ACL Surgery and ACL Recovery

ACL surgery is frequently performed to repair tears to the anterior cruceate ligament, or ACL. This injury, which is especially common among athletes and those who participate in physical fitness activities. The ACL is one of two ligaments which cross over the Knee.

, connecting the shin bone and thigh bone and supporting the knee joint. Activities which cause unusual movement of the knee joint (pivoting while standing in place or overextending the knee) can cause tearing of this tough, rubber-band-like tissue. Downhill skiing, soccer, basketball, football, volleyball and gymnastics are sports which are known for causing ACL injuries. If you have torn your ACL, you probably realized it right away. This injury typically causes severe pain and an audible snapping sound, followed by pain, swelling, and a feeling that the knee cannot support your weight. Your first step should be to apply ice and elevate your knee to help reduce the swelling; over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help to relieve the pain. If you are having difficulties walking or if the pain continues to be severe, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Wearing an elastic band to support the knee is frequently recommended by doctors.

Will I need to have ACL knee surgery? This depends on the severity of your injury and your lifestyle. If you are fairly sedentary and don’t anticipate playing sports in the future, you may choose physical therapy alone as treatment. For those who wish to return to vigorous physical activity, surgery may be necessary.

What can I expect from ACL reconstruction surgery? ACL reconstruction is an outpatient surgery that uses arthroscopy to graft a piece of tendon from another part of the leg to the affected area. This minimally invasive surgery is generally successful – about 9 out of 10 patients report a full recovery following the procedure.

How long is the ACL recovery period after surgery? You should be able to return home following surgery; after the procedure, you will need to attend physical therapy sessions several times per week to strengthen your knee and improve your range of motion. You will need about 6 months to recover fully.

Will I need ACL surgery recovery therapy? After your ACL reconstruction procedure, your doctor will send you to a physical therapist. You will most likely need to attend physical therapy several times per week for the next few months, and you will have exercises to do at home, as well.

How long will it be before I can get back to work? For jobs that are mostly sedentary, you should be back to work after a week or so. For jobs that require standing, climbing, or lifting, you will need a longer recovery period after ACL surgery – typically from 6 weeks to 4 months.