To speed recovery following ACL surgery, protect the knee, use cold therapy, practice proper incision care and do exercises that were recommended by the surgeon performing the procedure, suggests OSU Sports Medicine. Schedule physical therapy sessions, and follow up with the surgeon within five to 10 days of the procedure.
Protecting the knee after surgery is paramount to recovery, notes OSU Sports Medicine. In general, those having ACL surgeries are encouraged to put as much weight as possible on the surgery leg during recovery. Use crutches for balance and support until normal walking can commence. Swelling can be limited by elevating the leg.
Cold therapy should be used for the first 48 hours following the procedure, according to OSU Sports Medicine. Cold therapy can be applied for 20-minute increments up to six times daily after that. The use of anti-inflammatory medication, if prescribed, can also reduce pain and inflammation.
Exercising, using the guidelines given after the surgery by the support team or surgeon, should be undertaken even if it makes you uncomfortable, notes OSU Sports Medicine. Beginning exercise the day of the surgery is ideal. Leg raises are usually recommended, and exercises that focus on getting the leg straight and on bending the knee to a 90-degree angle can also help. A knee brace may be needed in some instances and can provide support to the knee during recovery.