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ACL Post Surgery Questions and Advice

JJO741

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Posts: 1670

Joined: 10/7/2010

Location: Orange, CA USA

5/2/2012 8:10 PM

I just had my ACL reconstructed last Friday night. They took a 1/3 of the patellar and made that my new ACL. Unfortunately I'm still in quite a bit of pain everytime I get up to go to the bathroom or get something to eat/drink. How long will this pain last usually? Any tips on what I should do while recovering? My doc told me to start putting weight on it yesterday, and to lift my leg to strengthen the quadricep. Any other help or tips are much appreciated. Thanks guys.

ocscottie

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Location: Redding, CA USA

Administrator

5/2/2012 8:13 PM

Dont have any tips or tricks for you, but wanted to wish you all the best and a full + speedy recovery. Good luck dude!

-OC
"Feed The Bull"
Twitter: @ocscottie

JJO741

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Posts: 1670

Joined: 10/7/2010

Location: Orange, CA USA

5/2/2012 8:19 PM

ocscottie wrote: Dont have any tips or tricks for you, but wanted to wish you all the best and a full + speedy recovery. Good luck dude!

Thanks OC I really appreciate it. This isn't anything compared to what you have been through

Roscoe33

C100_waltonprovincialjune1508150

Posts: 858

Joined: 12/10/2009

Location: London, CAN

5/2/2012 8:32 PM

pain is a good way to determine your limits for your recovery.
strength in quads will help with ACL recovery,
cycling is my first pick cardio, balance, and leg strength.
Stay positive, see positive results.

good luck

scooter5002

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Posts: 2621

Joined: 6/6/2010

Location: Tillsonburg On, CAN

5/2/2012 8:35 PM

The pain will last a while. Heres what I learned when I had mine done. Keep your leg elevated, as per doctor instruction. I was told to keep mine up on the back of the couch and lay down a lot. When you bring it down, do it in stages. To the cushions first, and let the pain subside. Then to the floor, and let it dull down. Then stand. This will minimize the full on agony of the sudden drop and stand. Ice it a lot.
I was on my bicycle in 2 weeks. In hindsight, I should have gone a little longer. Maybe 3. I rode, and iced the SHIT out of when I got home. Not big rides, but rides nonetheless. Doctor said that was "a little aggressive" for rehab. However, when I went back in 6 months, he said I was the only guy he had ever seen who could pull his heel RIGHT back into his ass. Apparently, that just doesn't happen post-op. This was also the doctor for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Hamilton Ti-Cats. Ned Amendola, who I believe is the doctor for University of Iowa, last I'd heard. Seen a few torn up knees in his day. So do what you can ion the bike, and best of luck.. As I recall, the first couple weeks are a BITCH for pain.

scooter5002

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Posts: 2621

Joined: 6/6/2010

Location: Tillsonburg On, CAN

5/2/2012 8:37 PM

Oh ya. DON'T FRIGGIN RIDE MOTO UNTIL YOUR FULLY HEALED AND HAVE PURCHASED A KNEE BRACE!!

ianhendry46

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Posts: 188

Joined: 8/18/2011

Location: Murfreesboro, TN USA

5/2/2012 8:44 PM

hey man, i am going through the same exact thing right now, I had surgery last tuesday. This is my second ACL repair, and I hate to break it to you, the first three weeks after surgery are going to be the most painful days of your life. Unlikw yours, they took out of my hamstring to make a new ACL, so its a little different. The thing that is going to cause you the most pain in the swelling and bruising(and im guessing you are about to really start bruising, mine is black and yellow and red) but anyways, the best thing to do now is just get on a scehdule with your meds, dont try to act tough and not use them cause you will regret it, trust me. Just keep it elevated and iced as much as you can, and start kind of massaging around it to help with the swelling. I hope ths helps some with the pain, but remember to not let your meds wear off, that is the biggest thng.

And as far as putting weight on it and lifting, lift only as much as you feel comfortable doing, and the same with putting weight on it, just as much as you feel like. Like I said, this is the second time i have been through this so i feel for you.

