Senior Care - How to Provide Elderly Independence

5 Important ACL Reconstruction Recovery Steps

by Stephen Silva

ACL reconstruction surgery is one of the most performed orthopedic surgeries, and best of all, many patients make a near-perfect recovery after the procedure is performed. However, just how much progress is made post-operation has a lot to do with the patient's actions. If you plan to have ACL reconstruction surgery performed, make sure you plan for a solid recovery. 

1. Avoid the Pain Game  

Work hard to stay in front of the pain. It is normal to have discomfort after this operation, but if you wait too long to take your pain medication — the pain will strengthen. Your surgeon will provide dosage instructions that tell you when to take your medication so you can avoid any problems. 

2. Wear Supportive Gear

More than likely, you will be required to use crutches for a period after the procedure, and even after you have moved past this phase, you might also need to wear a knee brace. Whatever type of supportive gear has been prescribed to you; it is important that you wear it. In addition to reducing pain, this gear will also help ensure you heal correctly. 

3. Control Swelling

Try to control swelling around your knee. Often, this issue is best managed by keeping the leg elevated while resting and placing an ice pack over the area from time to time. Like supportive gear, reduced swelling can mean less pain, whereas excessive swelling can mean more pain and an extended healing time. 

4. Get Moving

One of the best things you can do during the recovery period is to move around. It is important to keep in mind that the muscles and joints rely heavily on movement. When you fail to move around, your knee may become stiff. Stiffness leads to discomfort, but it also makes it much harder for you to move around and regain strength in the area. Simply walking around the house is a great place to begin. 

5. Rest

It likely sounds like an oxymoron, but while it is crucial to move around, it is equally important to rest. To determine whether you should rest or move, you should always listen to your body. If you have intense pain or feel fatigued, take this as a sign that you might be overexerting yourself and you need to take a moment to rest.  

In addition to these tips, be sure to speak with your orthopedic care provider about any specific recovery tips you should follow.