How Long Does it Take to Recover From ACL Surgery?

How Long Does it Take to Recover From ACL Surgery?

Those who have ACL surgery scheduled may wonder how long the recovery process takes.  The reality is that your body will take several months to heal after your procedure, so it’s important to understand how your body bounces back.

While your doctor is your best source for advice about how ACL surgery will affect your injury, there are a few tips to help you through the process. From physical therapy to using a Game Ready Cold Therapy Machine for pain relief, there are many ways to speed up your healing.

Post-ACL Surgery: Week One and Two

After surgery, inflammation of your knee begins in response to the shock of your procedure. Many patients experience a lot of discomfort and fluid retention, as well. To prevent your joint from freezing, your doctor will have you immediately begin a rehabilitation program.

Consider using some of the below tips to maximize your hard work:

  • Knee CPM Machine (Continuous Passive Motion)
  • Cold and Compression while elevating your leg every few hours
  • Practice your gait to ease the transition of walking unassisted
  • Keep your knee flexible by hanging it off a chair or bed

Weeks Two Through Six After ACL Surgery

You should now begin to put your body weight on both legs for short periods and use a knee brace for stability when moving.

Your physician may recommend practicing some of the below exercises:

  • Continue to use a CPM Machine
  • Practice walking for 20 minute periods
  • Perform hamstring curls, leg presses, and squatting exercises

Halfway to Recovery: Three Months Post-ACL Surgery

The intensity of your activities has picked up, and you can pursue more intense past times like swimming, cycling, and maybe light jogging. Building strength and flexibility are still crucial goals at this stage of your recovery, but you have to use caution. During your rehabilitation program, consider some of the following exercises:

  • Use elliptical or exercise bikes
  • Begin lateral training to increase joint strength
  • Flutter when swimming
  • Athletes begin some of their sport-specific training
  • Don’t stop building your strength

Making It to the Six-Month Post-ACL Surgery Mark

At six months, you are working with your therapist to restore your knee’s former power and flexibility. You will learn how to protect your ACL from future injury and begin activities with more physical impacts.

This stage feels like the end, but you still need to rehabilitate your ACL by:

  • Gradually beginning to run again
  • Start training for agility
  • Continue healing and strengthening to try plyometric exercise eventually

Patients often achieve full recovery after six months and begin their athletic programs again

Things to Remember When Recovering From ACL Surgery

ACL surgery may feel impossible to heal from in the beginning, but don’t give up. Committing yourself to your recovery is vital in reducing pain and downtime.

Be Patient With Yourself

When you find you can’t continue an exercise at first, don’t beat yourself up about it. This process and your body take time to adjust and heal.

Your Physical Therapist is There to Help You

Listen and follow your physiatrist’s advice when it comes to your rehabilitation plan. This person is your biggest cheerleader and support- rely on them.

Cold Therapy is Your Best Weapon Against Inflammation

Cold therapy, coupled with active compression, can help minimize the discomfort experienced from surgery and your recovery. Using treatment options like a Game Ready Ice Machine helps create a lasting pain-relieving effect in your knee that encourages healing.

Rent Game Ready Ice Machine for Faster Recovery

For over 20 years, Game Ready®  has pioneered new technology to help patients find beneficial recovery solutions to support them during rehab. Don’t wait until after your ACL surgery to ask your doctor about having a Game Ready® Ice Machine available for your care.

Contact us today at (212) 888-7372 to learn more.