Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She recently tore her ACL and will be sharing her experiences with us as she works towards getting back into sports.
I’m not sure what I expected after ACL surgery… but well, I definitely expected much worse. I guess I am one of those lucky individuals that got away with little to no pain. Prior to surgery, I heard horror stories from friends who said they were laying in bed in agony for the first week after repairing their ACL.
I guess this goes to show that every person is different, and I’ve also found that rehabilitation varies from person to person. My doctor is keeping me on crutches for another week, whereas some only have you on them for 2 weeks. However, he doesn’t have me wearing an ACL knee brace. My friend who had ACL surgery earlier this year was given a knee immobilizer for the first month after surgery.
In short, here’s how my first 3 weeks post-op have been:
Week 1 – Pop painkillers the first few days, just in case. Lots of ice, elevation and television. Boring, but rest was critical to healing. It helped keep the swelling down and allowed my knee to start healing. The doctor said the most important thing was to be able to straighten my leg, so I started working on that.
Week 2 - Stitches come out. I had blood blisters near my incision, which isn’t common but it’s not unusual either. Numbness near the knee is normal as well, and should go away with time. My ankle started hurting a bit and was all bruised due to the swelling. Started physical therapy which honestly was not too bad because I had been working on extending my leg.
Week 3 - Steri-strips (super sticky bandages that hold the incision together) fell off and my blood blisters healed. My physical therapist has me working on stretching and strengthening my thighs and quads, and we’re working on bending my knee (flexion).
If you’re having ACL surgery soon, keep in mind that every person goes through a different experience. Hopefully this helps with some of your expectations! I still plan on getting an ACL knee brace once my recovery gets me closer to playing sports again. So far I’m happy with how I’ve been coming along.
P.S. Have someone place bottles of water around the house – it’s very difficult to carry a glass of water when using crutches!