When you start rehab and stuff, you best bets are cycling and swimming. Swimming being the better of the two because it relieves stress on the joints. Also use this as a way to train from here on out, you will thank yourself. I hope this helps, if you need anything else, you can e-mail me at ianhendry46@yahoo.com Good luck man, I know it sucks, keep your head up.

mx 219

C100_et3_1388634104

Posts: 1833

Joined: 8/15/2010

Location: South Central, PA USA

5/2/2012 8:46 PM

JJO741 wrote: I just had my ACL reconstructed last Friday night. They took a 1/3 of the patellar and made that my new ACL. Unfortunately I'm still in quite a bit of pain everytime I get up to go to the bathroom or get something to eat/drink. How long will this pain last usually? Any tips on what I should do while recovering? My doc told me to start putting weight on it yesterday, and to lift my leg to strengthen the quadricep. Any other help or tips are much appreciated. Thanks guys.

I wish I remembered how things went after surgery for me. I was I guess 16 when I tore mine (2005)... I dont remember much pain to be honest. I took it really easy for the first week. I dont really remember when I went in for therapy or started with weights.

Just dont do anything risky until the doc says its okay. For example, I felt fine after the first month, like it was the same or better than before, but I didnt do anything that would risk re-injuring it. Once you start therapy, do what they say and you will recover just fine.

2nd in command of the "anyone but villopoto" club

FlickitFlat

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Posts: 2112

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Location: ,, WV USA

5/2/2012 8:46 PM

I know from experience of having patella graphs and hamstring graphs of my own and cadaver graphs that petella graphs are the toughest, most painful and longest recovery time over any other method. Quad sets constantly, even watching TV, range of motion, petella mobes, hamstring stretchs, and calf stretches, therapy, ting machine, ultra sound, ice and time add in some scar tissue massage. Not much advice to give but to work hard and work smart. Don't over due it and do something stupid that can set you back. It takes time and you will progress. Work on your range of motion. I would do it for hours. Bend is important but I think it is very important to speed up recovery to get the straightness under control early. In therapy, all the guys having trouble is the ones that let their leg not go all the way straight under control early on. It is the easiest to get and the easiest to get out of hand if you don't get it. Good luck and take your time for a full recovery.

ianhendry46

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Posts: 188

Joined: 8/18/2011

Location: Murfreesboro, TN USA

5/2/2012 9:27 PM

ianhendry46

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Posts: 188

Joined: 8/18/2011

Location: Murfreesboro, TN USA

5/2/2012 9:29 PM

I was testing out the new upload photo thing, but this is what my leg looked like when it first started bruising, it got way worse.

mx 219

C100_et3_1388634104

Posts: 1833

Joined: 8/15/2010

Location: South Central, PA USA

5/2/2012 9:32 PM

dang man...Im glad I tore mine when I was younger, hope I never tear another one.

Good luck with the recovery!

2nd in command of the "anyone but villopoto" club

JJO741

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Posts: 1670

Joined: 10/7/2010

Location: Orange, CA USA

5/2/2012 9:32 PM

ianhendry46 wrote: hey man, i am going through the same exact thing right now, I had surgery last tuesday. This is my second ACL repair, and I hate to break it to you, the first three weeks after surgery are going to be the most painful days of your life. Unlikw yours, they took out of my hamstring to make a new ACL, so its a little different. The thing that is going to cause you the most pain in the swelling and bruising(and im guessing you are about to really start bruising, mine is black and yellow and red) but anyways, the best thing to do now is just get on a scehdule with your meds, dont try to act tough and not use them cause you will regret it, trust me. Just keep it elevated and iced as much as you can, and start kind of massaging around it to help with the swelling. I hope ths helps some with the pain, but remember to not let your meds wear off, that is the biggest thng.

And as far as putting weight on it and lifting, lift only as much as you feel comfortable doing, and the same with putting weight on it, just as much as you feel like. Like I said, this is the second time i have been through this so i feel for you.

