Recovery Timeline

ACL Surgery recovery timelines do vary but here is a general timeline that I will be following. This timeline is based on my experience from the first ACL surgery recovery timeline I followed and I will use it as my guiding rehab plan this time. It is much easier to get through recovery when you have milestones and goals in mind. I encourage you to take this recovery timeline and modify it to be used by yourself. Download a free recovery timeline here.

I have broken down the goals by week below and will provide updates on how I am doing against the goals.

What to track?

“what gets measured gets improved”

These are the key performance indicators I will keep track of over my recovery

  1. Extension ( most important for the first week)
  2. Flexion (how close your heel can come to your butt)
  3. Pain
  4. Weight bearing
  5. Ability to walk without crutches
  6. Ability to drive (right leg surgery)
  7. Strength
  8. Balance
  9. Ability to walk without a limp up and down stairs
  10. Jogging
  11. Jumping
  12. Cutting
  13. Unrestricted return to sports

These are 13 of the key indicators I will track to determine how my knee is progressing in relation to this knee recovery timeline. Below shows the goals broken down by week

Funny motivation poster


Week 1 of ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline

Walking without crutches

1. Extension - this is my main focus this week as recommended by my orthopedic surgeon and as recommended in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. Goal is to have 100% extension by the end of the week

  • Flexion - Goal of flexion is to achieve 90* or greater at the end of week 1
  • Pain – Manage pain on a scheduled routine that maintains it to within a 1-3 / 10
  • Weight Bearing - My goal is to be 100% weight bearing on my right leg 1/2 way through week one
  • Walking without crutches with a minimal limp is the second most important goal for week #1
  • Strength and Balance - I will do all the acl surgery recovery exercises(link) and minimize muscle loss as much as possible

Other Goals for the first Week after ACL surgery…
- Reduce swelling to a minimum
- hydrate – drink lots of water
- rest – 8 hr

“week 1 of my ACL surgery recovery will be a success if I can have 0 degree extension and be walking without crutches.”

See week 1 ACL rehab exercises


Weed 2 of ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline

over 100 degree range of motion and no more crutches

  • Extension - maintain 0* extension
  • Flexion - improve to 100*
  • Pain - manage on 1 extra strength tylenol every 4 hours. Maintain to below a 2-3 / 10
  • Weight Bearing – 100% without problem at the end of week 2
  • Walking with a continuing to improve limp
  • Srength and balance exercises should increase slightly in intesity to ensure my body continues to have to adapt

Week 2 is all about continuing the momentum of week 1 and improving on walking.

“Week 2 will be a success if I can put the crutches away for good”


Week 3 of ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline

Back in the drivers seat and walking up and down stairs

“Week 3 will introduce 2 new challenges the first being driving, weather permitting, for short periods of time and the second is walking up and down stairs.”


Week 4 of ACl Surgery Recovery Timeline

Return to work

  • Flexion - improve to 120*
  • Crutches not used during week 4
  • riving daily 15minutes to work
  • Stength and Balance exercises to increase in  intensity
  • Stairs continue to be the challenge in week 4

“Week 4 is a success if I am cleared to return to work”


Month 2 of ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline

Light Jogging

Now the hard work starts with more intense physio sessions and home exercises designed to get my quad and hamstring muscles back in shape and able to handle the knee.

  • Flexion - The goal is to have the active and passive range of motion at the 100% complete mark by the end of week number 8.
  • Strength - Work with elastic bands begins and additional acl surgery recovery exercises(LINK) are added to the routine
  • Balance - Specific balance work is to begin to help stabilize the knee
  • Jogging - At the end of week 8 some light jogging may be able to be started

The second month is about shifting from the acute rehab stage to the muscle building and longer term outlook on rehabilitation

“Month 2 in the recovery process if full range of motion is achieved and I can lightly jog on the knee”


Month 3 of ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline

Close to full strength

  • Strength – Near full lower extremity strength
  • Balance – returned to near normal right leg balance
  • Jogging light jogging weeks 8-12 will be occurring

The third month is about strength and balance returning to my right leg. This is in preperation for the more intense ACL rehab which will occur weeks 12-16(month 4).

“almost equal strength should return to my right leg by month 3 with balance only slightly worse on my right leg”


Month 4 of ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline

Time to start jumping

Strength, balance and jogging continue in the 4th month
Jumping exercises will be introduced to the rehab routine with the aim of getting my knee back in a condition where it can be loaded and unloaded without pain or imbalances.

“The first weeks will involve slow controlled jumping and will increase in intesnisty as I become more comfortable”


Month 5 of ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline

Time to run in circles and corners

5 Months after ACL surgery the recovery moves into sport specific and isolated leg exercises including
Strength, balance and jogging continue to build the foundation of the rehab routine
Jumping - sport specific exercises isolating the right leg
Cutting - slow controlled cutting will be started in month 5

“being able to run on angles at 50-75% speed on even terrain will show good signs that I am on my way to recovery”


Months 6-9 of ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline

Return to sport

Although I may physically be ready for a full return to sports I will make sure to take it easy this time as I was given the all clear last time I had ACL surgery  at 8months which resulted in a re-tear. Ultimately my main goal for returning to sports is to be able to hike, camp and mountain bike this summer(5 months post operative), play baseball and tennis next fall(8 months post surgery) and ski next winter(12 months). If everything goes well for these easier(on my knee) sports I will look at returning to Soccer, Rugby, Volleyball the following year.


About this Surgery Recovery Timeline…

The timeline I have written out here is based on research I have done online including other personal stories such as http://aclsurgeryrecovery.blogspot.com/ and Accelerated rehabilitation after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. (http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/18/3/292.short)

The ACL surgery recovery timeline I have laid out for myself is likely to change as I get more involved in my rehab. I will update my progress as it compares to the plan as time goes by and hopefully this schedule will be a reasonable motivator for me to continue with my rehab and I can be certain that this ACL surgery recovery will be my last!

If you have any suggestions to make as to how I can improve my timeline please let me know. Or if you can share any links to other timelines you or someone else has used please put it in the comments below.



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. Hey my name is Austin I am 16 and had my ACL reconstruction on october 20th after tearing it back in january. I was interested when you had your first surgery at what time did you begin jogging and running before you tore it again. Good luck with you rehab hope its your last surgery.

    • Hey Austin, hope the recovery is going well. My first surgery I was jogging about 3 months after. I re-tore it 8 months after the first time I played soccer. Good luck with your rehab.

      • Hi Jon,

        Excellent site, keep up the great work.

        I tore my ACL playing soccer 3 weeks go. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can get a surgery until April or May 2012.

        In the meantime, is it a good idea to do physio? I have heard conflicting things. I can only see an ortopedic surgeon in about 3 weeks from now

        Also, what type of ACL reconstruction surgery did you choose?

        Thanks,
        Alex

        • Absolutely. Work your legs like you’ve never worked them before. I’m talking 4-6 times per week – squats, leg press, leg extension, leg curl, stationary bike, lunges – as long as your knee can provide adequate stability during these exercises.

          Doing this will increase your muscle mass which will significantly reduce muscle atrophy after your surgery. I know this from personal experience.

          Have you read the posts from the people who mention that they do not have a good amount of strength in their repaired knee/leg after 3-6 weeks? I’ll bet 90+% of them did not push it before their surgery.

          Patellar Option: More painful until week 6 and then better performing than all other options in addition to being the strongest option. This IS the gold standard by sports medicine standards. The NFL/MLB/European Soccer players choose this option because it’s the best. Surely you deserve to be treated like Tom Brady.

          Hamstring Option: Less painful than patellar option but have seen a large number of people with hamstring issues weeks and months after the surgery. Not as strong of a repair as the patellar option.

          Allograft (Cadaver): For those who want to avoid pain – too many risks and not as strong. Choose this option if you like to watch TV and lounge around the pool. If you’re having surgery to get back into action, do NOT choose this option.

          • Debbie Woodard says:

            Careful! A torn ACL provides no support to the knee. Exercise like this and you will add a torn miniscus and future arthritis under your knee cap to your concerns! Wear a brace and exercise carefully. Good luck!

          • Debbie is right. Exercise like this and you can be in real trouble. In fact I did keep working out on a torn ACL and ended up tearing my miniscus so now they have to do two things in stead of one. Just my luck so I advise not to push yourself to do any thing that would jepedise your well being.

          • B. Colvin says:

            Hey, I feel that I’m having great success with using the Allograft for my ACL reconstuction. I viewed the other two available options as creating a new injury on top of the three I ready had to deal with – torn MCL, torn ACL and torn meniscus.

            As far as pain, ha, the pain was there (big time) and rehab is all the same. Sticking to rehab workouts and making appointments is key to this injury.

            I do not know about the other options, but the pain will be there with all three options – this surgery is just that painful, no way to avoid it. I wanted a surgery that would help me get back into training (law enforcement) quickly. The risks (like infection) are minimal, with advances in screening tissue.

            I have faith that the option of using the Allograft will benefit me for ages to come. Research, research, research and pull as much advice as you can and find a good orthopedic surgeon.

          • I should say I did all of the above with the exception of leg extensions – only closed-chained exercises in a controlled environment with low weight and high rep intentions. No running or anything close to jumping, cutting, etc. Lots of stationary biking!

            At about 2 months after surgery I got the go ahead to pile on the weight as long as it did not cause any pain. Sure it may be uncomfortable but as long as it doesn’t hurt, that’s great.

            I should mention that I was in fantastic shape before I got hurt, went into surgery in good shape and was up and around without crutches in a week and was able to run for an hour at three months.

            Yes, we’re all different but I don’t see why anyone could not do what I did.

            Jon is right – just do not stop rehabbing or you’ll put yourself at risk when you’re getting back into action!

          • The strength is not necessarily that much weaker than you describe there is a debate that centers around irradiated allograft but there isn’t strong evidence to support a substantial lack of strength in an allograft. If you aren’t a hardcore athlete, the allograft is a solid option.

      • hey friend i had my acl surgery recent and its now 4 weeks. i want to now when can i start walking on stairs normally or travel on bus or trains. plz do share ur experience…

  2. Hi, my name is Heather, I’m 21 & just got surgery for my ACL on my right knee at the beginning of the week (Mon. Dec. 20). It is now Day 5 & I have been comfortable enough to take my brace off & do minor exercises with it to help bend my knee… there is no way I’m off crutches, like you were on Day 5, but I’ve noticed that I can put some weight on my right leg when I walk with the crutches, making it easier just to get around in general! Do you know if you recover faster depending on what kind of reconstruction you get? Mine’s a hamstring graft… anyways, happy recovery!! I’m just glad that the worst is now over. Happy Holidays. Your blog is very helpful, thanks!

