Despite the inherent discomfort and inconvenience, knee surgery can be a very positive event. By repairing the damage in the joint, you will be able to regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Depending on the injury, you will possibly be able to return to your prior desired activity level, but only if you actively participate in a successful knee surgery recovery.Read More >
A torn anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is a common sports injury that often results in surgical repair because, as one of the four ligaments found in the knee, it is so important for stabilization in the joint. ACL sprains or tears can occur with physical impact, when quickly pivoting, or when landing incorrectly from a jump.Read More >
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:
Whether you have injured your ACL, MCL, or meniscus, knee surgery is sometimes the best solution for getting you back in the game. If your doctor does recommend surgery, it's important to be prepared for the post-operative recovery process as much as possible. The more you are committed to healing quickly, the faster you will be back on your feet.
Recovering from ACL SurgeryFor many people the recovery timeline includes the following phases:
- 1-2 days - Immediately after surgery your body will be focused on recovering from the trauma of the procedure.
- One week - Many people are mobile within one week, typically with crutches or other assistive devices.
- Two weeks - If you follow the recommendations of your doctor and physical therapist, you may be able to walk without crutches while wearing a supportive brace.
- Three weeks - As your range of motion improves, you might be able to manage some stairs and be able to flex your knee for long enough to drive for brief periods of time.
- Two months - If you continue regular strength and flexibility training, you should be able to introduce light, low-impact exercise into your routine.
- Three months - At this stage in your recovery you could be close to your pre-surgery strength level, but that does not mean that you have fully recovered.
- Nine to twelve months - If you have continued rehabilitation exercises and avoided activities that could damage your knee again, you may be fully recovered after nine months. Individuals who have not committed to a regular rehab schedule may take up to twelve months to fully recover from ACL surgery.
Factors that Influence ACL Surgery Recovery Time
The average recovery times are just a rough indicator of what you can expect, but you can take certain steps to speed up the healing process and accelerate your recovery. Several factors play a role in ACL surgery recovery time:
Although the recovery path varies for every individual, most people experience that same phases as they heal.
Typical MCL Surgery Recovery Timeline
- Phase One - In the first six weeks after MCL surgery, the healing process will rapidly progress. The immediate inflammation after surgery can be controlled with rest, elevation, and cold compression therapy to help manage pain and swelling. As the inflammation subsides, rehabilitation begins to help restore the normal function of the joint. The main focus during these initial weeks is to restore range of motion, build up to weight-bearing activities, and increase strength and flexibility without impacting the surgical repair.
- Phase Two - Six to twelve weeks after surgery, most patients are able to advance rehabilitation to include functional training and sports-specific conditioning exercises. During this time your physical therapist will gradually increase both the duration and the intensity of your rehabilitation sessions to help you safely build muscle and increase flexibility.
- Phase Three - This is when you are ready to return to activity. The length of time it takes to achieve full recovery depends on several factors, including:
- How well your body healed during the first weeks after surgery
- Your physical condition before surgery
- The rehabilitation process during the second phase of recovery
The average recovery time for MCL surgery is about six months, but the full range is from twelve weeks to twelve months at each end of the spectrum.
The early stages of MCL surgery recovery influence the entire healing process. Giving your body the opportunity to heal quickly and thoroughly is the best way to return to activity safely. Using Game Ready's cold compression therapy system after MCL surgery will help you heal more quickly, feel more comfortable, and get back on your feet faster.
Our patented system is proven to be more effective than ice alone, which is why both doctors and athletes rely on Game Ready during MCL surgery recovery. Look for a provider near you if you want to integrate Game Ready into your MCL surgery recovery strategy.
How fast do you want to get back in the game?
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.
Immobilizing your knee or controlling the angle at which it is allowed to bend will help provide support and stability in the joint. This stability gives your damaged tissues the opportunity to heal while you continue to rest and do rehabilitative exercises as directed.
4 Knee Solutions for Post-Op Knee SurgeryDepending on where you are in the surgery recovery process, your doctor or physical therapist might recommend one of the following types of knee recovery solutions:
- Cold and compression wrap - As the tissues in your knee start to heal, cold and compression therapy can help contribute to a speedy recovery. A patented wrap with simultaneous active compression and consistent cold encircles the entire area around your knee. This allows therapeutic cold to penetrate more deeply than ice alone, while active compression brings fresh blood and pumps away cellular waste.
- Post-op knee brace - For a brief period of time after your surgery you will have to immobilize your knee to give the damaged tissues the best opportunity to heal. A post-op knee brace provides this level of support while still allowing you to be mobile.
- Hinged knee brace - After the initial healing process you can switch to a hinged knee brace that provides support while allowing you to bend the joint over a limited range of angles. These types of braces can be worn as you start to introduce higher impact activities.
- Articulated knee wrap - An articulated knee wrap that combines cold and compression will allow you to do rehabilitative exercises on a treadmill or stationary bicycle to help minimize pain and swelling caused by activity after surgery.
As always, follow your doctor's instructions with respect to medication, rest, exercise, and other activities. Being active throughout the knee surgery recovery process is not only possible, it is encouraged. Using the appropriate type of knee brace throughout the healing process will allow you to be active and mobile while protecting your knee joint and ensuring stability.
Game Ready offers cold and compression wraps to help you reduce pain and swelling either while immobilizing the joint or performing rehabilitative exercises. We also provide post-op knee braces for stability and post-op recovery. Find a provider near you to learn more.
What type of knee brace did you wear after knee surgery?
Cryotherapy is commonly used after ACL or MCL surgery to speed up the recovery process and to help reduce pain and swelling. Your body's natural response after knee surgery is inflammation, which is both uncomfortable and impedes healing. Cryotherapy can help control the effects of inflammation so you can get back on your feet faster and with less pain.Although