By Dr. Mayank Poddar, Orthopaedics
ACL Surgery is basically Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstruction, which is carried out for patients suffering from damaged ligaments which can lead to stiffness, pain and decreased mobility among a host of other symptoms and ailments. This kind of surgery aims at reconstructing the ACL with the use of grafts taken from other parts of the patient’s body. These grafts are used to replace the damaged ligaments.
1.Rehabilitation exercises: The rehabilitation process starts right after the surgery when the patient is given muscle strengthening exercises right after being wheeled back into the room from the operation theatre. These exercises will be given to the patient by the doctor or the physiotherapist who will show the correct way to do them and what all to avoid while doing them. Also, a gradual walking program will be started where the patient will first be helped when it comes to walking indoors, and then taken outdoors to practice walking on more natural terrain. Other motions can also be introduced gradually to exercise.
2.Crutches: The patient may be asked to use crutches for a while right after the surgery. This is usually done to ensure that the body and the knees are strong enough to support full weight carriage and bearing without putting pressure on the newly operated region. Full weight bearing usually comes about within ten days after the surgery, and until then the patient is asked to take it easy.
3.Knee extension: In the first few weeks after the procedure, the patient will experience swelling or inflammation in the area as well as some amount of trepidation when it comes to using the knee extension. The patient will be asked to do a ninety degree knee flexions before graduating to full knee extension gradually. In this phase, right after the surgery, the patient will also be encouraged to gain back control of the quadriceps as well as patellar mobility.
4.Swelling: In the first two to three weeks after the surgery, there will be some amount of swelling. Usually, in the first two weeks after the surgery, the focus is on controlling and preventing any undue swelling and inflammation with elevation and ice.
5.Strength and confidence: Once the initial three months are over, the focus will shift towards strengthening the core muscles with running and jogging for short periods. This will also improve the patient’s confidence in the restructured knee.
Ensure that you have a detailed discussion with your caregiver and orthopaedic specialist so that you are mentally prepared for recovery and rehabilitation.