A man sitting down with a wrapped knee

What to Expect While Recovering From ACL Surgery

A man sitting down with a wrapped knee

The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is an important structure that allows the knee to move properly. It’s possible to tear or strain the ACL during sports and other strenuous activities; ACL injuries sometimes require surgery and a period of recovery to heal properly. Here’s what patients can expect during ACL surgery recovery.

Initial Steps After Surgery

Giving the affected knee time to heal is the most important thing that patients will need to do immediately following surgery. This involves not putting pressure on that leg as much as possible and using crutches when walking. Also, as with any surgery recovery period, the site of the incision should be kept clean and covered with fresh bandages. The doctor will have more detailed instructions on how to take care of the wound while bathing and how often the bandages should be changed.

The Road to Recovery

Swelling and discomfort are common during the days following ACL surgery. This can be remedied with lots of rest while keeping the affected knee elevated as much as possible. Ice, cold compresses, and compression wraps or bandages can help alleviate swelling. During this period of recovery, it’s important to notify the doctor of any intense discomfort or unusual developments in the affected areas.

Moving Around Again

Assuming the patient isn’t recovering from other knee injuries such as a meniscus tear, he or she may be able to start gradually bearing weight on the recovering leg within a couple of weeks following surgery. The end goal is to have regained full knee extension and range of motion, which the doctor will be able to monitor during follow-up appointments. Walking, driving, and other activities can fully resume once the affected leg is strong and flexible enough to perform these tasks comfortably and safely.

Houston-area patients turn to K. Mathew Warnock, MD for ACL surgery and a wide variety of other orthopedic procedures. If you are in need of ACL repair, schedule a consultation with our office today by calling 281-807-4380.

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