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recovery after ACL surgery

How long is the recovery after ACL surgery

Recovery after ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery can vary based on several factors, including the individual's overall health, the extent of the injury, and how closely they follow their rehabilitation program. Generally, the recovery timeline can be outlined as follows:

  • Immediate Post-Surgery (1-2 weeks):
    • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) to reduce swelling.
    • Pain management with medications.
    • Limited movement with the use of crutches.
    • Begin gentle range-of-motion exercises.
  • Early Recovery (3-6 weeks):
    • Gradual increase in weight-bearing activities.
    • Physical therapy focusing on restoring knee range of motion and strength.
    • Use of a knee brace as recommended by the surgeon
  • Intermediate Recovery (6-12 weeks):
    • Continued physical therapy to improve strength and flexibility.
    • Introduction of more challenging exercises to regain muscle strength.
    • Gradual return to daily activities.
  • Advanced Recovery (3-6 months):
    • More intense physical therapy focusing on sport-specific or activity-specific exercises.
    • Increasing agility and stability exercises.
    • Possible return to light sports activities under supervision.
  • Full Recovery (6-12 months):
    • Continued strengthening and conditioning exercises.
    • Gradual return to full sports participation, typically around 9-12 months post-surgery.
    • Regular follow-ups with the surgeon and physical therapist to monitor progress.

It's important to note that recovery times can vary, and some individuals may take longer to fully recover. Adherence to the rehabilitation program and guidance from healthcare professionals is crucial for a successful recovery. If you have questions about your ACL recovery, contact us at 480-272-7140.

injury to ACL

How do I know I injured my ACL?

Injuring your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) can be quite painful and impactful. Here are some common signs and symptoms that may indicate an ACL injury:

  1. Pain: You may experience significant pain in the knee at the time of injury or shortly after.
  2. Swelling: The knee typically swells rapidly after an ACL injury due to bleeding within the joint.
  3. Instability: Many people report a feeling of their knee giving way or being unstable, particularly during activities that involve pivoting or changing direction.
  4. Audible pop or snap: Some individuals hear or feel a pop or snap at the time of injury, which is often followed by pain and swelling.
  5. Limited range of motion: Difficulty fully bending or straightening the knee, along with discomfort when doing so.
  6. Bruising: Bruising around the knee joint can occur, though this might not appear immediately.

If you suspect you've injured your ACL, it's essential to seek medical attention promptly. An orthopedic specialist can evaluate your knee through a physical examination and possibly imaging tests like MRI to diagnose the extent of the injury and recommend appropriate treatment, which may include physical therapy or surgery depending on the severity. Early diagnosis and treatment can often lead to better outcomes and recovery.

pull-ups

Workout from Home Series: Pull-ups and Chin-ups

Make Bodyweight Exercises a Staple

Squats, deadlifts, and presses are great for getting strong and building a foundation, but you need to make sure you balance them out with a steady diet of body weight training. ⁣Bodyweight exercises keep you honest because you can’t just eat your way to improved leverages to see strength gains like you could with the barbell lifts. ⁣

Here are some of our favorite bodyweight exercises for the upper body that should be a staple in any program: ⁣

  • Push-up variations ⁣
  • Inverted Rows⁣
  • Chin/Pull Ups ⁣
  • Handstand variations ⁣
  • Dips⁣
  • Planks

Remember to scale each movement appropriately and progress according to your skill level. There are plenty of variations to keep you busy for months with this list of movements.⁣

Pull-ups and Chin-ups

Pull-ups and Chin-ups are great exercises that target your back and Biceps.  Unless you have a pull-up bar at home, you may need to go to a local park that has a bar you can use.

