Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The first 2 weeks after ACL surgery



4 days after my ACL surgery i took the dressings off to clean up my leg a bit and also to get some nice pictures. I have had a leg brace on and have been using crutches when to walk but i am putting as much weight as i can tolorate on my bad leg. Here's the first picture taken May 26th, 2008. The swelling is mostly in my quad and there is quite a bit of brusing on around my shin and calf. But overall it was not as bad as i had expected. As you can see they used desolving stitches. I had staples in when i had my first ACL surgery on my left knee. They were quite painful to take out so I'm thankful i won't have to go through that again.


May 26th was also my first day at the physiotherapist. I scoped out a few places one month prior to my surgery and found Kings Cross Physiotherapy in Brampton, Ontario (where i live). I had heard good things about this place and they have a lot of great rehab equipment for all sorts of sports related injuries. For those of you in the area and need a place to go for rehab, here is their web site: http://www.kingscrossphysio.com/






At this point, id like to point out that I'm getting around quite well with the crutches. Ive taken the leg brace off for good at this point. The evaluation went well, my range of motion was not as bad as i thought. They measured the angle that i could bend my leg and it was at 105 degrees which was better than i expected. Once my appointment was over they sent me home with a list of exercises i could do, some of which i was already doing. Ankle bends, Quad Flexes Patella mobilization and straight leg lifts and heel slides. Also, when icing the knee after exercises, you need to keep your leg elevated and its straight. 3 sets of 10 reps, 3 -5 times a day.


Towards the end of the week, the brusing was really starting to show right down my leg all the way into my ankle. Nasty and a bit sore to the touch but it looks worse than it felt.
By week 2, everything was coming along quite nicely. I am off the crutches already, well ahead of what i expected and I'm able to drive. The swelling has also come down a bit too. The brusing is still there by fading. Physio added in a few more exercises for me to do. Mostly to strengthen my Hips and quads and calves along with some balancing. I will scan them and post them if anyone requests it. After the 2nd week my knee can bend to 125 degrees, a 20 degree improvement from my first physio appointment. Not too shabby! This is what happens when you stick with the program.







Here is the final picture for this post. My knee after two weeks.
Here's a good youtube video explaining the surgery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q96M0jRqn7k
Thats it for this post. Thanks for visiting my ACL surgery recovery blog.

179 comments:

  1. How long were you out of work?
    micheraba@yahoo.com

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  2. My first ACL surgery in 1999 on my left knee, i took 2 weeks off. For this ACL surgery on my right knee, i was only off 1 week and 1 day. If you have a physical job then you'll probably require a lot more time off.

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    1. hey im 15 years old and i had surgery july 24th and today july 29th its my 5th day, the day after surgery i had a lot of pain, i could'nt take it at all. the 1st two days were horrible but the pain went away after the 3rd day. my foot and leg are both really swollen and it really annoying and i have a knee brace plus under that i have bands all around it and it very tight. every time i get up and start walking with crutches my knee starts to hurt when it hanging. im looking foward to see my DR in 15 days to get my stitches taken away, but i really want to get rid of this braces it really annoying me.....

      this blog was really helpful to know how other people did that went though this painful thing

      Delete
    2. Hi Andres,

      How are you now? My daughter 14 is having this surgery July 25, 2013 Do you have any advice?

      Thank you,
      Lori Silverman

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  3. Hey I just found your post randomly. I just had ACL Reconstruction of my right knee in the middle of September of this year. Just saw the specialist today and everything's good thankfully. i'm about to start physio next Monday. I was in the hospital for 3 days, had the epidural, etc. Got up 2 times and almost fainted both times. I had sterry strips and the scar is looking fantastic. I look forward in being "normal" soon. I can relate to how you feel in your blog!

    Hope all is well!
    Lyndsay from New Brunswick

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  4. Nice informative blog. I'm having my surgery in two weeks - full rupture. My question is this: How long did you wait from your injury until the surgery?

    The reason I ask is my injury occurred 9 days ago and the majority of the swelling and pain has subsided. In fact, I'm walking quite normal and am doing light weight resistance training.

    My doctor told me he normally waits a few weeks out from the injury to have the swelling subside a bit. Do you know if the recovery is better if your knee is back to normal minus the ACL rupture?

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    1. Im 12 and Im having surgery in a week. I have a full rupture in my left knee. I first injured my knee in September and then again in February so ive been waiting a while

      This blog was very helpful.

      My question is, is it scary waking up from the anesthesia?

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    2. I woke up from anesthesia aft ACL surgery and it was like waking up after a good night sleep.. I looked at the clock and I realized I worke up two hours after the surgery started. I had no pain. The nerve block in the leg was still working plus I probably had some pain meds.

      Delete
    3. Hello

      I may be able to provide some input into this matter. I completely shredded my ACL and it began retracting less than a week after injury. It was extremely painful. I also tore my medial meniscus, cracked and dislocated my patella, injured the fat pat below my patella, partially tore the quad and hamstring muscles and damaged my patellar tendon.

      At first I was quite frustrated with my surgeon that he was making me wait for my surgery but after reading so many posts about pain, stiffness and how difficult every thing is for everyone I must say that I am quite impressed with my results.

      After the injury I stayed in my imobilizer for one week, went for mri then took imobilizer off and felt fine enough to use my knee. Fell twice more due to instability and got in to see surgeon within one month of the third fall. Noone noticed that I actually ended up flipping my meniscus and completely tearing it, but after surgery this past Friday that is what I was told had happened.

      Anyways, I had surgery to give me a new ACL on May 24, 2013 at 10:30am and was out of surgery at 12:30pm. Because they did not have to repair my meniscus and actually could not save it and had to take half of it out I did not have to start wearing my immobilizer again. The surgeon was surprised but when he asked if I had any pain I said no and asked if I could get up and walk around. He asked me to use the crutches and so I did. I walked without pain but a bit of limping due to weakness of the knee and a bit of instability of the muscles still. I attribute this lack of pain and strength due to the extreme amount of physiotherapy that I completed prior to surgery. I went two to three times per week for approximately three or four months. I lessened the times per week towards the end but I kept up with the exercises and strength training ones. I figured I couldn't hurt it anymore than it was since the acl was gone and all I would do it strengthen the supporting muscles. This has paid off big time and I have been walking pain free since Friday (four days now). It does get tired and I do have to rest and elevate it for swelling purposes. I definitely ice it as it is major surgery like any other type of surgery. There are risks with overdoing it and it is a transplant graft that you are getting done so it needs time to heal. The stronger your joint is prior to surgery the better. If it is not strong and you get surgery like a young individual posted on here I suspect that your muscles would not be strong enough to help bend your knee afterwards. In order to provide the best support from a new acl it has to be put in there extremely tight as over time it will loosen a bit with use. So your MCL, LCL, PCL and other muscles need to be strong enough to extend and flex your knee even though your acl will be tight and working against them. If your knee is not strong enough to do this on its own then they will likely have to go back in there for a second surgery in order to release your knee from the "locked" position and that second surgery I have been told is worse than the first.

      I know you are wanting to get this done as soon as possible to move on with life, but I really do urge you to strengthen your knee as much as possible first. Then go for surgery and your recovery will be much easier afterwards.

      Good luck with everything.

      Delete
  5. Hi Steve,

    Great page, I have been reading this a lot leading up to my surgery. So, I had surgery yesterday Nov 7, 2008 and they also noticed a torn meniscus. The day of the surgery the pain was not to bad. Starting last night the pain became excruciating and has been that way the whole second day. I'll take a vicodin and it relieves the pain for an hour or so, and then back to real bad. Just curious how your pain was the first few days, I am assuming it gets better each day, but man this is some serious pain.

    Again, thanks for the journal it is great to read how things might be each week, but as you say everyone heals differently.

    Thanks

    Brian (31, male)

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  6. Hey, Thanks AWF and Brian for reading my blog and also for your comments! To AWF, since I live in Canada, I didnt have much of a choice but to wait quite a while for my surgery. There is a huge waiting list to just see a surgeron. To get any kind of surgery done right away it seems you need to be a professional athlete or have a life or death situation. So for this surgery it took a good 6 months after my first appt with the surgeon (Before that it took me 4 months to get an MRI and then 3 months to even get my appt with a surgeon). There is a benefit to waiting and that is the extra time you have can be used to get your knee and all the associated muscle groups as strong as possible prior to the surgery. It may be in your best interest to see a phyiotherapist now and get some advice on what you should do over the next two weeks before going under the knife. They may give you some similar exercises as the ones i've been talking about in my blog.

    When a professional athlete tears their ACL, they usually have the surgery done within a week or two of the injury so the fact that your surgeon wants to get it done right away is not unusual at all. Good luck and I'd be interested in hearing how you progress.

    To Brian, It was most painful the first few days. As you can see in the pics, my entire lower leg was bruised up. Eventually I ended up not even using all my pain killers as i could tolerate by the 4th or 5th day. Have you ever watched a video of what they do to your knee during the surgery? Youtube has a couple, you should check it out. Really explains why you feel so much pain. Be sure to use A LOT of ice and keep it elevated as Im sure you've been told already. As i explained in this post, my doctor had given me some exerciese to do at home right after the surgery. I was given quad muscle flexing, ankle bends, patella mobilization, straight leg lifts and heel slides. Whatever your doctor said you could do, make sure you do them even if you find it painful and uncomfortable and get a good physiotherapist as soon as possible if you don't have one already. Good Luck and keep me updated.

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  7. Thanks Steve, it is great to hear from someone who went through it. Its feeling a little bit better today. I'll let you know how things go.

    Brian

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  8. anonymous- I had my ACL reconstructed on October 24th and I experienced similar pain. Unfortunately it lasted about five or six days before it started to subside. My pain medication was written for every six hours but it really only helped for two or three. I found that on a scale of ten the meds would bring me to a six otherwise I was around 8-9. Friday will mark three weeks post surgery and I am feeling great. I am almost completely off crutches and I have nearly full range of motion.

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  9. Thanks for the input, it helps to hear what others went through. My pain time frame was very much like the one above, but after 6 days it finally started to subside. I was walking around a little bit without the crutches after 8 days, and now fully off the crutches after a week and a half. Doing my excercises and the road of PT starts tomorrow. Again, thanks for the input.

    Brian

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    Replies
    1. How long did you stay on pain meds? Narcotic pain meds that is. Thanks.

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  10. Hi, I am a Mom of a 14 yr old girl who had ACL surgery 8-08. They did a nerve block during surgery.
    She has been in so much pain to this day (4 months out) that she can't sleep at night or go to school. When she started at school, sitting was excruciatingly painful. They have thrown pain meds, inflammatories, she has done PT 3x week since the beginning--nothing works. We saw a pain specialist who put her on triccyclics to stop the pain and creams with a compound pharmacist. Now I'm wondering if they hit a nerve during surgery is the problem. I saw someone write that the neurologist confirmed that a nerve was damaged---what tests do they do to confirm that?
    Does anyone have a similar story--treatment ideas? Hope for us that she will get better?

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  11. very unfortunate. I don't know what to say. I have not heard to many negative stories like this but I know it does happen. Is there anyone out there that has a similar story as anonymousmom? I don't recall seeing any comments from anyone about problems with nevre damage on my blog. If i come by any other information on a similar situation, i'll try to post it. Best of luck to you Anonymousmom and your daughter.

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  12. New Knee Repair Process:
    http://www.drynitealarms.com/DrKnee

    This website will help you heal faster from torn ligament surgery.

    http://www.drynitealarms.com/DrKnee

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  13. hey I have an acl injury on my left leg aswell.... its been 2 weeks since the injury... and I can't walk or even bend my leg at all....? Is this normal? Or does it take some time aswell?

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  14. well, you should probably get yourself to a physiotherapist and see if they can help you out with it. I assume you can't bend your leg because of swelling? You should be able to walk, especially after two weeks. Have you been to the Doctors to confirm its an ACL injury?

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  15. Hi steve I had surgery 11/12/08 and im on one cructh. The physical therapist says im doing good ,but when i see your recovey im amazed. Im really trying especially at home with my exercise program. When im strected by the therapist i cry and scream. But when its done im not in any pain. Do you have any tips on exercise?

