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Post ACL Surgery – What to Expect

No two post ACL surgery experiences are the same.

People recover at different rates, and the choices you make for your recovery can affect how quickly you get over the surgery.

However, even though every recovery is different, there are certain things that you can always expect, no matter what your medical history is like or where you live.

The important thing is to try to always remember that your doctor and physical therapist are interested in helping you.

Therapy can be painful at first, but try not to be discouraged as you undergo your treatment. Your condition will improve if you heed your therapist’s advice.

After you have your surgery, you will need to work with a physical therapist.

They will develop a recovery plan for you that will be based on your current condition.

A physical therapist will challenge you to meet certain goals on your road to recovery.

Generally, your therapist will want to you to try and meet these goals by a certain date so you can move on to the next step of your recovery.

When therapy seems tough and you feel like it is not working, focus on your progress.

Thinking about how far you have come instead of how far you have to go can make you feel accomplished and might even encourage you to keep going.

Post ACL Surgery – Taking One Day At A Time

For the first few weeks of your post ACL surgery physical therapy, your main goal will be to walk without crutches as much as possible.

The exercises that will help you accomplish this are designed to help you regain your balance.

Take it easy, though—it is very encouraging when you start making progress, and you may be tempted to try to do more than you are really able to.

Being careful and knowing your limitations at this point will help you avoid more injuries.

By the time you enter the second month of your treatment, you will be able to do more involved exercises in order to get your full range of motion back.

The third and fourth months of your treatment are focused on regaining your strength and balance back. Unless you are an athlete, the fourth month will end your rehab.

However, if you play sports or your recovery did not go as well as had been hoped, your therapy could be extended by several more months.

Just try to remember that you are on the road to getting better, and you will get there eventually.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Meagan Fox

    I tore my ACL playing netball (similar to basketball) in Oct 2012, I was diagnosed in jan 2013 and had the reconstruction (hamstring) in Apr 2013. I am finding it to be gaining strength quite well but I still have a bruise on the back of my knee. The top of my calf, where it meets te bruised area, always feels quite sore/strange and then directly below at my ankle still has little to know surface feeling. Is this normal and will heal in time or could it be something more serious?

    • Jim Wnek

      Hello Meagan
      Thanks for visiting.

      First off you are 6+ months post op. You should have no bruising.

      In regards to sensation loss. Yes this is common but is different for each person. This is a question that should be for your doctor.
      Anytime you have surgery there are consequences (meaning you may experience some sensation lost) minimal but can happen.
      Yes it can heal on its own with time but not sure due to the bruising you are experiencing.

      I would follow up with you doctor regarding the non-healing bruise and sensation feelings you have been having.

      keep me posted


  • Denise

    My daughter Dena is 15 years old. She’s 6’2 center and post basketball player . She was devastated after found out that she has completed acl teared on right knee. But why she has no pain? And walking normal. She will see second option doctor. Need your opinion and feedback thank you

    • Jim Wnek

      First thank you for visiting.
      Second, sorry to hear of the injury to your daughter.

      Why no pain?
      Everyone is different. Everyone body reacts differently.

      Definitely get a 2nd opinion. Not sure if she had an MRI that in fact stated a complete tear.

      Either way another opinion is the way I would go.
      Being only 15 years old. You want to really make sure.

      Thanks and keep me posted.

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