Here is a common question I get asking how long will I have to be on crutches after ACL surgery and should I try to get off them as soon as possible?
First of all I want to say a very big thank you for all the information that you have provided on your web site its fantastic.
I had my Op last week in the afternoon so I stayed in overnight and was discharged the next day which was Wednesday.
Whilst in hospital I was given a nerve block before surgery to numb my leg for up to 12 hrs which took more like 20hrs to subside, I also had a PCA which contained morphine, which I could click every five minutes for pain relief. Apparently I didn’t use my PCA enough as I still felt pain and the nurses said Id hardly used any..I think I was out of it. Anyway when I came home on Wednesday afternoon that’s when all pain hit, I felt like chopping my leg off. Especially at night.
Thursday I could only do 2 of the exercises without help…but the leg lifts my husband had to help me.
Friday, today I woke up okay…have been up all day…my exercises went fantastic am now ready to start increasing sets. Also walked a few steps without the use of crutches.
My knee is still really swollen and am still using cold packs to reduce the swelling, yet my pain is about a 3 walking alone.
My question is should I still continue with the crutches or not. Or how long should I wait?
I’m being very careful not to twist my knee at this point as that kills, also I was never given a brace after surgery as my surgeon felt that it would take longer to heal.
Before I answer your main question let me just say that on mt first ACL surgery I had a very similar experience in the hospital. I went a full 9-10hrs shortly after surgery with no nurse coming to provide any painkillers. Once the pain comes it can be really hard to get rid of!
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For people that have the option of staying in a hotel or your home with someone taking care of you let me suggest that option.
Now, regarding the question… should you continue using the crutches after ACL surgery? The sooner you start using your leg and not relying on the crutches the faster you will recover. If you can take a couple steps without crutches in a CONTROLLED environment it will decrease your recovery time. But be careful, dont put yourself into a position where you would use the crutches but dont have them.
For example I know one person who decided to go on a shopping trip the week after her ACL surgery and decided she was doing well walking around the home without crutches so she didnt bring them. She ended up walking that afternoon way further than she had before and her knee swelled up like a balloon and had to call security to help her into a wheelchair and out of the mall.
Bottom line is you should always be trying to gently increase the ability of your knee but never put it into a situation it can not handle with no back up plan.
The Top 5 At Home Exercises
I did that helped get me walking 4 days after surgery
Click Here to see the exercises