If you’re one of the many avid skiers who looks forward to the colder months all year long, you know how much of a setback an ACL injury can be. With a short season, it’s essential to get the most from your time on the slopes. Recovering from ACL surgery can take six to nine months, which can be devastating for any type of athlete, but especially for one who has only a limited opportunity to do their favorite activity.Read More >
Hundreds of thousands of ACL injuries occur every year, primarily in athletes who participate in activities that require pivoting, lateral movement, or contact with other players. When the bones in the knee joint twist in opposite directions while there is weight on the leg, the ACL can become overstretched or torn. Depending on the extent of the injury, surgery is typically recommended in the case of a partial or full tear, especially for individuals who wish to continue participating in athletics.Read More >
No matter how much you have prepared for ACL surgery recovery, it is a process that requires patience. However, participating in your recovery by elevating your leg, applying cold and compression therapy, and doing certain exercises may help ensure that you recuperate safely and quickly.Read More >
Recovering from ACL surgery can be challenging, especially for people who are used to being active. Staying off your feet, getting ample rest, and actively participating in physical therapy may sound like simple tasks, but when you actually have to do it for weeks or months, you might find your commitment slipping.
The muscles and joints in your lower extremities are important for daily living, but many people take this for granted until they experience pain or swelling. A swollen knee is not only uncomfortable, it can also prevent you from going up and down stairs and limit your desire or ability to walk. This can be very disruptive to daily life and should be addressed as soon as possible to help prevent further damage and allow you to quickly get back to normal. Knee swelling can be caused by a range of factors including:
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.
Following a few tips during ACL surgery recovery can help you heal faster and get back on your feet more quickly.
Why Does Swelling Occur After ACL Surgery?The human body is a remarkable system that uses many different mechanisms to keep you healthy. One of the more important mechanisms is the inflammatory response. Whenever your body suffers some trauma, whether it is an insect bite or a surgical incision, your body responds with inflammation.
Why does it do this? Inflammation occurs to help protect your healthy tissues from further damage, and to help the injured tissue repair itself. The inflammatory response includes five tell-tale symptoms:
- Loss of function
Depending on the severity of the injury, you will experience each of the symptoms to varying degrees. Although it is necessary to repair the torn tissues in the knee, ACL surgery is essentially a trauma to your body, so its natural response will be inflammation, which almost always includes swelling.
It is important to follow all of your physical therapist's recommendations so that you do not introduce too much activity too early. Even if you feel minimal or no pain, doing too much too soon can inhibit your ACL surgery recovery.
Although every body is different, there are several stages you can expect to go through as you recover from ACL surgery.
5 Stages to Recover from ACL Surgery
- First few days after surgery - The most notable effects immediately after surgery are pain and swelling. Your body's natural reaction to trauma is inflammation, which is actually an important part of the healing process. However, too much swelling can impede your recovery. Elevating your leg, taking the medications that your doctor prescribes, and using cold compression therapy will help you control the natural pain and swelling that occurs after ACL surgery.
- First two weeks after surgery - Although it is important to get ample rest during your ACL surgery recovery, it is equally important to introduce gentle exercise at this stage to help improve range of motion. Your physical therapist will recommend exercises that will help you build strength, increase flexibility, and return to normal range of motion. Cold compression therapy should be continued during this time as swelling will continue to be an issue.
- Weeks 3 through 6 - As the swelling starts to subside, your physical therapist will introduce more rigorous strength training and balancing exercises.
- Weeks 7 though 12 - Certain low-impact sports activities can be introduced at this stage, such as cycling, light jogging, and swimming. Because your ACL will still be healing, sports that involve physical impact are not recommended.
- Months 4 through 7 - Although there is an absence of pain and swelling at this stage, your body is still recovering from ACL surgery. Many sports activities are acceptable, or even recommended, but it's important to remember that although you might feel fully recovered, there is still a risk of re-injury if there is too much impact on the joint. Sports drills and conditioning exercises are recommended, while participation in athletic events is not.
If you are planning an ACL surgery, prepare in advance by renting a cold compression therapy system or working with your physical therapist to ensure that you have access to all the tools you need to speed up the recovery process. Contact Game Ready or find a local provider to learn more about how cold compression therapy can help you recover from ACL surgery more quickly.
Wouldn't you like to do everything you can to safely get back on your feet faster?