    • Heather, thanks for the comment. Sounds like you are making some good progress and I am glad the worst is now over for you. To answer your question, yes it does depend on what kind of graft you got. There are different schools of thought and in the long run 8+ months there is no difference between the various graft options. In the short term the best I can tell is the recovery speed is as follows…
      1. Hamstring graft from opposite leg
      2. Hamstring graft from the same leg
      3. Donor graft
      4. Patella graft
      There are other positives and negatives beyond just short term healing for each choice but I based on my research and the surgeons preference I went with hamstring Right leg and hamstring left leg for my 2 right ACL surgeries.

  3. Thanks for putting up this site. It has been very helpful. My surgery was on 12/07/2010. I had a completely torn ACL and partially torn medial & lateral meniscis. I went with the donor graft and did not have much post op pain. But doing ROM exercises hurts like hell. I’m at 0 and 120 when my knee is stretched and warmed up. I can walk pretty close to normal but cant do stairs yet as my quads isnt strong enough yet. From reading other forums, I would recommend using a recumbent style exercise bike 30-60 mins a day for a quicker recovery. I’m still looking for one myself. Thanks again for the tips.

    • Jon Haver says:

      Thanks for the tip with the bike, I definitely agree it can be very effective!

      • Me too, i do agree with you. I had ACL surgery three weeks ago and i feel like want to run now. I do all the heel slide, quart sets, and the most common rehab technique. Over all the bike is best. It work like magic. The ROM does help but it wont help as much as the bike. This is the third week from surgery and all the swelling are gone. I didn’t do any exercise until week two because of misunderstanding(I did it Thailand and I’m not good in speaking thai). It’s been like five day since i start do the rehab.

  4. This site is pretty helpful reading everyones tips and experiences. I’m going to have left ACL surgery on the 11th… Finally. I only waited a year and a half. I’m just wondering how fast can I get back to the gym obviously nothing knee related but upper body workout and things like that. I really don’t want to just sit around and do ROM exercises.

    • Jon Haver says:

      Hi Gil, good luck with your surgery on the 11th. Regarding your question about when you can get back to the gym for upper body stuff…I would say as soon as you are able to walk and off any intense pain killers you can go week 2-4. Only thing to make sure when doing upper body stuff is don’t use free weights for the first while since you still have to be lifting the plates and dumbells. I am sure you prefer free weights over machines but I really recommend only using machines for upper body stuff when first back in the gym. Again good luck with the surgery.

    • Gil, it’s a little late now, but I was back at the gym doing upper-body stuff 2 days after surgery. I was doing light upper body stuff at home the same day as surgery. I would have gone nuts if all I did was the assigned PT exercises the first week!

  5. Hey Jon,

    My name is Ali and im 21, I had my ACL Reconstruction on Dec. 16th, and also had meniscus damage on the lateral side. I do my own PT and am progressing well according to the surgeon. I can but not allowed to pass 90 degree flexion or put weight on my leg :/ . Im still doing the basic excercises and was wondering since im doing my own PT, how many hours or times a day do i have to excercise?

    • Jon Haver says:

      Ali, on days I dont go to physio I try and do exercises 2-3 times per day and when I do them I do 2-3 sets of 20 reps for most exercises. These numbers are what I would be doing in an ideal world but as time is limited I generally end up doing them 2 times per day and 2 sets of 20 exercises. Let me know how you are doing with keeping up with physio from home?

  6. Well I had ACL surgery on Tuesday and cleaned up a torn meniscus while they were in there. The post surgery pain was actually not to bad thanks to the nerve block they gave me. Can’t wait to get rehab started and get back to normal.
    Thanks Jon for all the advice and all the info given by others on this site. It’s been really helpful. I’ll be keeping in touch.

    Gil

    • Jon Haver says:

      Gil, Glad your surgery went well…looking forward to hearing how your recovery goes. Are there any things you have done to be able to manage the pain so well?

  7. Hi!
    I’m 1 week post acl surgery. Had a hamstring grafted to my acl. My doc told me not to do anything until I have my stitches removed. (get them removed in 3 days) Your time line is great but I’m still in a ton if pain and it’s been a week. I can bear some weight on my leg with a brace on but no where near walking without crutches. Starting to get really frustrated. But according to my doc there was more damage then they thought. I hope to be walking soon. Thanks again for your website! :)

    • Jon Haver says:

      Jessica, sounds like you are progressing well. Different surgeons have different timelines. From what I can see from my own experience and others is that early success is not an indicator of long term success. So if you dont think things are coming along quick enough now I am sure they will pick up later.

  8. Thanks for taking the time to lay this out. It provides a way to think through the recovery process. My doc seems to not want to divulge much of the plan leaving me in the dark. I had surgery 9 days ago and am at 104 flexion per my PT. I am feeling pretty proud but looking to be careful not to overdo.
    Good Luck to You.

  9. Well at 5wks post-op my range of motion is back to normal. And since I’m forced to climb stairs at home since day one stairs are no problem now. My PT keep stressing to me not to think that my ACL is ready to rock just yet no matter how great I feel. I guess this is where patience come in to play. Ive been swimming free style use the float between the legs and just using upper body for cardio. I’m actually hoping i can do the Tin-man triathlon in July. I just need the ok to start running. Hope I’ll have enough time to really train. Hows everyone else doing?

  10. Hi I had my surgery roughly 8-10 months ago
    soccer pre season starts this week and my physio gave me the green light to start pre season with them and I am running- zig zags etc up hills feeling perfect.
    have not tried sprinting 100 % yet and i’m worried about a re-tear, any tips?

    • It sounds like you are doing the right thing by doing the sport specific exercises…its a little ironic me giving any advice on what to do to not tear your knee returning to soccer after 8 months because its exactly how I re-tore mine. So here is what I did and for you not to do…I didn’t go to physio for the 3 months prior to soccer, I didn’t do any build up with slow speed practices, I just went straight into full speed soccer…don’t do that. But it sounds like you are doing things right just make sure to slowly build up to full speed play. Also, straight ahead full speed sprinting is pretty unlikely to cause damage.

  11. wow im very suprised how fast you recovered. i could barely move my leg the entire first week without wanting to scream because it hurt so bad. haha people even had to lift my leg up for me for a while because it was so weak. Maybe you had a differant surgery than me though, i had reconstruction using the patella tendon so i think the recovery period is a little longer than just orthoscopic…

    • I think the hamstring does heal a little quicker of the start and different surgeons have significantly different recovery times. Good luck with your recovery.

  12. I’m getting mine done march 29. :(

  13. Knewknee says:

    I had ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair 3 weeks ago. I was weight bearing 1 hour after surgery. Icing 24 hours a day for 5 days and had 10 days of celebrex for inflammation. I was off crutches with the brace after 4 days. Out of the immobilizer brace after 10 days. Full extension and reasonable flex after 2 weeks. 3 weeks out and I can do stairs the normal way, am back to normal daily activities with a 3 year old and am biking gently in rehab 15 minutes at a time. Everyone is different but I believe in my case not depending on crutches or braces after the first critical 4-5 days was a key factor in not losing muscle and flexibility.

    • Jon Haver says:

      Great job…sounds like you have been doing everything right! I definitely agree that not relying on crutches is a great way to start getting full strength back quickly.

  14. I had reconstruction surgery Nov. 1st of 2010 and it is 5 months after and I am constantly in pain. My knee was hit hard on the inner side of it 2 months post surgery and I am worried I may have retorn it. I tried running and lightly working out, but it continues to feel weaker and weaker. I have an apt. with my dr. next week and am hoping to find out more of what is going on. If I have to have surgery again you will need to be a huge support for me and I appreciate your blogging and sharing of your story and excercises. I injured it in the beginning of 2010 and didn’t find out it was torn till the end of 2010 so I have been injured and not working out as I usually do for 1.5 year now!!!

  15. Rebecca says:

    This is all great info. Wish me luck, I go for my ACL repair tomorrow 4/7 and getting the donor graft. I am also taking celebrex before surgery and also a pain killer for nerve pain prior to surgery. My doctor also gave me a patch for anti-nausea for the day of surgery. I am hoping to make a very speedy recovery because I hate crutches.

  16. Thanks for this site. I am scheduled for ACL reconstruction April 14 using donor tissue. My doc doesn’t use patella tendons and I tore my hamstring September, 2010, so it is already compromised (and the likely culprit of my ACL tear). It’s a long journey, isn’t it? Did you feel overwhelmed? How did you handle that?
    Thanks!

    • Jon Haver says:

      It definitely is a very long journey! It has been around 3 years since I first tore my knee and since then I have either had a torn ACL or been recovering from 2 ACL surgeries…so yes its long. I just keep trying to put it in perspective…if it takes me another year to recover to 100% than thats 4.5 years which seems like a lot but in the grand scheme of things should only end up being around 5-6% of my life. So I try and rationalize as well as use other things like this website to help keep me motivated in my recovery.

  17. Thank you for this informative website. I completely tore my ACL three weeks ago in a snow skiing accident. I am scheduled for surgery on Monday, April 18th. The thing I’m most concerned about is getting back to running! I feel so “blah” since I haven’t been able to run. I’ve already gained 6 lbs.! Ugh! I hope to have as good of a recovery as you, but as a 44-year-old, I don’t know if that’s possible! I’m a fit 44-year-old, but age is age. I’m looking forward to tracking my progress and trying to stay close to your timeline. Thank you!

    • Hi Denise,
      I am 47 and had surgery Feb. 15, using allograft, at week 8 I have full ROM, while I have never been a runner it is something I aspire to. Currently I am walking outside and on the treadmill @ 4.3 mph. My recovery has been much quicker than I expected, just follow the your rehab plan. Good luck.
      Darla

  18. James Lafferty says:

    10 years ago i had a nasty rugby injury shattering my knee and tearing ligaments and cartilage meaning i had to have 2 operations and a year of physio. Anyway i have been active and playing sports but whilst on a ski trip i hit a bump and my left foot planted then snapped my leg 90 degrees from the knee and hearing that boneshaking “pop” noise.

    I knew straight away i had done some damage and after spending more hours in hospital on the slopes in France i am back in the UK. I have seen a specialist and had my MRI, waiting to see the specialist again on Thursday. They said the ACL has snapped but want to see what other damage has been done.

    I have had to cancel a holiday and it is the start of the golf season! Bit down in the dumps but hope to get it all sorted.

    I have xrays and scans and doing a very similar thing to you Jon but congratulations on such a good website!

