REHABILITATION AFTER ACL SURGERY
The primary objective of rehabilitation after a knee injury is to reduce swelling and restore the joint. To achieve this, ice compresses on the knee for 20 minutes every two hours for the next two, three days after the injury.
Rehabilitation helps in reducing swelling and pain. After the swelling and pain are gone, start exercising the joint. Surgery can be done when the knee starts to bend to 90 degrees.
ABOUT ACL SURGERY: PROCEDURE
- The torn ACL is rebuilt using muscle fibers.
- The hamstring fibers are removed through a small incision below the knee.
- The rest of the surgery is done by inserting a camera through a small hole.
- The hamstring graft is attached to the bone of the thigh and leg with a button and screw with the help of an arthroscope.
AFTER THE OPERATION:-
- After surgery, a brace is given to support the knee, and the patient
- The patient is sent to the ward.
- For the next two weeks, the knee needs the support of a brace.
- In the first week, the main objective is to reduce pain and swelling. For this, the brace is removed and ice is applied for 15-20 minutes every two three hours.
- The feet are placed on one or two pillows.
- During exercise, the brace is removed and worn again.
- The knee should not be wet until the stitches are removed.
- Do not sit for a long time with the legs hanging, only the legs can hang during the workout. There is usually some swelling on the knee after surgery.
- Hamstring fibers that are removed in surgery take six weeks to heal.
- Till then, do not bend forward, keeping the knee straight.
WALKING AFTER SURGERY:
For the first two weeks, the knee has to be tied with the help of a brace and walking with the help of crutches. You can put all the weight on the crutches and avoid putting weight on the operated knee.
HOW MANY TIMES TO WORK OUT AFTER SURGERY:-
Exercise has to be done three to four times a day after healing of the ACL ligament as advised by the doctor.
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:-
1. When can I resume my work?
Ans– Seating work can be started in a month. Heavy work like police, army, wages, etc. can be started after at least 6 to 12 weeks.
2. When can I drive the car?
Ans– When you regain speed and normal reaction time, it takes four to six weeks. After 12 weeks, you can ride a bike.
3. When can I start running?
Ans– You can start jogging on a straight line in two months and running in three to four months.
4. When can I start climbing and descending the stairs?
Ans– In two-three weeks, you can start climbing stairs with support.
5. How long do you exercise and do other physical therapy?
- The main and ultimate goal of rehabilitation is to develop physical strength so that you can resume sports.
- It usually takes six to nine months.
- A dedicated exercise program for up to six months is required.
- It is recommended that you join a gym after surgery, as many exercises require gym machines.
6. How long is the surgery?
Ans– The surgery may take one to two hours. It also depends on the presence of other injuries.
POST-SURGERY REHABILITATION PROTOCOL (0 TO 2 WEEKS)
For the first two weeks, you walk with the help of crutches. You can put all the weight on the operated leg slowly and gradually. Rehabilitation in the first two weeks is aimed at restoring normal knee gait. For this, the following exercises are done:-
1. Heel Props:
Fold a towel and place a heel on it and press it for 5 seconds. Then rest for 5 seconds. Do this for 10 minutes every hour. This helps in straightening the legs.
2. Prone Hang Exercise:
Lie upside down and let both the legs hang from the knee for two to three minutes at one end of the table.
3. Passive Flexion:
Sit on the edge of the bed or chair and bend your knees as much as possible. You can take the help of the other leg. Keep it folded for 5 seconds and then release. Do it three to four times a day (5 minutes each time).
4. Heel Slide:
Sit on the bed and try to pull the heel towards the hip. Hold for 5 seconds, then straighten the leg and relax. Do this three to four times a day for 5 minutes.
5. Stationary Bicycle:
After 7- to 14 days, when your knees begin to bend more than 90 degrees, then you can start stationary cycling. Increase the time by two minutes every week until it is 20 minutes in a week.
Proceed in this way: – In the beginning, put half a circle forward / backward. Slowly come to the full circle. Initially do it without resistance and gradually increase the resistance.
You can start swimming at this time. The exercises mentioned above help to bring back your normal range of motion.
So, target these exercises, which will help in rehabilitation of the ACL surgery.