    Millie

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  16. Hi Millie,
    When i had my left knee's ACL repaired back in 1999, i was very similar to your situation. I did not get my range of motion back very quickly that time. It is different for everyone and unfortunately some take more time to get off the crutches than others. You are on the right track by sticking with your physio and doing your stretches at home. Stick with the stretches. It will get better. You can also practice flexing your quad muscle and do some leg lifts while your lying down, keeping your leg straight. Unfortunately until you get close to your full range of motion, you'll want to stay away from any heavy or hardcore exercises and just stick with the basics.

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  17. Millie,

    I had surgery pretty much the same time you did (11/07/08). My recovery seemed much to the same timeline as Steve's. I was off crutches entirely after a week and half. My range of motion was -8 to 100 degrees at about two weeks and at 3 weeks I almost had full range of motion. Talking to my therapists it is always different for everyone. Really work with your physical therapist and have them print you off excercises you can be doing at home. My biggest thing now is gaining back the strength in my muscles, but I am walking great with no limp. You will be amazed one day soon it will just start feeling better and you will be walking. Hang in there and keep up with the therapy and excercises. One other thing is to massage the incisions as much as possible to get rid of scar tissue. That is really the only thing right now giving me any pain.

    Thanks again Steve, you helped me through that first week and half and now I see the road to recovery.

    Brian

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  18. Good to hear your recovery is going well Brian.

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  19. hey there,

    i just had acl surgery a week ago from yesterday and went for my post-op check up. doctor said my range of motion is doing well, im almost at 90 degrees and can fully extend my leg. i started walking without crutches yesterday but started to get some very intense calf pain. whenever it isn't being elevated/ or if im walking on it, it feels extremely sore. to be sure there wasnt a blood clot, we had a doppler test done and i am clear, but what it appears to be is just soreness from beginning to walk again. has this happened to anyone else? this pain is really unbearable when i walk and feels like it will be here a while. if anyone has some tips that would be great. thanks!

    alison

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  20. Alison,

    It was painful on other muscles of the leg for a little while, maybe not as bad as yours, but it will take awhile to build up the quad muscles and what not. With these muscles weak right now, you are putting more strain on other muscles that you are not used to. I am no expert by any means, but it does make sense that this could be the case. Once you start your PT, they will have more answers for you and you will slowly start building back those weak muscles. Good luck and work hard at it!

    Brian

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  21. Hi there, i just had surgery a week ago and have not had much pain or bruising until now. My leg is very swollen and i can hardly bend it at all. It goes almost straight, but it is hard to tell because it is so huge. My skin is tight and hard from the swell.
    The bruises are new, just the last 2 days they are popping up behind my knee and now my foot has swollen today. It seems that im not getting much batter.
    I have a pain in my calf which might be a clot.
    The cuts and scars are very small. Smaller than i have seen on anyone.
    Also, my injury was 12 years ago! I have been walking around since '96 without an ACL. I cant run or play any sports and volleyball on the beach has been my biggest enemy. I almost managed 2 mins on the sand this year before i was down for the day.
    Im going to the doctors tomorrow (my doc just had ACL surgery a few months back so he really knows his stuff) and hopefully he will tell em this is all normal. I want a strong straight knee. I deserve it, after all these years since the hit and run.

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  22. Hey this is Dan,
    I had surgery on January 6th to have my ACL fixed. I went wtih an auto graph using my patella tendon. I am at 8 days and still in a ton of pain. I also cant move my leg much at all. Heck I dont think it even bends. Went to the doctor today and he thinks that my bone is still using blood from being drilled. I have a blood disorder and I am assuming that this is why my case seems soo extreme. If not for bad luck, I would have no luck at all.

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  23. hello everyone,

    alison here again. well update!! remember the pain in my calf? turns out i did have a blood clot but it was a false negative. a week later or so i ended up being admitted to a hospital because the blood clot traveled to my lung. im on coumadin so im definitely getting better but if you feel like something is wrong get it checked out!

    so im a little over a month post surgery (12/17) and feeling good. went to physical therapy and can walk well. i can bend and straighten my leg well so im feeling good.

    then something ELSE happened tonight. i live in jersey so this lovely weather is ICE COLD. and i was walking tonight, it was icy out and was being cautious of walking cause who wants to slip when they just had their surgery? not me. but of course i fell tonight. i slipped on my good leg which went straight and my bad leg bent and went out to the right. i kind of just laid there for a while wondering if i would feel any pain or what. someone came over (a friend of mine) and stayed with me making sure i could get up. i was nervous to get up but finally did. i think im okay becuase i distinctly remember the first time i tore my acl i couldnt completely bend my leg or walk. right now a few hours after this occured i have a little bit of pain in my knee in the kneecap area. i can walk. and did my exercises with just a little pain. i was able to do them all so i dont feel any reason why i should be alarmed. might have pulled my hamstring but had a little pain in that anyway, and a ittle in my knee cap but hey as long as i didnt mess up this surgery i will just feel fine. some reassurance people? thanks.


    alison

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  24. your therapist should be able to tell if you damaged it again. It would feel have that loose feeling again if you tore it i would think. When i tore my ACL I was still able to walk on it but it sounds like maybe you just bruised your knee a bit. Its probably still alright. You still need to be carefull even though you're walking at this point. I believe i was told that people who re-injure thier ACLs after surgery are most prone to do it in the 7-9 week stage of recovery.

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  25. thanks! im gonna be going to the therapist in a few fays so i should have that cleared up. the thing is the first time i hurt my ACL i heard a popping sound, and couldnt fully extend my leg or walk right and put pressure on it.

    Just stinks cause i was really trying to focus on walking carefully and last night i had an inkling something might be wrong, considering how icy it was outside and then BAM! i fell =/. but i still feel okay today,a nd im icing my knee just to be sure cause i get nervous easily but thanks for the reassurance =).

    alison

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  26. Thank you everyone for all your input. I had ACL reconstruction a week ago and am doing well. Reading all your post's before and after has really been helpful. One tip I would give for people in pain would be ELEVATE & ICE & ICE & ICE...get the swelling down ASAP. ~jill

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  27. Hello Everyone,

    I have enjoyed reading all of your comments. I am 38 years old and completely tore my ACL just before Thanksgiving of 2008 playing a little pick up football and trying to relive the glory days of my youth. I prehabbed for almost 2 months and went under the knife 6 days ago (ACL reconstruction using my patella tendon). The weird thing that I am experiencing is not a very swollen knee or inability to move my knee (thank goodness), but a very sore and swollen shin. Everytime I get up and am vertical, my shin throbs and hurts like hell. I did not expect this. The PT tells me that it is due to the swelling and drainage of fluid from the knee to my shin area. I have been experiencing this since the surgery. It is very painful and does not seem to get better... Is there hope on the horizon?

    Take care,

    mjm

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  28. Yes, i had this same problem but it wasnt too severe. I did a lot of ankle flexing. While laying down, just flex your ankle as high as you can stretching the calf and then as low as you can stretching the shin. do like 3 sets of 10 a couple times a day.

    Steve

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  29. Hey Steve,

    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. The ankle flexing works! There is still pain but it dissipates quickly when doing the flexing. Your blog has been a big help. Thanks and take care,

    mjm

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  30. Hey Steve,

    How long did you use your CPM machine?

    ~jill

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  31. Well I just had my ACL reconstruction (and miniscus cleaning) on Feb 2nd. It is now Feb 9th and I am in extructiating pain. The first 5 days post surgery went very well, with only experiencing pain in my knee and especially in the area where they cut my hamstring for the graft.
    I was taking my pain meds as prescribed and thought that it was going great. I was doing the physio excercises 3x per day as described by my physician. However on the 7th, I started to experience some numbness and dull pain in my heel. On the 8th it started to get fairly intense and I could not sleep at all. It is now the 9th and the pain is extreme. I went to the Emergency room to see what it was and they believe it may be a blood clot, although there is no major swelling or redness in my calf. They gave me a shot of blood thinner, anti inflamatory and morphine. I am now just back home and none of this has helped so far. The pain in my heel is a constant pain that stays consistent whether I am elevating it or even walking on it. It is making me want to pull my hair out.
    I am scheduled for an ultra sound tomorrow to see if this is a blood clot. I have done some reading and think it may be nerve damage, as it does not all seem to be consistent with a blood clot. Anyways, it hurts like hell but hopefully will soon end!

    If anyone has any other ideas or comments I would love to hear them.
    Thanks

    Todd

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  32. Dear Todd,

    don't be too sure its not a blood clot. i had some sharp pains in my calf and just through it was muscle pain from starting to walk again and ends up a week later it was a blood clot, that WAS in my calf when i experienced pain, then it traveled to my lung and i have a Pulmonary Embolism which has resulted me in having to be on blood thinners for 6 months so dont self diagnose and think its not something. Just passing on some advice.

    Alison

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  33. Hi everyone,

    Just had a small question. I had surgery 4 weeks ago. I was off crutches after 1.5 weeks and had about 105 degrees range after 2.5 weeks. Everything was going just fine until this week (week 4). While working my quad, my knee just started to swell just above the knee cap (only there). My physio, who was there, didn't know what it was and said she's never seen this. The swealing usually goes after 3 days, but this is very frustrating since we don't know if it is muscular (tear in quad) or not.

    Has anyone gone through this? Hopefully this is normal and I may have just overworked my knee.

    Thanks and good luck to everyone.

    Mat

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  34. Hi Steve,
    I love the pictures on your blog. I am in week 3 after surgery and my whole leg broke out into a rash about a week after surgery. My surgeon says it is an allergic reaction to something - perhaps latex from the band-aids. I am curious to know if anyone else had that complication.
    Also any suggestions as to the best way to get a good night's rest other than painkillers?

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  35. Hey Steve,
    First let me just say thanks for setting up the blog/forum. This is by far the best one that I have found with real and current people talking about their recovery.
    I had my surgery almost a week ago. The pain has started to ease off during the day once I get moving in the morning, however, the pain at night is excruciating. (as is shown by the fact that its 4:30 am). Elevating my leg, which I know is very important, hurts like hell. Any suggestions on what to do to provide some relief because my proscription of pain medication is starting to look scarce. Some other questions are: 1. How long does the pain last? (just looking for a timeline b/c i have read that some patients experience little pain, which is not the case for me.) 2. How long do most people stay on the pain medication? 3.How long to I need to elevate for, all night... as must as tolerable?

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  36. hey there

    I had my Acl surgery on March 12 and the menisucs cleaned they took the graph from the patella It's a little cut on the right side of my left knee. I wa on the on the bike after 8 days getting rotations all the way throut my knee bends to 100 and full extention. but with all this good improvements I still on crutches until know I will see my surgeont on thursday he told me to wait with the crutches until I see him. my problem is when I stand I fell like the blood is rushing down my leg and my quads gets infalted and also right by the cut where they took the graph it get inlated like a small ball and then when I sit it's gone I am may be wrong saying a ball but it feels like. please any one have pain where they took the graph from when they stand and walk

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  37. HI, I like your blog!

    I had my surgery on feb 23rd so it has been a little over a month and I am ashamed to say my recovery is going terrible compared to yours. I am still wearing the brace and have to do so for another 2 weeks. It seems like all I do is go to work and come home and work on my knee but I still can't get past 108 (the pain/ stiffness starts at about 90 ) degree's of bending while laying on my stomach with out the pain being unbearable.

    Once I stop pulled and turn over my knee no longer hurt but once my knee has contact with the mat there is a pain in my MCL and where the screw is (a lot of pain on the incision where the screw was inserted) . It is to the point where I can't breath, my face is flush and I am crying.

    How ever I can sit in a chair with my brace off and bend my knee with little to no discomfort well past a 90 degree.

    I should mention I tore my MCL which was not repaired in surgery and I also had to have my meniscus cut during my surgery.

    I honestly believe the brace is a big part of the issue here. I have to sleep with this brace on, get up and go to work with this brace on then come home (after my leg has been straight for and immobile for 15+ hours) and then start bending it. About time I take off my brace my leg is so stiff it takes me 10 to 15 minutes + to get it warmed up to maybe even pedal a bike at the highest setting I can sit on.