  19. hey denise i tore my acl, meniscus and fractured my tebia plateu february 2nd snowboarding. on top of that im signed up for the nyc marathon in november. im 6 weeks post op and starting to feel pretty good but definitly not able to run just yet. i have been able to do some cardio on a stationary bike though at 4-5 weeks. i think some weight gain is inevitable but if you go into your surgery with full rom it really helps with recovery. good luck.

  20. Hi Jon,

    I came across your page doing research on ACL reconstruction recovery time. I haven’t went to the doctor yet, but will be see the surgeon as soon as my insurance kicks in. This will be my first surgery for my left knee, but my second time injuring this leg. When I was 15 I injured the same leg and didn’t realize it was the ACL since the hospital never told me just said I torn a ligament. I’m wondering what is the typical recovery time. I’m not in sports, but do exercise and dance and am very active on my legs. So I’m just trying to get my mental mind set right before I do the surgery that way I will know what to expect.

    Thanks

  21. Hi there people , I am going through my second acl tear on the same right knee.. I just went through revision acl reconstruction surgery.. I am in week one as of now. With previous experience of an acl tear I am going to take my recovery very slowly and patiently it looks like the more people rush the more problems could occur my doc recommended me a full year before returning to soccer …. This site is really informative. Ill keep you updated on how I am doing hopefully I may help someone going through what I am right now… and you all can help me with your own advice. May everyone have a full healthy recovery !

  22. HI there,
    I just wanted to say that I find his site extremely informative. I tore my ACL 10 years ago playing soccer, and was not informed it was an ACL tear until last year. When I finally convinced a new doctor to have an MRI. I had ACL surgery on April 13th 2011, using the hamstring from the same leg. They also did some medial and lateral meniscus removal while they were in there. I am almost 3 weeks post op and I still can’t fully weight bear, nor can I fully extend my knee. I am hoping that physio will help me get full range of motion back, as I have a young daughter and was very active ( snowboarding, baseball etc…) before I had this surgery. I’ll keep you guys informed about how things go :)

  23. Hi Jon,

    I was wondering, I am about to get surgery on my left knee for a medial mensicectomy and a ACL repair using my hamstrings on my left leg. I am 25 y/o and pretty active.
    I am in school and was wondering if you could give me a guess as to how long until I’ll be able to walk w/o crutches? Also, how long I’ll have to be on pain killers (the kinds that will make me woozy/not able to study)

    Thanks for all your info its super helpful!!

    • Jon Haver says:

      Sarah, I was in a similar situation as you when I first tore my ACL, in University. For me it was 1-2 weeks going to classes was not much of an option. After that I was able to get there often without crutches. I have found the pain meds only made me useless the first 24hrs after that I was able to get as much work done as the pain would allow me to. Actually the Septemeber I had my surgery while in school I got more work done than any other September. Also most of the first posts and the work into this site was done in the first week after surgery. Mentally you should be sharp within 2-3 days but you just wont be able to study for extended 3+ hr periods without some larger breaks.

      Good luck!

  24. I am 50 years old and had surgery on April 13th. I had my ACL replaced with a hamstring from the same leg and also had my lateral meniscus trimmed. My doctor just gave me the ok to walk without crutches, though I felt like I could a week ago. My flexablitiy isn’t moving ahead
    as fast as I’d like but I find myself stretching it almost constantly if I am sitting down. Stairs aren’t a problem for me and pain after the first couple of days has been no problem…every now and then I will get what feels like a nerve throwing a short tizzy fit though. It is so interesting how everyone’s story is so different.

  25. Hi Jon, let me first tell you that your blog is actually quite useful. Interesting to see the different experiences…
    I had ACL Recon surgery 12 days ago and am just seeming to get some motion back in the leg. I am walking with a limp but have just got off the crutches. Definitely cannot resume work yet as my movement is still very restricted. Recovery seems to be going well as I am exercising about 3 times a day + PT sessions + lots of icing.. But when does normal walking happen? My life has been put on hold for quite a while now (12 days)

    • Jon Haver says:

      “normal walking” based on your current recovery will likely occur around the 1 month mark. But you should be able to walk normally only slowly now. Good luck!

  26. I am 4 weeks out from hamstring graft due to a fall skiing. My question is concerning swelling. I still have quite a bit of swelling and “pitting”when I press down on mt tibia. Also, I have almost a band of swelling over the scar from the cut that wraps around under my patella. Any thoughts on this or when swelling tends to dissipate?

    • Jon Haver says:

      For the swelling make sure to continue icing and elevating. I know I didn’t continue icing for as long as I should have after surgery and the swelling stuck around. Also for the swelling and pitting around the scar make sure you do gentle massage around it since it’s likely scar tissue that you are seeing. Good lick with your recovery.

  27. HI,
    I have had ACL surgery march 17th 2011. When going down stairs, I do not have that smooth movement down a stair. I don’t know if that is normal or not.

  28. This site has been so helpful. I just had an ACL reconstruction on Thursday. So far, I’m doing pretty well (with the exception of the ahem, side effects of the painkillers, which thankfully has been somewhat relieved as of this AM). The question I have is that my wounds are starting to itch like CRAZY!!! When will I get to scratch!!?!?

    • Jon Haver says:

      I dont think I ever wrote about it but I had the same thing. Not sure what I ended up doing because I dont think anything makes it perfect but what I recommend is washing the area around the wound with a damp clean cloth and then putting some standard moisturizer their. If I had to guess at why my incision area was itchy was because of the dry skin and plastered blood, surgical anti-infection coating etc. Let us know if that helps.

    • i wiped the scar with Dettol Hand Sanitizer (the ones which dont need water and rinsing) then i put Uriage Cicactive, it helped a lot, no more itching and healing was much faster which no stitch mark,

  29. Hi, I go in tomorrow for acl/mcl/lateral and medial meniscectomy. I’m 30 and got my knee torn up playing tackle football. I am getting an allograft on the advice of my surgeon because I don’t want to quit playing. I haven’t been able to find much information on recovery times for allograft or success rates upon return to high competition level sports. Any resources you know of?

    • Emily, the consensus seems to be allograft recovery is slower in terms of the graft being integrated and full-strength (some even suggest an allograft will never be full strength), but less traumatic (obviously) since the rest of your body is left unaltered.

      I’m a competitive athlete and had an allograft almost the same time as you. I seem to be doing quite well – 100% ROM, no problems walking, going up stairs. Going down stairs is hard (see below), and there are still general aches and pains in the knee.

      Doc says I should be able to return to my sport (which is low-impact) at 3 months.

      I’m curious how you’re doing.

      • Hi Josh, your reply was quite helpful for me since my case is similar to yours. Looks like you had a pretty speedy recovery. When did you return to your sport?

        I tore the ACL on my left knee for a second time playing soccer in September. Since then I was able to complete the Inca Trail in Peru – not sure how I was able to do that (didn’t know I re-tore my ACL). I am scheduled for ACL reconstruction (second) on my left knee, for January 16, 2012, using donor (allograft) tissue.

        I believe surgeon + choice of donor graft are very important (eternal) criteria in the success of the ACL reconstruction. Is that true from your experience? I also wish to return to heavy hiking, backpacking and mountaineering next summer. I wonder how realistic I am given that I’m going to be using allograft, which takes longer to mature and incorporate than autograft.

        Thank you so much in advance for your kind advice :)

  30. Hey Jon,

    I really like your blog. Your timeline seems to follow what my PT told me exactly. My question lies more around the 5 month mark. My sport is tennis, and I was wondering what sport specific exercises I might be doing. I’m hoping it involves a racquet and at least trying to execute some of my normal strokes.

  31. Hi Jon,
    I agree, this is a really informative site. I’m 51, tore my ACL not quite completely about 25 years ago. It was casted, then braced, no surgery. I’m happy to say although that’s not the routine these days, I have since played soccer, skiied, waterskiied, played volleyball, etc. with great success.
    My son Sam, 17, tore his ACL last November and had a hamstring graft surgery. He is doing quite well, but his doctor says 9-12 months before the graft is at full strength. Absolutely no spinning or twisting sports for a year. Has anyone had experience with wakeboarding/waterskiing and ACL rehab? It’s hard on a teenager used to spending the summer at the lake! And any specific advice on exercises to get him ready to throw discus in the Spring?
    Thanks to everyone for the stories and advice.

  32. Hi my name is Niku. I tore my ACL 4 months ago in my left knee. With in 3 days i was able to walk without my crutches. I was able to bend the knee to 90 degrees as well. After 12 weeks I did my biodex test and the results where as follows, my right quad was 50% stronger then my left but my two hamstrings where the same(I had a hamstring graft from my left knee). Today is the start of my 5th month. I can jog without any pain just to give you an idea I was able to dead-lift 100kg today. Do you believe I am moving to fast? Thanks your blog is great! Niku

  33. I am 7 weeks out from surgery and everything seems great except going down steps or walking downhill. Is it pretty typical for it to be difficult to lower your weight in a controlled fashion with the injured leg this far out from surgery?

    There’s also patellar pain when I do this (though I had an allograft). Interestingly, going up steps/uphill is easy.

  34. hi
    i tore my acl playing football back in February this year, i didnt initially make much of it, i continued playing for at least 2 months but soon realised there was something seriously wrong. so when the mri scan came back i had a full tear to my acl and significant tear to my meniscus.
    how long do you think it will take to recover from this?
    i am due to for surgery on the 18/08/11, i have been told by people my knee will never be the same again, i am so depressed, football is my life, PLEASE HELP. i cant even begin to imagine what you are going through.

    • i did the same thing.. :( an im srry to hear wat happen..if u want to be healthy when u go bac to sports wait 9months..so do therapy listen to ur dr..im a senior an i cant do football an i cant go bac to wrestling i ruined my chances of playing again but LISTEN to ur dr…do the exercises an get ur knee as strong as u can

  35. After 8 months its re-tore? This kind of worries me, did you do something wrong? or not go to physio? I have my surgery in 6 days, kind of worried of how much pain I will feel after

  36. Hi. It looks look you are at month eight of your recovery. I was wondering if everything progressed according to your timeline. Are you well enough to return to soccer?
    I will be having surgery in early september and was hoping to be well enough in 6 months to catch the last two months of snowboarding season, but based on what you have said about your first injury, that probably isn’t realistic.
    Thank you for your blog. It has been more informative than my doctor.

  37. Hi everyone,

    I tore my left ACL in Nov 2008 and right ACL in Feb 2010. My DR suggested patella graft for both tears, and I want to heavily advise against this. I have always been a superior athlete compared to others I have talked with (most seem to go with hamstring graft) I am far behind the 8 ball. My left knee finally feels fully healed but it took over 12 months. My most recent tear from Feb 2010 is still causing me many problems with pain and weakness although I continue to work on it.

