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Quick Answers to Your ACL Injury Questions

One of the most frequent questions people ask us at Granimals is: how long after ACL surgery will they be able to walk again? It’s natural to be eager to return to normal life as soon as possible after an injury.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the timeline for walking post-ACL surgery, the factors that influence your recovery, and share tips for a smooth rehabilitation journey. Let’s get you back on your feet and moving forward!

What is ACL reconstruction surgery? 

ACL reconstruction surgery is a procedure where the torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is replaced with a graft. The ACL is crucial for knee stability, especially during sudden changes in direction, stops, or pivoting. A torn ACL can significantly impact daily activities. The goal of ACL surgery is to restore knee stability, allowing you to return to your normal routine. This procedure is a key step in getting back to an active, pain-free life.

ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline: Explained

Here’s a detailed overview of the ACL surgery recovery timeline and how long it will take to fully recover: 

Week 0-2: The initial days

After surgery, your leg will be bandaged, possibly with a brace. Keep it elevated to reduce swelling. Start movements like quadricep sets and ankle pumps to avoid blood clots. Most patients begin walking with crutches after a few days.

Week 2- 4: Beginning of Strength Training

By the end of the second week, you may start bearing weight on your leg. Enrolling in a therapy program early is ideal for personalised recovery steps.

Week 4-8: Begin your exercises

Continue wearing a knee brace for support. Focus on exercises to increase knee range of motion and improve strength and stability, such as straight-leg raises and gentle knee bends.

Week 8-12: Walk without crutches

If you’ve been consistent with exercises and therapies, you should be able to walk without crutches. Your physio may introduce more challenging tasks to enhance stability, strength, and proprioception.

Month 3-6: Going back to the normal

You may walk freely but still work on improving your range of motion. Activities like jogging, lunges, step-ups, and biking can help condition your muscles. Include cardiovascular activities in your routine.

Month 6-12: Full recovery

Athletes can return to sports, with therapists focusing on sport-specific exercises to build confidence. Continuing therapy is crucial to prevent future injuries.

Our experts at Granimals can guide you through every step of your recovery. Book a call with us today and start your journey to a pain-free life!

Factors that Affect the ACL Surgery Recovery Time

Several factors influence how quickly you can walk again after ACL surgery:

  • Pre-surgery Knee Condition: If your knee was swollen and weak before surgery, recovery might take longer.
  • Immediate Treatment: Following the PRICE (Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) regime right after the injury can speed up recovery.
  • Pre-surgery Exercises: Strengthening leg muscles and improving knee movement before surgery helps with post-surgery walking.
  • Surgeon’s Skills: The experience and technique of your surgeon significantly impact results.
  • Graft Choice: The type of graft used can affect pain and swelling post-surgery.
  • Your Motivation: Commitment to recovery, especially in the first two weeks, is crucial.
  • Physical Therapy: Adhering to a rehabilitation program accelerates the recovery process.

Tips for a Smoother Recovery Journey

Here are some tips to ensure a smooth recovery journey:

  1. Stick to Your Rehab Routine: Consistency is key. Follow your rehabilitation program religiously to avoid complications.
  2. Manage Pain and Swelling: Use medications as prescribed, ice therapy, and keep your leg elevated to reduce swelling.
  3. Use Supportive Devices: Braces and crutches provide stability and help avoid putting pressure on your leg.
  4. Gradually Bear Weight: Follow your doctor’s advice on when to start bearing weight.
  5. Maintain Good Nutrition: Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins, protein, and minerals. Stay hydrated.
  6. Stay Active with Caution: Engage in low-impact activities like swimming or biking only with your doctor’s permission. Daily range-of-motion exercises are essential.
  7. Rest and Recover: Ensure your body gets ample rest. Avoid overexertion to prevent complications.
  8. Stay Positive: Set achievable milestones and celebrate small victories to stay motivated.
  9. Avoid High-Risk Activities: Steer clear of high-impact activities until fully recovered.
  10. Stay Informed: Ask your physiotherapist or doctor any questions to understand your condition better.

We understand the urge to start walking again. You’ve done it all your life, and being restricted can be tough. But remember, you’re not alone. While the timeline for walking after ACL surgery typically ranges from a few days to several months, it’s essential to follow your doctor’s and physiotherapist’s advice closely. Patience and adherence to the recovery plan are key to achieving optimal results and returning to your activities with confidence.

Granimals offers ACL rehab solutions in our online physiotherapy sessions. Get in touch with us to know how! 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: Is walking up stairs good for an ACL injury?

Answer: Walking up the stairs is considered a closed kinetic chain exercise, which can be beneficial during the rehabilitation process for an ACL injury. Closed kinetic chain exercises are generally recommended because they help to strengthen the muscles around the knee while minimizing stress on the ACL.

Q2: What is the minimum time for ACL recovery?

Answer: The recovery time from an ACL injury varies from person to person. However, it has been observed that it takes a minimum of 3 months to start seeing significant improvement and recovery from an ACL injury. Full recovery, allowing for return to high-impact activities, may take longer depending on the individual and the extent of the injury.