2 Common ACL Surgery Recovery Mistakes

After ACL surgery there is so many potential problems but here are some of the most common mistakes people make that can set them back in their recovery timeline. These mistakes are very common….sometimes nothing happens however they can often end with another torn ACL. As you go through your recovery watch yourself starting to slip into these behaviors and try and correct yourself before it is too late.

ACL Surgery Recovery Mistake #1 – Stopping Physio at 2 Months

Once you have been going to physio for a couple of months you will begin to learn that you dont have much pain associated with yor knee anymore and are able to do most common activites. Your range of motion will return and you can walk. At this point the motivation to go to physio so that you will be able to walk without any problem is gone and you can resume your normal routine, except competitive sports. However, this is an important time for your recovery and you will need to continue to go to physio so you can be sure you get the sport specific physio you require.

I am guilty of this mistake with my first surgery and am determined to not make it again.

acl-surgery-recovery-mistake

ACL Surgery Recovery Mistake #2 – Uncontrolled Environment

What I mean by this is when you put yourself in a situation where you cant control everything about what will happen around you and to your knee. For example this can include walking on ice, walking your dog, going to a dog park, being around kids running or any other uncontrolled situation. I know this is almost impossible to avoid fully however always be alert to any situation where you may be putting yourself in a situation that will cause potential problems with your knee. When your knee is sore this is instinctual to protect it however once the pain is not fresh on your mind you can let this slip and put yourself at risk.

What has been your biggest mistake?



The Top 5 At Home Exercises
I did that helped get me walking 4 days after surgery

Click Here to see the exercises

Comments

  1. I’m on week #7 and definitely plan on going for 12 weeks like my doctor recommended. Although sometimes I don’t see the point in going because everything they have me doing is stuff I can do at home. Wall squats, lunges, stationary cycle, stretches, calf raises, hamstring curls, etc… My insurance covers it and they are good motivators so I don’t mind going.

  2. Hi Jon,

    Informative site. The title of this post caught my eye. In May, it will be 4 years since my ACL surgery. My insurance company only paid for 60 days of treatment. My PT gave me a list of exercises and we would touch base every few weeks. I think my biggest PT mistake was saying “No” when she asked if I wanted to start a running program.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
    Michele

  3. Jon,
    Like so many others, thanks for this site. Like you, I blew my knee for the second time and got it reconstructed (day 6 now coming to an end). My first surgeon was aces (team physician to the local NFL, NBA, and university teams) and everything was totally on the ball. I was a student though, and poor, so I stopped physio around 2 months as I had a membership to my school gym. What a mistake! I misunderstood someone somewhere and started doing squats. Doinked something somewhere that would not show on an MRI but left me basically unable to continue rehabbing and with a painful grinding. This second go-round (I’m hoping it’s kinda a boon and will fix the grinding injury I sustained) I have no intention of shorting the program. But your page here is an important for all those who were like me: KEEP UP THE PHYSIO!!!
    That being said, my current surgeon (I moved) doesn’t F/U until 10-14 days post-op, I’m so happy to have found your site to remind me of many of the things I’d done before, but not with my current doc (especially compression bandaging and getting walking going). I’m by no way as progressed as you were at this time point (very ginger slow walker), but I credit you with your preparation and vigor.
    So again, THANKS!

  4. Running is great foresure…my problem was I relied on running and biking and didn’t do many cutting drills.

  5. Thanks George…sounds like you were in a very similar position to me on our first surgery…poor student that thought the local gym was enough..ITS NOT. Good luck with your recovery and like I have said the speed of recovery within the first few weeks isnt a great indicator of long term success. Good luck with your recovery.

  6. I had ACL reconstruction surgery (hamstring graft) in September 2010 and also had torn cartilage repaired at the same time. So I’m now 5 months post op and slightly unsure of my boundaries when it comes to what I can and cannot do. As a result i think i’ve done a really silly thing by doing interval training on the treadmill at the gym yesterday and when running along at some speed i heard my knee click. I stopped immediately and got off the treadmill. However, my knee is now quite swollen, sore and a little stiff and i’m really worried that i’ve screwed it all up! Going to see the physio tomorrow. May I ask how you became aware of the fact that you had torn yours again?

  7. Jon Haver says:

    I knew because I heard a popping sound and after that I experienced instability. If you have a swollen knee but it feels solid it may just be meniscus and not your ACL.

    If the swelling goes down and you don’t experience instability than there is a reasonable chance you didn’t tear your knee…but as always the only way to know fore sure is to get an MRI.

    Best of luck!

  8. I agree, when your knee is sore, being around dogs or fast running kids or a mosh pit at a concert is not a good idea. Better to have a predicable environment for a period of time after acl surgery.

  9. I just had my ACL reconstructured with a hamstring graft yesterday (March 11th 2011) at Duke university, after tearing it playing soccer a year ago. I realize it’s going to be a very long process to full recovery, but at the moment the biggest concern is if I should support my knee with a pillow or not and the detriments of doing so.

  10. Jon Haver says:

    This may be a little late replying but my theory is that you should try and always have a little tension straightening your knee. For example if youre knee is bent comfortably at 20degrees and uncomfortable at 15 degrees support your knee at 17 degrees. Obviously getting this resolution measuring your knee angle isn’t realistic but you get the gist of it.

  11. Daniel B says:

    Jon, thanks for all of your informative posts.

    Tomorrow marks my 2 week mark since surgery (cadaever). I’m curious at what point you were able to do a full rotation on the stationary bike? I’m not quite there yet, but it feels really close. I think my ROM could be better at this point even though I have been dilligently doing my quad sets, heel slides, etc.