    Bottom line is I highly suggest do not go with a patella graft.

  38. Hi there,
    I tore my ACL in August 2008 and have managed with just a knee brace for the past 3 years. I have recently had some problems with it and now I am going to have the surgery. I am just wondering, is there any value in exercises before the surgery and if so any recommendations? thanks

    • hey tab
      im having my acl surgery soon to..the things to do be4 surgery is to get it as strong as u can be4 surgery so after surgery ur leg will recover alot faster..so that is value..lol i already had a mensicus removal surgery an now im goin in 4 acl surgery in less than a yr..i kept reinjurying my knee witout tearing my acl all the way…how far can u bend ur knee..wat can u do wit ur knee???

  39. Hi
    All your coments are great here is what happen to me.
    I recievedd a full thickness acl and parcial thicknes midial and lateral cartliage. had a acl replacement with hamstring donner. i am on day 3 of recovery i am walking with out crutches and was advised to be asap, still limping. 1 antiinflametry daly and only panadols for pain. i still have some swelling at the moment and am curiouse as to when that will go away. the doc and phyisio warned me about the 3 month period as being the piont when the tendent is at its weekest.
    good luck every body

  40. Hi brian,

    I can fully bend my knee and have full range motion. I was playing volleyball with my brace last winter and running my dogs in agility. however in february I hurt my knee again and needed to rest for a few weeks before continuing my activities. then in may at my agility regionals my knee locked up and the pain was not pleasant. it was swollen for about 4 weeks. although to be fair the swelling didn’t go down faster as I was still on it too much…..I know stupid me. I am working on strengthening it but find it locks up or likes to make some lovely clicking noises, so I don’t work it as much as I should. I have been using machines to work on and I work with dogs a lot so I am always out in the fields running, walking or standing for several hours each week. I was just wondering if there were any exercises that I should concentrate more on or just do anything and everything that I can.
    thanks

    • the clicking noise is normal my dr. said that it is normal cuz everytime i walk its clicks…did u already have ur ACL surgery..cuz if u need ACL surgery i wouldnt sugest running..but good exercise to do would be calf rasiers heel slides, straight legs, knee raises(lay flat on ur bed leg completely straight out an lift it up slowly an down slowly..

  41. Thanks for the great website! I am 29 and had ACL reconstruction with medial and lateral meniscus repairs on 8/11/11. I had a hamstring graft from the same leg. The first 2 days were miserable, but the pain was significantly reduced after that. I was instructed to not put weight on my left leg for 4 weeks to let the repairs heal (one tear was really bad). So after 4 weeks, I had severe atrophy in my left quad. I am now in week 7 and walking without crutches. I am at 130 degree flexion and working on strength and balance. I’m thinking that my next PT appt will include steps. I look forward to jogging and eventually returning to volleyball again! Thanks again for this information. It was very helpful to hear everyone’s stories!

  42. I ruptured my right ACL back in July 2010 during the first 15 minutes of the first pre-season football (soccer) friendly, and underwent reconstructive surgery on 19th January 2011, so am fast approaching the 9 month mark, and am absolutely itching to get back to the game i love, but am a bit reluctant due to possibility of the graft rupturing, and inevitably delaying my return to sport for another 9-12 months. Advice or suggestions are always welcome…
    I had the hamstring graft from the same leg, and suffered with horrendous bruising from my ankle to half way up my hamstring and quad. Physio thought i had DVT (luckily i didnt). This set me back in my recovery, but through sticking to the tasks and exercises set by the doctors and physio’s, i was quickly back on track!
    The best advice i can give someone who has had the surgery is to liaise with your physio about what exercises you can do at what time, but after that… get to the gym as often as you can! The more you build up strength in you quad and hamstring, the better!

  43. hi
    i posted about two months ago, i am now 8 weeks post my surgery, and the knee is healing well, i should be jogging this week with my physio! 2 months down, 6/7 more to go and ill be back on the field!
    To all those who are due for surgery, dont worry about it, the pain will only last first day or two, make sure you get you extension back asap!

  44. Hey,
    I’m getting ACL surgery next week and I just really wanted to say thank-you for this website. I’m 14 years old and tore my ACL downhill skiing 10 months ago. The wait list for surgery was huge so it took forever to even get in to see the surgeon. I’ve decided to go with the hamstring graft. I love playing basketball and doing track and field and I had to miss both of my seasons because of my knee injury. That really, really sucked. I think your theory on how to get the leg’s blood circulating better by using a cold ice pack on your ankle, the cryo cruff on your knee, then a warm heat pack on your thigh is going to be very helpful. So anyways, thanks again for this amazing website! :)

  45. Hi All,
    Anyone out there who had ACL reconstruction with hamstring graft and happens to be a snowboarder? If so, what has been your experience? When were you able to return to your usual activities?

  46. Hi Jon,
    My name is Vino and I injured myself while playing cricket on 23rd July 2011. I was running really hard to stop the ball and suddenly heard a popping sound between the knees. Then I came out of the ground and taken the hospital in the evening. Initially doctors took x-ray and found that there were no fracture involved but a week after they took the MRI scan which clearly showed my left knee ACL is gone along with Lateral Meniscal tear (bucket handle tear). I had my surgery on August 11th 2011 and after that I underwent a rigorous physio during the initial days.

    I would really like to thank you for providing us the website with lot of information about the recovery day by day followed by week by week, rtc. I followed some of the exercise from your website along with the recommended physio exercises. I was on 2 crutches for 1 weeks and 1 crutch the following week, then thrown the crutch away in 2 weeks time. Your website was very much useful in building the confidence level day after day. 3 months from surgery now and I have started riding my bike, performing swimming, started going to gym & I am doing biking, cross trainers, rowing. My surgeon was very much happy to see my progress and will examine me again in another 6 months time so that I believe I will return back to sports when I meet the surgeon again.

    I would recommend following the physio words very carefully so that your normal activities will be back 4 to6 weeks. But returning to sports activities will make more time.

    Once again I would like to thank you for providing me such as useful website about the ACL reconstruction and rehabilitation.

  47. Hi Jon,

    I had a sustained an acl tear while playing football on 23 sept and got it constructed on 8th Oct. I have been following your link since before my surgery. I am into my 6th week . I am able to walk but with a limp it seems the way i put weight on my foot is different in both feet.Is it normal. How to improve on it. I have almost full ROM and full Extension

  48. hey i tore my acl 3rd game of football this year…had surgery september 20th. I started jogging about 6 weeks post op and everything is looking good. My doc and therapist thing i could be back to basketball in mid january. Is this too soon?

  49. hey jon, i had my surgery on 18/11/2011.As u said 8 months after your 1st surgery you tore your new ligament while playing soccer, so my question is, did that happen while u were wearing a sports specific brace or were you not wearing a brace at that time? and does a brace come in handy after surgery to keep knee stable?and thanks for putting up this site it has been a great help in my rehab.

  50. Hi all great conversation, very helpful information! Hope everybody is doing well post-surgery.

    I tore the ACL on my left knee for a second time playing soccer in September. Since then I was able to complete the Inca Trail in Peru – not sure how I was able to do that (didn’t know I had re-tore my ACL). I am scheduled for ACL reconstruction (second) on my left knee, for January 16, 2012, using donor (allograft) tissue with a very good Prof Doctor Robert Marx at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

    I believe surgeon + choice of donor graft are very important (eternal) criteria in the success of the ACL reconstruction (and Dr. Marx is one of the best). Is that true from your experience? I also wish to return to heavy hiking, backpacking and mountaineering next summer. I wonder how realistic I am given that I’m going to be using allograft, which takes longer to mature and incorporate than autograft. If anyone that has undergone surgery using allograft could answer, I would greatly appreciate it :)

    Thanks everyone for your kind advice :)

  51. hi awshesh

    I also sustained an acl tear with medial meniscus bucket handle while playing football and got it constructed on 18th Oct a quadruple semitendenous hamstring graft. I have been following jon’s link since surgery. I am into my 6th week . I am able to walk but with a limp and after a long walk my knee seems sore but the soreness goes after a day with ice treatment. I have almost full ROM and full Extension. we can exchange notes towards full rehablitation

  52. Hi Jon

    I sustained an acl tear with medial meniscus bucket handle while playing football and got it constructed on 18th Oct a quadruple semitendenous hamstring graft. I have been following your link since surgery and it has immensely helped me. I am into my 6th week . I am able to walk but with a limp and after a long walk my knee seems sore but the soreness goes after a day with ice treatment. I have almost full ROM and full Extension. I suggest all to follow the rehab ex carefully and do not put yourself in any situation where u could hurt your knee.
    thanks and speedy recovery to all

  53. I tore mine 7 months ago doing a martial arts demonstration. I did a jumping spinning kick and somehow when I came down my ACL ruptured completely and it was a pretty loud pop too. I had the surgery a month later with a hamstring graft and except for a swelling episode everything went fine. I had very little atrophy and within a month i was walking and camping with no pain and had a pretty good range of motion. Then almost exactly a month later I somehow got an extremely painful infection inside my knee that made it swell up like a balloon and I ended up having a second procedure to clean it out, followed by a solid month of taking antibiotics through a tube in my arm. That surgery was about 4 times as rough as the first. (apparently I was on deaths door but I was too looped up on the pain meds to notice) I got lucky and it didn’t affect the graft but during that time I lost alot of PT time, not to mention having to get over having my knee getting cut into again which caused my quad and hamstring to pretty much vanish. I managed to stay on recovery schedule anyway and went back to work and karate (Just lightly, no sparring or jump kicks) about 4 months after the first surgery. It got stiff after the second procedure and I still have trouble with an arthritic like pain in my kneecap but its getting better. I worked 70+ hours between two jobs and wasn’t able to get a whole lot of quality PT time the last three months so my leg is still a bit thin from all the atrophy of two surgery’s. But all the crunchy popping and stiffness is steadily going away and I’m quitting one job which means alot of good PT time for me. I get paranoid alot that my knee is going to become permenantley wobbly or something but sofar, as far as I can tell everything is good. My leg is strong, I passed a 4 hour karate exam for my first degree blue belt and I can run again, its still got a ways to go though. Its good to see alot of people recovering quickly. ACL surgery is a bummer but the key, i’ve found is to just keep at the PT. letting it sit only encourages stiffness. So if your feeling frustrated with the pain or the long amount of time. Keep at it. My knee always feels and works about 200% better when I keep it moving and exercise the leg and putting ice on it. and stretching is very important too. The back of my knee will tighten up if I don’t stretch it out a few times a day. I cant wait till June when I should finally be able to take the sport brace off and go back to normal with sports! Hope everyone recovers well!

