ACL physio – Recovery from surgery (~0-2 weeks)
We will remove dressings during the first session of ACL physio. Once checked and clear we can begin an exercise program consisting of range of movement and gentle quadriceps strengthening exercises. Following these exercises, practice gait control with the guidance from the physiotherapist. Finally ice and compression will be used to decrease the swelling in the knee. We use the Game Ready at Sydney Physiotherapy to help reduce swelling and effusions. The Game Ready provides ice & compression at the same time.
What to expect?
A knee reconstruction is a big operation. Expect soreness particularly in the joint-line between the tibia and femur as well where the graft is and where the graft was taken. Work with the physiotherapist in regards to pain as every person has a slightly different response to surgery. Some people have a large swollen knee for 10 days whilst others are swelling-free and on the bike in 1 day.
Use the crutches for 1 to 2 weeks to help achieve an optimal walking pattern. Wean off crutches once as you feel stronger and can achieve a normal gait with a heel strike. Crutches can also be a great protective mechanism for being in a crowded environment. I’d recommend using them for the first 2-4 weeks if out and about on public transport or on weekends at restaurants, pubs or cafes.
In summary, goals for weeks 0-2 are:
- Full knee extension
- Reduce swelling and inflammation
- Increase Quadriceps tone & activation
Once achieved, start a gentle cyclic program. To get on the bike 110 degrees of knee flexion is required. When a cyclic program begins the knee will begin to move much better and progressions to compound movements can be made. Compound movements include squats, leg press, dead lifts, etc.
Finally, I recommend taking 1-2 weeks off work following surgery. Furthermore jobs requiring a lot of knee movement may require 3-6 months off.
For more on ACL
By Pat Mcfadyen