  12. Jon Haver says:

    I was able to do slow full rotations on a stationary bike at Week 1.5 but it took me until about week 3 to be comfortable on the bike.

  13. I am in week 3 of my ACL surgery. I used a cadaver ligament. I am at about 110 deg ROM and just about 0 deg flexion. How long should it take to get to 140 deg ROM.
    I am not a patient person and I am not used to being tied down. I just put 26 rubberbands on my wrist. One to be taken off every 2 weeks for the first year. This is my reminder on when I can push the limits again.

    Thank you for putting this site together

  14. Hi, I’m 3 weeks post op for an allograft and partial meniscotomy… As an active 40 yo woman, was happy to find your blog and get some tips to stay ahead of the curve.

    I have 0 degree extension and about 118 flexicon- walking comfortably without crutches- and pain in the knee joint is manageable- but the One thing I’m struggling with now is the pain associated with my shin incision. PT says scar tissue has built up and needs to be massaged out. I wish I knew to pay attention to this earlier- as it’s a searing pain that does seem to lessen after about a half hour of squishing the skin around the incision. Ouch! Anyone else go through this?

  15. I had my acl surgery 2 years ago. After about 6 months I didn’t have full rom and stiffness in flexion, they went in again for debridement of scar tissue and manipulation. I now have good flexionbut have had issues with my extension. I still have an atrophied quad and feel pain soreness and stiffness when extended. Because of thois I am still a bit gimpy. Anyone have similar situation? I will be going in for another arthroscopy to see what’s wrong and to have my hardware taken out. I am a 25 yr old female and feel like an old lady. Any suggestions?

  16. Hi all. I am 9 days post surg. with allograft. My biggest worry is since there has been barely any pain virtually from day one, I will do something to compromise the graft. I am aware that allograft revascularization is slower than for autografts and they say the first 12 weeks are critical. The graft is most vulnerable.

    Two questions: what did you do to cause the scar tissue on your shin (is there a way to avoaid it?) and did your MD give you list of exersises to avoid in the first 12 weeks?

    I am afraid my PT is not as familiar with allograft postop care as with autografts. I do NOT want to push too far too fast but I also do not want to lag behind in my rehab.

  17. Hi, I just started week 3 for an allograft. PT is going well, with 150 degrees flexion and about 5 degrees away from 0 extension. Quad sets are still the most painful exercise for me. However, on my 4th day back at the office I am noticing a lot of pain in the knee today. I’m wondering what is the best way to hold the knee when sitting at a desk? Am I supposed to elevate it a bit to take the weight off? Many thanks for creating this site!

  18. I had my acl replace aug 16th 2010. I am able to run a 5k. After the jog my knee will sometimes pop, like a finger needing to be cracked. I doesn’t hurt just kind of suprising. My question is when can I start doing cutting moves? I love Zumba, but before my surgery it would make my knee buckle every time. I am borded of running and cycling. I really want to give a Zumba class a try but I am so worried that I will mess up my recovery.
    Thanks
    Sandy

  19. Jon Haver says:

    You are now over 8 months after your surgery so you can(and should) start doing some cutting moves. In terms of if you should be doing a Zumba class I dont really know what it is beyond some kind of cross between yoga and aerobics and dancing(am I close?). But what I suggest is you follow along from some videos on youtube at your home and at your pace, that way you will know how you are doing at a lower pace before you jump into a full speed class. Best of luck with your recovery!

  20. I am 6 weeks post op on a hamstring ACL graft reconstruction and a huge meniscal repair. My surgeon had me straight-legged for 4 weeks post-op, with ability to bend from weeks 2-4 to 90 degrees flexion only when sitting/doing exercises. Just now getting to 110 degree flexion and on the bike daily. However, I just tripped down some stairs, and forcibly bent my repaired knee much farther than it has ever gone, I heard a “pop” and had some sharp pain for a while…Any thoughts?

  21. Jon Haver says:

    Karen – Hopefuly its nothing but the 6 week mark is one of the weakest times for the new ACL. I would recommend getting in to see your doctor ASAP and explain what happened. A re-tear is definitely a possibility. I really hope you didnt…let us know!

  22. I am near 2 weeks (surgery April 25, 2011) since ACL allograft on my right knee. The ACL is all that had to be repaired. Injury was Feb. 5, 2011 being a stupid standing in chair moment at church decorating a bulletin board. Waited til the day after Easter for surgery as I am the church organist. I am not needing to get my leg in shape for any sports other than playing the organ. My wonder is that I came home from surgery with only an ace bandage wrapped aroung the bandaided incission. I had a doctor’s appointment the next day, which the bandaids were changed and then rewapped with the ace and the only instructions was that I could take showers and to put weight on leg as I felt like it. I did come into the Dr. appt. using a walker. The next appointment was a week later (being 9 days since surgery). I got the stitches out (nurse did it) then lined out what PT to use and Dr. suggested I get the PT appointment the sooner the better. I left the Dr. office asking if I should wear the ace bandage and he said that I could if I felt I needed the little support. Saw the PT the next day and his first comment was “didn’t my dr. want me in an immobilizer?” Also asked “didn’t the dr. want me on crutches”. I am caring a walker with me, incase I have to go a long way or on any kind of incline. By the way, I drove myself to the PT (don’t think PT was too happy about that) as it was just a little over a mile away. I feel I am doing very well, am really in limited pain, the PT workout went well Thursday … I will go 3 times this next week. My next Dr. visit is in a couple of weeks. So any thoughts on if I am damaging anything by not being in a brace? When other’s do their PT are they without any knee brace or ace?

