The initial few weeks are crucial for long-term results following ACL restoration surgery. Getting off to a solid start can cut the recovery time for any knee reconstructive surgery. Similarly, a slow start can prolong the recuperation process by many months. The following are some of the things to do throughout the first few weeks of your ACL rehabilitation:
The inflammatory response brought on by the trauma of surgery brings swelling. The muscles stop functioning, and the joints become rigid. Your ACL surgeon will recommend rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), effective treatment for swelling.
In the beginning, there is no such thing as too much ice. You should also aim for three to four 15-minute workouts per day. You can also use a compression sleeve on the knee for as many weeks as the swelling lasts.
Manage your pain
You won’t be able to perform the required workouts if you experience severe pain. You can control pain by consistently taking over-the-counter pain relievers like Panadol, anti-inflammatories, and heavier narcotic pain relievers if needed.
Bend your knee
Difficulty with knee bending (or flexion) is substantially less frequent following ACL restoration surgery. The physiotherapist will put you on the CPM machine the day after surgery, and knee bending is safe. However, the bending won’t return without some light pressing from you.
You can start with the drop and dangle exercise. Some folks worry about compromising their reconstruction. This can be a mistake as it causes stiffness and insufficient recovery. Vigorous extension or bending won’t harm the repair in the first few weeks because it is more durable.
Restore knee straightening
The most crucial step after ACL restoration surgery is achieving a fully extended knee. You will need to manage your pain and lessen the swelling to get it out entirely straight. Repeatedly stretch your extension throughout the day.
Extend your leg straight when sitting or lying down, and place your heel on a pillow to gently force your knee to straighten. Remember that stretching exercises have a low burden and are long-lasting. Stretch and maintain. A limp is permanent when the knee does not fully straighten. Attempt to put a hand under your knee while lying flat on the bed to gauge your improvement from week to week.
Keep an eye on the kneecap.
The bane of ACL rehabilitation is kneecap discomfort, often known as patellofemoral pain. Sometimes the kneecap is damaged in the initial injury. Still, more often than not, the tightness of the tissues on the outside of the knee and the weakness of the quadriceps that results after surgery cause the kneecap pain as a secondary occurrence. Stretches for the medial patellofemoral glide are a component of early therapy.
Even though it might seem straightforward, going back to full weight bearing after a week of using crutches is an important step. For the first week, you must use crutches to bear weight partially. But muscle loss will happen quickly if you continue to use crutches. When you walk, your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles all contract with each stride you take, beginning the process of regaining normal neuromuscular function.