Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Week 3 - ACL Surgery Recovery

Week 3 after ACL surgery and my knee is recovering nicely at this point. There is still a lot of bruising down the side of my shin to my ankle but it is starting to clear up at this point. As you can see, the ends of my stitches haven't dissolved yet and are still sticking out. I'll be putting the scissors to them before the end of the week. There is still some noticeable swelling, mostly in my quad above the knee. The actual incision.

At Physio, im up to 25 minutes on the bike. I then move on to a squating machine where you're basically doing squats but you're lying down and you have a muscle stimulator machine hooked up to your knee. After that i move on to balancing on a balance pad. New this week is side steps on an aerobic step and also stepping over hurdles. Nothing to strenuous but effective. After my 2 hour physio session is over, its more of the muscle stimulator and ice.

Week 3 is over and the ends of the stitches have been cut out....hope that wasn't a mistake.

Anyway, here's a comparason with my good leg on the left. You can faintly see my old scar from ACL surgery in 1999. When i had that ACL surgery done, it was the same procedure but my progress was a lot slower. I was on crutches for 6 weeks and them only partially for another 2. It was very frustrating. This time, the only thing i think i've done differently is that i was on my feet within a few hours after the surgery. Back in 1999, they made me stay in the hospital overnight and i only got out of bed once. I see a lot of people now at physio who have had the same surgery and not progress nearly as fast. I guess everybody's different.


  1. I'm 3 weeks post surgery and yours is the first web site i've found with a similar recovery rate as my own, definately seems like everyone heals differntly.

  2. Definitely! I'm on my 3rd week of recovery (today!) and can only put 40 lb on it so far. I should actually get cleared tomorrow to come off the crutches. Glad I found this blog!

  3. Me too. I have not yet tried to get on a bike but I am nearly off the crutches. I had the ends of my stitches cut at the end of week 2 and it all seems to be healing nicely.

  4. tomorrow i am also at the 3 week point. i was just told today to come out of the knee immobolizer, which i was walking with without crutches. i am now supposed to use the crutches and wean myself off,(weight bearing as tollerated) i have been doing leg raises, heal sides and quad sets. the pt said next appointment we will add on. my bend is at 115 degrees,the pt said that is good.

  5. Has anyone had a low grade fever this late in the game? My son had this surgery on June 2 and he has had a fever the last two days and his knee is burning hot as well. Obviously I'll call the doctor in the morning, I was just looking for input.

  6. Hi,
    I have a question for you. I will have reached week 3 in my recovery as of tomorrow, and what I've found is that I have some hard tissue (not sure if it's muscle, scar tissue, or swelling) right below the knee cap, close to the surface, that is preventing me from totally straightening the knee (i'm 4 degrees off from straightening, and am like at 115 for bending). Is that normal, or has scar tissue built up right there. Am I screwed, or is there something I can do to get rid of that tissue? I can walk really well with my brace, rode the exercise bike for 25 minutes today and have good quad strength, but every time I try to totally straighten the knee, i feel a pinch were the knee cap meets that tissue......If you have any info or advice, I'm anxious to here...thanks.

  7. I had acl replacement surgery July 9th. Recovery progress is going better than expected. I can walk without crutches or my brace. I don't have too much of a limp when I concentrate on walking normal. I can handle stairs ok. I can do leg lifts. I rode a bike yesterday at physical therapy for 3 minutes, and my knee bend is at 120 degrees. All in all, I feel knee function has been speedy. However, I'm in more pain than expected. My patella (where they took bone & tendon) hurts as well as where they put the screw in above my knee. It feels as though those 2 things are limiting my range of motion when I bend my knee. Any idea when that goes away? Also, I have a horrible time at night/morning. My calf is so sensitive to the touch & laying down means my leg is touching the bed or couch. I thought this might be from the bruising, but it occurs mostly in the morning & hasn't let up. It's sort of a combination between leg cramping/tingling/bruising. Is all this normal & how long until I get some releif? It's frustrating that most of my pain is centralized in my calf where I didn't have any surgery done! Thanks SO much for this blog, it has been very helpful & has answered many questions.