  23. Claudia Govea says:

    Hello , its may 9th a year and 2 weeks of my acl reconstruction,i recently started this work out its alot of balance and squats , i have been doing it for 5 days , everything was fine until my fifth day, my knee is swollen and it hurts , did i mess u[ my surgery!

  24. LBabcock says:

    I hit 140 degrees for the first time yesterday – 12 weeks out from surgery (also cadaver).

  25. I had my ACL and meniscus surgery september 2010 and I’ve been attending PT twice a week regularly, but i still get alot of clicking on my knee everytime I bend it! Feels like its grinding. i slipped and fell on some ice about 6 months ago and had an MRI done to see if I’d done anymore damage but the surgeon said everything looks fine. I personally think they’ve done something wrong cos i dont think it should be clicking like this after 8 months. Help!

  26. Karen…I’ve been reading these posts as I helping my son through his second acl surgery! When I read your post, I really felt for you! What ended up happening?

  27. Help! I’m worried about re-injury – I am 6 weeks post-op. Earlier in the week (the day after my last dr. appointment) I made a huge recovery mistake. I was at work and in a hurry, so I almost ran/brisk walked. It’s hard to say I was running since that is virtually impossible at this point, however, I was moving VERY quickly for a walk. At some point I realized how stupid that was and stopped however after I stopped, it was more sore than what it had been and am experiencing some pains (relatively minor) that I hadn’t before. I called the dr. office and spoke to the PA who said that I didn’t have to worry unless there was excessive swelling or instability. I can’t tell if there is excessive swelling, because it is a little more swollen than what it already was and I’m not sure if I would feel instability as my ACL hadn’t been attached for 18 years. Has anyone else had a similar situation? What other signs should I be aware of to let me know if I re-damaged the ACL? Advice?

  28. Jon Haver says:

    You could have damaged your meniscus which is fairly common. Personally my knee clicks going down the stairs…if its not causing you much pain there isn’t much you can do. A scope will clean it up but has the potential to cause other problems as well.

  29. Jon Haver says:

    Laura – I am confident you are fine. A little pain during recovery when you push your knee a little further than it has before there will be some minor swelling. If your story had ended with you falling down and hearing a pop then your knee swelled up like a grapefruit…I would be more concerned. In your case I feel confident saying everything is A-ok. I would image “excessive swelling” is defined as the amount of swelling you experienced in the knee immediately acl after surgery.

  30. I am 5 weeks post acl reconstruction & Lateral Meniscus repair. Im also getting a clicking (grinding) sensation when I walk. My surgeon says i can full weight bear….? I’m a bit worried…any thoughts?

  31. I had my ACL surgery on Feb 10, 2011. I started jogging slowly beginning in June, when I do run my knee has slight swelling. Is this normal? How long does it take for the knee not swelling during activities? I feel normal but not confident to make cuts or run fast. I am hoping to return to soccer by the end of August. Any suggestions, info, advice?

  32. @ titus, mine was about the same time as yours, but im just doing jogs 5 mins on, 5 mins walk, x3 reputations. i try to land lightly when doing jogging with small steps, no pain at all. i feel there is no point running too quick, since the aim of runs/jogs at the moment is more for calf/quads strengthening.

    I was at 16+ weeks post-op (hamstring graft) of my surgery. I felt good so I went for a night out. Bad mistake, I’m sure I must have fell a few times and I couldnt even remember how. I did feel more aches the morning after and but less in the following days, but Im sure there weren’t swelling/reds. I definitely do feel weaker, but I cant be sure how much. I was able to do jogs before and 2 days after the incident, I could feel that my jogs weren’t as confident and a little pain(sort of like when ur running with exhaustion)
    question:
    1. will there be swelling if something bad happened at 16+ weeks?
    2. would it be painful if my graft tore at 16+weeks? how about partial tear? coz im pretty sure its still there since there are some small clicks when i straighten (just like always) but i wouldnt have remembered the pain considering the state i was at.
    my next doc’s appt would be 3 months. omg i shouldn’t have gone out. What was i thinking?

  33. I had my ACL surgury in early March 2011, everything was going great. Last week I visited my surgeon and he did some agressive pushing and tugging and my knee has not benn the same since. It is swollen, and I hear clicking when I walk and I do have some pain. Is it possible that my own doctor messed up my knee again.

    I am going to see him tomorrow, but not sure how to handle this. Will he ever admit he re-injured my Knee?

    I need advice?

  34. Hi, I’m 2.5 weeks post op for an allograft and seeme to have the same shin incision shearing pain. My pt told me the same thing yesterday. How long did it last? I’m assuming that massaging it eventually helped.

  35. Zoronqueen says:

    I am very discouraged with physiotheray. My physiotherapist has her own protocol and it seems it is more conservative. I am doing less exercises at week 3 than at week 2. She discontinued my push ups, back exercises, abs etc.

    I have more pain with my shoulder, back and knee/leg.

    Wondering if I should go back to my own routine…..??

  36. P Collins says:

    Jon,
    I think you have a nice blog going on here. As a soon-to-be licensed Physical Therapist, I would encourage you to refrain from supplying medical advice to those who post questions on your blog. I think your personal experiences are great to share with others, however, it is not a wise move to be commenting and giving advice on information that you are not qualified to give. I am saying this for your benefit, as well as those who read your website, as there could be liability involved.

    I would urge any of your readers to follow-up with their physiotherapist and/or orthopedic physician if any complications arise during recovery from ACL injury.