A Pull-up is performed by grabbing the bar with palms facing away from you. They target the Latissimus Dorsi, Trapezius, and forearm muscles.  Perform the exercise in a smooth controlled movement.  The goal is to pull your chin over the bar (More advanced: touch your chest to the bar).  Make sure to control the "down" phase of your pull-up in order to protect your shoulder joint

A Chin-up is performed by grabbing the bar with palms facing towards you. They target the Biceps, Latissimus Dorsi, and Teres Major muscles. Perform the exercise in a smooth controlled movement.  The goal is to pull your chin over the bar.  Make sure to control the "down" phase of your pull-up in order to protect your shoulder joint

Inverted row

Workout from Home Series: Inverted Rows

Make Bodyweight Exercises a Staple

Squats, deadlifts, and presses are great for getting strong and building a foundation, but you need to make sure you balance them out with a steady diet of body weight training. ⁣Bodyweight exercises keep you honest because you can’t just eat your way to improved leverages to see strength gains like you could with the barbell lifts. ⁣

Here are some of our favorite bodyweight exercises for the upper body that should be a staple in any program: ⁣

  • Push-up variations ⁣
  • Inverted Rows⁣
  • Chin/Pull Ups ⁣
  • Handstand variations ⁣
  • Dips⁣
  • Planks

Remember to scale each movement appropriately and progress according to your skill level. There are plenty of variations to keep you busy for months with this list of movements.⁣

Inverted Rows

Inverted Rows are a great back and biceps exercise that you can do at home.  While the demonstrated video shows a person is using a rack and barbell, you can use a sturdy table at home.  Place a pillow under your head before you begin.  Grab the top of the table while underneath, and from an inverted planking position, pull yourself up to the table.  You can also purchase TRX bands and install them at home

push-up variations

Workout from Home Series: Push-up Variations

Make Bodyweight Exercises a Staple

Squats, deadlifts, and presses are great for getting strong and building a foundation, but you need to make sure you balance them out with a steady diet of body weight training. ⁣Bodyweight exercises keep you honest because you can’t just eat your way to improved leverages to see strength gains like you could with the barbell lifts. ⁣

Here are some of our favorite bodyweight exercises for the upper body that should be a staple in any program: ⁣

  • Push-up variations ⁣
  • Inverted Rows⁣
  • Chin/Pull Ups ⁣
  • Handstand variations ⁣
  • Dips⁣
  • Planks

Remember to scale each movement appropriately and progress according to your skill level. There are plenty of variations to keep you busy for months with this list of movements.⁣

Push-up Variations

Push-up variations are one of the best upper body exercises you can perform to target chest, shoulders and triceps.  While push-ups are a great challenging strength exercise, they are one of the easiest to perform.  Below are videos of 4 push-up variations: Clapping Push-up, Diamond Push-up, Decline Push-up, and Dumbbell Push-up.

Scarecrow exercise

Shoulder Pain Series: Scarecrow Exercise

Shoulder Pain? Improve your shoulder health

In order to maximize back development and maintain shoulder health, make sure to include small isolation movements for the middle and lower traps, rhomboids, and rear deltoids. ⁣
Compound movements will often leave these muscles underdeveloped. It’s essential to train these small muscles with exercises such as:

  • ???’? ⁣
    • Retract shoulder blades prior to initiating movement
  • ???? ????? ⁣
    • Use a neutral grip so thumbs are facing you to bias external rotation ⁣
  • ?????????? ⁣
    • “Pretend your biceps is a rotisserie chicken” (???????? ??? ????) to maintain joint centration during rotation ⁣
  • ??????? ???
    • Maintain slight elbow bend⁣
  • ???? ???? ?????? ⁣
    • Straight elbows, initiate movement with shoulder blades⁣
  • ???????? ⁣
    • Hands pull away from body, keep elbows tight to body, maintain flexed elbow ⁣

These exercises can be done twice per week for a few sets of 12-20 reps. ⁣ Make some room for these by adding them into your warm up, in between work sets as a filler exercise, or in between workouts whenever you have free time. ⁣

Scarecrow Exercise

The scarecrow exercise is an excellent exercise for improving shoulder health.  During the scarecrow exercise you target abs and shoulders and also involves upper back & lower traps.  This exercise can be performed using cable pulleys, dumbbells, or elastic resistance bands.  The video below demonstrates the use of cable pulleys.