What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Do After ACL and MCL Tears and Surgery

Whether you injured your knee on the slopes, in the gym, on the field or from a slip and fall, getting back to 100% after knee surgery can feel like an uphill battle.

More often than not, that’s because it is.

Rehabilitating from ACL or MCL surgery is a long process – and that process begins the moment you awake from anesthesia.

ACL vs MCL Tears and Surgery

ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears and MCL (medial collateral ligament) tears are the two most common knee injuries in active adults. And while these two ligaments are involved in the majority of knee injuries, their function within the knee and corresponding treatment after injury aren’t as similar as you might think.

Torn ACL

The ACL stretches diagonally across the middle of the knee and helps with rotational stability, as well as controlling the back and forth motion of the knee. The MCL connects the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone) and helps stabilize and control the sideways movement of the knee.

Together, the ACL and MCL (along with the PCL and the LCL) are vital to knee stability and functionality. And while ACL tears and MCL tears can differ in severity and treatment, most tears will not heal on their own.

Torn MCL

Luckily, all but the most severe MCL tears are typically treated with physical therapy. MCL rehab and recovery can be a long road filled with mobility and strengthening exercises, but it (thankfully) doesn’t usually require surgery.

ACL tears, however, are a whole different story.

ACL Surgery: The Fastest (and Often Only) Way to Recover from an ACL Tear

Unlike recovery from a torn MCL – which can usually be rehabilitated back to health – recovery from an ACL tear almost always begins with surgery.

If you’re staring down the barrel of an ACL reconstruction – or just went through ACL surgery – you probably have a few questions…

  • How long does it take to recover from an ACL surgery?
  • What’s the fastest way to recover from ACL reconstruction?
  • What should I do after my ACL surgery?

(Learn what to expect during your ACL reconstruction.)

ACL Surgery Recovery Time

The first question has a simple but imprecise answer: it depends.

If your surgery was successful with no complications and you plan to follow the rehabilitation recommendations of your orthopedic surgeon to the letter, the best guess is no less than six months. For some, it can take up to two years to get back to 100%.

The Fastest ACL Post-Surgery Rehab Program

Step 1: Listen to your doctor.

Step 2: Listen to your physical therapist.

Step 3: Do exactly what they say to do, when they say to do it.

It’s honestly that simple. The most difficult thing about ACL rehabilitation is sticking to the program – whether that means pushing yourself past your comfort zone or reigning it in so as to not overdo it. Pushing the limits and staying within the rehabilitation lines differs from person to person and from day-to-day.

Remember, it’s an uphill battle… but it’s one you can win.

The Do’s and Don’ts After ACL Surgery

Do: Keep your knee straight!

Yes, this will not be comfortable, but it’s vital to keep the knee joint completely straight immediately after your ACL reconstruction. This gives the joint time to heal properly without stressing your newly-fixed ligament.

Don’t: Put weight on your new knee.

That’s right… a wheelchair and/or crutches are mandatory until your orthopedic surgeon says it’s okay to begin putting light pressure on your knee.

Do: Wear your knee brace!

It’s uncomfortable. And hot. And maybe a little itchy… but it will help protect and stabilize your knee while speeding up your recovery. Wear it everywhere, all the time.

Don’t: Walk, swim, cycle, bend and extend your knee, etc. until you’re cleared to do so.

You want to rehab your ACL. That’s great! Don’t push it. (See “The Fastest ACL Post-Surgery Rehab Program” above.)

Do: Physical therapy. All of it.

It will hurt. It will be boring at times. You will want to stop… Don’t. Your future knee will thank you.

Do: Go to your scheduled follow-ups with your knee surgeon.

The sooner he or she clears you, the sooner you get back to doing all of the things you love.

If you have more questions about your ACL, MCL or any other knee injury, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to help.

116 Comments


I am convinced that I tore my ACL but am being treated for a torn meniscus it has been two months since my injury happened what are my chances of recovery no surgery was performed only days no MRI pain is excruciating at times

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    Linda,
    I would recommend getting a second opinion. The doctor you see can help you obtain an MRI, or at the very least give you an Rx/order for one. Second opinions are often encouraged by most providers and many can/will even do it remotely (via Telehealth) if that is more convenient for you. I hope this helps!

    Reply

      I did acl reconstruction and meniscus repair and its already been 2 and half months. Still i feel pain, swelling, clicking, pinching, locking in my left knee. Even, i am doing PT on regular basis.So, what can i do now ?

      Reply

        Rishav,
        Healing after ACL reconstruction is a process. It takes time and consistency. Although these symptoms can be due to many contributing factors, here are a few common causes:
        Locking after ACL reconstruction can be due to lack of adherence to a strict stretching routine post surgery. Popping in your knee can be due to scar tissue after surgery. It takes time for the joints to heal and begin to move smoothly again. Mild swelling is typically part of the healing process, as it is a sign of inflammation.
        Although these are the common reasons for these symptoms, there are obviously other less common scenarios, such as another knee injury. You should speak to your surgeon and physical therapist about your concerns. Make sure they are aware of your issues. If all else fails, it’s never a bad idea to get a second opinion. All the best.