    Cheers

  37. i ruptured my acl in march 10 and had operation last sept. so am 11 months down the line. doing well and now back at soccer training. i am a physiotherapist so devised my own accelerated rehab programme. my knee feels sturdy and strong. just get occasional discomfort at donor site at patella.

    it only gets stiff into hyperextension for a day or 2 after soccer training but soon resolves if i go on spinning bike or swimming.

    i am in agreement of ensuring you seek professional advice from your physio/surgeon. but throughout my recovery i have found it useful hearing about other peoples progress.

  38. hey there! I had acl recontructive surgery with a patellar autograft and meniscus repair AND menisechtomey om July 15.they told me I would be off work 6-8 weeks. at 5 weeks my OS said it would be another 6-8 weeks before i could return to work.My worry is Im STILL not walking on my own.I went from wheelchair to walker and have been using crutches for the past 2 weeks.started PT at 2xs a week and i am now going 4xsper week..When will i be able to walk again? has it taken anyone else this long ? ANY input sure would be appreciated !

  39. I’m at 11 days and have full extension, hyperextension, and can put my heel to my butt so full flexion as far as I can possibly go. There’s barely any swelling and it’s doing well, although the worst time is at night trying to sleep. That’s when it’s very painful.

  40. What I’ve learned from having so many sports-related surgeries, is that people are lazy and don’t push their PT. I’ve done PT on my shoulder, hip, and this is the second time on my knee. You have to be highly motivated to get better and just work through the tough times, know how hard you can push it, and deligiently do the PT!

  41. Hi All,

    I am at 6 weeks Post Op Hamstring graft option and I think I am doing well.
    I injured my knee while playing competitive soccer … went to run and heard 3 loud cracks and fell to the floor. I tore my ACL, second grade tear to MCL, Meniscus Tear (those were the 3 cracks I heard),partial LCL tear and of course damaged cartlidge…. I did a good job of it.
    I Had surgery 1 week after the injury, I didnt want to wait I just wanted it over and done with to start recovery. Best thing I did was to do it straight away as I know alot of people who have had the surgery years on because of the public waiting lists and the recovery is much longer and the knee is unstable all that time.
    I reccomend having it done asap especially if your into your sports/ workouts because you have the muscle to help with rehab… It’s amazing how my your leg loses muscle just after a couple of weeks not being able to weight bare or move it… mine isnt that noticeable but since 2nd week into rehab its getting better and stopped shrinking.
    I was not put in a brace after the op and have been told by my surgeon I dont need a brace (its up to the surgeon and each patient is different) when I start running Im not to wear a brace either as I can I am strong enough to learn to run without one.
    I had a straight leg from day one which apparently is the most important thing to get in the first few weeks( If you dont have it staright within the first few weeks it will most likely not be straight ever and if its really bad they put you under again and crack it staright… important to work on getting the straightness in the first few weeks)
    I was at 90 degree bend at 3 weeks,and off the crutches and now at 6 weeks I am almost at 150 degrees full range of motion.
    I have had a few cracking and clicks but I have been told that its the gases in the knee created by movement and nothing to be worried about (If you experience anything unual consult your PT or Doc) remember not to push to hard with your exercises you dont want more damage.
    The swelling has gone down dramatically, I only used a wrap around ice pack no fancy ones and now am getting my PT to masage the scare tissue out.. which helps alot … feels so much better after and am able to do my exercises better.
    I had no machine to help me straighten or bend and I see my PT once a week.
    I have been told I can use the exercise bike at week 8 and can begin slight jogging at 12 weeks on a running plan set by the PT.
    I have been reading the posts and some people are using the exercise bike at 2 weeks!! I would advise anyone who is going to have the surgery or starting their rehab to slow it down and talk to your PT before doing that at all… the last thing you want is to push yourself to hard and then go backwards with your rehab.
    Concentrate on getting the leg straight first then then bend will come in time… I am one of the lucky ones to be at full ROM at 6 weeks… some people can take months, so dont stress everyone is different and people heal differently!!
    I have a number of different exercises to help withgaining back my muscle in the hamstring, calfs and quads… its all about the QUADS!!
    After surgery it feels like tight rubber bands are wrapped around the knee…. now at 6 weeks Post Op there is still the uncomfortable feeling but concentrated behind the kneecap…. almost like theres something lodged behind it… as days pass it eases.
    My advice is don’t delay just do it!! and no matter what surgeon you have its all up to YOU and the REHAB!!

    Good luck to anyone who is about to go through it!!

  42. Hi, Im from Puerto Rico, just had ACL reconstruction on left knee with my hamstring graph. Its been 2 months and still feel stiffness on my left and right side of the knee. Dr took some liquid out and I felt relief on top of the patella. But I feel hat both side do not let me bend or straightned the knee. Any suggestion¿

  43. i had an aCL operation 2 months ago and since then i have never had any physioteraphy now my knee is not swelling and i feel confortably but sometimes i try to scut and i feel little pain around my knee i want to know if its normal at this stage.

  44. I tore my ACL and MCL ligaments on August 10th and got surgery about a month after. I am on my 9th week now, have full range of motion and am starting to run and cut at PT. Although my physical therapist said I am healing unusually quickly. I recommend stretching atleast twice a day for the first couple of weeks and your R.O.M. will come back quickly. Good luck everybody!