When you start rehab and stuff, you best bets are cycling and swimming. Swimming being the better of the two because it relieves stress on the joints. Also use this as a way to train from here on out, you will thank yourself. I hope this helps, if you need anything else, you can e-mail me at ianhendry46@yahoo.com Good luck man, I know it sucks, keep your head up.

You're the man. I really really appreciate the advice and help. I'll give you updates on my progress and you heal up too!

To all, can't thank you guys enough for the help. I really really appreciate it coming from fellow riders. Looks like I got quite road ahead. Thanks again

WhipMeister

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Posts: 4292

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Location: Big D, TX USA

5/2/2012 9:36 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/2/2012 9:41 PM

Did your doc prescribe a CPM machine? It makes a ton of difference (constant physical motion) i was in that for two days, day 5 i was in PT on the bike. Attack PT! Again, it is very tough to do, but it pays back in spades. I was cleared to do anything I wanted after about 100 days. Didn't feel confident for a couple of years. Ditched my brace after a year or so and have been going strong ever since. Or until I tore my other knee up. Also, for lurkers, this describes acl reconstruction using your own parts. Donor reconstruction is totally different. Takes way longer. That was 17 years ago, btw. Oh, and it stays numb for a few years, but does eventually get back to normal.

ianhendry46

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Posts: 188

Joined: 8/18/2011

Location: Murfreesboro, TN USA

5/2/2012 9:41 PM

ianhendry46 wrote: hey man, i am going through the same exact thing right now, I had surgery last tuesday. This is my second ACL repair, and I hate to break it to you, the first three weeks after surgery are going to be the most painful days of your life. Unlikw yours, they took out of my hamstring to make a new ACL, so its a little different. The thing that is going to cause you the most pain in the swelling and bruising(and im guessing you are about to really start bruising, mine is black and yellow and red) but anyways, the best thing to do now is just get on a scehdule with your meds, dont try to act tough and not use them cause you will regret it, trust me. Just keep it elevated and iced as much as you can, and start kind of massaging around it to help with the swelling. I hope ths helps some with the pain, but remember to not let your meds wear off, that is the biggest thng.

And as far as putting weight on it and lifting, lift only as much as you feel comfortable doing, and the same with putting weight on it, just as much as you feel like. Like I said, this is the second time i have been through this so i feel for you.

When you start rehab and stuff, you best bets are cycling and swimming. Swimming being the better of the two because it relieves stress on the joints. Also use this as a way to train from here on out, you will thank yourself. I hope this helps, if you need anything else, you can e-mail me at ianhendry46@yahoo.com Good luck man, I know it sucks, keep your head up.

JJO741 wrote: You're the man. I really really appreciate the advice and help. I'll give you updates on my progress and you heal up too!

To all, can't thank you guys enough for the help. I really really appreciate it coming from fellow riders. Looks like I got quite road ahead. Thanks again

No problem man, anything for a fellow cripple

Anyways, yea let me know how youre getting along. Good Luck to ya

oldfart

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Posts: 21441

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Location: Las Vegas, NV USA

5/2/2012 9:54 PM

Gotta go with Whip on the PT. Mine was the MCL and meniscus and probably pretty light by comparison, arthroscopy, no knife, etc. Not much pain that I recall, it was over 20 years ago, even went to a wedding immediately after surgery. The PT was a big deal. You have to go at it and it just feels funky for awhile. Like years. I know I've torn it up twice since but I haven't had it fixed again. Good luck!

"It always seems impossible until it's done." -- Nelson Mandela

BMiller991

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Posts: 3

Joined: 8/30/2010

Location: Collierville, TN USA

5/2/2012 11:06 PM

A lot of good advice has already been given but i'll put my two cents in for the heck of it. I had two ACL reconstructions done on my right knee using a patella graph both times. Like Ian mentioned above the first three weeks are the worst part of the whole process. Getting behind on your meds during this period is the worst thing you can do. Once the pain gets too severe your playing catch up from that point on just fighting the urge to take more than the prescribed amount. Stay on a schedule, stay on top of it.

