If you're physically active, you're at an increased risk for injuries to your anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. The ACL is a ligament that connects your thigh bone to the femur. When your leg moves and bends quickly, such as during sports, the ACL can suffer severe injury. Once that happens, reconstructive surgery is often the only solution. If your doctor has recommended ACL surgery, it's important that you take steps to prepare for the recovery period. If you don't take the right steps during recovery, your ACL might not heal properly. Here are some simple steps that will enhance the recovery period.
Participate in Physical Therapy
If you've suffered an injury to your ACL, pain may be preventing you from using your knee. You may be worried that you won't be able to restore movement to your knee, even with surgery. Luckily, that's not the case. But, you will need to participate in physical therapy. Without physical therapy, you may be left with limited mobility in your knee. That's why physical therapy is so important. Your therapist will implement an exercise program designed to strengthen your knee and restore mobility.
Keep the Swelling Under Control
Following ACL surgery, you may notice swelling in your leg and knee. To help aid your recovery speed you'll want to take steps to help keep the swelling under control. There's a couple of ways to do that. First, be sure to apply ice to your knee several times a day. The ice will help to reduce the swelling and will control the pain. It's also helpful to wear a compression sleeve on your knee until the swelling is no longer a problem. If the swelling isn't controlled by icing your knee or wearing the compression sleeve, you can contact your surgeon or physical therapist about possible medications to help.
Don't be Afraid to Bend Your Knee
While you're recovering from surgery, it's important that you work on bending your knee. The more you bend your knee, the easier it will be for you to recover full mobility. But many people are afraid to bend their knees following ACL surgery. If you're worried about bending your knee, take things a little at a time. You can also talk to your physical therapist about exercises you can do at home to improve mobility in your knee. They will know best when you need to rest and when you need to focus on maintaining flexibility.
Take Care With Crutches
Finally, after your medical ACL repair, you may be given crutches to use. While using crutches will help you get around during the recovery period, using them too often can cause pain in other areas of your body. If you are relying too heavily on your crutches to get around, you may want to focus on resting and doing strengthening exercises with your knee while sitting or laying down.