    Can you offer any words of advice? My PT basically told me I just need to deal with the pain and keep pulling but it shouldn’t be that painful! I see other bend and they appear to be in much less significant pain bending much further then me!

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  38. hey everyone

    About 6 weeks ago i torn my meniscus with a complete tear of my acl. I am still in pain and cant straighten out my knee which wont allow me to walk without a limp or pain. In addition to steve's outcome I have also been hearing horror stories.

    I have seen how instead of the injured knee they take the graph from the patella in the opposite knee.

    If anyone has heard anything about this or has got this done, please I would love to know the outcome and is it any difference from the other way. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

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    Replies
    1. My daughter which is 16 has just had the same surgery done.It been 4 days ago.3/8/12 was the surgery.She was in so much pain.She started rehab the day after surgery,Rested over the weekend and went back today 3/12/12 and bent her knee at 90 degrees.she is still in some pain and has swelling.The took the graph for the patella from the injured knee.She is in a locked brace for 4-8 weeks.Today has been a better day for her shes been bed rest since her surgery but today is up walking some on her crutches.Advice i can give is keep the leg elevated around heart level and ice for 20 min let the leg warm back up usually after an hour and ice again.She takes 800mg of advil to help swelling and also her pain meds at the same time.Ice and Elevation and putting a little weight on the leg can help it alot.She had hers done in Birmingham Alabama at St vincents..Hope this help some.

      Delete
  39. Hi yeah some doctors use the patella graft from the other knee but my doctor said that there's no point in causing damage to a perfectly good knee, makes sense i guess, why put the other knee at risk? Good luck anyway it's tough but follow the physio as closely as possible and you'll get back!

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  40. Thanks Steve for the blog it has helped me feel more comfortable and aware about my upcoming 2nd acl surgery friday..thnks to all

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  41. This is to anonymousmom....how is your daughter doing now? My daughter just had her ACL reconstruction on April 1...and it has been complicated by an adverse reaction to the antibiotic administered during the surgery. She experienced extreme joint pain in every joint on her body and couldn't move. She is has lingering lower body pain---but I don't know if that's from laying in bed for nearly 20 days....or from the drug reaction. Anyone else have back pain from either 'laying around' or hobbling around with the brace on and having bad form?

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  42. Wow. Well, i didn't have this happen to me at all after my knee surgery but when I had my appendix taken out, i had to stay in the hospital for a week in bed and my back was messed up for quite a long time after that. I had to go to a chiropractor and do strength training for my core muscle group before it got any better. Im sure the muscles in her back have become weak from being in bed for so long. Im not a doctor or physiotherapist that really is non professional speculation.
    Steve

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  43. I'm now starting on my 4th week post-op and I believe I'm getting better at my hyperextension. I can also bend my knee greater than 90 degrees. I will be off the immobilizer after my 4th week as my OS suggested. Also to Anonymous, I suffered from spinal headache for about a week after the operation. I was bedridden by then and had a hard time after that. Try to drink as much fluid as possible to "gain" back lost spinal fluids.

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  44. I am 6 days post ACL reconstructive surgery. I had an allograft (patella tendon graft from a cadaver)...the main benefits of an having this type of graft are 1)faster recovery 2)less trauma to your own body. So far, so good. The first three days after surgery were very painful and the Percocet made me sick. On day 4, I went off the pain meds. Celebrex, which is an anti-inflammatory that doesn't thin the blood, helped with pain and swelling, but now I'm managing with ibuprofen. At this point, I'm able to put about 75% of my weight on my leg, I am still walking with crutches, I can straighten the knee 100%, I can flex and point my ankle with the same range of motion as my good leg, and I can bend to almost 90 degrees (once I warm up).

    I was injured 2 1/2 weeks before I had surgery and I did pre-op PT.

    Has anyone used Arnica (homeopathic remedy) to help speed up recovery? I've heard it's helpful.

    One other bit of information: According to my Physical Therapist, women athletes are more prone to ACL injuries (especially soccer players, like me). Apparently, PT's can gear therapy toward 'retraining' muscles to avoid future strain/injury. If this is something that pertains to you, check it out with your PT!

    This blog is very helpful! Thanks to all who have contributed.

    Aimee

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  45. I tore my ACL in November 2005. The doctor told me by structure around my knee was secure enough that I could live with it. And having no surgery sounded like a great idea to me. It had given out on me a couple times while playing soccer but my knee just swelled for a week and then I was exercising in 2 weeks. This May I tore my medial meniscus. I'm having surgery on Monday. I was told to have the graft using my patellar tendon because I'm 4'8". I've had some friends who have had surgery. Some haven't turned out well. I'm really nervous. I'm 22 years old and I want to be able to run and everything. I just got certified to be a zumba instructor and hate the thought of being inactive. Is there anything I can do (I know I only have a few days before surgery) that would be beneficial? Thanks.

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  46. Hey there previous poster (June 18, 2009).
    I am 4 weeks post-op ACL reconstruction w/ hamstring tendon.
    The 1st week was brutal, the 2nd week was livable, the 3rd week I was able to start walking with my crutches, and now in the 4th week I'm off crutches and things are looking up. :)

    I'd torn my ACL a few years back along with the meniscus, which they fixed initially saying the ACL was an option for later.. well when my knee gave out in the same manner I knew I needed this for the stability and confidence I needed to live a normal life.

    My advice:
    Invest in what's called a cryo-cuff - it is a godsend and helps when icing your knee which you will want to do as often as possible for the first few weeks. Even waking up during the night to ice for 15-20 minutes so you don't wake up in so much pain. As well, keep your leg elevated as much as possible. Best to just rest up for the first week; exercise and physio will come later.

    Ensure you have all medication prescriptions before you leave the hospital. They forgot my anti-inflammatory, and let me go in pain for the 1st 4 days! PS: the little blue codeine pills are also a godsend! :P

    Do a good amount of grocery shopping beforehand. Fresh fruits and vegetables, and lot's of liquids kept me hydrated and healing. You will be appreciative if there is a friend/family member around to help you out with some things. My neighbour was great about helping out with meals and such.

    Lastly, don't be nervous, this is a solid procedure that you'll be thankful for. It's a trauma for the first week, but it's a positive pain. You're on the road to recovery. Expect some miserable times ahead, along with some difficult physio.. But this too shall pass.

    cheers.

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  47. Hi All,
    I had ACL surgery one and half month back and i was able to bend my knee till 15 -20 degree. the cause was my doctor didn't allow me to bend leg till 25 days after surgery and the result was knee stiffness . a week before he bend my knee under anesthesia control after which i m able to bend till 90 -100 degree but not behind that ..
    the pain is unbearable if i try to bend below that. can anyone help me out of this.
    Thanks in advance.

    nitin

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  48. Nitin,
    it's odd the doctor would restrict your movement; What else was wrong with your knee?

    From day one I wasn't in a brace whatsoever.. not even at night. I managed to start walking (with strides) within a couple of weeks.
    Now 5 wks post-op, I'm going past 110 degrees range of motion, with the help of a physiotherapist session twice a week.

    And as usual, lots of ice & rest still.

    I'd suggest seeing a physiotherapist about stretches and strengthening exercises.



    PS: It seems best when I visit the therapist for treatment that I don't take any pain medications prior. This is to clear my senses, and truly experience the current limits of my knee (pain threshold).
    Besides, when a workout begins to turn painful, you'd like your body to tell you when you're going to far.

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  49. Hi Fletch,
    Thanks for your valuable advice. i am consulting physiotherapist and according to him it will take 2 months to get it bend but i m bit worried since after pressing now its moving till 110-120 and behind that the pain is unbearable . wants to know do i have to go for manipulation right now or wait for 1 month .


    Nitin

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  50. Nitin,
    Physiotherapy = the sooner the better..
    I've been going twice a week since 2 weeks post-op.

    The more light stretching you do at home the better you will be able to increase your range of motion and reduce pain. Hold various stretches for at least 30 seconds. Every little bit counts.

    Each time it hurts a little less, and the range of motion increases a little more.

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  51. Wow -- this is a great blog site.
    I should share my info as well -- In sixth months, I've had the ACL of my left knee replaced twice!

    The first injury was in Nov., 2008, when I was teaching. I squatted down beside a student and "pop". I thought it was a torn meniscus (since I've done that before) and the ER doc thought so too. I went to the ortho surgeon - had an MRI - which came back inconclusive. I was scheduled for a scope on 12/30/08 -- and to the surgeon's and my great surprise, I had no intact ACL. Well, the surgery ended almost as quickly as it began.

    I had to see a partner of this first doc, since the first doc didn't do ACL recons. So, on Jan, 23, 2009, I had another surgery, to repair/replace the ACL with an Achilles tendon allograft. I was in a straight-leg locked brace for 5 weeks and only allowed to remove it during PT, my CPM machine, or in the shower.

    My recovery was very slow and I experienced tremendous pain for a long time. But after about 6 weeks, I started to turn a corner. Then, wham!, I sprained my MCL when I tripped over some kids at a local wedding -- recovered fully from that, thankfully.

    But....then on 4/18/09, I was walking up some stairs and I felt & heard a huge "pop" in the same knee -- mind you, I was in my functional brace -- and there was immediate severe swelling. I went back to the doc who was quite concerned about the laxity in the ACL and ordered another MRI. Surprise! This one came back inconclusive, too.

    The doc ordered me to stay in my functional brace all the time, save for PT, sleep, and showers and give it time to heal. But 6 weeks after April 18, I went back to the doc, described the same instability, swelling, and chronic pain -- he decided to scope my knee to "see" what was going on.

    So...long story short, I am now 5 days post-op from ACL recon #2, which was on 6/26/09. I am still experiencing a high pain level, for which I take my pain meds and Advil. I use an ice-man ice cooler, which circulates cold water continuously around the knee 24-7. This helps some, but not always. I have to use the CPM machine 4 hrs. a day and will hopefully have some ?'s answered when I follow up next week.

    The thing that is different this time is the severe front shin pain -- perhaps from bruising?

    Does anyone else have a similar story?

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  52. I am having acl surgery Thursday (7-9). The doc & nurses I schedule with said I would be ok to go back to work Monday (light office work) - so that I what I told my boss. Now after reading some of these posts, it doesn't seem like a weekend recovery is enough for returning to work. Any ideas out there?

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  53. ya, I would say that you may want to take a week off work. That is what i took.

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  54. I would recommend taking at least a week off from work, if you have the time available to use.

    This will allow your body to heal from the surgery and allow you to evaluate your pain and activity level.

    I am "off" for the summer -- I am a teacher but I am in between jobs currently. The first surgery, (feel free to see my earlier post) I ended up with two weeks off, since I do a lot of standing/walking in the day.

    I am on day nine post-op from my second surgery -- I see the doc tomorrow and will hopefully be able to begin outpatient therapy soon. For now, I am limited to my CPM machine and otherwise locked into my straight-leg brace.

    Good luck with your surgery!

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  55. Kristin,

    In regards to how your knee's been giving out on you so much.. That's a crazy story!

    Makes one wonder what facet of their life is most responsible for their bodies letting them down - improper fitness, nutrition, stress?

    I can relate to having that shin/calf pain. My thoughts were that the pain was from all the swelling, as well as, liquids draining away from the knee. My calf hurt from day one, and took weeks to feel better.
    You may notice it hurts the most when you stand up? In time all this pain goes away. Ice, ice, and more ice..


    To Anonymous poster:

    You will be in some amount of pain post-op, and it will do your body well to just take the following week completely off work.

    R.I.C.E. = Rest Ice Compression Elevation.
    Those are all aimed at reducing swelling which is what causes the most pain.

    If your leg is not elevated, excess blood will gather there and cause you a lot more pain.

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  56. My surgery was on july 2nd. First day no pain due to the femoral nerve block. 2nd day is when pain started to kick in. It was all in the back of my knee and below my kneecap. I have very little bruising only on the inside of my leg. Around the lower quad area. Today is day 9. I can bend it to about 70 degree. Physical therapy starts Tuesday. I have been doing some ankle locks leg lifts and quad flexes when ever I can. I have not been icing too much. I'm on crutches but can put most weight on my leg. I was wondering. Should I always keep the brace on or only when I'm up and crutching around. I don't keep it on overnight. Another thing.. has anyone experienced really bad pain towards the morning. I have been taking hydrocodine every morning at about 6 or 7. I wake up in excrutiating pain. This is a great blog. Thank you. Igor

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  57. Igor, how is the pain now, a few days later?