With regards to your therapy, the people above have mentioned great things to do and here are a couple things I found to work well for me. Your range of motion is the first and most important thing. Everything you do from that point on will be affected in a negative way if your range of motion isn't there. I would sit on the floor and put a rolled up towel under my heel and then put a weight on my knee (ex. some books). I did this twice a day for as long of time as I could stand it along with the exercises my physical therapist told me to do.

As you progress and get a month or so into your PT start pushing yourself but being smart about it. For example the standing squats would progress to single leg squats, then squats on a balancing ball would turn to single leg squats on the ball and so on. Cycling, leg press, hamstring curls, leg extension, and lungs are all great for building your strength back. Talk with your therapist about this stuff and don't go all billy badass and try single leg squats on a balancing ball 4 weeks out of surgery.

I guess the last thing I've got to say before I wrap up this masterpiece is don't be stupid about getting back on the bike. At the 2-3 month mark your going to be running, jumping and will be tempted to hop on the bike and just putt around. I know this because I did it. Just before the 3 month mark I went out and rode. I wasn't sticking my leg out in corners but I was going through the motions like sitting, standing, and jumping. At the 5 month mark at my first race back, on the first lap, I washed the front end and planted my leg and tore it all up again. That being said I also didn't have custom knee braces on. GET CUSTOM KNEE BRACES!!! You can even get your insurance to pay for the majority of the cost, like 90% of it. Just talk to your doctor he'll let you know what you have to do. After my second surgery, I got CTI braces and haven't had an issue since.

Your knee will become strong again and that fear of tearing it will fade. I went on to have some of my greatest accomplishments in the sport at the pro level just a year or two after the surgeries.

Good luck with your rehab. Work hard.

Branden Miller

BobbyM

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Posts: 18292

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Location: USA

5/2/2012 11:10 PM

JJO741 wrote: I just had my ACL reconstructed last Friday night. They took a 1/3 of the patellar and made that my new ACL. Unfortunately I'm still in quite a bit of pain everytime I get up to go to the bathroom or get something to eat/drink. How long will this pain last usually? Any tips on what I should do while recovering? My doc told me to start putting weight on it yesterday, and to lift my leg to strengthen the quadricep. Any other help or tips are much appreciated. Thanks guys.

dat you RV?

"Just wait til SX hits the eastern part of the series...JS7 will dominate"

Faceaz

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Posts: 1327

Joined: 7/28/2008

Location: Glendale, AZ USA

5/3/2012 12:21 AM

Push it till you come to tears... seriously. You have a limited window to get your range of motion back & break-up the scar tissue. Once the window passes, your gains will be very limited & you'll be fucked if you haven't gotten it. While working on strength is important to promote stability, the swelling will marginalize it as it shuts down the muscles. IMO 1) Range of motion is your top priority 2) get the swelling down - it will help with range of motion & strength 3) Work on strength for stability - you can always get stronger though. Get a Physical Therapist that's geared towards sports injuries & listen to them.

Faceaz

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Location: Glendale, AZ USA

5/3/2012 12:36 AM

WhipMeister wrote: Did your doc prescribe a CPM machine? It makes a ton of difference (constant physical motion) i was in that for two days, day 5 i was in PT on the bike. Attack PT! Again, it is very tough to do, but it pays back in spades. I was cleared to do anything I wanted after about 100 days. Didn't feel confident for a couple of years. Ditched my brace after a year or so and have been going strong ever since. Or until I tore my other knee up. Also, for lurkers, this describes acl reconstruction using your own parts. Donor reconstruction is totally different. Takes way longer. That was 17 years ago, btw. Oh, and it stays numb for a few years, but does eventually get back to normal.

