swollen knee after acl surgeryAnybody who has ever had surgery can tell you to expect some pain and swelling. Unfortunately, this is true whether you have a simple ACL surgery or a complicated knee replacement. Swelling after ACL surgery is not only common, it is almost guaranteed.

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:
  1. Pain
  2. Heat
  3. Redness
  4. Swelling
  5. 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.

How Can I Reduce Swelling After ACL Surgery?

Since you know that you can expect to have some pain and swelling, you can take steps to minimize these unfortunate side effects of ACL surgery. Planning your ACL surgery recovery in advance is the first step in speeding up the healing process, minimizing discomfort, and getting back on your feet faster.

Active cold compression therapy is a proven technique for reducing swelling after ACL surgery, or any other injury. The reasons that this type of therapy is so effective include:
  • Active cold - Reducing the temperature around your knee joint has the effect of slowing down cellular metabolism. This means less cell death and fewer damaged cells that will need to be replaced. Slower cellular metabolism also reduces the need for oxygen in healthy cells, which means that there is more oxygen available for the tissues that are healing. Active cold allows you to maintain a consistent temperature, which means the therapeutic cold can penetrate to deeper tissues and have more impact on swelling in the entire joint.

  • Active compression - The inflammatory response often includes excess fluid, which contributes to swelling after ACL surgery. Active compression helps pump away this excess fluid, giving you greater range of motion and reducing the amount of swelling that occurs in the knee.

  • Adjustable wraps - A specialized wrap that includes both active cold and compression is the best way to get the benefits of both of these important therapies. Wraps that conform to the knee joint ensure that the most surface area will benefit from cryotherapy, and that the active compression will occur in all the areas surrounding the knee joint.

The Game Ready active cold compression system will help you reduce swelling after ACL surgery. Talk to your doctor about finding a system in your area, or rent your own system while you recover. Contact us to learn more or find Game Ready near you.

game ready post op knee brace