    I recall excruciating pain as well in the mornings. My thoughts were that the pain meds had worn off from the night before. But it is also most likely from the swelling and lack of icing over night.
    Sometimes I'd wake up in the middle of the night just for the purpose of icing my knee; to give it a cool rest and reduce the swelling. I lost a lot of sleep this way, but the pain was more of a pain so-to-speak.. :P

    What does your surgeon/therapist say about using your brace?

    My surgeon never mentioned me needing a brace, and I never did. I'd say leave it off as much as possible and lightly stretch/exercise the other areas of your leg - ankle, calf, and quads.
    Those areas lose muscle strength if you don't use them, so I see it as odd your motion is restricted with a brace.
    After a couple weeks I began strength training, and now 8 wks post-op I have almost my full range of motion back.


    Ice for pain, gradually exercise to get strength back, but also rest easy and take your time..

    Good luck with your recovery!

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  58. I had acl surgery July 13th. My meniscus was also torn. I did not anticipate it being this painful. Day two was excruciating pain. I have more pain in the afternoon. I am taking hydrocodone 7.5-500 which does not seem to really relieve the pain that much. It is now day 6 and I am able to put a little weight on my knee but if I am up on it long I get really nauseated. I thought I would be walking without crutches by now. Does anyone know how long you are supposed to keep it elevated and use ice?
    I have been keeping it elevated all day and iced unless I get up to go to the bathroom or do something. This is going to be a long journey. I cannot wait to jog and team rope again.

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  59. Hey Shar,
    the pain will pass..

    It took a good miserable 10 days or so before the worst was over for me! It was only then that I was able to venture outside the house on crutches.
    I thought those first two weeks of pain would never pass. But here I am 8 wks post-op. I ice it when I need to because there is still some swelling, and is still quite sore at times.

    Keep it elevated as much as possible, and on ice as much as possible, I'd say for at least the first week or two; or when you see the swelling has gone down and doesn't limit your motion.

    You're absolutely right - this is going to be a long journey.

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  60. Thanks so much Fletch for sharing your experience. It is nice to talk to others that have gone thru this. I notice the pain is getting where it is easier in the morning. But night time is so painful. I have muscle spasms and stinging where the stitches are.
    I am trying to be positive though.
    Did you take pain meds every 4-5 hours thru the first two weeks?

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  61. That's cool Shar.. I needed something like this when I was going through it, so I'm paying it forward so to speak.

    You're right about the night time pain. It really sucked when I was half asleep and my operated leg would spasm and jerk me wide awake!

    You just deal with it. It got to it's worst and most miserable for me after a week and a few days, but after that things started looking up.

    I recall going thru pain meds every four hours to deal with it through that time. Was glad when I could cut back and eventually stop any kind of drugs. It gets to your head after a while.. :P


    Clear your mind and your ass will follow. :)

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  62. Nice to have somekind of idea of a timeline to stop taking this crap. But definitely not until this miserable pain stops. Thanks again for your advice.

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  63. I had acl reconstruction surgery July 9th, 2009. I am pleased with the recovery so far. I can walk without my brace or crutches. I only have a slight limp when I concentrate on walking correctly. I can handle stairs ok. (up, not down) I can do leg lifts & have regained a lot of quad muscle back. Yesterday at physical therapy I rode a bike for 3 minutes with no problem & my knee bend is at 120 degrees. However, I am experiencing a bit more pain than expected. My kneecap (where they took bone & tendon) is painful when in use as well as where they put the screw in above my knee (there is a nice lump there). It seems like those 2 things are what is limiting my range of motion when bending me knee. In addition (and more painful) my calf is extremely sensitive to the touch. I have a hard time at night/morning because lying down involves my calf touching the bed/couch. It is a combination between cramping/tingling/bruising. I thought this pain was maybe from all the bruising. But the pain seems to be mostly in the morning & most of my bruising has been going away. I’ve been elevating, icing, rubbing and walking around to help circulation. Nothing really helps except for the pain meds the dr. gave me (which I’ll be out of soon). Is all of this normal & can anybody advise as to when I might get some relief? Thank you SO much for this blog site. It has been very helpful in answering many questions and concerns before & after my surgery.

    Thanks again

    Ericka

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  64. Ericka,
    I am having similar pain in my calf. Saw my doctor yesterday and he does not think it is blood clot. He said just keep moving it and that should help. However, I did my first therapy session and moved a lot and was in so much pain last night could not sleep until about 2am and then for only a couple of hours. I am like you trying to get off these pain meds but it is very hard when the pain is still present. Good luck with your recovery!!

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  65. My surgery was 17 days ago. Not much swelling anymore, I was wondering how long to keep icing?

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  66. Anonymous said...
    My surgery was 17 days ago. Not much swelling anymore, I was wondering how long to keep icing?

    July 27, 2009 2:42 PM


    Dear Anonymous....

    I am 4 weeks post-surgery -- I had an ACL Revision of a previous reconstruction -- and I still ice frequently. It helps with the pain and the swelling. So keep icing as much as you need to -- I've been down this road twice in 6 months.

    I am getting out of my post-surgery brace in a week (yes!!) and will be into my functional brace. Good luck with your recovery!

    ~kj

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  67. Week 2 after Hamstring ACL op ( I started my contributing to this blog at week 3 so there is more detail at the three week post)
    So it has been two weeks now. The clinic I had the surgery is a long way away (gotta travel to find the best docs!) I saw the doc and he pulled the stitches out. Nice clean scars. X-rays were fine. Didn't really say much except that he wants to see me at 5 weeks once the swelling and knee fusion dissipates and the range of motion improves and there in some real progress for him to check out the knee stability.
    Went in the rehab room and iced, did R.O.M heel slides exercises, then got on the bike for the first time, seat was up as high as possible and the knee was really stiff but it was bearable and I did 12 mins of spinning. Physio checked my knee strength and decided I didn't to to do the setting any more ( squeezing down on the rolled towel) it wouldn't achieve what I needed any more so he hold me to stop. Still doing the hip adductor ball squeeze between the knees. Extending the toes while holding the rubber tube around the foot exercise. Calf raises. Aufblau exercise for the hip.
    New exercise today was Samson's chair (air chair) against a wall. 5 sets for one minute.

    Still have the crutches but don't need to use them except when I go somewhere I have to do a lot of walking – get tired and start limping but otherwise its fine. I mostly carry a walking cane around, helps on stairs with no hand rail. Also the cane gets me out of looking bad for sitting on crowed trains when there are older passengers standing, people can see I am “injured”
    Can put full weight -no problem, have been able to since day one, can even do one legged calf raises.
    Range of motion has improved 10cm from one week ago - now 19cm away from perfect.
    (using my good leg a reference for full R.O.M.)
    I measure while sitting straight legged on a yoga mat, bending the knee as far as it will go and measuring the position of the heel.
    Still icing like crazy, 2-3 ice massages a day and using an icebag while chilling on the PC or watching TV.
    Pain? Hardly any pain at all in the knee, muscles are sore but just sore its fine. Havent taken any painkillers since my one week post op course of meds ran out.

    Tried walking up stairs normally on Day 11 and I found I could do it. So the next day in my rehab training at home got into the stairs, 5 times 7 flights of my Apt building (and down the elevator) cant go down the stairs. Felt good, plus did all the other exercises .Went out drinking (well they drank!) with some friends that night and didn't take the crutches as we were supposed to be at a bar next to the train station - ended up bar hopping and although had the cane we ended up walking too far and it started getting quite tired and swelled up a lot, the next day it was really tired and swollen – to much stair climbing and all the walking between bars – gotta slow down pushed it too hard.
    I am a schoolteacher on summer break so luckily I have plenty of time to relax and rehab without time constraints.

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  68. Hi all,
    and thanks to all you posters and Steve for setting the blog up. I'm 11 days post-op on an ACL recon with hamstring tendon(auto-graft)
    Original injury was at the end of April '09& I was MRI-ed within a week& pretty much diagnosed straight away. I tore the MCL & was told it was most likely an ACL rupture.
    Day 1 - I got scoped and reconstructed in the same op(in at 0900, operated on at 1330hrs & out by 1900hrs). I had a local anesthetic (shot to the groin!) and a general one.

    Day 2 was painful & was all about icing,stabilising & staying elevated with some exercises for 5 mins every 2 hours, 4 times a day. Interrupted sleep followed at night

    Day 3 was very tough, in fact it was my worst day. An awful lot of pain (the morphine had long worn off) and had me chewing the difene(NSAID)&ibuprofen. I'm not a fan of taking painkillers, but have had to over the last 10 days.

    Day 4 & onwards saw slow progress with RoM & strength. However, anytime I get up on the crutches causes my knee-foot area to turn purple as the blood rushes to it. Its as though my knee is "holding its breath". I can't stay up for long as I feel it swell.

    The only solace I have is in the fact that every day will make me stronger as I move (hopefully)towards making a full recovery & being able to ski, hike, dive etc without compromise.
    Day 5 - more like night 5 & onwards has seen me
    in a lot of discomfort and pain in the shin area of affected leg. Kristin referenced this I think above. It is quite sore & occurs at random. I believe it is to do with the fluids working down the legs. It feel like really bad sunburn or someone ripping duct-tape off my shins & pulling away the hairs. To try & relieve the pain I would lie on my back, raise the leg straight up (get a helper to hold it) and did ankle rotations & foot exercises to get the fluids moving.

    Day 10 - I had to get out from the house-arrest & go to the pool to walk about in chest-deep water. I did hamstring curls, quad extensions, squats, 'cycling an imaginary bike' etc. It tired me out for the rest of the day, but is worth feeling the bit of 'freedom' that water brings.

    Hope this info is useful to others,best of luck with your recovery,
    Dale

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  69. Hi All,
    This has all been very helpful in educating me on what to expect post surgery. I hurt my right knee in early August and have been going to physio extensively at first but less and less. I went for my MRI a few weeks ago and I just got my results today. I have completely torn my ACL and will require ACL reconstruction surgery with a hamstring graph. I have been pretty good about doing exercises (10 bike + 20 mins squats) everyday to build up the quad muscles on my right leg. I was wondering if someone can give me any more suggestions on what other exercises I can do to further strengthen my leg now prior to the surgery to help speed up my recovery. Thanks in advance for your input and please keep posting.

    ~M

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  70. Thank you for nice blog. I have been reading it before the surgery.
    I injured my left knee training (bjj) in Oct 2007. Because of the work and due to some poor doctors' diagnosis did not know that I had a complete ACL tear. Only after going to doctor #3 and MRI #2 the correct diagnosis was made.
    Had the ACL reconstruction surgery on Dec 10, 2009 (13 days ago), hamstring autograph option...Fortunately I had no damage done to meniscus or any other ligaments, so in my case it was straight ACL reconstruction surgery...
    I was released right after the surgery (I guess it called outpatient option). First 2 days I did not do much, just kept my leg elevated. Pain was not too bad, only during the night it was bothering me more. Took painkillers (Endoset) for the first 3 days (2-4 pills a day)..
    Stopped using crutches 2 days after the surgery. I had(and still have, not as bad as before) a swelling mostly on top of my knee cap, although some swelling is transferring to the bottom part of the knee...
    I still use knee immobilizing brace when go outside of the house, driving, etc. Stopped using it at home...
    ROM -3 to +105 (as of today)
    I think that one of the most important things that everyone (of us "lucky" people with torn ACL) has control over is the ability to prepare yourself before the surgery. 2 weeks before the surgery I started to work the hell out of my quads, hamstrings and calf using simple exercises and stretches. So, I think this is the major help in quick/successful recovery. Good luck to everyone with your ACL endeavors

    Alex BLR

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  71. What a great site ! This is definately the best resource I have found so far, thanks!
    This is my 6th day since surgery and I am walking without crutches (albeit, very slowly and obviously not a full stride).
    I think the key is not wearing a brace AT ALL post-op and starting exercises right away. I had a very young surgeon and he was very adamant that I not wear the brace( i brought it with me to surgery) and start to put weight on it as soon as possible.
    I was also given a list of exercises and told to start them right away and do them every 2 hours while awake (i only do them 3 times a day).
    After I do the exercises, my knee is generally
    feeling pretty loose so I have been walking around until my leg is fatigued and telling me its "enough", I then ice it for a few hours.
    At first I was walking with the crutches and putting as much weight on my hurt leg as possible.
    On about day three I started to focus on trying to do a normal stride( obviously without full weight on it).
    And last night after my exercises my leg was feeling good enough that I didn't use the crutches and just walked up and down the pathway outside my house for 30 minutes. Now this morning I haven't used the crutches yet although its only 8am...