I woke up from surgery in a CPM. Between that and a Catheter - I was pretty freaked out. I've had more knee injuries than I care to remember, but the worst was 13 breaks in the tib / fib & into the plataue. Even though I was non-weight bearing for 3 months, I was still able to get the cranks turning on a stationary bike within a few weeks. Best thing I did for range of motion @ home was sitting on the floor & putting my foot on a skateboard, had an innertube around the trucks & pulled it towards my ass - have to get the leg bending. Like someone else said, take advantage of the meds - if you use it to manage the pain so you can work your leg harder, it's well worth it.

c3011

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Posts: 445

Joined: 4/1/2008

Location: Perrysburg, OH USA

5/3/2012 5:26 AM

You will have muscle atrophy (sp?) in the leg you had the surery done on, it will just take time to build the muscle up. The biggest thing I learned when I had my acl done is listen to your physical therapist. Do everything the therapist says both when you are at therapy and the exercises they give you for home. As you achieve the bench marks the therapist sets for you they will let you push yourself that much more. Also, get your doctor to write a prescription for a CTI knee brace for that knee (both knee's if the doctor will do it for the other) your insurance will pick up the major ity of the costs for the custom fit knee braces.

ianhendry46

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Posts: 188

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Location: Murfreesboro, TN USA

5/3/2012 4:22 PM

Hey is a link from RacerX that might help!

http://www.racerxvt.com/article/acl-rehab---chad-reed-and-trx

Ing

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Posts: 3211

Joined: 8/16/2006

Location: Spring Hill, FL USA

5/3/2012 4:26 PM

After I had mine done, (a complete success) I attended a lot of matinees at the local titty-bar. My only suggestion.

The older I get, the faster I was. Posting without a cast on is fun!

steve_o_de

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Posts: 64

Joined: 9/8/2009

Location: Chesterfield Twp., MI USA

5/3/2012 5:37 PM

My advice, based on complete right knee reconstructive surgery is to not be pushed into heavy rehab to soon.
I had ACL transplant and meniscus repair. Two years later was back for more, another meniscus repair, micro bone fractures and cartalage repair.
I honestly think that I was pushed into heavey rehab to soon. I took a year off racing, but I still work out 5 days a week so maybe some was my fault also.
I'm good to go now, but take your time with your rehab, it will be best in the long run.

Best of luck

mrmoto619

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Posts: 8

Joined: 2/12/2012

Location: Solon, OH USA

5/3/2012 7:26 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/3/2012 7:28 PM

I had ACL surgery (patellar graph) five months ago. The pain in your knee right now will subside and before long make the stationary bike your best friend. At about three months you are going to feel like you can ride and do other things my advice is to resist your temptation I started riding at month three against my surgeon's advise ( I took it easy and never had to put my foot down which gave me a false sense of security because everything seemed to be going so well) At month four I tweaked my knee jumping into a foam pit on a BMX bike. I initially thought that I had re-torn the same acl luckily I did not but I did set my recovery back quite a bit. Bottom line listen to your surgeon.

panic revver

C100

Posts: 2968

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Location: USA

5/3/2012 7:29 PM

WhipMeister wrote: Did your doc prescribe a CPM machine? It makes a ton of difference (constant physical motion) i was in that for two days, day 5 i was in PT on the bike. Attack PT! Again, it is very tough to do, but it pays back in spades. I was cleared to do anything I wanted after about 100 days. Didn't feel confident for a couple of years. Ditched my brace after a year or so and have been going strong ever since. Or until I tore my other knee up. Also, for lurkers, this describes acl reconstruction using your own parts. Donor reconstruction is totally different. Takes way longer. That was 17 years ago, btw. Oh, and it stays numb for a few years, but does eventually get back to normal.

That CPM machine and the circulating ice water thing are the best inventions ever.

Funny (and true) quote deleted at the request of miedosoracing1.

‎"We ain't a sharp species. We kill each other over arguments about what happens when you die, then fail to see the fucking irony in that."

flap

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Posts: 78

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Location: Stockholm, SWE

5/3/2012 7:38 PM

I had surgery on my right ACL last wednesday.
Came home the same day and all week i was in more pain then i thought i wass supposed to be.

Woke up tuesday morning with considerable pain and swelling. Got worse all day and on wednesday, a week after surgery i had to call an ambulance.