    • By the way wearing a sport brace absolutely helps. I never do any karate or other difficult activity without it. (I even wear it to work if its getting sore) It really does help keep the knee stable.

  54. Just wish to say your article is as amazing. The clarity on your submit is simply spectacular and i could suppose you are a professional on this subject. Fine along with your permission allow me to snatch your feed to stay up to date with impending post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  55. Hi all,

    I have my surgery booked for Jan 19th, and it will be a hamstring graft. I am having my right knee done and am wondering…….how long before I can drive…haven’t been able to get a great answer and am sure someone on line here can help…..so any ideas?

  56. Hi Tab,

    I had the hamstring ACL graft on 15th of November 2011 on my right leg ( No work was done on my cartilage ) I did a lot of pre-hab and I think that it has really helped me out in my recovery to date.

    I was back to work after 2 weeks and driving after 3 weeks, I actually had a sneaky one off trip to the shops after 2 and it felt fine but I just waited for 3 weeks to be on the safe side, I also drive a manual.

    Hopefully this helps you.

    Cant wait to start running next week :) Feel like I could do now! but being told not to.

    Currently 7 weeks post op and my recovery is going exactly how I want it, pretty much where I want to be

    Main targets and aims;

    6 Months = Return to cricket, batting and hopefully bowling at 75%

    7 Months = pre-season football ( soccer) training, mainly fitness. Playing cricket and bowling at 100%

    8 months = Triathlon

    9 Months = football training sessions

    10 Months = Fully competitive football match

    I currently go to the gym 6 days a week and it really helps! Motivation and determination.

    Good luck everyone

    Charlie

  57. I tore my hamstring last summer and I guess it hadn’t recovered because 4 months later (November 2011) my ACL and menisci got torn in a very normal turn in football.

    the 3 weeks after injury: the whole 3 weeks with walking sticks because the pieces got stuck so that the knee got jammed.

    3 weeks after injury: surgery (new ACL)

    3 weeks after surgery: no muscle left in my right leg. i need walking sticks and my leg feels like it doesn’t belong to me. rehabilitation is intense but is not going as planned. the knee doesn’t bend and the muscles simply “don’t work”. WEIRD stuff. physical is tripled.

    1 month after surgery: finally can move without sticks, like a zombie. achieved 70 degrees bending. doctors wondering WTF i’m doing because I’m like 3 weeks behind a normal patient. find it very annoying because im having physical 2x a week and doing all the exercises im told. i’m used to train 6-7 days a week, i freakin love training.

    I hope someone can relate to this, because I’m personally pretty tired of doctors right now. I’ve had to quit school and quit work after the injury, and all I hear is whine. All I practically do is exercise and computer stuff. Funny how the pain is actually of no concern to me, seen worse. It’s all the other stuff that’s very frustrating..

    • Weird to read these posts, I had my acl surgery Nov 2011 & I can relate and sorry to say relieved that I am not the only one that feels this way. I had of pain and alot of swelling & some atrophy too. I dont feel like it will ever feel better or even like its my leg. Reading all of these has helped me alot. Thank you all!

    • Haha, finally happy to read about someone going through the same thing as me. All I’ve been reading is how well everyone’s surgery and recovery has been going, while I’m lagging behind in recovery and thinking something’s wrong with me. My story is very similar to yours.
      I tore my ACL and miniscus and my knee remained swollen all the way up to my surgery, 4 weeks after the tear. My post op recovery was very painful. The first week after surgery I wasn’t able to put any weight on my leg and hardly even move it due to the pain. I had no pain prior to surgery or any complications really, so I was wondering if I did the right thing by going through with the surgery. I was taking 2 pain killers every four hours just to deal with the pain and be able to sleep at night.
      One week after surgery I was able to get around with my crutches, but the knee was still extremely swollen and very painful. I wasn’t able to extend or bend my leg very far. Still pretty much kept it straight.
      Two weeks after surgery I was getting around with only one crutch to try to get myself able to use my leg again. This is also when my physical therapy started. My knee was still very swollen at this point and still not able to fully extend and could only flex to about 40 degrees.
      By week three I gave up on the crutches to hopefully strengthen my leg. My quad had become like a leg fully of jelly. There was no muscle tone in it. My knee was still swollen and I had just been able to, with discomfort, been able to extend my leg all the way. The physical therapist had me doing exercises to try to strengthen my quad, but my knee hurt too bad to get very far with those.
      At week 4 I could finally extend my leg fully without any discomfort. My quad was still very weak and squishy looking. I could walk slowly with a limp, but was able to get around fairly easily without crutches. At the second physical therapy appointment for the week they measured my flexion and it was only at 73 degrees, they said I should have been at 110 degrees by the end of the week. I started to mainly focus on flexing my knee instead of muscle building and was able to get it to 90 degrees with some discomfort. Over the weekend I mowed my lawn and did some gardening and for two days could only bend my knee to 30 – 40 degrees after that.
      I am currently in week 5 and just today able to bend my knee past 70 degrees again. I’m back up to 90 and hopefully able to get it over 100 degrees soon. I’ve realised the muscle tone will come back naturally over time, so I’ve been focusing mostly on getting my range of motion back.
      It’s nice to see someone going through the same thing I am. On every website I read it seems as though so many people are far ahead of me. It’s very depressing and frustrating to have been so active and athletic, and then have no use of your leg. Not even being able to walk around properly. I’m interested to hear how things are going for you now that it’s been a while. They’re probably pipe dreams, but I’m hoping to going back to active duty as a firefighter within 6 months and going back to playing ice hockey as well. We’ll see if the recovery speeds up at all.

  58. I`m 16 and play qb and tore my acl in Nov 2010 in hs football and was diagnosed as a partial, but opted for surgery..I had to miss baseball season. My rehab was he most important thing in my recovery and had setbacks with timelines that Dr said I wouldn`t be ready for next season. That made me work even more. My dad got a stationary bike and worked out with weights with squats,lunges,hamstring curls and did it 4 days a week..My quads added inches after 12 weeks, but needed alot more to get where I was before.Saw Dr at 6 months and was happy with my progress and that my quad was almost the same ast he other..He gave me the green light in July to do all football drills with a brace on. I played 7 on 7`s in July , but still wasn`t fully up to speed. At doubles I ran a 4.6 , but my mobility was a little off , with getting use to the brace.By the end of the season , I was back where I was before the injury. I cant wait to play baseball next and football next year will even be better..Bottom line, it`s not the end of the world.You just have to work hard ! Good luck

    • I just read your post and its sounds similar to my son. He is 14 and plays QB tore is right ACL in early September. We decided no on surgery and to use the ACL sports brace. He made his school and select basketball teams and in his first school practice dislocated it.. so he had surgery on 11/11/11. Like you also a baseball player… my question for you is when did you have your sugery? at what point did you start throwing a football? words of advice to keep my son motivated? He has zero pain, does PT three days a week and is at the gym 6 to 7 days a week.

  59. I had ACL and Meniscus surgery back in 2000. Since then, I can do most things ok, but my knee has buckled from under me several times over the years causing me to fall and be in severe pain for several days at a time. I do not have to be doing anything too strenuous for this to happen. On some occasions I could be changing directions while walking, or even standing still. The knee buckles, and down I go. I’ve not had a re-injury requiring surgery again, but this is quite annoying when you never know when you’re going to land on the deck because your knee caves in from under you.

    Any suggestions?

  60. thanks Charlie! I hope to be playing volleyball and running my dogs in agility by the summer time. surgery is tomorrow and I am currently attempting to fight off a potential cold that I feel coming on….fingers crossed that I am fine for tomorrow…..

  61. 100%weigtht bearing and walking without crutches in week 1? you got to be kidding.

  62. Hey,

    I find this website very very useful and it’s like a support group for all who had an ACL Recon. Awesomeness!
    I had my an ACL reconstruction(autograft, hamstring tendon, same leg) and partial meniscus repair done on the 9th Jan 2012.
    Im into my 3rd week now and have totally ditched my brace and crutches but still taking it slow. Able to drive with no problems at all.
    I have achieved full extension and bout 65* flexion. Im kinda a lil bit worried on the flexion. Is achieving 65* in the 3rd week considered slow recovery?

  63. I have ACL surgery scheduled for February 23, 2012. I tore my ACL the last week of October 2011 playing soccer. I was on crutches for a week due to swelling and the brace that was given to me by the ER. I have been walking without crutches since the second week of November. There is no pain, but my body knows that my leg is not 100%.

  64. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Great work!

  65. Background: Tore my ACL (complete) in August 2011- Scope in September 2011, scheduled ACL Reconstruction March 2012. Great recovery from scope, full range of motion & will be working in physio to stregthen prior to reconstruction.

    Question: would you advise going on a vacation 6 weeks after surgery. I’m not planning on doing anything vigourous just relaxining. But I will be travelling/flight ect. to a tropical destination.

    Any advise is much appreciated

  66. update on January 19, 2012 at 9:04 am

    I had an ACL surgery on 18th of December 2011 near New Delhi, India. Consulted a number of Surgeons/Hospitals and finalized a surgeon who had a reasonable experience (~ 100 surgeries) & exuded the confidence I was looking for. One month down the line, I am quite satisfied with my decision. I visited his clinic daily for the first three weeks post surgery. (Physiotherapy started on the fourth day itself)

    Surgery details:
    Date:18th Dec’11
    Duration: 3 Hrs
    Graft: Auto graft, Hamstring
    Surgery type: Arthroscopic.
    Post surgery: After crap bandaging, braces+ Walker.(bed rest for 2 days)
    Cost: 1500 USD cumulative. (In India, costs of the surgery + hospitalization + Physiotherapy range from 1300 USD -4500 USD)

    Today’s update(19th Jan’12):
    Knee extension: 0%
    Knee flexion: ~150 degrees
    Quad strength ~ 75%
    Hamstring strength~ 50% (Working on developing strength through isometric exercises)
    I feel like I can walk without support. However, waiting for the docs clearance (Might get in a week) before getting adventurous.
    Since yesterday, I am able to drive upto 2 hours in a day(45 mins continuously). Might be able to stretch more.

    Key Takeout from my experience: Physiotherapy is as important as the Surgery!!! I started strengthening my knee even a month before my surgery.

    For more details, you can contact me personally on my e-mail ID : ajaynair_virgo@yahoo.com

  67. Hey i am undergoing knee reconstruction – ACL torn (hamstring on same leg graft) and meniscus tear (surgeon may remove damaged part or just stich the section back).
    One million dollar questions=
    Immediately after surgery, what is the level of pain? Bearable pain or ‘screaming’ pain?
    Can you even walk on crutches to the toilet (im a guy)?

