ACL repair is a surgery to restore or reattach a ligament that runs diagonally in your knee joint: the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). You rely on this ligament for movements you make every day, especially if you’re physically active or play contact sports. With the help of other knee ligaments, the ACL stabilizes your joint by holding your shin bone in place and allowing you to rotate your knee a little when you pivot.
The repair surgery itself is just one step of a lengthy and often convoluted healing process. After a surgeon repairs the ligament, it’s not yet ready for everyday use as it was before the injury. You’ll need to rehabilitate the joint and take extra care of your knee through the initial healing process and for 8-9 months after that. Fortunately, you’ll be able to perform most everyday functions by around the three-month mark.
Fortunately, the advanced physical therapy team at Elation Physical Therapy is here to support you through every step of the healing and recovery process. With individualized support at our offices in Houston, Pearland, Cypress, and Katy, Texas, you can minimize recovery time and recover as much of your knee function as possible. We can even help you return to your favorite sport or physical activity.
The basics of surgical recovery
The first few days of recovery are especially challenging. Of course, you rely on your knee to stand, walk, and balance, so when your knee is pretty much out of commission, life gets a bit more difficult.
Your providers will help you start moving shortly after your surgery, but not without some extra assistance. You’ll be on crutches, and your knee will be in a brace for stability. You should also take any medications you receive as prescribed.
You’re encouraged to practice simple exercises like lifting your leg while lying down. Within 7-14 days of your surgery, it’s time to start physical therapy.
Physical therapy and its benefits
Personalized physical therapy is an absolute must for your ACL repair recovery. Our experts tailor your perfect physical therapy program, including exercises to improve your ACL function as well as specialty services like aquatic therapy, which is gentle on your joints.
Individualized therapy can offer exceptional benefits to speed up your recovery, including:
- Reduced pain
- Increased strength
- Increased range of motion
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved blood and lymph circulation
- Better balance
- Less stress on your joint
- Improved body mechanics
Physical therapy doesn’t just improve healing and recovery after ACL repair;it also reduces your risk of further injuring your knee joint and extends your recovery time. Your physical therapist helps you set short-term goals that make the road to recovery seem a little less hazardous.
Nutrition, healing, and overall health
Physical therapy alone can go a long way, but if you really want to optimize your ACL repair recovery, you should be mindful of your health and wellness in other ways, too. The Elation Physical Therapy team encourages you to eat a balanced diet and skip out on foods that can cause inflammation or reduce your ability to heal. Think saturated fats and added sugars. Instead, eat plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean meat.
Similarly, try to reduce unhealthy habits like smoking or binge drinking. You should try to get plenty of sleep every night and stay hydrated. Additionally, take care of your mental well-being with a support system. If your injury prevents you from engaging in some of your favorite activities, you might feel a little more emotional than usual.
Our team can help you prepare for the long haul by restoring your ACL function and giving you tips for maintaining your knee function for years to come. They let you know when it’s safe to return to the activities you love and advise you of any limitations on a case-by-case basis.
The team might recommend functional knee bracing for 1-2 years after your surgery for the best possible outcome, and they may request to see you for follow-ups after you’ve completed post-surgery physical therapy.
Call any of our Texas offices for more information on ACL repair recovery and rehabilitation. You can also schedule an appointment online at Elation Physical Therapy to consult with the team about your ACL injury and outlook.