    I think on of the things that was the best for me has been the belt from my house coat. I originally got it out to help with my stretching but it has become an invaluable tool. When sitting down/getting up on the couch or bed it is the greatest !! You just hook it around your foot and use it to keep your leg straight while swinging it up/down. There is no pain involved ! Absolutely magic...

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  72. One more tip
    I was told not not sit or sleep with my leg propped up and encouraged to keep it straight as much as possible
    so i haven't been putting a pillow or anything under my leg and have been sleeping on my back

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  73. Hello, My 15 year old daughter, a freshman in high school is scheduled to have acl surgery two weeks before her end of year testing/grading. From a pain and motivation perspective will she be able to handle this while in recovery or should we postpone surgery until after school is out. She does not want to wait and thinks she can handle recovery and school. Any first hand thoughts are appreciated.

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  74. From 11 months post-op ACL knee surgery:

    Personally, I was immobilized and in pain for a good 10 days post-op..
    I tried to consider working from home during my 2nd week, but I was too laid up. I found I couldn't be at ease unless I was elevating and icing my leg, nevermind trying to sit at a computer.

    Venturing outside the house on crutches began after 2 weeks and it was a pain at first.
    If it were me I'd postpone surgery until after school was out.

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  75. Had my surgery done 11 days ago...

    I dont have much bruising but my skin turned yellowish. I look forward to recovery... but it's certainly a very long road ahead.

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  76. hEY! gUYS JUST HAD AN ACL reconstruction surgery today 3/16/11 and Im in so much pain.....very confused can I bend my knee or Not....especially when Im sleeping, it really hurts when i prop it up on a pillow... Please let me know my next appt is not until Monday...also how bad is it to take more meds than u were told(percocet)?

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  77. You need to contact the dr on call and ask for stronger pain meds. Are you following the advil/tylenol regimen? 600 mg of advil and 600 mg of tylenol alternating every three hours, along with your prescribed meds? YOU MUST EAT every time you take a pill(s), crackers, or something. You also need to do this around the clock, setting an alarm every three hours so you can stay ahead of the pain. So sorry this has happened. You really need to get ahead of the pain and the doctor is prob the only person who can really help right now. You can do it, and you will feel better!!

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  78. Thanxs for the response.....but nah!! just the percocet... I was actually able to get a higher dose this morning from 5 to 10mg but no advil and tylenol regimen? should I ask for that?

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  79. Check with your physician and ask if they recommend the advil/tylenol regimen. It really helped get ahead of the pain, but in any case, you should only take medication advice from your physician. Good luck.

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  80. I actually just had my surgery a week and a day ago. I'm no longer on crutches starting today. The first few days were the worst. I can bend my leg about 90 degrees now. Physical therapy is going pretty good and my leg feels better after doing those excersises. AMAZING!! Im still icing it a lot and using my machine that moves my leg like crazy. Pretty pumped to get back to normal even though it will take a lot of time. Im not even using most of my pain meds. anymore. I still have problems getting comfortable sleeping but I am still trying to work on that. Thanks for the blog it is really helpful. When did you start to walk with out crutches is a week and a day normal or good?

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  81. I personally started to walk without crutches 5 days after the surgery and today is my 10th day and I'm walking pretty good without limping and about 95% bending. Its helped alot to sleep with a pillow between my legs. Hope that works... the bad thing is that I'm still taking my pain medication.

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  82. I had my ACL reconstruction surgery on Wednesday March 23 2011. I have hardly taken any of my pain or antiflamitory meds so far. Icing it every 3 hours and after doing my excercises. Today Monday I am walking with one crutch but still with a limp. Going to start physiotherapy a week after my surgery. My surgeon told me to be expected off of work for a minum 2 months since I am on my feet all day at work. I am finding it hard to sleep at night trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in. I have read 2 different stories about using pillows under your leg (behind knee or under ankle) I was told to place 2 pillows under knee!

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  83. I am a 45 year old mother of 4 who loves to ski. I am having surgery on April 14 and I am leaning towards the patellar graft. I was given the option by another surgeon of using a donated ACL. Both surgeons seemed to have their preferred procedure.. I am wondering how big the scar is after the "harvesting" of my own tendon...I have never had any type of surgery and it's freaking me out!

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  84. I had the patellar graft and i have 3 holes and one 2 in line across top of knee. I think you should get that one because you are active and it will be stronger.

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  85. How was the recovery for you? I am on my feet all day at work and I'm trying to plan accordingly for time off. It seems like anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months which is pretty broad. It's my left leg so I figure I will be able to drive sooner.
    I was preparing for a mini-triathalon in August, but I'm guessing that's a done deal.

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  86. Yeah I hurt my left knee as well and began driving 3-4 days after my surgery just have to get your leg comfortable in your car before you drive off. I work at a resturant on my feet all day and was out of work for 2 weeks. Just depends on how fast you heal. I was off crutches a week after surgery but my doctor wanted me to walk on it as soon as the nerve block went away. Make sure for the first couple days after surgery you use the machine that moves your leg constantly. This will help a lot when you begin walking. The goal is to get your leg to 90 degrees with the machine so change the degrees each day to help. I know that machine helped me a lot and helps my range of motion. Less than a week out of surgery I could completely straighten and bend it to almost 90 degrees myself. Your time off just depends on how long you use the machine and ice it. Make sure when you begin walking and your standing there balance your weight this will help when you go back to work as well.

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  87. I cancelled my surgery for the peteller graft and I am leaning toward the donated ACL. It seems as the procedure is much less invasive, but still alot of pain. I have spoken to quite a few people that have issues with pain and function after the petellar graft. One women switched to snowboarding because of the knee pain. I just have to be comfortable with the risks of a "donation". I am pretty sure it's OK.
    I was also focusing on having the procedure done in the city-The Hospital for Special Surgery because they do so many, I'm not sure if that should be a determining factor or not...

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  88. Had acl surgery 2 days ago. Everytime i get up out of bed or from resting my knee i can feel it throbbing and the blood moving when i stand up, i get serious pain and cant put full wait on knee,after 5 10 mins on my feet the pain gradually goes away is this normal? I dont wear a knee brace, do i need to rest in bed all day and do the light excerices 3 times a day then ice?

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  89. Paul I had that same problem...mine went away a little after a week. The staples I had in my leg did not help either though. Pretty this is normal just make sure you keep icing it and if you can walk on it just take it slow. Dont overdue it either. If you have a brace you should wear it as well. It will protect you when and if you fall because your so unstable now.

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  90. Hi all thanks for your great posts! Had acl reconstruction patellar graft left knee 3-28. I'm 30 in 8 days, 5'5 130lbs fairly active but not very muscular. I tore my acl doing a jump spinning front kick in martial arts, Choy Lay Fut (Kung Fu) my foot got hooked above the pad and my left leg locked and bent backwards then inwards. That was December 3rd. After surgery day 1 I slept almost the entire day... It wasn't too bad took pain meds until day 3 they made me so nausious and just did not seem to work. They gave me hydrocodone. Tylenol after that 4 times a day. Tylenol pm at night before bed helps a little it makes me a little sleepy.. They didn't want me to take excedrine or anything for some reason just Tylenol. I did read that nsaids slow healing... Dunno. Day 2 was really bad so was day 3 the cpm machine has been my bff. I've noticed the more you move it the better it gets. Do those exercises even if it hurts the next day you will feel 300X better even if you do them before you feel pain you will still feel better. I cannot do leg raises at all, so I just close my eyes and flex every muscle I can to try to get my quad to respond it seems to work a little better now. I also read if you flex your uninjured leg you get a 10% transfer to your injured leg. I'm still on crutches walking with both legs, I don't trust my injured leg to support me. The pain from the blood rushing back into your leg when you stand up is terrible! If you can drop your leg from the couch or bed for a few minutes before standing that helps a little. Sleeping is horrible I didn't get an immobilizer just ordered to prop my leg up by the ankle - that is also really painful but hey I have zero problems straightening my leg. Seems like when I read blogs post etc people are always saying they were walking the next day... Then I usually read they had a hamstring graft! I am guessing it's just less painful than the patellar graft. Something I was concerned about was the burning around my incision when I stand, I guess I don't know if it's the incision or where they took the graft from that burns like that... It's getting better now though. I'm going to attempt a half day at work tomorrow, I have a desk job. I'll post how it goes.

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  91. Oh yeah I'm also a girl! And I forgot to say with each day the pain gets better. And thank god I did horse stance so much!

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  92. Has anyone had the allograft (donated ACL) reconstruction?? How was the recovery??

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  93. Going back to work didn't go so well - I didn't realize walking 3 blocks to the office was going to be so bad :( by the time I got there i was in tears, the first time I've shed a single tear over this whole thing - I have the leave so I will take another week to be safe... I really missed the cpm machine :( - and my ice.

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  94. Hi I will be having my ACL surgery on the 19th of this month. I am only 23 and an athlete. In fact, I got this injury from playin basketball. I want to know how soon it will be until I can run again?

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  95. Hey- I'm having my ACL surgery on the 20th. I'm wondering the same thing...I am 45, but very active and I'm hoping it will go as well as many of the posts I've read. I injured my knee skiing and I am set on returning to the slopes next year.
    What type of surgery are you having? I am going to have the allograft.

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  96. Hi im sorry i dont know the proper name lol but the one were they put the camera in and do it, with minimal scarring. I snowboard and all of that too but i have basketball things coming up and I really want to hear about people running again. I dont think walking will be the issue.

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  97. Well, I'm now 19 days postop acl recon patellar... Doing better went back to work now. Pain not so bad! In PT now 101 flexion -6 extension... I'm grossly flexy so -6 is still shy of my good leg. My PT calls me "advanced" I don't feel advanced after reading some peoples stories off crutches in 2 days walking great etc. I got cleared for the stationary bike 3 days ago and that is the number one most helpful thing. I walk 100x better after a 30 min ride - no resistance I'm not cleared for that yet.

    Really I was on crutches 14 days exactly a few of those days out of fear. I was also never given a brace. Idk about running - I do know I could not run right now if I tried and that it would be extremely painful.

    Do the exercises like crazy afterward they say do 10 sets 5x a day - I do as many as I can.

    It only gets better and I do feel my leg feels different, it feels less loose, could be the swelling... But when I tore my acl I couldn't lift my knee cap right anymore... Hehe I can now.

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  98. hiii,
    okay so i am 17 years old and i tore my right ACL playing basketball in december and had my surgery april 14. i thought it was going to be a lot painfull then it was. I was back to school in two days. i want to know if i will be walking by my senior prom?!! may 20!? any suggestions:)

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  99. My doc said I can't take my leg out the brace until the 29 of April my surgery was the 13. That means I cant clean my wound bend or anything. Is this normal?

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  100. My husband had his surgery on Tuesday, April 12. He felt pretty good after the surgery and started PT the Friday after, which he was very excited for.

    However, that Sunday he started feeling soreness and pain in the calf of his operated leg and thought it was just from his PT exercises. On Monday, he had his post-op appt. and told them about the pain and soreness. They took him in for an ultrasound and found a blood clot in his calf blocking about 60% flow of blood. He started on his blood thinners on Tuesday (hate the Lovenox).

    At this point, the physical therapist told him he probably can't go to physical therapy or do most exercises until after his follow-up ultrasound next week and was told to be on crutches until then. Being that we have a young child, I'm 5 months pregnant, and at this point working 57 hours a week since he's out of work this has been very hard on both of us.

    Has anyone been through this? If so, how long before you were putting pressure on the operated leg? Also, were you told not to resume physical therapy or do any exercises?