    I read so many negative reports in regard to the high level of pain immediately after operation for days 1, 2 and 3. I just wonder if there are also that equal number of ‘painless’ post-op experience?

  68. Hi There. I had ACL reconstruction done in September last year and struggled to so much as bend my knee. Walked with a brace for 9 weeks and crutches for 6. It was extremely painful, but after a week, I decided to not drink the pain tablets and still did the exercises I was told to do, which was very light bends etc.
    I returned to work only 6 weeks after surgery and started physio and I’ts been 5 months after my surgery and I am still struggling to climb up and down the stairs comfortably. I have made peace that not all of our bodies heals on the same way and at the same pace. I actually feel comfortable at the place and timeline I am now, still getting physio twice p/week, and it’s still hard work, but I am doing and feeling great. So don’t be discouraged if things are not the way you want them to be and allow your body to do the necessary.

  69. Oh, and just to say, my knee was bad. Dr said that my whole ligament was gone, it was like a bomb rupture. They had to clean up everything before starting and used hamstring graft of same leg. I just wanted you all to know that it’s really been hard work and painful to get where I am today, but I am so happy with my progress and have not limps, just the stairs that’s still not up to scratch. Like Jon Haver said, fast healing doesn’t necessarily mean long-term benefits.

  70. Ruptured ACL November 28th 2011 playing video games if you can believe it. Bucket handle maniscus tear. Surgery is tomorrow Feb 17th 2012. Still not sure if i will go auto hamstring or allograft. Surgeon said I could decide in the morning. Great site will spend a lot of time here in the next 6-9 months. Thanks for doing this.

  71. Please help. My son hurt his knee when he was 12, was diagnosed when he was 14 but couldn’t have the ACL surgery until he was 16, till his growth plates fused. He is now 19 and in chronic daily pain. Last year he stopped taking any medication for it (like Tylenol 3). Just got sick of taking pills. He walks with a very distinct limp, even hopping at home to take some pressure off the leg. He works in constuction but the pain when he gets home is excrutiating.
    The doctors get quite rude about it, and say the knee is stable, but he has had to see a chiropractor because his back and everything else is thrown out of place. Its been 7 years since the injury and he’s just a young man. Is there anything we can try? Thanks!

  72. Blue-Did your son have the acl surgery or not? If not, I definitely recommend it. He is still young and he obviously isnt doing okay with out it being done.

    I had my left acl torn from football and had surgery in 2008. I dont remember the time line for recovery for it but I remember it was insanely painful, and I had a lot of difficulty straightening it, which made it a long process..It is not 100 percent.

    I tore my right acl playing volleyball last year and had surgery for it on Feb 16th. Right now, I am still on crutches but the pain isnt nearly as bad as my last one. I can fully straighten it, and can bend it about 90 percent and put a good amount of weight on it. I start physio on Tuesday. My best advice is to have motivation before the surgery! You need the right mind set, so you recover quickly and WANT to recover quickly.. and make sure you follow you physio. They know what they are talking about. Recovery takes time, patience, dedication, motivation, and effort! It will all be worth it.

  73. When I said “It is not 100 percent” I meant “It is NOW 100 percent” and I meant, 90 degree’s, not 90 percent… My bad, I should have proof read that before I sent it..

  74. First of all…Thanks to all of you for posting your stories, they have answered alot of my questions…

    My story is pretty straight forward, but I do have a question that maybe someone can answer. I am 44 years old and tore my ACL doing TaeKwonDo on 1 Jul 11 and had surgery on 24 Aug 11 and it was fixed/replaced with a cadaver.

    I had what I believe was the normal pain and I was walking without crutches after a week and was back at work 10 days after surgery, and from what I’ve read all that is maybe a little quicker than average, but nothing remarkable.

    I did PT 3 times a week for 2 months and then cut back to 2 times a week and eventually quit doing PT just before Christmas. I only had one problem up until this point that was when I drug a deer out of the woods in November, and my knee swelled a bit and hurt, but was nothing really bad and I recovered quickly from it.

    I started running on the treadmill in Oct and have been doing 2 miles twice a week and riding the stationary bike 3 times a week for about 30 mins at a time.

    I got released to start training martial arts again right after Christmas and I was able to train and run with minimal pain and very little swelling, although I did ice it after everytime I would exercise.

    Two weeks ago I trained and afterwards it swelled up and was very painful, so painful that I couldn’t walk up or down the steps for about a week. I kept icing it and the swelling wouldn’t go down so I called my Doc. Of course as my luck would have it, my referral has expired so I had to go to my primary doc to get a referral, he did give me the referral, but he also ordered an MRI. The MRI came back and shows the ACL looks fine, but they said I had a bruise and arthritis.

    Since this has happened a couple of times now and the pain increased big time when I train martial arts, I’ve made the decision to take at least 6 more months off, and just concentrate on running a couple of times a week and riding the bike. I do have the appointment with the specialist on Wednesday and plan on getting his advice on how to keep this from happening again.

    Has anyone else had anything like this happen?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

  75. My 18 year old son tore his ACL in January 2011 and had surgery that July. He was just given the all clear to play all sports a month ago. Last week he was playing soccer and when he kicked the ball he felt like his knee was going to pop out. He does not feel comfortable at all playing. Did you experience this as well? He has played street hockey without any problems at all.

    • Tianna i would say that if he doesn’t feel comfortable with playing it is one of two things his knee is not as strong as it needs to be or he is mentally blocking himself in fear of hurting it again. If he had surgery on his dominate kicking leg it would put a lot of strain on his knee when kicking the ball just due to the resitance of hitting the ball and the motion of the follow thru this could be whats going on. i would say for him to build his leg up and his confidence in kicking. hope this helps and i hope him great luck and recovery.

    • He will feel that way until he grows the confidence, as a college soccer player I was hesitant, my first trap, pass, shot, and now tackles. It is basically a “new” knee and he will get used to it. It just will take him some time.

  76. Tianna…No I have felt very comfortable overall, it’s just the swelling and extreme pain I get after I work out or use it alot. It might just come down to the fact that I went back too fast and my knees not ready for the martial arts quite yet.

  77. Update ..I went to the doctor and he said that something is definitely wrong with my knee and he needs to go back in and “take a look”. He did give me some type of shot that hurt like heck and that has been helping with the pain, but the swelling is still there. He wanted to schedule the surgery for this coming week, but I asked him if we could wait a month and see if it starts getting better on its own. So far … so good … cept for the swelling.

  78. Jenifer says:

    The MRI says I have a tear in my ACL. I want Dance for a recreation and professional. I am planning to do both after i recover. This is my 3rd time I have tear in my ACL.
    1st- at 12 jumping-no surgery just rehab.
    2nd- at 23 jumping- ACL tore and meniscus -surgery return to dancing after 6months -extremely cautious and not 100% recovery until 4 years after….
    3rd -1 week ago jumping and dancing
    I have 3 questions..
    1-Should I have surgery or just go to rehab?
    2-Should I stay with the same Dr. from 9 years ago?
    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    3-Should I find a better Dr. and have surgery?

  79. I am now 3 weeks into my right ACL repair recovery. I had the patella ligament used as the graft. Went back to work, can drive and walk without crutches. Have achieved 0 extension an about 120 flexion. Am doing PT 2x/week. Working now to rebuild hamstring and quad strength. Still have difficulty with stairs.

    Thank you for this blog and website! It’s helpful to see how others are doing and what exercises I should be doing.

  80. Hello everyone. It’s been really nice hearing some of your stories and recovery experiences. I fully tore my acl dec 10th 2011 and went in for surgery 19 days ago on march 5th. So I decided to use the hamstring graft in the same leg, my right. I stayed in hospital overnight and it was the best. I was comfortable and had lots of morphine and was on the cpm machine until I left the next day. Not a lot of pain because I stayed on top of the meds taking them every 4 hours. I started my physio right away. So I’ll just tell you where I am at on day 19. I wear brace at night to keep knee fully extended. I’m walking around with no crutches. I have no pain, biking 3 times a day for 15 minutes and doing my physio routine 3 times a day. I’m walking up and down stairs easily with help of railings. I started driving today aswell. I have my extension all the way back and have about 130 degrees bend. This site has been great for my motivation. Thanks to everyone for your stories hopefully mine will help you guys as well

  81. First, Jon this site is great i just found it and have read all of the stories, advice, and all of the information i could find on this site and it has helped a great deal. I am 25, i hurt my knee playing basketball in june 2011 i went to stop and my knee buckled and made a loud pop that several people heard i hit the ground and it took me a couple of weeks before i was able to walk somewhat normal. I knew i had done something to it but was unsure how bad i had hurt it. I continued on with life and in sep 2011 i was in a car accident with a friend that was driving and ended up rehurting my knee just when it felt like it was close to normal. i went to the er that day and found out that i had torn my left acl in half not sure if it was all done from the car accident or basketball. i had surgery in oct and i was glad to hear that i had only torn my acl and did no other damage. i decided to go with the cadaver graph thinking that it would heal faster. i was in a great deal of pain when the nerve block wore off because i did not follow the doctors orders and start taking the pain meds before the nerve block wore off (take the meds before the pain starts) i am great with pain but that pain sucked bad! After 4 days i was walking and was able to do stairs with caution. i went to PT until feb and i have not been back while in PT i was told that i was doing everything great and way ahead of most. I am not able to hyperextend my left leg (acl leg) now but my right leg does hyperextend 10% more naturally like my left leg used to do which i feel causes problems and is making me to a small point rething my stride when running and to a degree when walking. i am very active in the outdoors with hunting, kayaking, fishing, hiking, running and sports and i have been doing all of this except for sports at this point. I have had several times where i have been in the woods and steped in a hole or had bad footing causing me to overextend my knee which causes sharp pain but goes away very soon. i lost a considerable amount of muscle mass and tone in my calf and quad that i am doing everything i can to regain its weird looking having one leg so much smaller then the other but hopefully i will soon have my legs looking the same again. Any advice on matching up my legs again what type of exercise or if doing twice the workout on that leg would be helpful. Once again Jon great site and all of the stories have been helpful and i hope that i as well can add to the help for someone!