  45. i tore my acl and lateral meniscus on my right knee years ago, and got surgery acl reconstruction using hamstring autograft and meniscus menisectomy on 17th october 2011. so, now i am 4 week post op, just started stationary biking this monday, and then yesterday and today the PT added up my exercises by doing double and single leg press with light weight, but my bad knee was shaking alot when i did the single leg press, is that ok?. my quads muscles on the bad knee are much smaller and weaker than good one. and then when i did squad with light weight, it clicks everytime going down and also going up, with alittle pain, is this ok?? or should i slow down on my therapy?? also, going up and down the stairs got alittle click but no pain, but when i walk normally, nothing clicks at all, only going up and down the stairs then i feel the painless clicks.
    the single leg press and squad with light weight problem , i did all that under supervision of my PT. he told me it is normal with slight pain and clicks. but i am a little worried, can any one tell me their experiences or suggestions of what i should do??

    thanks again

  46. Hi Albert,

    I also had the exact same surgery done on the 17th October 2011. I had similar pains and clicks when doing tehse exercises. These pains are subsiding now, but I still get regular clicks. Had my consultant meeting yesterday and he assured me this is oerectly normal. Keep up the good work, hopefully we will be both back up and running nexy year. Im aiming to fully retuern to basketball and snowbaording. P.s. I’m 28 if you want to compare age like for like.

    Thanks

    Ross

  47. I’ve just found out that I’ve ruptured my acl and will need a reconstruction surgery. i’m worried about it ever being the same again. I’m a profesional Stunt performer and need to be able to work again. will the new acl be able to take the impact of a fall or flip? my understanding is I will be imobile for up to a year?

  48. I had acl reconstruction 4 weeks ago but today bent my knee too far towards my chest by accident. I never felt any pop but there was quite a bit of pain is it possible i have tore the graft?

  49. I tore my ACL in August 2010 and just now again in December 2011. I had an ACL replacement in 01/2011.

    Two things I would advise you to do on your own time outside of rehab and post-rehab:
    1. Strengthen your quad
    2. Strengthen your hamstring

    I didn’t do enough of the two things above and that’s what I believe caused the 2nd tear. Having surgery next week for 2nd time in 2011. Ugh.

    Good luck to all of you!
    Sean

  50. I was told that at one-year the replacement ACL (allograft) is just as strong as the original ACL. If your just having the ACL replacement, you could be back to normal activity in 4 to 5 months. My surgeon always stressed 4 months for recovery, though that is his expedited athletic recovery plan.

  51. I tore my ACL doing jumping jacks >.< in Sept 2011 and had surgery Oct 12th, 2011. I got a cadaver ligament. It's been almost 3 months and I still can't hyperextend my knee. I think it's about a 2 or 3 and makes me nervous that I'm going to have to walk with this limp forever. Anyone have advice or in the same situation?

  52. Good website thanks for the advice, etc. on it. I have a question of my own:

    I am in middle of week 8 after my ACL surgery (complete tear) and had a cadaver ligament put in. For the past 5 days my knee has been popping about 6-8 times a day and feels more painful and little unstable. Below the knee cap sometimes it gets pretty tight now more than it was previous couple weeks and when I bend my knee something noticeably moves forward. My PT thought it might be the top of the tibia moving or the patella. When it gets really tight I have to bend it until it “pops” and then it loosens up. I am worried I have had a setback and will probably call my doctor soon (next appointment isn’t until February). According to my paperwork I am supposed to start doing light jogging soon and there is no way I can pull that off right now.

    Thanks for any advice.
    Jamie

  53. I Tore my ACL in the summer playing football, but at that time I didn’t know and then I started practising for high school football and re injured my knee again then I finally got the ACL surgery on Nov 24 2012. I have not done PT my knee is perfectly fine I go to the gym very frequently, I have full range of motion, I was off crutchs after 3 weeks now I’m 7 weeks in I walk with no limp and I can do a light jog. Its all about determination and how bad you wwant your knee to get better although. And I had the Hamstring Graft

  54. I Tore my ACL in the summer playing football. I finally got the ACL surgery on Jan 15 2010. unfortunately, now I still cant straighten my knee, I’m really sad, please , someone please help me. please give me some advise, just tell me what to do. tq

  55. My 14 year old daughter tore her acl and miniscus playing basketball.She has been playing since she was 5 years old. She had surgery on June 3,2011. Surgeon used a donor and her hamstring. She did physical therapy for 5 months before returning to basketball in December. She fell and bruised her knee bone in January 2012. We thought at first she had retore her acl. MRI said no, bone bruise. My problem and question today is I feel my daughter is physical ready to play again at the level she was before her injury, but mentally she is scared of reinjury. I have been researching and sounds like she has post tramatic stress disorder. How do I help her. Counciling she would not agree on, she would not open up to a stranger. Any sugestions? Thank you. Oh I do want to add everyone is pushing her to play. Varsity coach and team mates, and she wont admit it but I think stresses her too! My husband and I of coarse
    se support our daughter and tell everyone it is up to our daughter she will play when she is ready! No one is going make her play if she not ready to. Why do coaches or anybody understand what my kid has been through? She made varsity softball last year as a 8th grader and had to sit all season due to her just having surgery!! I see my kid struggling now and dont know how to help her! Thanks for letting me vent!

  56. Question regarding PT only vs ACL surgery + PT. I tore my ACL completely in November 2011. I live a pretty active life, riding and training horses, live on a farm. Recently conferred with a surgeon who said I could either try PT only, or he would do ACL reconstruction, my choice. I have first PT appt. scheduled, but haven’t gone, yet. I’m noticing increasing instability (and resulting pain), in the knee. Any comments or suggestions on just going ahead with surgery, or is there a potential plus to going the more conservative road?

  57. guys this is my first tear on my right knee i had acl surgery using hamstring graph my problem is its already 1 week after my opp and im getting alot of pain still from the side of my knee and i cannot bair weight or walk, the swelling is still here too, im worried about it,

  58. hi anna, i have the same problem, its been 2 years already but i can still feel the stiffness around the area, i could not move without the fear of popping it again, when i do my running in a straight line, it seems okay, but when i start to change direction, especially landing the injured leg sidewards, there are times that i feel a sharp pain. as a result, i still could not do sports normally,

    email me should you find a solution to this at hart_bt@yahoo.com thanks!