Im in the ICU right now with blood poisoning after an infection from surgery. They drained so much nasty goo out of the knee wednesday, and i had another surgery yesterday to flush out remainin bacteria. Still at the hospital in pain. Today the blood work comes back and we are supposed to find out exactly what type of anti biotics i need to fight it off faster, just been on regular stuff for now.

Watch out for sudden swelling and increased pain. And go have it checked out right away, dont try to wait it out like i did, not worth it. And good luck!

motokid40

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Posts: 784

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Location: Sacramento, CA USA

5/3/2012 9:07 PM

A lot of pain the first week, then go to P.T. and work it! I hope you can sleep in a chair





JJO741

C100_image_1389480579

Posts: 1670

Joined: 10/7/2010

Location: Orange, CA USA

5/3/2012 11:06 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/3/2012 11:06 PM

flap wrote: I had surgery on my right ACL last wednesday.
Came home the same day and all week i was in more pain then i thought i wass supposed to be.

Woke up tuesday morning with considerable pain and swelling. Got worse all day and on wednesday, a week after surgery i had to call an ambulance.

Im in the ICU right now with blood poisoning after an infection from surgery. They drained so much nasty goo out of the knee wednesday, and i had another surgery yesterday to flush out remainin bacteria. Still at the hospital in pain. Today the blood work comes back and we are supposed to find out exactly what type of anti biotics i need to fight it off faster, just been on regular stuff for now.

Watch out for sudden swelling and increased pain. And go have it checked out right away, dont try to wait it out like i did, not worth it. And good luck!

Holy shit man that is brutal. Hope everything is ok now. Let us know when you know. We got a long road ahead of us.

^^^ above
Haha, thats is gnarly. My incisions are horizontal but prety much the same look I have right now too
You have your faithful companions keeping you company too.

Too all, thanks again for all the tips and advice. I really do appreciate the help and wishes. To those that are going through the same thing, keep me updated on your status and I will do so likewise. Heres to a speedy recovery for us all.

2strokerider

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Posts: 1891

Joined: 10/7/2009

Location: GBR

5/3/2012 11:34 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/3/2012 11:36 PM

mrmoto619 wrote: I had ACL surgery (patellar graph) five months ago. The pain in your knee right now will subside and before long make the stationary bike your best friend. At about three months you are going to feel like you can ride and do other things my advice is to resist your temptation I started riding at month three against my surgeon's advise ( I took it easy and never had to put my foot down which gave me a false sense of security because everything seemed to be going so well) At month four I tweaked my knee jumping into a foam pit on a BMX bike. I initially thought that I had re-torn the same acl luckily I did not but I did set my recovery back quite a bit. Bottom line listen to your surgeon.

listen to what this guy has said! I had the same op in 2005.

I had the patella tendon graft (i was told by my surgeon that this was the strongest long term fix, but apparently the hamstring graft is less painful and quicker recovery time) - the pain was pretty bad for the first couple of weeks.

If you want to make a full and fast recovery then buy a decent stationary cycle, or turbo trainer- you will be spending ALOT of time on this over the next 3 months! When you are first allowed to use the stationary cycle then do as much as you can, then immediately afterwards elevate the leg and put ice on the knee. When i first started i could only manage about 5 mins at a time, but was doing 5 mins then rest (with ice) then another, then another etc- I cant stress how important it is to do as much as poss on the stationary cycle! After 3 months it will feel fine- DO NOT RIDE! I know a few people that have re-torn the ligament from riding too soon. It will take AT LEAST 6-9 months for the graft to be at full strength. Just concentrate on getting fit using low impact exercise like cycling and building up the quads/hams/ calfs.
It will be very painful trying to get the full range of movement back in the knee, and you will have a sparrows leg for a while (its amazing how fast the muscle wastes away!)

Good luck- the pain will ease off substancially after the first 3 weeks, the recovery is hard work- but if you listen to your physio and put in the hard work you will be back to 100% in 6 months
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