A torn ACL is a painful and inconvenient injury, especially for athletes. Fortunately, ACL surgery makes it possible to repair the damaged tissue, usually with a graft from another ligament in your own body. Arthroscopic surgery leaves few external scars, but the muscles, ligaments, and other tissues in the knee joint need time to recover fully from both the injury and the surgery.
It is important to allow enough time for your ACL to fully heal after surgery. Fortunately, many people find that they can return to normal activity within several months, but a full recovery timeline can take up to a year, especially if you want to return to high-impact athletic activities.
4 Tips for Healing Faster After ACL Surgery
If you want to speed up the recovery process, the following tips can help you heal faster and more comfortably:
- Rest - Although it may seem obvious, getting ample rest really is one of the best things you can do to help your body recover more quickly. In addition to staying off the affected leg, getting enough good sleep and not doing as much as you normally do in a day allows your body to allocate more energy for repairing tissues.
- Cryotherapy - Recovery from ACL surgery includes a certain amount of swelling, especially in the few days immediately after the surgery. While some swelling is normal, and even helpful for the healing process, too much of it contributes to pain and limits range of motion. Using ice packs on your knee can help reduce swelling, but unless you continually add new ice packs to maintain a constant cold temperature, you won't be getting the most from cryotherapy. An active cold therapy system that circulates cool water will allow the cold to penetrate deeper and last longer.
- Compression - In addition to the swelling that comes after ACL surgery, you might also experience edema, or excess fluid, surrounding the knee joint. Compression bandages can help limit this undesirable effect, but an active compression therapy system will yield better results. By actively pumping excess fluid away from the knee joint and bringing fresh blood and nutrients to the healing tissues, active compression contributes to a faster recovery.
- Physical therapy - Your doctor will likely recommend that you work with a physical therapist to learn exercises for strengthening and stretching the muscles and tissues in and around the knee joint. Follow their instructions closely and be careful not to do too much too soon.
The Game Ready active cold and compression therapy system is designed to help you heal faster. A specialized wrap that fully surrounds the knee allows therapeutic cold to reach the deepest tissues, while active compression continually circulates fluids. If you have an ACL surgery scheduled, talk to your doctor about using Game Ready during your recovery, or find a provider near you today.
What is your ACL surgery recovery plan?