  82. Hello all, new to site but thanks for all information. I blew my acl 100% playing tennis 2 weeks ago, heard the pop and went down like a sack of potatoes (similar story to most I know). Thankfully, I had no meniscus or other ligament damage and have been walking somewhat normal since without swelling or pain. I like Adam and most on the site want to get back to normalcy and playing sports (tennis, golf and baseball) in as quick a time as possible. My surgery is scheduled for 04/18 (2 1/2 weeks) and I am curious for input on two questions:
    1. has anyone had any type of platelet rich plasma or stem cell treatment during surgery for quick recovery; and
    2. since I have full ROM in knee, what’s the best pre-surgery activity to keep thigh and calf muscles strong for post surgery inactivity?
    Thanks again for replies and best of luck to everyone.
    Mike

    • Had my surgery last wed 04/18 and according to my surgeon all went well with acl reconstruction. I’m almost a week out and my biggest challenge is the swelling and the pain associated with it. I have a medium-level pain threshold and when get up out of bed or my chair and drop my leg my pain level immediately skyrockets to a 9-10. I have gone twice to my doc to blood aspirated from my knee (30cc Friday and 60cc drained on Tuesday). Has anyone had smiliar experience and how to cope? The R in RICE (Rest) process is the only working. Ice-Compression-Elevate are not helping at all.
      Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

      Mike

  83. Hello all, After an ACL surgery my right thigh have lose all muscles and it is very much thinner than my left thigh. can someone plz help me how should i regain my right thigh like my left one ?? i m really worried abt my right thigh.

  84. Joseline says:

    Hey everyone, Im so happy that I have come across this site, it has helped me deal with my recovery in more ways than I can explain.
    I tore my ACL 8 years ago from playing netball, and all these years no doctor could tell me what the problem was. Luckily I have found a great doctor that sent me to get an MRI scan asap and now I’ve been in recovery for 1 month.
    Although I am walking fine, I still feel helpless. What else can I do to improve my knee, I would like to get back into yoga, would that be alright? Good luck everyone!!

  85. Thanks for the great site and useful info. Here’s a short story for the “older” ACL tears.

    Tore my ACL in a hiking accident and did not know it for 3 months. Cycled and hiked all summer until the leg gave out playing Disc Golf. MRI confirmed a complete tear. I resisted surgery for three more months until the leg gave out again while playing Ultimate, this time damaging the medial meniscus.

    I am 53, and I had surgery 3.5 weeks ago. ACL was replaced with patella tendon same leg. Also had a good part of the medial meniscus removed as the tear was not repairable. Surgery went well with no complications.

    The first two days were horrible. Pain was not bad – I did not take pain meds but the nerve block took 40 hours to wear off, and until it did I had a huge swollen useless knee connected to a leg that would barely move. All mobility was on crutches.

    By the third day, the leg started to come back. When I told my muscles to move, they finally started to move. I was off crutches completely by 4th day, and driving by the 9th day. I started stationery bike at 8 days and my leg started to look normal with minimal swelling and not much atrophy.

    Now at 3.5 weeks, I cannot tell the difference between the quads of my two legs. My gait is not yet normal but very close, and I still have some stiffness but I have good ROM (0 to about 140). The only thing I cannot do smoothly yet is walk downstairs with the bad leg as the lead foot. I have a little hitch left in my step when I do this.

    Main thing is —
    1. Cycling is great rehab.
    2. I follow the PT exercises religiously.
    3. I am thrilled by the continuous (but slow) improvements.

  86. Hey there! I was just wondering is this the surgery were they put screws in to put and keep the knee in the right spot? If so do you mind if I ask you some questions??

  87. Hey, I had an ACL surgery on 12th march of this year,
    I have a zero degree extension and 90 degree flexion,
    I just want to know that when will i be able to hyper-extend my knee ? and
    When will i achieve my full ROM ??

  88. Christian says:

    Hi, I’m 20 and I tore my acl and medial meniscus on my right knee on December 28th of last year playing football with my friends, I planted my foot and felt a crack then fell down. I had surgery March 29th of this year and so far I’ve had a quick beginning recovery. I had a achilles tendon from a cadaver, and had my meniscus cut because it couldn’t be repaired. The doctor I used does a majority of surgeries for athletes of a local college. My doctor feels that the skill of the doctor and your dedication to rehab is what determines ability to return to normal rather than graft choice. I had about three weeks before my surgery so I began to do prehab excercises that would mirror my rehab in order to build greater strength and familiarity. My doctor and physical therapist say that my knee ROM is great for being less than two weeks from my surgery. Here’s a timeline of my recovery so far:

    3 days after: Nerve block wore off, start vicodin use, minimal pain
    4 days: Full knee extension, knee flexion 95 degrees, 1st day of PT started using stationary bike, removal of most of my staples, able to walk very short distances at home without crutches
    5 days: Slight bruising on the sides of knee, along with sore and tight upper calf muscle
    8 days: Knee hyperextension, knee flexion 110 degrees, 2nd day of PT,
    9 days: Off vicodin
    10 days: Off crutches, walk with brace and limp, able to walk slowly up stairs alternating steps, still one leg only going down stairs
    11 days: Knee flexion 135 degrees, 3rd day of PT, added quarter-half squats, removal of remaining staples, return to school
    12 days: The main reason for limp when walking is sore and tight upper calf muscle

    I hope to begin to drive again soon also get my knee flexion the same as my non-operated leg, only 5 more degree of flexion. Except when testing knee flexion in PT the only pain I’ve had was like a slight burning and after my nerve block wore off (3 out of 10), right after surgery (2 out of 10), and my calf tightness (2 out of 10).

  89. Had acl surgery the 12 th of march was on a monday. By friday i was walking with out crutches . Breaking 90° squats exactly two weeks after surgery. Today is a month n i cam jog already do dead lifts up and down stairs latters. 110° motion .. just good nutrion .. tha ks to Herbalife. My doctors afe flipping out on my progress :)

  90. Hello I am Taylor,
    I play college soccer and tore my ACL and Meniscus all the way through and part of my MCL in the first game of our season last year. I did a lot of pre-hab which is basically rehab before surgery to make sure the muscles stay up to par to my soccer abilities. I did rehab everyday for months after and trained very hard. I am right at 6 months and I play in two of my games next week and am already back to practice. Make sure to do your pre-hab and stay on board with your rehab to make a fast recovery.

    I had full ROM before a month, walked at 3 weeks, and could fire my quad at 1 week.

  91. Hi, I’m Cory,
    I’m a very active 25 year old male. I tore my acl 1 year ago tomorrow and had surgery 3 weeks ago today. Its been a very painful frustrating year. I’ve been reading this site and kinda prepping myself for recovery.
    I had a lot more damage than expected. The surgeon removed more meniscus than anticipated and did whats called microfracture to my MFC (the cartilage that lines the end of the femur) because I had a large groove worn into it.
    I’m currently on crutches for 3 more weeks non weight bearing. I have full range passive motion and often in pain in the mornings but don’t take pain pills because I’m just not into em (i believe they do more damage than good) I also have a high tolerance to pain which makes it a little easier for me than most. I had a hamstring allograft, medial and lateral meniscus removed and the microfracture. Lets just say I’m glad the surgery is over and I’m onto the recovery stage but its still a long road to be fully recovered. I can only hope being 25 I can recover to atleast do the sports I love.
    Good Luck to everyone with recovery.

    • I forgot to add, I strongly recommend the use of CPM machine. This thing practically saved my life in week 1 and 2. I had about 95 degrees flexion using this machine by the end of week 1 which is pretty awesome! I used it religiously about 10 to 12hrs a day as I was bedriddin the first 6 to 10 days anyway.

  92. My daughter apparently has torn her ACL in left knee. Its her second one as two years ago it was her right knee-both we beleive were due to contact. For the first one we went with patella tendon graft because we did extensive research and talked to several docs who helped pioneer ACL surgery and rehab, e.g Shelbourne etc and what we concluded was the patella tendon autograft was still the gold standard and there was less problems going forward (less laxity, less chance of reinjury comparted to all other grafts)if you used the patella vs allograft or cadaver graft and the patella graft gave the fastest safe return to sports (6 months). The downside to a patella autograft is that it hurst like heck and you have immediate morbidity (for a month or so you are worse off) and the allograft or cadaver allows you to get up and around quicker but you really need 9 months to a year to return to sports-she wants to play BBall her senior year and since it took a while to get a correct diagnosis she has 6 months if we do the surgery in the next two weeks. She was originally diagnosed as having a sprained LCL and not ACL because her leg didn’t show it in exam, 1 doc and a pt said the same-even after MRI showed it another doc said her physical test show negative for any ACL-apparently muscles are that strong after doing 2-3 mothns of pt that she can compensate a bit. My question is, what is the fastest anyone with an allograft can return to sports? we know some people who did allograft and returned in 6 months but we can’t find any documentation that says that is ok for allograft/cadaver. Anyone?

    • Unfortunately, everyone is different. It could be 6 months, it could be 12 months. I hate to hear this but it’s true: everyone recovers under different timelines.

      Do what you can do to control what you can: Do your PT like crazy. If you feel lazy, sleepy, hungover – put it aside and get your @#$# to the gym. Regardless of the type of graft, those who consistently recover more quickly are those who keep at the PT, stretch, eat well, sleep well and stay positive.

      In the end, this may take 1-4 months off of a recovery schedule depending on the subject.

      I am no doctor, but I did spend the night with one last night (my wife is a doctor).

    • I had my ACL repaired using my hamstring out of the same leg, and had a portion of my minuscus cut out as well. I’ve been told by my physical therapist, who used to work mostly with sports related injuries, that the normal time to return to sports after the hamstring allograft is 6 to 9 months. The place I go for rehab can also do an accelerated program that will get a person back into sports in as little as 4 months. Of course, as everyone says, it’s all determined on how motivated the person recovering is and how well they stick to the program. I’m only about 2 months into physical therapy, hoping to be able to play ice hockey by the 6 month period, but we’ll see how the allograft recovery actually goes.

    • Hi Todd , since i have the same problem like your daughter . Also play bbal . Can you tell me what happen ?

  93. I am a 50 year old woman. I am also significantly overweight, however I was fairly active before I tore my acl totally and my mcl partially while hiking on a very rugged trail.
    That was 7 weeks ago. I’ve been going to physio, got a brace, etc. but still using crutches.
    Just saw the surgeon yesterday, and he wants me to try and get along for the next couple of months. He doesn’t recommend sugery because of my age and weight. Also because I don’t do sports.
    Any opinions about this?

    • It is only my opinion, but if I wasn’t into sports, where I’m relying on my knee for agility, I wouldn’t go through with the surgery. I know people that are still active, and run and bike, that went without the surgery and have had no complications at all. I think that as long as you’re not using your knee in a fashion that you would for something such as soccer, forgoing surgery would be fine. The recovery process is surprisingly long and tough as well. If the doctor thinks it’s not necessary, I would probably take his advice. This is only my opinion.