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  101. Hey-
    I had acl reconstruction on Wed 4/20. I had the donor allograft and I feel like I'm doing very well. It's only been 2 days and I'm not taking pain killers until bed time. I started PT exercises at home, but because of the holiday weekend, I won't start "formal" PT until Monday. I did have an issue with soft bones; when the doctor went to put the screw in he said it went right through. What he went through I don't exactly know...but he said he used a button instead. Anyone know what that is or have a similiar experience? I feel good but because of the soft bones, I was told not to put any weight on it at all. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be (so far). The first set of exercises was quite intense, but it seems to get better each time I do them. I am truly amazed that I am feeling as good as I am, I expected a lot more pain. I use the gameready ice machine religiously it really helps alot. It is more difficult to look around at what I want to do and can't. It is only temporary and it's only been 2 days! Long road ahead of me. If anyone else had an issue with soft bones - what was it and how did it change your recovery?

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  102. Hey !!!! all I'm now on my 4th week of recovery and still having trouble straightening my leg completely.....bit worried even though its just a bit that Im missing to straighten it completely.. what do you recommend I feel that Im doing so much but still cant seem to straighten it. ohh by the way I was off the crutches by day 3

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  103. whats a cpm machine should i be asking for it for my rehab????

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  104. The cpm machine just bends your leg to whatever comfortable degree you set it to. I thought it was great for pain management!

    Sit on the couch with your heal on a chair or a table and let gravity work to straighten it. If it doesn't hurt to much hang a phone book across your knee to add a little weight. You can also lay on your stomach on the bed and let your legs hang off. All those will help get your leg straight. Stretching will help too.

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  105. Had patelar graft acl reconstruction march 29, on crutches 2 weeks, doctors orders. Third week started going to work at a desk job for a few hours at a time. Easter weekend starte feeling pain in calf, got a blood clot. now on blood thiners, kinda slowed the rehab process down.

    If you get any pain in your calf go to the er imediately. this really sucks right now but have to move on with things.

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    Replies
    1. I am going to have a acl reconstructive surgery, and i am having second thoughts because i heard that you will suffer with knee pain for the rest of your life is that true? Has anyone suffered from knee pain more than a year after the surgery?

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  106. Hi, I torn my MCL and ACL 4 wks ago playing soccer. I am 43. Met my orthopedic
    right away and did an MRI to confirm them. The Dr gave me 2 wks to minimize swelling and gave the MCL a chance to heal before the surgery (MCL requires no surgery)

    Had surgery on Apr 19. Opted for single bundle Patella Tendon grafting (my own tendon) instead of using hamstring or donated graft. The ACL heals better and will be stronger (due to the 2 bone plugs at the 2 ends of the tendon - see Steve's graphic). Dr offered this option considering how active I hv been. Bound to be arguments on what would be the best option out there. For me, I can not afford to hv a future risk to my ACL strength or healing of the grafted ACL (still not sure if hamstring option would offer the same). Would still like to work the knee actively.. minus soccer or squash or similar pivoting sports (just not worth the risk anymore at my age), but hopefully i can still pursue other heavy outdoor activities and running up and down at the
    factory where I work.

    But I am just concerned on one aspect of Patella grafting.. the associated knee pain due to the loss of one third of your otherwise healthy patella tendon. Will it be a permanent or temporary pain? And in addition, the potentially slow return of Range of Motion. Time will tell. But I went for this option anyway. Searched around and hv not any found posting (yet) of anyone with similar MCL and ACL tear who opted for Patella Tendon grafting. A bummer isn't it when many people (mostly those opting for hamstring grafting) wrote about throwing their crutches and being able to bend their knee by the 2nd week.

    Here I am 12 days post surgery:
    - No real post surgery pain with Epidural and other anesthetic drugs. Surgery pain amazingly manageable. Had a <1/2" punching wound and 3" inch long incision over the knee where the patella tendon was taken (just like Steve)

    - A bunch of pain killers till the 3rd day. Experienced pain only when trying to move the leg during physio. Went to toilet unassisted from the 3rd day as well. Thank you God.

    - Blood clotting on 4th day over ankle and below knee due to tight stocking over the knee (post surgery). To wear or not to wear? By 6th day, blood cloting pain was as bad as the pain I felt on the day of injury 4 wks ago. Strange? Pain killers to the rescue :-)

    - By 10th day, clotting okay but slowly feeling the knee pain where the incision is and preventing any good motion of the knee joint. Been doing physio almost everyday.

    - By 12th day (now), knee only bends -30 degree (was as good as -60 earlier). Still on 2 crutches. Full knee brace. Walk..well.. actually still hop on one leg. No weight on operated leg just yet on Dr order. Stitches out in 3 days time. Lower back is killing me from heavy use of back muscle.. Knee still a bit swollen and no quad muscle movement around knee. Can barely lift the whole leg (an inch maybe?.. grrr).

    Basically, SLOOOOW progress..and slowly testing my resolve...will do more reading of the posts here.. Has been a tremendous help..Maybe i will post more update later. Kindly respond to my posting if there is anything to add that can help my recovery. Thank you.

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  107. I had my ACL reconstruction 4/20, I was able to walk without any crutches or anything since 7 days post surgery. It's been about 2 & 1/2 weeks and I am able to get around well. I walked 3 miles a few days ago...took a LONG time but I did it:)
    I did not have any issues with clotting thank God. That seems like a real
    challenge. I am unable to go down stairs but 1 at a time. I have had a bit more success with going up. PT says that it takes a good 6-10 weeks to descend stairs comfortably or at least with a minimum amount of pain. I can't wait to just walk and move around with out thinking about it. Can't wait to loose the brace but have a few more weeks with it. All in all, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be as far as the pain goes. The most frustration is in moving so slowly to do things, I have to add time onto everything (but then again I am very happy to be moving at all). It's been a lot easier since the brace has been adjusted to the 90 degree setting (makes going to the bathroom a lot easier!)

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  108. Thanks for all the imformation on the acl surgery,I get surgery tomorrow (5-19-11)I tore my acl about 11yrs ago in a bar fight,a women pushed me down and jumped on the leg and i heard a pop and couldn't walk after that.By the next week something poped back in and it felt ok so i thought is was ok until it keep popping out.So 11yrs later i'm finally getting it fixed!!!Wish me luck....

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  109. I had an acl reconstruction petallar tendon to months ago. everything is going great and i can now jog a little. Still getting use to that fact. Its a little hard and I dont really trust my knee that much yet but will soon if I keep up with pt. Recoving amazingly though!!!

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  110. What ever happened to the 14 year old girl that was having the problems because of suspected nerve damage. I hope she is better. Please write and let us know Mom.

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  111. Hello. Today is a week since my operation. I just wanted to know if the purple bruising around the calves is normal? I see that you had it also, i have it too. How long did it take for them to go away? also, was there any medical treatment for it?

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  112. I had my surgery three days ago and the pain has increased on the second and third day. I am still propping my leg under pillows, as I find that is the only comfortable way to sit or lay down. I can only put minimal weight on my leg with crutches. Is this normal? When icing, did everyone just put ice pack over the bandages or take bandages off? Also, when did everyone begin their minimal exercises given to them after surgery? My surgeon gave me a package talking about a couple of exercises to increase range of motion but I haven't begun them yet. I have been taking my pain pills every 4 hours and I have noticed that I need to take 2 or else it's quite sore. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

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  113. Hi, I had ACL surgery 12 days ago. Hamstring graft. I was given a leg brace and crutches however could not use them and walked fine with just the brace, NO Pain. I have been doing all the pt stretches since day one . By day 4 I could bend and flex fairy well.I will go to PT in two days and hopefull will be cleared to use a stationary bike.I see my surgeon in 5 days and hopefully he will clear me to take the brace off. Had no problems and vertually no pain. Has anyone else breezed through to this stage?

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  114. I also had a hamstring graft but wasn't given a brace, maybe that's the key. I am on day 6 and the pain hasn't been too bad but more uncomfortable than anything. I still have to have my leg propped up and unfortunately am not having as easy of a time with the exercises that you are. I am still having pain when doing them and am not able to fully straighten or bend. I am still on crutches. I am noticing some bruising around the stitches and still experiencing some tingling in my foot. I can feel it but it's just a strange sensation, possibly from having it up all the time. Overall, I think I'm doing okay...could be better, could be worse. I just can't wait to be able to get around again...I don't do well with being stationary, haha!

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  115. Hi, I just found this site, after my Hamstring graft ACL surgery 5 weeks ago. I started PT the day after my surgery and am at 3 degrees extension and 130 degrees bend. I can walk without my brace, walking 3 times a day typically, around 1 mile each and then I go on the stationary bike at least two times for around 10 minutes with a little resistance. There are areas that are still numb around my knee and sometimes my leg gets stuck especially after I lay with it straight, then try to get up and walk. My pt perscribed meeting him only 1 day a week now but offered that I meet with a sports pt two times a week to start strengthening exercises. I am 45 years old, was and hope to continue to be an avid half / marathon / sprint triatholon competitor. My pt says he will have me back running in 3 months, I'm at week 5, so we will see. We'll see where this takes me.

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  116. Hello,

    I had my ACL op two weeks ago...How long are Doctor's recommending to keep the brace on for ?

    Cheers,

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  117. 26/F
    howdy! Got injured 4 months ago playing soccer (played for 23 years with no injuries)and immediately went on crutches and couldn't straighten my leg. JUST had surgery for a full ACL tear and damage to the meniscus. (went the hamstring route) I was given the "blocker" before surgery (blocks out all of the nerves) so I didnt feel too much when I came out. It wore off by day 2, so I was taking my hydrocodone every 4 hours. I ended up getting nauseous with it so I stopped taking it that night. Its now day 3 and it has been elevated and iced the entire time that Ive been out. I wasnt given a brace at all and it looks like itll be a little bit before I can meet with my doc. I was given a packet with some exercises, how soon should I do them and how often!? It seems like a lot of people meet with their PT immediately, so Ill try and get an appointment this week. It also seems like a lot of people had blood clots, I sure hope I can avoid this at all costs. thats scary! Hoping everything will continue to go well...

    Makena

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  118. thnxxx guys... i got lot of knowledge about ACL reconstruction.

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  119. Hi...I'm 4 months post from acl surgery...When I bend my knee at 90 degrees,my patella cap hurts and I dont know why..And also when I try weights using lunges and squats it really hurts the knee cap..Is something wrong??How can I prevent this please help it really stresses me...Is my graft also ok??please reply..

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  120. i tore my acl 3 months ago,now i want to operate it.pls tell me asap that after how many weeks i can walk and go to office.pls reply

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  121. Hey everyone is defferent, but for an office job i think 1-2 weeks is sufficent. i was walking with crutches from the day of my surgery and pretty much off them at 5 days. still alot of pain fr the first week and would get tired from any outings. however if you need to work you would likely be able to go back rather quickly

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  122. Hello all. I have ACL reconstruction a meniscus repair surgery 1 week ago today. I will be honest this week has been hell. I had a femoral nerve block on my right leg and general anesthesia for surgery. It took over 2 hours in many cocktails at the medications post surgery to get me under control. what is the nerve block war ross on saturday morning, my pain shot up to 10 and I ended up in the emergency room. After an injection of Toradol and Dilaudid I was sent home. I took Percocet, Dilaudid, and Valium around the clock for 3 days. I tried yesterday to cut back to 1 percocet and 1 motrin but with no success. Now my shin is bruised and so tender to the touch. Anyone else have such a rough go of it? Starting to get really down and wonder if I will ever be able to be normal again..

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  123. This happened to my daughter! Her pain was unbearable and until I freaked out on the doctor in the office did they prescribe dilauded (sp).My husband had the script filled while we I stayed with her at the doctor's office. Here is what we did to manager her pain, but please check with your doctor. We did 600mg of advil every 3 hours and then 500mg of tylenol every 3 hours. She took the dilauded every 12 hours for two days. You must EAT with every dosage, crackers, applesauce, anything to protect your stomach. YOU WILL GET BETTER, hang in there and check with your doctor about the round the clock advil/tylenol regiment.

