction surgeries, getting to a good start can take a long time off the recovery time. Similarly, getting off to a slow start can add a very long time to the recovery.

Here are a few tips and tricks to consider in the early weeks of your ACL rehabilitation:

1.Control Your Pain

Excessive pain will prevent you from performing the necessary exercises. Successful pain control is achieved by taking a few simple pain killers (Panadol and anti-inflammatories) regularly and including the stronger narcotic pain killers as required.

2.Reduce Swelling

Swelling is normal in the inflammatory response caused by the trauma of surgery. It may cause joint stiffness and the muscles to stop working. Swelling is treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE).

Put on a compression garment and a Tubigrip. Sleeve on the knee till the swelling persists, which might be for weeks.

There is no such thing as a lot of ice in the initial stages. Three to four sessions for about 15 minutes a day is required. Excellent results can be obtained with the GameReady device used by professional sports teams. It may be hired with the help of certain physiotherapists.

3.Restore Complete Straightening

Achieving a completely straight knee is really the absolute most significant thing following arthroscopic ACL reconstruction surgery. However, to get it out completely straight, you should have your pain under control and reduce the swelling. Do extension stretches exercise more frequently throughout the day?

If you are resting or sitting, have the leg out straight with the heel propped on a pillow to delicately drive the knee straight. Remember that stretching exercises are low-burden, long-term Stretch and hold.

A knee that doesn’t completely straighten causes a permanent limp.

To assess your progress from week to week, lie flat on the bed and try to put your hand under your knee. By the end of week six, there should not be sufficient space to slide your hand easily between the rear of your knee and the bed. The knee should be completely straight before the end of week twelve at the latest.

4.Get the knee bent

Trouble with knee bending (or flexion) is much less normal following arthroscopic ACL surgery. It is extremely safe to bend the knee and the physiotherapist will have you on the CPM machine the very next day after the surgery. The bending won’t return without some delicate pushing on your part. Start with the drop and dangle exercises in my rehabilitation program.

A few people are apprehensive about damaging their reconstruction. This can be a mistake as it often leads to inadequate rehabilitation and stiffness. The reconstruction is stronger than you think and will not be damaged by strong extension or bending in the early weeks.

5.Remember the kneecap?

Kneecap pain (patellofemoral pain) is the scourge of ACL repair. A few times, the kneecap is damaged with the original injury, but generally, the kneecap pain is a secondary event because of the tightness of the tissues on the external portion of the knee and weakness of the quadriceps, which grows after surgery. Early medical patellofemoral glide extenders are used as part of the rehabilitation process. It is also really smart to do some ITB massage and, assuming there is ITB tightness, use an ITB roller and do some regular ITB stretches.

6.Get the quads going

The quadriceps muscles on the front of your thigh are the biggest muscle group in your body and the first to start dying. As a rule, a week of quad wasting requires a month and a half of rehabilitation to reverse. So get cracking on those quads right from the start. The best early exercise is straight leg raising, and there could be no upper limit on the number of straight leg raises you can do every day.


As simple as it seems, getting back to full weight bearing after a week on support is a critical milestone. It is important to use the crutches and partial weight-bearing for the starting week. But, beyond that, the muscle wasting will happen quickly if you stay on crutches. Each step you take gets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles activated and start restoring typical neuromuscular function.

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