As you and the doctor may have discussed before surgery, extensive rehabilitation is the key to your recovery from ACL reconstruction. Recovery normally requires five to six months or until the graft is transformed by soft tissue healing into a strong and durable ligament. This can require the better part of one year. If the graft is ruptured or stretched drastically during the recovery, a second surgery will be required.
Your physical therapy for the first three weeks after surgery will concentrate on bending and stretching exercises to increase active range of motion, flexibility, and strength in your knee. While your knee may feel tight and slightly painful, it is important to keep your joint moving to promote healing and to maintain flexibility.
After the first three to four weeks, your physical therapy will concentrate on resistive type strength building exercises (such as cycling or swimming), which are low impact and less harmful to perform. Strength building exercises are extremely important to recover lost muscle mass due to surgery but also to improve joint stability, reducing stress on the ligaments.
Following surgery you may be using crutches as needed for the first few weeks. Crutches are usually not necessary once the knee is comfortable enough to walk. Your surgeon will evaluate your progress and advise you on when you may discontinue using the crutches.
The results of your ACL Reconstruction are based to a great extent on your discipline, motivation, and perseverance in performing the physical therapy program. With your cooperation and dedication, you have an excellent chance to regain the strength, stability, and confidence in your knee that you had before your injury.
Maximum medical improvement should be restored to your knee after two to four months of following your physical therapy treatment plan. Once your doctor clears you, most patients typically return to unrestricted recreational activities.
Biomet Sports Medicine is a manufacturer of orthopedic implants and does not practice medicine.
This information was prepared in conjunction with a licensed physician and is presented as general information only. Only an orthopedic surgeon can determine what treatment is appropriate. The life of any implant will depend on your weight, age, activity level, and other factors. For more information on risks, warnings, and possible adverse effects, see the Patient Risk Information section found within Biomet.com. Always ask your doctor if you have any questions regarding your particular condition or treatment options.