  59. Followed this blog for quite sometime since my surg on 1/16/2012, this is a great resource for info.

    5 Weeks out from Surg. full ACL reconstruction, no other damage, used the cadaver, walked out of surgery.

    at 150 degrees ROM, on the bike, shuttle leg press, and lots of calf work.

    i do have a baker’s cyst on the back of my knee from all the swelling which means i get it drained.

    My advice to everyone keep your leg moving at all times, the more you move it the less you deal with the stiffness, plus it build strength and improves your ROM.

    TO ALL WHO ARE WORRIED ABOUT SURGERY:

    its not that bad, just take your meds and be sure to keep the leg moving and ice it, you’ll be good.

  60. im at 5 weeks and its still puffy, just continue to do you exercises and ice. it will get better, before you know it you will be up and running.

  61. I had my acl surgery 1 week ago ruptured it playing rugby I’m 18 the surgeon said it takes minimum 3-4 months for the graft to grow to the bone I had hamstring graft taken knee is still sore but I can walk on it without crutches with a limp can’t bend it 90 degrees yet but can straigten it fully off pain meds and have started doing a few exercises to build up quad strength as it is noticabily smaller than my good leg but getting abit of pain in my calf muscle when I bend my knee slightly hopefully it will go away but it is lookin good at the 1 week mark

  62. i had ACL and lateral meniscus surgery on january 27th. doc has said no weight bearing at all for 6 weeks due to meniscus repair. i have full leg extension and ROM 90 degrees. i was also told to not go past 90 degrees yet. i see doc in a couple weeks, i fully understand sports will be a while away still.
    I am curious how tough is it going to be for me to start walking? i just want to take this brace off and begin walking, any thoughts would be great.

  63. Hi Jon,
    I need help. I had ACL October 13th. It is now 6 months suddenly I have severe pain and my knee does not stretch well any more. The pain is inside the knee and around it. Including my ankle. I went to doctor and he said I need to excercize. But I was fine up until now. My knee is stiff and it is not easy to move and walk. Feels like I am walking with a broken knee.

  64. Hi Michelle

    I tore my ACL playing soccer in Sept 2011. A sports doctor sent me to physio while we waited for the MRI. I went to PT once before my MRI results were back. Both the doc and surgeon said I could either keep up the PT or choose surgery. They said I would probably be OK with physio but would need to wear a knee brace for all pivoting sports.

    I did a lot of reading up and I decided surgery was the best option for me. At 25 my years of competitive sports are behind me but I am still an active person and love playing soccer, volleyball and pretty much all sports. My knee gives out if I step sideways going from the sink to the fridge…it’s obviously not the most stable. The risk of causing more damage to the rest of my knee and then requiring surgery later on with even more damage was reason enough to decide on surgery. My MRI results showed 5 minor problems and signs of pre-arthritis…that’s what 16 years of highly competitive soccer does to you. So seeing as my knee has enough problems, continuous instability and pain from simply crossing my legs was not appealing. Also the thought of having to slap on my custom knee brace simply to play catch-up sports with my friends or in the future running around the park with kids terrified me. I like being active and I don’t want to be restricted.

    I had my surgery Feb 21 2012 and so far recovery is going well. I’m really happy with my decision and although it saddens me and freaks me out to see how much muscle I have lost on my operated leg…that’s the worst of it. PT Is hard work but with everything in life, you get out what you put in.

    Best of luck deciding, if you have not already!

  65. Hi Matthew

    I had my ACL surgery with hamstring graft Feb 21. I also get pain in my calf and was told by the doc and PT that it’s simply from the swelling/bruising. All the blood and fluid from the surgery slowly makes it’s way down the calf causing swelling/bruising.

    With elevation, rest and plenty of icing it has gone done. If yours has not already keep icing. They said te bruising should clear up by day 14.

  66. And stretching…ankle pumps are great. It hurts but it loosens it up. Also you can try massaging your leg…always rubbing towards your heart.

  67. So I had ACL reconstructive surgery Feb 21 with a hamstring graft. I obviously had some bruising behind the knee/leg from where they tore my hamstring for the graft.

    All was going well until I stupidly lifted something four days ago and felt a tight pull in both hamstrings (both legs). It wasn’t too painful, but painful enough and I immediately elevated and iced. The next I had a small new bruise behind my knee, on the opposite side of the current hamstring bruising.

    I saw my PT and she said I really have to take it easy and that it generally feels OK, no bulging muscle. I’m seeing her again tomorrow and she said we’ll see how the bruising looks and if I am able to do wall squats.

    Four days later the bruising has spread up the back of my thigh a little, it looks light blue/green/yellow. It was blue/black size of a dime behind my knee originally. I also noticed the bruising on the side of the hamstring they used for the graph has spread up my leg a bit and looks blue/green/yellow. It’s not really painful, only if I am leaning on the side of the bed applying direct pressure to the part of my hamstring right above me knee.

    Has anyone else pulled their hamstring while recovering? Should I worry about the graft? Overall my knee feels fine, it was a tad stiff for a couple of days (but that seems to be the case every now and then anyway).

    Stupid, stupid, stupid – but I am now extremely careful and even trying to avoid simple stretching of the hamstring when I get dressed or put on shoes. From the little I could find online, hamstring tears post-op seem to just put recovery back a week or so, but obviously I’m worried because of the minor bruising.

