4 Tips For A Smooth Recovery From ACL Surgery
Your knee is made up of several ligaments, which are needed for your knee to function properly. In sports, it is not uncommon for athletes to damage these ligaments. If you tear your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), you will need to have surgery to repair it. Use the following tips for a smooth recovery from the injury and the surgery:
Give Yourself Time to Rest
Many people can bear some weight on their surgically repaired knee after surgery, but it is important not to push yourself. Use crutches as recommended by your doctor. You will likely be advised to incorporate movement in the days following your surgery, but do not overwork your knee, as this can cause re-injury.
In the first few days after surgery, make it a point to rest and get as much sleep as possible, as this can help your body promote the healing process.
Use Cold Therapy
Swelling is common after surgery to repair a torn ACL, but you can help control the swelling by regularly using ice packs on the area. Your doctor may also advise you to keep your surgically repaired knee elevated to help prevent excessive swelling.
In addition to ice packs, compression wraps can greatly help control swelling. The first few days after surgery you will have a dressing over your incisions- keep this dressing clean and dry until your doctor says it can be removed. After you are able to remove the dressing, you may use a stretchy sports wrap; for best results, start wrapping around your upper calf, and continue until the wrap is above your knee.
Put Effort Into Physical Therapy
Due to the nature of an ACL injury, as well as surgery, recovering from a torn ACL usually requires physical therapy. The therapy sessions typically start not too long after surgery; your doctor can advise you on exactly when you should start your sessions. Physical therapy is not necessarily fun, but going into each session with a good attitude and putting in a full effort can help speed up your recovery. Make sure that you show up for every scheduled session, and dress in comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely.
Do Exercises at Home
Physical therapy is one of the keys to recovery, but you probably won't be going to physical therapy every single day. You can build upon your progress in physical therapy by doing exercises at home to help strengthen your repaired knee. Only do exercises that are recommended by your doctor or your physical therapist.