The Do’s and Don’ts of Recovery After ACL Surgery



ACL reconstruction surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in India, and it can be very effective in alleviating pain and stiffness associated with ACL injury. However, there are some critical things that need to be done, and some important things that shouldn’t be done after ACL surgery in order to get back on your feet faster and healthier than ever before!

Table of Contents

Here's what you need to know about these do's and don'ts After ACL Surgery

1) wearing knee brace first few weeks after ACL surgery

Most people are told to wear a knee brace after ACL surgery for the first few weeks. This is because it helps protect the ACL ligament from getting damaged during activity when you might be not used to bending that knee yet. The brace should be worn for a minimum of 3-4 weeks to let your knee become stronger. It protects newly reconstructed ligament from injury, reduces swelling and promotes ligament healing, be sure to speak with your doctor about when it’s safe to take off the brace, as there might be an additional period of time where it’s needed.

2) Parents should avoid too much pampering of children

Children who are excessively pampered by their parents and have too much time to rest their knee after surgery are at risk for problems in recovery. This is because a child will start to feel lazy and not work as hard, causing less muscle control and strength. Children with lower leg strength can experience more problems in the future if they don’t work on strengthening while they are still young. So instead of over-pampering your child and keeping them from physiotheraphy, encourage them to do things that build up their muscles and make them stronger.

3) Give adequate time to physiotherapy

Daily minimum of 1-2 hours physiotherapy for at least 3 months required, otherwise knee stiffness and poor recovery can occur. The patient may develop fixed flexion deformity which can alter normal gait; in this situation, the goal is to restore knee extension with additional assistance to compensate for non-active quadriceps muscle atrophy. For many patients it will take many months before they achieve complete restoration of knee function.

4) Following wrong physiotherapy protocols

Physiotherapy is necessary to accelerate post ACL surgery recovery. Some people follow their own physiotherapy protocols without proper consultation. Remember, this can adversely affect your post-surgical recovery. Make sure you take advice from a qualified physiotherapist about correct protocol for exercises and ensure you do them daily to have the best results.

5) Early return to sports

Following recovery from ACL injury, an athlete should be given a return to sports fitness test before their professional sports league. If you feel that you are not fully healed yet, then speak with your doctor about it first before proceeding with returning to sports. Otherwise, it can adversely affect your Sports career. You should return to sports only after clearing your fitness test.

6) Early mobilization

Multiligament tears need more rest. The early mobilization should not be done as it can result in failure of the surgery. When more than one ligament is injured, as in an ACL tear with a simultaneous meniscus injury, the period for rest needs to be increased. Always It is important to stay within the parameters advised by your sports injury surgeon for best results, so if they say that five minutes a day is enough, then stick with five minutes per day. Better to stick to the protocols advised by your surgeon for best results

7) Delay in starting Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is typically started the first day after surgery. The sooner you start, the more likely your post ACL surgery recovery will be a success. Delay can result in knee stiffness, which can lead to decreased range of motion, pain, and even re-injury. For best results follow the advice given by your surgeon.

8) Inadequate diet

Diet has an important role in your recovery. A balanced diet is necessary, rich in mainly proteins, vitamins and calcium. First few months after surgery you should focus on protein and vitamin intake. Six to eight weeks after surgery you should focus on iron and calcium intake. Eight to twelve months post-surgery you should focus on healthy weight management and maintaining good bone health with adequate vitamin D3. Collect your diet chart from your surgeon after surgery.

9) Avoid Open Chain Exercises

It is important to avoid exercises that stress the ACL, such as open chain exercises. These exercises include anything done without a fixed object for balance like running, jumping, or biking. It is also important to avoid twisting movements that place pressure on the knee joint such as squats and lunges. Only closed chain exercises should be done after ACL surgery such as leg presses, stair climbing, elliptical exercise machines, or stationary bikes.

10) Always be in touch with your ACL surgeon and Physiotherapist until complete recovery

It is important to always be in touch with your ACL surgeon and physiotherapist until complete recovery. Your surgeon will provide you with advice for improvement, a rehabilitation plan, and feedback about your progress. You should also take regular advice for improvement. The most important thing after ACL surgery is to strengthen the muscles around the injured knee by well-planned physiotherapy.

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