Six ACL Surgery Recovery Strategies

By Game Ready | Apr 15, 2013
One of the most common sports injuries is a torn anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. In fact, according to the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, there are more than 150,000 ACL injuries each year in the United States. Many of these are treated with reconstructive knee surgery to repair the tear.

This particular injury can happen in a broad range of sports to both male and female athletes. Although not all types of ACL injuries require surgery, the most serious tears do. The speed of ACL surgery recovery depends on a number of factors including the intensity of the injury, the health of the athlete prior to surgery, and the recovery strategies employed.

When it comes to ACL surgery recovery, the more informed and prepared you are, the faster you will be able to heal.

Six Strategies for ACL Surgery Recovery

  1. Pre-surgery strengthening - When the muscles surrounding the knee joint are strong, rehabilitation and recovery are faster. Talk to your doctor about a pre-surgery program to help you safely strengthen the groin, calf, hamstring, and quadriceps muscles.

  2. Pre-surgery stretching - Maintaining a healthy range of motion before surgery will help you return to this range faster afterwards. Gentle stretches and low-impact movements can help you reduce stiffness and keep the joint lubricated.

  3. Post-surgery stretching - Gentle movement of the knee joint after surgery will help prevent the growth of scar tissue that can later limit your range of motion. Work with your physical therapist to develop an appropriate program.

  4. Post-surgery strengthening - Help stabilize the knee joint by strengthening the surrounding muscles. Again, work with a qualified professional to develop a program. It is important not to overdo strengthening exercises immediately after surgery while the tissue is still healing.

  5. Pain management - Your doctor might prescribe pain medication, which should be taken as directed.

  6. Cryotherapy and compression - Cold therapy and compression are proven techniques for accelerating the healing process and managing pain and swelling. Active cold and compression take it to another level by providing a deeper, longer-lasting cooling effect while actively pumping fluids away from the knee. Active compression also pumps oxygen-rich blood to the joint, which will further speed up the healing process by bringing vital nutrients to the tissues.

Perhaps the most important element for effective ACL surgery recovery is patience. It takes time for the damaged tissue to heal, which can be very frustrating for athletes. Closely following recommendations from a physical therapist and employing active cold therapy and compression will help ensure that the healing process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Ask your doctor about getting a prescription for Game Ready's cold therapy compression systems and contact us to learn more about renting a system to help improve your ACL surgery recovery.

Have you ever had ACL surgery? Did cold and compression help you manage pain and swelling?

guide to knee surgery cta
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How Cryotherapy Systems Reduce Pain and Swelling

By Kelly Hansen | Mar 21, 2013

What should you do when you suffer a musculoskeletal injury such as a sprained wrist or a strained back?  Most people are advised to rest, apply ice and compression, and temporarily, elevate the injury site if possible (not so easy with a back strain). This technique, known as RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), is widely used in sports medicine today.

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Key Advantages of Using Cryotherapy Systems to Heal Sports Injuries

By Kelly Hansen | Mar 18, 2013

Cryotherapy – also called cold therapy – has been used for many years to treat the aftereffects of a soft tissue musculoskeletal injury. If you’ve ever twisted your ankle or had to do post-op rehabilitation for a knee ligament repair, you may have been advised to follow the RICE (Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation) regimen. Traditional ice application methods typically include use of an ice bucket (doesn’t work on many joint injuries, such as the back or hip), wrapping the injury with a plastic bag filled with crushed ice, or using an ace wrap over the ice-filled bag to try and provide some compression along with the cryotherapy. These methods are inconvenient, messy, irritating and hard to stick with over time. And when you don’t stay with a regimen of cryotherapy and compression, you recover more slowly from your sports injury.

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Why Ice Water Therapy Alone Won’t Speed Up Muscle Recovery

By Kelly Hansen | Feb 14, 2013

Cold (cryo) therapy is widely used after a musculoskeletal injury or post-surgery to decrease pain, muscle spasms, edema and swelling. Let’s say you’ve had an ankle or knee injury. You know the drill – get in bed or on the couch, elevate the leg and apply ice to the injured area. You also remember the mess and inconvenience this kind of ice water therapy causes – wet pillows, bedclothes, blankets, etc. Staying compliant with that type of cold therapy is really difficult and that’s just one reason why ice water therapy alone isn’t ideal for recovering from a sports injury.

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