If you are about to have ACL reconstruction surgery than you are likely struggling with some of these common recovery fears. Many of these fears are valid while some are likely not, but they all deserve your attention. Below I will go over the7 most common fears someone has about recovering from ACL reconstruction surgery.
7. “I will be off work for too long after my ACL reconstruction”
Most people, regardless of their profession, need to be able to be able to walk around for their job. Therefore this fear is very common.
In my two surgeries I was able to walk 1-2 weeks after surgery but the physio and doctor both recommended I not return to work(mostly office based construction management) for 4 weeks.
If you are having surgery and are fearful that you will be off work for a long time it is understandable. I recommend you read my tips on when can you walk after surgery.
6. “ACL surgery is going to hurt!”
During the surgery you feel nothing. You go to sleep then wake up and your knee has been fixed. However, the pain generally starts within the first hour after you wake up. The nurse in recovery will continuously be checking you making sure your pain and blood pressure are under control. Once they determine you are safe for discharge they will let you go to wherever you will be staying for the night.
If you follow some simple pain management tips you should be able to control the pain level to below a 5 but this will depend on the extend of your surgery. 7 Tips To Manage Pain After ACL Surgery
5. “The ACL Surgery Scars Will Be Ugly”
This isn’t a concern I really had but I understand those of you that are concerned. Supposedly there are creams that you can put on your skin, specifically Mederma. The ACL surgery recovery blog YesKneeCan wrote a great post about healing her ACL scars (Heal ACL Scars).
Luckily for her the picture below is of my scars 16 months after surgery.
Maybe I should have used Mederma or another cream to help reduce the scars.
4. “I am afraid of Weight Gain After ACL Surgery”
This is another very common fear. There are a lot of different stories on here about people both gaining and losing weight after surgery.
Weight gain after ACL surgery was a concern for me on my second surgery so I took some steps to make sure that I eat healthy after surgery.
My thinking before the surgery, based on what I learned from the first, was I know I will be around the house bored and when I am bored I tend to eat unhealthy snack food. Here is what I did and it resulted in me actually loosing 5 pounds in the first weeks after surgery(some of the weight would be muscle mass).
- Collect all junk snack food in the house and throw it out or store it in a difficult to reach place
- Buy healthy snacks, vegetables and fruit
- Eat a lot of fiber for breakfast! (see pain med side effects!)
- Pre Make Healthy Meals
- Continue to eat meals on a routine
Hopefully some of these tips will help you with your fear of gaining weight after ACL surgery.
3. “After my ACL reconstruction I won’t be able to return to the sports I love”
A fear I definitely had/have, this applies to people not just concerned they wont be able to return to the sport now but that in the future they wont be able to play because their knee is damaged.
This fear of not being able to do the activities I love because of my 2 ACL reconstructions on my knee is still with me. The only thing I can think of doing to address this fear is doing my ACL rehab exercises.
If anyone has any great tips on addressing this fear I would enjoy hearing them!
2. “I wont wake up from knee surgery”
I understand this fear and had to put a little effort into fighting it but unfortunately I don’t have any really good tips. Basically I just kept telling myself I was being irrational and everything was going to be fine. Also the knee is a long way from the heart and brain so everything will be fine!
1. “I am afraid I will Re-Tear my ACL after I get it reconstructed”
This is another fear that I continue to struggle with. We put all this effort, time and money into getting our ACL fixed and one abrupt movement can make it all for not!
This fear is valid and here is what I am doing to make sure I don’t re-tear my ACL…
- Don’t rush back into sports too soon
- Do all your phsyio
- Start slow into any new activity
- Listen to your knee
So that’s it, those are the most common ACL surgery fears that people have.
What about you…do you share these fears or have other ones?
The Top 5 At Home Exercises
I did that helped get me walking 4 days after surgery
Click Here to see the exercises