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  124. Thank you. It This isn't nice to know that your daughter experience the same pain. But it is a little comforting to know I'm not the only one. How is she now? I have my first physical therapy appointment and suture removal on monday. I am dreading that appointment. I don't consider myself a wimp either. I mean I gave birth to both of my children without any drugs! Did she use her own tissue or cadaver? ~Wendy

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  125. Anyone have tenderness on the shin to the point of not being able to buckle the brace 4-8yo days post op?? Dr. says it is normal because that is the drill sight, but it hurts!!

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  126. re: when can you go back to work from Anonymous on Sept. 27...

    I had ACL reconstruction & meniscus repair w/an allograft 9 days ago....every day feels better and better. Able to bend to 100 degrees and pain is very little...Still on crutches but was able to go to work on day 8 for a few hours. Planning on working a 3/4 day by day 11. My job requires sitting + some standing....Day 4 was my "turnaround" day as far as how much better I started to feel although I got tired out pretty quickly up until day 8. You'll know how far you can push your body and when you're able to comfortably go back to work and run errands etc...

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  127. G'day guys,

    23 year old Male from Melbourne, Australia here. I currently (7 days ago) had ACL reconstruction surgery on my left knee using hamstring graft which was caused playing football. Surgery was completed by leading Melbourne Surgeon Hayden Morris. All went well in the surgery & I stayed overnight & was home the next morning. The first day at home wasn't too bad I was still heavily on the medication so didn't have to much pain. My knee is in a brace with a compression bandage and day's 3,4 the pain got worse, espically at night which kept me up throughout the night. day 5 and 6 the pain went lower in the day, but again i would wake up in agonizing pain, sweating and aching.
    I have iced my knee a lot and done the proper required rehab. Day 7 (today) for some strange reason the pain has been the worse today, and not just in the usual spots where it has been hurting (knee, back of knee, hamstring) but also on the left side of my shin just under my knee. does anyone else have the same trouble? when will i be able to walk without crutches & when will the pain be gone completely so I can go to sleep without waking up. cheers also any tips from other ACL reconstruction patients

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    Replies
    1. Hey mate. I had my ACL reco with hayden morris 10 days ago and also getting excruciating shin pain. Only when I stand up and still. Comes after 5secs but goes away once I start walking or elevate it. What happened with yours? It is really bugging me and holding me back.The rest of my knee feels good.

      Josh

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  128. Hi everyone,

    I'm a 21-yr old Med Student scheduled for ACL reconstruction (using hamstring tendon), med meniscus repair (only one tear, so relatively simple) and a potentially shredded lat meniscus. My surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

    I just wanted to find out how quickly people got back to walking and being on their feet for long periods of time.

    My course means that I have to be on my feet, observing and treating patients 5 days a week from about 9am-8pm. I'm concerned that maybe i'll have to take this year off medicine if i can't get back to attending clinics within about 2-3 weeks, as I'll have missed too much to pass the year.

    How did you find walking/coping with a relatively active job? How long until you felt able to return?

    Any ideas would be much appreciated. Many thanks.

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  129. I wasn't able to comfortably get around until about a month post op...I was also still on crutches until about that time.

    To be able to be on your feet for that long of a period may be tough and if it were me personally, I wouldn't have been able to do it after about 2-3 weeks.

    Good luck, I hope it is different for you!

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  130. You're lucky. I had my ACL and both Meniscus's done, and wasn't able to put any weight on my leg for 3 weeks... and my incision did not look tat pretty.

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  131. Hi all,

    Great source of information this, some horror stories of clots etc, and some good advice too.

    I had my ACL recon with hamstring graft around 3 weeks ago and overall I think it's went pretty well. No brace as has been mentioned above, just recommended plenty of RICE.

    Exercises I've been doing, heel slides, moving my kneecap side to side, full leg raises.

    Anyone yet to get this surgery I would strongly advise to do a few months prehab. The muscle wastage in my left leg is unreal, a bit depressing infact. I see the physio on Thursday this week so hopefully they will have advice on how to strengthen.

    Was on crutches for 1.5 weeks, then worked with one crutch for a few days, ditching them (along with the painkillers) at 2 weeks. Walking is going ok, I'm quite slow and stairs take a while and I need the rail, but putting this down to lack of strength in hamstring. Also, my calf is as tight as a banjo, so ankle flexing like crazy to loosen up.

    Anyways, hopefully this helps someone.

    Lewis

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  132. I saw this posting because I was searching for other people who, after ACL surgery, still experience stiffness after sitting for extended periods of time.
    I had my ACL recon from 1/3 Patellar on Sep 28th, 2011 at 7am. The nerve block worked well as I couldn't move or feel anything on my left leg the entire first day, so I started on the CPM at 60 degrees the same day. I stopped taking the pain meds after Oct 1st, 2011 because I'd rather suffer slight pain than constipation (laxatives weren't working). The pain wasn't bad at all to be honest, just achy and I could feel the skin pull tight from the slight swelling while on the CPM (increased 5 degrees each day for 1 week, then 10 per day until I reached its max).
    I ditched the crutches within the first week but still kept the brace in the 0 degree lock position while walking around for the next week. By the 3rd week I was walking carefully without the brace and by week 7 I had regained full flexibility and can walk normally without a gimp. The scar has almost vanished and probably wont even be noticeable over time.
    They cut through some nerves so I have numb spots around the knee, a few more on my leg below the knee and another decent sized numb spot on the lower part of my calf.
    I lost about 5 pounds of muscle mass in my upper leg from the lack of any real exercise but I have recently started to feel and see that it's coming back. I was 25 when I had the surgery, celebrated my 26th while recovering and have only been going to PT once per week.
    My advice:
    1: Strengthen your leg as much as possible beforehand.
    2: Use the CPM (if given one) religiously. If you didn't get one, work on your knee flexibility as much as possible.
    3: have a stationary bike ready for you after a few weeks to a month of surgery. It'll help range of motion and strength.
    4: no matter how annoying it may be, follow the exercise routine prescribed by your physical therapist like your leg depends on it. Because it does.

    Less than 2 months out of surgery and I've already been given the clear to do things they originally told me would take the full 4 to 6 months of recovery. Don't push yourself too hard, but don't try to cheat either.

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  133. had a patella graft on the 25 oct (just over 3 weeks) but am really struggling to get extension back have to really force to get it and nowhere near the other leg if i sit straight legged on the floor i can slide my hand under to the knuckle.How long did it take for others to get full extension(soon as i read the comments,what i really mean is did other people get hyperextension at some point down the line ie 5 weeks, 10 weeks, eventually) also when i try to get extension it hurts at the top of my scar where they went in. Again is this common? thanks for any advice!! and not being able to run is killing me!!!!

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  134. Hi all, great info here. I just had ACL surgery about 13 hours, and my sleep has been on and off. Currently I've only take my meds once at 6 pm, and it was the alternative to the IB profen, not the Percocet they gave me. I am not feeling much pain at all. From reading the comments, it sounds like the most pain comes within the first few days? Am I in for a rude awakening tomorrow? or has anyone experienced something similar?

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  135. Hi all, big thanks to all who provided informative accounts of their ops and also useful tips to those who needed them! I am currently 5days post op, hamstring graft. Much have been great, minimal pain during walking, flexion of the knee about 90deg achieved. However, my main issue here is about the straightening of my leg. I have been doing quad flexes for daily but every flex was with considerable amount of pain at the kneecap. Plus, it feels like something is obstructing at the kneecap. Has anyone had similar experiences before?
    Ps. To the latest post, what I can offer is that pain depends for individuals. I didn't have any pain post op , only when I have to straighten my knee. Hope yours is as pain free as possible!

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  136. hi i am 16 and i had my acl injury about a year ago. do you think it to late to get the surgery?

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  137. Hi - I will be having my surgery almost a year to the date of my injury - on the 17th of this month. I had a blood clot after my injury so I could not have surgery, and then I just needed time to think about the surgery. I am nervous, but I know this last year I have been so limited and have put on 10 lbs! I am ready to go skiing next year! Anyone reading please say a prayer for successful surgery and recovery!

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  138. Hi I had Surgery on Dec 9 of this year and i felt that the first 2-3 days were the worst and then is got better. At 2 1/2 weeks i had a lot of range back and moved to one crutch walking...then a day after my 3 week mark i went to using a cane and having full range of motion. Now it's getting it strong to put full weight on it. i found once i could straighten it well, it was better with having more weight on it. I had hamstring graft used for mine.

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  139. Hi I had my ACL replaced with a donor on November 30th 2011 I'm doing well I do not have all my range of motion as of yet but its getting better but now I'm having pain in my knee cap and in the top part of my knee and the scare on the right side of my knee cap is itching really bad. Any ideas what I should do

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  140. Hi Everyone.
    I had my surgery Jan 4th. The first 3-4 days were total pain coma. Oxycodone helped keep the pain down but other than Icing I didn't do much of anything. I can straighten my leg at this point but flexion is tough, I'm also dealing with a horrible pain in my shin everytime I get up. Doesn't seem infected though. Just almost like a pressure that moves down my leg. It feels like hell. First physio was yesterday and it went well but my knee felt like it was on fire afterwards. Has anyone else had this pain? Is it normal? I've contacted Doctor and will update. Thanks.

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  141. Hi,

    I'm a 34 year old female and I had ACL reconstruction on December 16th so I'm about 4 weeks out. From reading this blog and the comments, it seems as though everyone has a different doc. I was off crutches, as instructed, within 24 hours and hobbled in the locked brace. I used the CPM machine 8 hours a day every day after surgery until I returned to PT (I did PT prior to surgery). I just was cleared to have the brace unlocked for walking at 90 degrees and started PT 2.5 weeks ago. Flexion and straightening coming along well; 125 and 0 degrees respectively.

    Issues:

    (1) Pain. I haven't had a pain free day since my date of injury on July 15 playing soccer. (I waited for surgery until a time I could take 3 weeks off from work). Vicodin no longer helps so I've just kind of given up and deal with it. I asked a family member who is an orthopedic surgeon when I will be pain free and he was unable to answer my question. I remain optimistic that one day I will be pain free.

    (2) Swelling. I think the brace does more harm than good in this dept. After a 12 hour day at work (includes commute and office time), my knee, calf and ankle are swollen. I don't normally have cankles but sport one now on the left side. I don't wear the brace at home or to sleep (with doc and PT blessing) and my leg is less swollen in the a.m.

    (3) FATIGUE. Fatigue is kicking my butt. I manage work (because I have to) but am in bed by 7pm every night. The weekends I feel useless because I run out of steam within a couple hours of waking. I'm not depressed and remain in good spirits I just am so exhausted.

    It seems my issues are quite common for most but I am curious if anyone else is experiencing fatigue and if this a "normal" side effect. I know fatigue is normal after nay surgery but 4 weeks out??

    Sarah

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  142. My son (8.5 years old) had acl reconstruction using his hamstring. He did PT prior to surgery and his original injury was on Nov 12.
    Pain management was an issue for the first 2-3 days. Now he is having shin and foot pain at night....and back to using oxycodone to control the pain so he can sleep.
    He is walking on it finally (started at 6 days post op, although he could have been walking on it with crutches right away) he needed lots of encouragement to walk.
    Thanks for the blog, i learned lots from people experiences!

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  143. I injured my MCL on Jan.10,2012. Once I got my MRI I found out I tore my ACL and meniscus as well as my MCL. I had surgery on the 30th of Jan. I am 2 weeks and 1 day, my pain had stop hurting for awhile I was able to walk on it then last weekend the excruciating pain starting coming back worst than ever, now it hurts to put any pressure on it so I went back to my crutches. Anybody have the same problem??? I really need help

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    1. i had my acl and meniscus done 7 months ago and i had to go back to my consultant for him to scope my knee only yesterday because my knee started locking it turned out i had another bucket tear in my meniscus what im trying to say is that your only after the operation and it takes a couple of months for the pain to go but do everything your told by your physio it just takes a lot of time for it to heal dont do to much

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  144. This is the same guy with the MCL and ACL and Meniscus. My name is Tresden

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  145. I just had ACl reconstructive surgery last Monday, Feburaury 8th, 2012. & it has been nothing but painful! The first few days I was experiencing some of the wooorst pain, but it was all located in my knee. Now ever since yesterday when I changed my dressing, I have been experiencing pain in my ankle & all over my Calf. This morning when I woke up I had what felt exactly like a muscle spasm in my calf & it even hurts to touch at all!! Does anyone have any advice?