      • Do those people still have to use the brace? To tell the truth the brace is very much a pain in the butt, and I don’t find it very comfortable to walk in. I really don’t want to have to use a brace all the time. Fear of the unknown……….

        • The people that I know do not use a brace. Not for everyday normal activities at least. The knee seems to build muscle that helps support the join to reduce the risk of injuring it further.

  94. I got my surgery back in november, so its been about 7 and a half months. My doc told me that i can start playing in a couple weeks but when i come back i will have to wear the functional acl brace. I was wondering if the brace makes it impossible to tear my acl again or if theres still a chance?

  95. Maya…a brace will not prevent another acl tear so be careful. It is a reminder though that you are only 7 months post major surgery. Be careful and ease your way back in. I have torn 4 acl’s. I am 4 days post op on the fourth one. Good luck and be smart.

  96. Charles Saliba says:

    Hi, i tore my acl 12 years ago, never got the idea of going for a surgery cause of some issues at the time. now im 30 and geting some weight, at 5’8” im at 82kg, i started experiencing pain and i just cant run any more.
    will surgery still be a great solution or its just too late. will be glad on you guys opinions and suggestions.

    • I’d talk to your doctor about it. It all depends on how active you are. He will know the cause of the pain and if your knee has already developed muscle around the joint to compensate for the torn ACL. The pain could just be a cause of the weight gain or some other issue.

  97. I tore my ACL about three weeks ago. I was at volleyball practice the day before our first game. Its my junior year at a new school and I was starting at middle hitter. Now im just so sad and depressed. I have been walking on my left leg w/o it hurting and I can go up & down stairs successfully. I can even pepper with my teammates at volleyball practice. Its the extension and flexion part that im struggling with. Idk if I should continue on with surgery since I’ve made so much progress with walking and climbing stairs or just go to therapy. At this point I dont think my injury is extremely bad.

  98. HI, I have read the website, great information. I tore my ACL in my right knee from a head on crash where both my knees hit the dash board. Changed Doctors due to original one retired after trying pt only. Knee improve, but had constant pain on left side. New one gave option of surgery. I had surgery on July 20, 2012. I had a complete tear of the ACL and used my patella tendon. I have a very conservative doctor. I am still stuck in a hinged brace until this week when I see him. I finally was able to get off crutches at 4 weeks and allowed to drive at 6 weeks. I have been going to physical therapy for 8 weeks now. I had a set back 3 1/2 weeks post op with extension after going to an event where I sat to long. I just stopped extension exercise and heel slides last week. I have been doing quad sets, heel raises, leg raises, leg press, and two other strenthening for quads, wall slides, step ups and to the side, and just started working on going downstair type exercise. I know every program for physical therapy is different and the therapist has got 15 years experience. Is there other exercises out there that I could do at home that would help progress this rehab? Any advice out there would be greatly appreciated.

  99. Hi,

    I had ACLr using the cadaver(allograft) option 5 weeks ago. I have to say that if I were a couch potato I would not have had ACLr at all. Fact is, I am extremely active, doing things like running, cycling and Tae Kwon Do, the latter of which requires a lot of pivoting and jumping.

    While I cannot say if an autograft would have been better I can say that other TKD people, young and older, have used allograft and have so far had success with it.

    So I do not think it’s fair to completely dismiss the choice for active people.

  100. I am 1 year and 3 months out of ACL surgery and have recovered pretty well. The most important things that I found that helped me were physiotherapy before surgery and making sure that my leg was at full extention immediately after surgery (while it was still numb from the nerve block) and whenever I sat making sure that I pulled my legs back a little more each time (not comfortable but oh so important). When I went for my 1 week check up I was at full extention and almost full rom. I only have one problem and was wondering if anyone else had it. If I try to sit sideways like you might on a couch or floor. I can get there but my knee tries to lock and starts to hurt in a few minutes. I actually have to physically move my knee from the position and straighten it. I still get swelling on the outside of my leg at my knee but I believe that is from the ITB band which I had a problem with before the surgery. Anyone got any ideas, my orthopedist didn’t.

  101. Hi my name is Eric and i barely did m physio due to too much school work.i did only the first month.but my knee is in good shape and i havnt injred it in any way,havnt done any sports to damage it and its the same size and the extension is the same as my other knee. is there a problem with this?do i have to start physio all over?

  102. I am 10 days post op, and still don’t have 90 degrees flex in my knee. However, I have prettyinstense swelling. Hoping that oncethat goesdown,I will be able to bend more

  103. Hello everyone , i have a second surgey on my right knee , like u man after 8 months i re tear it . First time i did patella tendon , and this time my doctor wants me to do a donor graft. The thing is i am playing college basketball and i was reading that donor option isn’t good for young athletes . Any experiences with this topic . I have surgey in two days . Thanks

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  105. Hi, My names Alex and i’m currently 7 days post op my torn ACL patella reconstruction surgery. I’ve been nervously looking up ways information to try to get an idea of the pain and timelines on certain situation. Usually this isn’t my thing to ask online like this but this website seems to really be helping some people out and i thought i’d give it a try. With that being said i have a few questions i was hoping people could help me with..
    1. i constantly get this pain whenever i stand up as if all the bloods rushing to my knee at once and the pain starts to be unbearable! So my question is how long until this feeling goes away?
    2. I’m a football player with a dream in hopes to make it to D1A college football in my 2016 year which when i’ll be a freshman in college. With that being said i know its important to take your time in getting back but the start of my season is in about 9 months, the first week of september. With the doctors consent do you still believe it’d be smart to go back that soon?
    3. I’m seeing people say they tore the same ACL 2 or 3 times now it kinda has me nervous. Is it a good possibility that i will tear once again or whats up with that?

  106. Hi Everybody,

    My name is moiz. i also have an ACL injury. it happened on 24 March 2014 when i was skiing first time in my life. I have a appointment with the surgeon on coming Tuesday then he will give the date for surgery. Can anyone tell me until than what i do and what i don’t.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, it reduced my tension.

  107. Chiropractors apply active release technique to treat soft tissue injuries. This effective technique is handy in handling nerves, fascia, ligaments and tendons issues. Manifold clinics have expertise in post surgical treatment, cumulative trauma injuries, wrist injuries, hip pain, bunion, acl injuries, finger injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, joint dysfunctions and nerve entrapment.

  108. Jordan says:

    I am 17 years old and i tore my acl during the second football game of this year. I didnt know that i tore it at first i actually went back in and played the two quarters that were left in the game. That night my knee seemed fine and everything was going good. Got looked at the next day and found out that i tore it…fml The nice thing was a never had any swelling, pain or lose of motion. Surgery was performed the next week. Recovery for me was very simple i was riding bike the next day after surgery and i had a 98 degree of bend. Within the next two weeks i had lost all swelling and had full muscle control along with full 149 degrees of bend. Im now 6ish months out and running a 4.4 40 yard dash and competing in track twice a week. Never had any major problem just know to stick to the hip excersises they are the best thing you can do!!!!!!! good luck

  109. I’m so happy I came across your blog. I have a complete acl tear 3 months ago. I didn’t know for about a week. In this time my muscles leg was in pain and my muscles disappeared. I started pt 2 weeks after injury. I now know I was suppose to continue movement after 2-3 days of injury. My question is my Dr will not schedule surgery until I have 0 flextion. I still can’t do this on my own. I have 1 week to prep before I see him and I really need to get my leg straight by then. So frustrating! I currently do pt 3x a week, 20 min walk daily on crutches(bearing some weight on injured leg) , 2x daily exercise routine. Any tips?

  110. I love reading your information. I had my surgery this past Wednesday 7/13/11 and already have full extension and 90+ degree flexion. I have had very little pain and have taken no painkillers. Have used the cryo but have very little swelling just around the knee cap itself. I keep expecting the pain or swelling, I am sure that will change with therapy. It took 36+ hours for my nerve block to wear off and I use the crutches for support but have been putting weight on my leg since Friday. I go back to the doctor on Thursday 7/21/11. I really expected lots of swelling since when I tore the ACL my knee and leg got huge even with ice. All the information and comments have kept me prepared. The best part is I am sure my doctor will be pleased especially since he didn’t want to operate on a 55 year old woman who only hikes and swims for fun. Thanks!!

  111. Kimberly says:

    Hi Jordan -

    Can you advise whether the doctor used your hamstring, patella (sp) or cadaver muscle to repair the tear? We are trying to determine what is best to use for a 16 year old girl.

    Thanks for your insight -
    Kimberly

  112. you are my hero. I tore my acl first softball game of my senior year. I finished my game and started running again a week after. I saw a doctor two weeks after I tore it (only because the school wouldn’t let me play without a release) I waited 7 months to have surgery because they said I wouldn’t be able to walk at graduation. I’m almost 7 months out of surgery and can BARELY jog, like a half a block before I have to stop! :( I have a limp if I sit down for too long and I’m still working out almost every day including still going to pt!

  113. Hey thank you for putting together this site. I had ACL surgery with hamstring graft three weeks and change ago. I stumbled on this site a week after my surgery. I have not closed the web page since. I just went back to work after three weeks, was cleared to drive after two weeks. I am amazed at how small my right thigh is compared to the left. Full recovery seems far fetched but I am encouraged by the stories here. I can go up the stairs but not down. I started balancing exercises. I can put all the weight on my impaired leg while slightly bent but I am not comfortable enough to do so while the leg is fully stretched. I am ashamed to say that I only got to the comments section today. I wish I had done this earlier.

  114. I am back. Almost 100% 8 months post-op. Feeling great. Sometimes my knee is a little sore and stiff after rigorous exercise in the area where the graft was taken from (patellar tendon graft) but I make sure to ice it every day which has gradually decreased overall anterior knee pain and stiffness over time.

    I really pushed myself in “pre-hab” and in rehab. It was a big time committment but I am where I am now because of it.

    Good luck to you all in getting back to what you want to do. Remember, there are going to be bad days but there will be many good days ahead if you stay the course!

  115. Bogut ,
    Thank you for that info. It’s inspiring to me. I am 4 weeks post surgery. I have tight hamstrings from 18 years if weight training so my extension is still only at a 3-4.
    Did you get all your muscle back in 8 months? My left quad is jacked and my right looks like a different person. :) I know I won’t be competing this year and I have no problem getting back in the gym to gain strength back but I’m wondering when my legs will match again?
    Jill

Trackbacks

  1. ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline Update « ACL Surgery Recovery says:

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  3. [...] Jon first of all great job with the site has helped a ton the acl recovery timeline and exercises. I tore my acl playing soccer aug 2011 and had surgery on Nov 18(had hamstring graft [...]

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