  68. rob baker says:

    Hi All,

    well its 4.30 am here and im feeling stooopid !!
    I had my ACL done in july 2011, so approx 8 months ago, i did some of my physio, and have been doing various strengthening excercises, having actually injured my leg nearly 2 years ago, i have become very fed up with not being able to do anything, i still suffered from clicks and pain around and inside the knee cap, howver i recently started training in Judo again, 3rd time back last night, and i jarred my leg in an outward motion, the pain was instant, i sat out for a couple of bouts but then went back for 2 or 3 minutes, and in the end had to come off the mat. Now im up because i cant sleep cos of the pain, the knee has swollen back up again and my worst fears are i have undone all the work that had been done………i have pain in the bottom part of my leg, not the thigh bone, i can raise the leg using my quads but controlling it when lowering it back down to earth is excruciating, plus any movement of the bottom half of the leg outwards (sideways) is really really acute, stabbing like pain….. what are the chances of me having torn off my ACL graft from the bone ?
    More importantly, what is the process now, can you have a RE-ACL graft ???
    Thanks people, from Stoopid !!!

  69. Jon,
    Thanks for great web site. I had a hamstring graft and I’m on my fifth week now. I’m a little frustrated because I’m reading all these great stories about rehab and getting back to work and my rehab is not doing so good. I go to rehab three days a week, I have great rehab people, I’m doing my homework, and I’m elevating and icing. Well it’s been five weeks and my brace is still locked, I’m still on crutches, and I’m still swollen. The rehab guys are saying the swelling is one of the reasons that I’m not bending all the way and my quads are not firing up all the way. Any secrets on getting the swelling down and bending the knee. Thanks

  70. Hi, so I had two meniscus tears fixed about a month ago… I landed kinda hard on my knee the other day and now it kinda feels like it’s catching. Iwas walking on crutches and my crutch slipped out:/ it feels like I pulled something in my calf… what do you think? It feels fine bending and straightening it. But if I straighten it with weight on it and then bend it, it feels almost like it needs to pop, but then it just goes away.

  71. uhm i had surgery for 2years now and. ive been able to live a normal life but. due to not continuing my exercise after 4months. my quads shrink about half. and im not as athletic as i use to be. is it still possible for me to return to my primal years. by doing the exercises again. cause i’ve been doing the exercises again for 2 weeks. due to school and work and now i have a free time. cause i finished my studies.

  72. I tore my acl and fractured my tibia September 2009. I didn’t continue my pt as long as I should have and it’s been hurting on and off ever since. This past month in particular, it seems that I may have re-injured it again. I’m not a very athletic person, so its not a point of over working it, it got worse from day to day use. My knee has now been swollen for about a week and no matter what I do it won’t go away.
    TRANSLATION: keep up with the pt as long as your Dr. says and maybe even a little bit longer.

  73. Belinda L says:

    i was just wondering did you only have your ACL ? as i am on my 11th week since surgery, and i had my ACL,meniscus and a knee cap polish, i was in the brace for 6 weeks but that was due to the meniscus repair. i’m recovery very slowly, my PT didnt go to well either. At the moment i am just pool walking and started on the bike at 9 weeks. i started doing 5 mins only on bike for a week and a bit than slowly progressed, now at 11 weeks i have just started to do 15 mins with no resistance! let me know how your going with your recovery

  74. Hammad Malik says:

    Hi, I tore my ACL and had Hamstring graft (top job) by surgeon, had to travel after a month so did absolutely no rehab till 3 months post op.

    Recently joined GYM, doing cycling, light running, swimming and badmington. No pain, all is well.

    Problem is I went and saw my surgeon today (post op discharge session) and he said no ro running and badmington, I said: Sports was the main reason for having surgery, to which he replied: Well you will pay price at later age with Arthiritious.

    I am scared a bit now. He said just do resistance sports/exercises.

    How come the Pros get back on the pitch then?

    Op was on 1st Nov and now its April (5 months), I am aware of my knee and am strengthing thigh and calves.

    Should I do something else to ensure not tearing ACl again.

    Big thank you in advance for yor advice :)

  75. Martha Margreiter MD says:

    I had a hamstring autograft done 1 year ago (tomorrow) after tearing my right ACL skiing March 18, 2011. I went to a renowned sports medicine orthopedic surgeon (also a medical school classmate of mine) and did almost 4 weeks of PT in prep for my surgery. I was hesitant about doing the surgery, as I wasn’t an “athlete” and wasn’t sure it was necessary at my age (48). But he told me if I wanted to continue to be active and/or ski again it was. So I did it.
    The surgery itself wasn’t too bad, and I explicitly followed the post-op instructions about crutch usage and non weight-bearing. At my initial post-op appt I wasn’t at full extension and my friend/doctor chastised me greatly for that! But I made up for it by the next visit; so if I have any advice to give it is work your at-home program IMMEDIATELY!! My PT was steady, painful and not without frustration at times. But after 6 months I was discharged to transition to the gym.
    I did have some scar tissue build-up around the incision sites & had manipulation/hardware removal at 5 mos (not uncommon). I am able to run, lift weights, do the rowing machine and have continued my core excercises to keep my leg strength, flexion and stability. I even do the same on the opposite side to make sure my other leg doesn’t suffer the same injury!
    My goal at a year was to ski again, wearing a DonJoy brace- not for the knee but for my “head”, according to my sports medicine/orthopedic surgeon! Had to cancel plans due to the lack of snow in Colorado this spring, but shooting for the next season. My knee isn’t completely “normal”, but I am told by others it will take a full 1-2 years before it will feel like mine again. I don’t intend to let it stop me, but am always careful where I step, what position my leg is in, etc…