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    Replies
    1. its unusual what you are facing...i had my surgery on 15 feb and experience little pain for first week and no pain after that...you should immediately contact to ur surgeon..

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  146. Last Wednesday sorry *

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  147. Great blog! I came across it when I was looking for some answers after my ACL surgery on 1 March. It's been nearly 2 years and 4 dislocations later that I finally got the surgery and when they went in, they had to do some cartilage repair as well.
    I was on my way out the door 2 hours after surgery. I have a high pain tolerance so I've not had any pain. I still have to use crutches but I am fairly mobile. I rented a treadmill and I do a quarter mile on the lowest setting 2x a day.
    Today, I noticed a fair amount of swelling in my ankle as well as bruising to both sides of my ankle just under the ankle bone and I was wondering if that was normal.
    After reading this blog and some of the comments, I am somewhat relieved. I figure I'll give it a couple days for the swelling to go down. I have a photo album posted of progress. Day after, 4 days after and 5 days after. Here's the link:
    http://www.myalbum.ca/Album=AEWE3RAL
    Thanks for posting this! :)

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  148. I just had an acl recon on feb 27th, and 4 months earlier i had my medial meniscus repaired and 4 other random ligaments that we did not know about until he went in with a scope and did my meniscus. anyways, that recovery went super well, was walking on it in 4 days. Now with my acl surgery, its been two weeks, and my first week was awful. i was in excruciating pain all the time, even on my pain meds... i had the same problem my first night.. they kept me in the hospital over night, and they couldnt control my pain at all, they were giving me perks, diladeds (sp) and putting pain killers in my iv. i had a ton of brusing under my knee and down my calf, and i was so swollen from the middle of my thigh, all the way down to my ankle. Im going onto my third week, and im still in alot of pain in the morning and in the night, up all night in pain but it has gotten alot better and the bruising and the swelling has gone down. It hurts alot to get up off my bed but once im up it starts to feel okay.. I have been doing the ankle exercises, and leg lifts and ive been trying to walk with my crutches, and putting as much wait on my bad knee as i can. Two nights ago, i was going back to my room and my crutch got caught and i tripped and came down on my bad knee, and started balling and ever since than, im back in agony, basically feels like im back to sqaure one. Ive tried to bend my knee, but its so swollen underneath it that it won't bend. today when i woke up my knee was all red and hot and hurts to touch, idk if when i tripped if i did something to it or what but im back in a lot of pain.

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    1. Hi Cassie, I wrote the post below. I had to have my nerve frozen for 18 hours before they let me leave the hospital. I had a spinal anesthetic for surgery, and once that wore off, they kept giving me morphine and then a relaxant. Nothing worked until they froze my femural nerve. I hear you.

      I too did not know how damaged my knee was. I knew about the acl, but then the doc told me about the menisci. It was probably ripped for about 2 years before I got into surgery. Now I know what all the pain was about. MRI's should be mandatory I think.

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  149. Thanks for the Blog, I don't feel so alone. I too had acl repair and both meniscus repaired on January 13. I'm going on 9 weeks and can only bend my knee 60 degrees. I have physio 4 days a week and do the excercises 3 x a day plus the cpm. Looks like anesthetic bending is on the radar. I don't know how getting depressed isn't natural especially hearing how normally you all have been moving along. I still have two crutches sometimes because of the ice outside and I have to drive.

    There is no possible way I'd be working. It's a fulltime job just doing the excercises, trying to make dinner, have a shower and drive myself to appts.

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    1. I too had the pain for 2 weeks, and it was excruciating. The physio just makes it hurt again and it swells and feels stiff all over again. I had to go back to the doc to get meds for physio. They say it's one of the stiffest knees they've seen, so we'll see what the surgeon says.

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    2. just wanted to say that I had the manipulation 4 days ago and within 2 days at physio I was bending at 90 degrees. The experience was overwhelming and the swelling was phenomenal, but worth it so far. they sent me home with a cpm and I give huge credit to the physiotherapists for the results.

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  150. I am very active, I do yoga, swimming, jogging, walking, ice skating, zumba and fishing. I am suppose to have my knee surgery on the 5/23 and I am going to have a physical therapy the next morning after the surgery. Will I recover faster by starting my phsyical therapy sooner? And would I be able to resume with all of my favorite activities without a hitch?

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  151. Nice Blog!
    Dislocated my knee 10 weeks ago playing rugby, total mess:L Avulsing the ACL, tearing the LCL and stretching the nerve. I was in hospital for 4 days and had ACL reconstruction and various other procedures after 2 weeks. I was in intense pain for the first couple of days after the op but came of the painkillers 4 days later. My leg was not aloud to bend for the first few weeks and I had foot drop due to the stretched nerve. During my first physio I managed only to bend to about 20 degrees passive though about 2 weeks later I got to 45 degrees. Six weeks after the op I went to clinic and the doc unlocked my brace turning the flex to 120, non passive movement. I have now gotten to about 70 degrees of flex and have started to walk though I am suffering severe pain at the back of my heel and still have foot drop.

    Has anyone else had a injury like this and does anyone know what the heel pain is from as it is stopping me from walking and recovering as quickly as I could, any ideas how the pain could be reduced?

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    1. I have heel pain when I wake up each morning (and it's frequently bad enough to wake me up during the night). I suspect it's from sleeping in the brace: the extra weight pushing my heel and achilles into the bed. If I elevate the leg by putting something under the heel, it's even worse. The only thing that's helped is putting the pillow under my calf instead of my heel, so the foot dangles unsupported.

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  152. I had ACL reconstuctive surgery on 6/11/12. How long will it take for me to be able to walk without crutches?

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  153. Hi I have pain on my upper calf. It feels as if the muscle is really tight...what is this?

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  154. Hi everyone,just had ACL reconstruction using hamstring graft on June 21st. 9 days later the pain went down, still hurts but it is not so bad. I do have lots of headaches. Stopped pain killer Tylenol 3 at day 5. Had PT first time 5 days after surgery, then every other 3 days. Still on crutches, I can't wait to start walking again. Did iced a lot, maybe 6-7 times a day, it helps a lot. Flexibility at 90-100 at this point, have some problems getting full extension. I do plumbing for living, so I just wonder how long it might take to be back working again. Anyone in trades and having same experience, please I could use some feedback. Thanks.

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  155. how long do you have to keep your leg elevated for after surgery?

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  156. In my opinion, I think that you should be elevating and icing until the swelling is completely gone, just to be safe and minimize pain. I am currently on day three and am starting to get really nervous. My swelling is getting so out of control that the locked brace is painful to wear. I also still wake up in the night crying in pain, though I already am taking 1 and 1/2 pervaded every four hours.
    I'd love some advice,
    Amber

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  157. Hi everyone, I just had my surgery 10 days ago. I read and watched all the videos on youtube and article on the net about how painful the recovery is and that could be out of work for atleast a week but here I am 10 days since my surgery and am off crutches. I had my surgery on a Friday and only had to miss one day of work Monday. The pain for me was around a 2-3 out of a 10. I had the graft done from my hamstring and the doc fixed my meniscus bucket handle tear they had to put 10 stitches in it but the tear was right on the blood supply so it should heal well. Doing your physical therapy is key and stretching your knee straight will get you moving faster to walking just as long as your pain is not terrible. I must of been a lucky one with my pain but it sure wasnt that bad and cant wait to take all the bandages off to see my new scares!! there were 7 entry points into my knee a couple of the extra where used to sew up my meniscus. Hope everyone has as good of a recovery as I have!

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  158. hey im 15 years old and i had surgery july 24th and today july 29th its my 5th day, the day after surgery i had a lot of pain, i could'nt take it at all. the 1st two days were horrible but the pain went away after the 3rd day. my foot and leg are both really swollen and it really annoying and i have a knee brace plus under that i have bands all around it and it very tight. every time i get up and start walking with crutches my knee starts to hurt when it hanging. im looking foward to see my DR in 15 days to get my stitches taken away, but i really want to get rid of this braces it really annoying me.....

    this blog was really helpful to know how other people did that went though this painful thing

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  159. Hello, I went under ACL reconstruction (gracillis graft, tightrope) and meniscus repair on 7/12; first week my knee was very swollen and sensitive to tact, my calf would feel like I have a giant bruise (no signs of bruises over the skin tho). After day 5 or 6 the swelling decreased notoriously, maybe cos I drank lots of camomilla infusion, I don't know. I started PT on day 15, right after getting rid of the stitches. The only special thing I've used is an stretch "panty", to prevent cloths and improve circulation, never used braces. Right know, I'm finishing my third week post op and having the 5th PT session which includes ultrasound, lots of ice, tenstem (electricity) and some quads exercises. I'm able to walk without crutches, but very carefully, due to some pain and discomfort in the hamstring, maybe a strain caused by a wrong move accomodating myself over the bed in my first PT session. I have an almost optimal extension and more than 120 degrees of flex. First five or six days weren't good, tho.

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    1. i had surgery tuesday from last week and i only had pain THE 3 1ST days now im still in crutches i have a band rap around it and i have a knee brace that keeps it straight,im going to the doctor this upcoming tuesday to get my stitches off adn to see whtasup, the only thing is that my knee cracks when i move some times and its swollen

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  160. Nice to see this blog still going strong. I just went n had acl reconstruction on this past monday on my right knee also. In today is thursday about 2 n the morning but today is 4 days i was sussposed to take the brace off after 72 hours but been actually scared too at the moment due to not what to expect after it off they gave me the disolving stitches n the badages that seal the them n im just afraid if im gonna hurt my leg more or not but im looking for this brace being off forsure n yes the pain has been finally easing up other than when up on the crutches. I have cpm machine being dilivered today but im just wondering if there any advise u can give me to help my recovery n eliminate this nervousness which im gonna take the brace off this morning. I never had a surgery like this n im just scared of what to expect n from what i read everyone has been good so im sure i will b too but any advise would be great. My biggest fear is the first start of movement again n dont wanna rip any stitches. Which of course im gonna go by step by step instructions they gave me. But hearing from first hand experiance i feel better maybe some do n donts n what to watch fors. From u or anyone else who had the same surgery. Thank u so much for your info n thanks for the blog your pics helped too

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  161. this is an awesome blog!!

    I completely tore my ACL back in March of 2012 skiing. I waited until September to schedule the surgery. I've heard and read it's better to build up the quad muscles so rehab will be a lot easier. I also had scheduled a race and a century bike ride during the Spring and Summer months. It was a good way to build up the quads.

    September 26, was the day of the out patient surgery. One important thing to buy is a cryotherapy unit. I bought on ebay the Donjoy Iceman unit. It provides at least 7 hours of cold compress relief to the knee to bring down the swelling. I was on Percocet for about 3 days and weaned off of it. The pain is not too bad. It feels like a throbbing bruise. I have gout and that is much worse.

    My doctor instructed me to write the alphabet with my foot to avoid any blood clots and to work the calf muscle. Keep the leg elevated. I was able to walk around with crutches and leg brace on the 2nd day. Every so often I would walk without the crutches. My goal was to put some weight immediately on the leg and to start slowly doing leg exercises. Today marks one week since the surgery and i'm able to slowly walk around the house without the brace and crutch. I might be pushing it but I figure it's mind over matter. The cryotherapy helps tremendously with the pain/discomfort more so than the pain meds.

    Things that is helped and is helping me.
    1. talk to friends who had ACL surgery before. this will help with expectations. One friend even told me he went into depression.
    2. Read the boards on other people's expectations
    3. Read up on milestones so you know you have a goal
    4. Set personal goals and expectations
    5. KNOW YOUR LIMITS.

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  162. 48 hours out from an acl reconstruction using my Patellar Tendon as well as a Lateral Meniscus repair. It does hurt, the pain is there but it's not as bad as I had expected. Getting out of bed and in to bed is the worst and I have to have help lifting me leg up and getting situated. I am taking my pain meds religiously and I am in very good shape so I will update you as to how my healing plays out. I had the surgery done by the Tennessee Titans team doctor.

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