An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is no laughing matter, but sadly, it’s a pretty common injury that often requires reconstructive surgery. Once you’re out of surgery, you want to get your life back as fast as possible. To do that, you need the best possible rehabilitation program. In the past, lumpy, inconvenient ice packs were the only cold treatment available post-operatively to help you deal with the pain and swelling. Happily, there’s a now better solution for managing your ACL surgery recovery. It combines cryotherapy (i.e. cold therapy) with intermittent compression in a NASA-inspired spacesuit design to deliver intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) and adjustable cold therapy. It’s a convenient, portable and easy-to-use system used by many professional athletes to help them get back to work faster. Use it and you’ll discover that it accelerates your ACL surgery recovery in five key ways:
1. Decreased pain
Cold therapy is a long-standing method of reducing the pain after surgery. It provides an analgesic (pain relieving) effect by helping to decrease the production of pain mediators and slows down nerve pain signals. But traditional cold therapy using ice packs or messy circulating water is often ineffective and unwieldy to use, so people who need it don’t stay with the therapy and so suffer more post-op pain. However, use a system that continuously cycles cold fluid through a form-fitting wrap designed just for the knee joint, and you’ll find it’s convenient and comfortable, so you’ll keep that important cold therapy regimen going and have less pain.
2. Less swelling (edema)
You probably heard your doctor talk about post-op edema, or swelling. One uncomfortable side effect of every type of knee surgery is swelling. When the body undergoes surgery, blood and other body fluids rush in as the body attempts to heal itself. Swelling slows down recovery, so you want to reduce it as fast as possible. Follow your doctor's guidelines and take proper care of your knee using a combined cryotherapy and compression system and you’ll minimize swelling and speed your recovery time.
3. Increased lymphatic drainage
Restoring normal lymphatic flow is very important for the overall healing process to move from an acute phase to a repair stage. That’s why optimizing lymphatic flow in your knee post-surgery will help you recover faster. Using a knee wrap that provides intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) in combination with cold therapy will get you off the couch sooner.
4. Stimulated tissue healing
Studies show that IPC provides a therapeutic effect that enhances connective tissue healing. Why is this? Your knee gets better blood flow and reduced blood vein pressure with the use of intermittent compression and so your tissues repair themselves faster.
5. Lower narcotic use
Typically, you’ll be prescribed a painkiller such as Vicodin to deal with the post-surgery pain. Taking pain medications leave you drowsy and disconnected, which means you’re not able to get your routine back as long as you’re on pain meds. Some surgeons are finding, however, that when their patients use a system combining cryotherapy and intermittent compression, they can discontinue use of all pain medications faster; some patients have in fact been able to use no pain meds at all.
ACL surgery recovery doesn’t have to be a slow and painful process. How did your post-surgery ACL recovery go?