A torn anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, can cause swelling of the knee and severe pain, making it nearly impossible to walk. In the past, surgeons would make a large incision to conduct knee ligament surgery. Now, most of these procedures are done as an arthroscopic surgery using tiny incisions around the knee. The recovery period is much shorter with this method and patients are often released from the hospital a few hours after surgery.
Once home, it’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions. Patients are given details on wound care, pain relief, icing, elevation and leg movement. Skipping the early post-operative stretches can greatly increase the time it takes for the knee to return to normal function. Plan to be on crutches for about two weeks as the leg regains strength. Some doctors prefer that patients wear a leg brace or immobilizer for a short time after the surgery.
Experts have found that the best way to shorten your recovery time is to work on extending your leg as soon as possible after surgery. Physical therapy is an important part of recovery, even before the leg can bear weight. Several times a day, practice contracting your thigh muscles, lifting your leg, and flexing and rotating your ankle. You may need several appointments with a physical therapist during the first 12 weeks to monitor your progress and direct your recovery.
It’s normal to be in some pain or discomfort and have fluid around the knee after surgery. The nurses will give you a list of signs that could point to a problem, including increased redness or swelling, bleeding or excessive or increasing pain. Be sure to call your doctor if you have any questions about your condition.
Don’t let knee or hip pain keep you from enjoying your life. A Kennedy Center orthopedic specialist in Wisconsin can evaluate your symptoms and advise you on options for knee ligament surgery or partial knee replacement. Modern surgical techniques make it easier than ever to recover from hip and knee replacement surgeries.