    Thank again


  8. Exactly 3 weeks today for me (hamstring recon). Progress is pretty good. Seems that hamstring reconstructions are faster to recover and there are no patella issues at all.
    Had a rehab session yesterday - 15mins on the cycle was surprisingly pretty easy. Started on the balance pad - 5x 1min.
    more calf raises, Samsons chair 5x 1min. Aufbau (sp?) german soccer exercises for building hip strength. Also step up step downs on a block.
    Still doing ball hip adductor exercises (ball between the knees) As its really easy now I'm doing it seated on the floor with my the bad leg raised off the ground and abs tensed to really work the muscles. my quads and calf are really really tight, much too tight, so we spent time stretching them out and he made it priority to really stretch them everyday.

    Rode my bike out on the road today for 25mins, really slowly no pressure just getting motion in the knee, put the seat up high as not to put to much stress on the knee, but it was pretty comfortable.
    Climbed 21 flights of stairs, felt pretty good and did lots of stretching. As well as the the other indoor exercises

    R.O.M is now down to 10 cm from full. It was 29cm at 6days. 19cm improvement in 2 weeks. (using my good leg an 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.
    I can put full weight on my leg with no pain at all and could do so from day one.
    My major issue is muscle strength, my muscles have wasted away despite intensive pre surgery rehab,there is a huge difference between the the two legs. gotta really work on building it back.

    Swelling still there around the knee, especially just above the knee. I keep icing

    Can walk quite freely now, it first happened yesterday and got better today, after all of stretching at the physio, it really loosened the quad and calf and walking is much more fluid. no cane needed at all.
    Still wake up in the morning with an aching knee, but its still only 3 weeks and it goes away.

    Still doing 2-3 ice massages a day. love the ice massages. Especially before exercises.

    Went to the beach this past weekend, no probs, just took my time and walking in sand was good exercise - like a balance pad. Even swam in deep water, my bad leg was just hanging there and doing nothing but it was great to be in the water, though got sunburn on the knee! of all places the only place I got burned! luckily a some medical tape over the scars protected the scars but not the rest of the knee.

    I have no brace at all, no crutches anymore and ditched my cane yesterday. I am curious ot the different philosphies between treatments and doctors toward ACL surgery. I had my surgery in Japan done by an experienced western trained sports doctor.

  9. Im at day 18, rode bike for 35 minutes today ( no resistance) and doc let me transition to my custom brace last week. Feeling really good so far, flexion at 135 and full extension. Think the key to success is having a surgeon and therapist who arent too rigid with their protocol. They are letting me progress at what seems like a natural pace. I still ask before adding anything new, but they have been flexible about crutches ( dropped day 6), bike, etc. good luck to all, we will all get there at our own pace...

  10. I am at day 14 of patella graft ACL repair as well as scar tissue and meniscus clean-up. On about day 5,6 I developed the deep muscle bruising all the way down my leg and my graft area(same side as ACL reconstruction) is quite sore. I had 28 staples holding my incision and they were taken out on day 12. I just started on the the bike today. I am at 0 extension and well past 90 flexation. The worst part was sleeping from night 6 to night 14(very bad night pain)....but I am over the hump now. I start my morning with ice pack to relieve stiffness and pain and then do my exercises. I spent the rest of the day resting with ice pack and taking it as easy as possible. I have laptop set up at bedside with T.V and all my other magazines and game players as well.

    Best recipe for success...

    In first 2 weeks.

    Have someone to care for you, rest, ice, elevate, compress, stretch/exercises...and repeat.

    I also take a multi-vitamin(with joint support), Omega 3,6 oil, and Super Cissus Rx supplements 2x per day.

    I am on a prescription of Nexrapran(extra strength alieve) I only take 1 tablet every 12 hours, and I am off hydromorhphone(luckily with no withdrawal effects)


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