MCL surgery recovery typically takes at least twelve weeks, but you can potentially shave some time off that period by being proactive while you recuperate. In addition to speeding up the healing process, you can also put your body in a better position to return to normal activity (and your chosen sport if you’re an athlete) sooner after MCL surgery.
The Best MCL Surgery Recovery Methods for Quicker Healing
If you have MCL surgery scheduled, or even if you are already in the recovery process, follow these tips to help ensure quicker healing:
Embrace the Stillness
One of the hardest challenges for normally active people after MCL surgery is resting for several days after the procedure and keeping the knee joint immobilized. MCL surgery repairs a torn ligament and those damaged tissues are delicate at the onset of the healing process. Moving the knee too soon can impact the sutures or other connective devices the surgeon used to repair the torn ligament. A brace that completely immobilizes the knee will prevent you from doing certain activities like squatting, kneeling, or bending. Prepare your home as much as possible in advance, and ask a friend to help with daily tasks as needed. When you get clearance to use a more flexible brace, keep it on at all times to prevent side-to-side movement.
Chill Out with Cold Therapy
Inflammation is inevitable after any type of surgery, and it’s critical to address if it you want to have a quick recovery. Many physicians recommend cold therapy immediately after surgery to help reduce swelling and pain. After the initial inflammation subsides, it’s still a good idea to use therapeutic cold as internal swelling and discomfort will persist throughout the MCL surgery recovery process. If you have an incision that should not get wet, avoid ice packs that can melt. A cold therapy device like the Game Ready System is a good alternative because it provides therapeutic cold from every angle so it can deeply penetrate into the knee joint where it will be most effective.
Squeeze Out the Swelling
In addition to cold therapy, another way to reduce pain and swelling without medication is with active compression. You can achieve static compression with an elastic bandage, and the brace your doctor recommends might also provide some pressure to prevent the buildup of excess fluid. Active compression with a cold therapy machine like the Game Ready System will enhance the healing benefits by helping the body pump away excessive fluids from the injury site to reduce swelling. In addition to reducing swelling, active compression will help accelerate the healing process by bringing freshly oxygenated blood to the surgery site that deliver vital nutrients to healing tissues. Static compression can’t do this, so if a quick recovery is your goal, be sure to include this important step.
Understand that Pain ≠ Gain
“No pain, no gain” does not apply to MCL surgery recovery. If you feel excessive pain during physical therapy, let your provider know so they can adjust your strengthening and stretching routine accordingly. Pushing too hard early in the recovery process can actually set you back. The worst case scenario is undoing the repair and requiring another surgery, so it’s important to closely follow your doctor’s recommendations about safe activity levels.
MCL surgery recovery is never convenient or enjoyable, but you can reduce your healing timeline by immobilizing your knee after surgery, applying cold and compression therapy, and doing the appropriate physical therapy exercises. If you’d like to learn more about how to get the Game Ready cold therapy device for your MCL surgery recovery, get in touch with Game Ready today.