  76. Martha Margreiter MD says:

    Read my entry below Hammad- as long as you don’t overdo it &/or experience pain with running &/or playing sports like badmitton, and you are careful about doing it on a flat even surface you should be fine. My ortho told me the new ACL from my hamstring would be STRONGER than my own ACL on the other side. Hope this helps :)

  77. Belinda L says:

    Hi Martha,
    wow it’s a long time to recover isn’t it. But really 2 years before it feels like your own :( i don’t like the sound of that! So how long is it before you have to stop worrying about Scar tissue forming again? I recently had surgery finally after 15 years with my ACL completely torn, i fell off a race horse and never knew, as when the injury occurred my doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with, sent me in for an X-ray told me nothing broken and sent me on my way with crutches, and i remember being them for 2 months and finally my swelling went down and than it stopped hurting. i went to play my first game of netball after this happened and my knee gave way and i fell and broke my wrist :( than i knew my netball career was up. I did’nt think about it too much just thought we would just do my cross country running as i use to compete in comps, and i rode horses for another 5 years than gave it up. My knee never gave me all that much pain untill 12 months ago which is 15 years since my accident off the horse, i was running 25 km twice a week and i started getting really sore than my hip started hurting, so we went to see a knee doctor, he done a few tested and he knew straight away what injury i’d done. Off to get a MRI Scan, showing up ACL completely missing, no cartlidge,meniscus damage and un even wear on my bones. so 3 months ago we had the Surgery, ACL,Meniscus and a kneecap surgery, very painful indeed, i am still on crutches trying to waen off them but not having much luck, i cant seem to get my balance, and it doesnt help that i’m still in pain, but my surgeon says i will be sore for another 2 months…. in the last 4 weeks since my surgeon has given me the ok to walk on it and wean off crutches and told me i have to do pool walking and started on the bike every day. so we have been, still my legs stiff. Did you have any problems with catching/jarring or feeling a pinch at times when you started walking? Good luck on your recovery and to everyone who is going through it, we all know how tough it can be…..

  78. Kimberly says:

    I am on week 5 of ACL being replaced with cadaver ligament. I am at 135 ROM. Was told that 120 ROM is good that I may never have the 150 I have in my right leg. Okay, yea I am 51 but have been active and flexible. Have visit with doctor in a couple days. Pt say not to push it could damage the new graft. Glad I found this post. For those who have not had the surgery yet make sure you shop around for best surgeon. Found out the first one I went to did 10-15 a year. 3 different fb friends who didn’t even know each other recommended the same surgeon and I went for 2nd opinion to him and he had me in surgery in less than a week. He does 150-200 a year and his group does some of the professional sports teams. Tore my ACL skiing. I have the fear of skiing now. I know it can happen doing almost anything. (missing the last rung of a ladder, trampoline, and yes a 40 year old ripped his loosening up at Karate before a class doing leap frog) Just see all the things I love and the fear of doing it again and 6-9 month recovery again. I am week 5 today. Some swelling still. So tired of icing. Only missed 2 days of icing. How long have any of you been icing. Swelling is down but not gone. Also learning to walk heel toe again. After surgery it does not come natural. Didn’t even have a clue before that is how I walked. Inner hamstring is where most irritation is. LCL was torn but it did not need to be replaced. So grateful for that. From what I was told I would have not been weight barring until last week if both needed to be replaced. Physical therapist said it couldn’t hurt me but I roll on my back and have leg bent toward me and just lay there so gravity just pushes down. So want to be at 150 ROM. Thanks for listening all. Just so good to read and hear of other who are going through or have gone through this.

  79. Kimberly says:

    One more question and I didn’t see any comments on this. My Physical therapist’s husband also had his ACL replaced because of a ski fall. The surgeon gave him a Donjoy brace to be used for skiing, basketball, etc. Is anyone using one and did it or does it help?

  80. Hammad Malik says:

    Kimberly, the brace is for your head and ot your knee as you will never see any professional (soccer) player wearing one. I tore mine playing football, however, for psychological reasons, it helps you keep in control and keeps reminding you about your injury (avoiding going over board)

    So use/don’t use is up to you, I use it at times, but strengthen your knee muscles, thats the best you can do.

    Keep it moving and avoid sudden twists, turns and hard impacts.

  81. Hammad Malik says:

    thanks :)

  82. Helo I am Bogut. I had tore ACL fixed by doctor last week. First night good but for next three days hurt like a bitch. Luckily I have many of pain pills or I would be very kabbokashed.

    How long until I am able to push my pig wagon to the market? doctor say push wagon like cut drill so i get a opinion from village elder instead. He say to listen to doctor.

    It has been 9 days and it feel better but only when i sit in the barn. if i walk it feels like it is not working like knee should.

    Bogut

  83. You need brace for head? This is confusing to Bogut. Did u hurt ur knee? When i hurt mine i did not hit my head maybe u did that is terrible.

  84. Christian says:

    Adam, I am confused – did you have your surgery in 2010 or 2012?

    If you can’t straighten your leg after 2 years you probably never will unless you are operated on again. If it’s only been a couple of weeks, what degree extention are you at? Keep your leg straight and put a pillow under your heel to help encourage extension.

  85. Hammad Malik says:

    Hi Bogut, what I meant by head was psychologically. Knee brace is for knee.

    Now about your knee, walk on it but please dont push too hard, ligament will loosen again or even tear! so surgery wasted.

    Do rehab and keep Controlled knee movement.

    Remember, it is not a shortcut, 6 months minimum. Long planning will help.

    Take care

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