        Reply

          For over 13 years now I have been nursing ACL and since then I have not been adding pressure on my left knee and if I mistakenly do it’s shift off and make noise and I will feel the light pain..can still have a successful surgery after 13year managing it?


          Christian,
          Each ACL injury needs to be evaluated, diagnosed and treated on a case-by-case basis. You would need to consult an orthopedic knee specialist to determine the best course of treatment. In short though, it is possible/likely to have a successful ACL surgery years after the initial injury. Hope this helps!


          How normal is if for your hamstring and calf to twitch and spazz out? Mines been doing it quite a bit since my surgery this morning


          Tanner,
          Muscle spasms are common after surgery. If you are concerned you should reach out to your surgeon. All the best.


        Pls bro I also had ACL injury May I know how much u did the surgery so that I can no my estimate to start with

        Reply

      Hey I just had surgery for my ACL (brand new they used my own parts to replace) i also had my meniscus fixed.. my MCL fixed.. we drove home after.. about 4 1/2 hour drive. I was in the back sitting up with my leg propped up.. anyways the nerve blocker is leaving my system and my knee is the size of a miniature watermelon… the pain is unreal.. ive never felt pain like this before… is it normal to experience severe swelling and severe pain 10 hours after surgery?

      Reply

        Amanda,
        Pain and swelling are normal after surgery, as pain is part of the inflammatory response to surgery. That being said, if you feel your pain is severe or intolerable, you should contact your surgeon. Express your concerns and your doctor can let you know what steps need to be taken – this will most likely include ice and elevation. We hope you heal quickly and feel better soon!

        Reply

          Thank you! Actually it wasn’t the size of an watermelon it was the dressing haha
          I’m 2 months out and only able to bend 45 degrees. So my flexion is not great. …. I work on my home exercises and go to PT.. do you have any opinions on why bending my knee is so hard to do? Besides possible scar tissue


    They told me that I tore my meniscus I said I want an mri ended up being an acl I tore. Ask them for an mri

    Reply

      So true, same happened to me. I had a torn ACL, MCL, and Meniscus. Get the MRI. Then even after that once actually doing the surgery, the meniscus was torn worse than expected, I had to have the back of me knee scrapped and the bone bruising was pretty extensive. Get the MRI.

      Reply

    Linda,
    I had the same thing happen when I tore my ACL. I went months assuming it would heal because I thought it was just my meniscus. When in doubt get a second opinion and try to get an MRI. It could be both too. I didn’t find out till after my ACL surgery, but they apparently took a piece of the meniscus too. Knees are important! Try to get it taken care of as soon as you can. Good luck!!(:

    Reply

    My dr told Me I was fine a week later I went back he order an MRI and then call saying you really mess up your knee ACL and I ask him then why didn’t you listen to me the first time he said he not an orthopedics 🤦🏽‍♀️ Just had ACL surgery. Always question and tell the dr what you want done.

    Reply

      Absolutely, ask lots of questions. If you feel unsure about what your doctor is telling you, ask them to clarify, request imaging, or get a second opinion. Most doctors will/should encourage all these things.

      Reply

    My doctor did the very same thing until I was persistent I needed an MRI. Once that was done they ruled my meniscus was normal and I had shredded my acl.

    Reply

    Hello, I am currently living in Slovakia and I tore my ACL while playing football. I had surgery here and they removed my ACL ligament completely but did not replace it.

    I walked home the next day. The surgery I consider to have been successful as I have no problems with stability. I feel very slight aches every now and again but I can jog cycle swim ect.

    I am very unsure on what to do though in terms of furthering my recovery even though there is no ligament there. Do I do specific exercises to strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the knee? I want to continue with sports, should I continue without the ACL ligament or is this considered risky?

    It is hard for me to communicate here but I’ve been told to avoid the surgery as long as possible if my knee is stable.

    Could i please have some advice on how to continue without the ACL ligament.

    Thank you for any help!!

    Reply

      Hi Jonathon,

      I am sorry to hear about your injury. The ACL provides rotational stability to the knee, especially with cutting, pivoting and twisting exercises. If an ACL deficient knee gives out with cutting/pivoting/twisting then you are at risk of irreversible damage to the cartilage and meniscus. Preventing the knee from giving out is the best recommendation for someone without an ACL. This can be done with quad and hamstring strengthening in addition to avoiding those activities that cause the knee to give out. If you have any questions or other concerns, I recommend you see an orthopaedic surgeon. – Dr. Gibbs

      Reply

    I ended up getting a second opinion after a doctor told me nothing was wrong. About 9 months later I went in to see a new doctor, come to find out I had a torn ACL and MCL. Currently recovering from full reconstruction and repairs!!

    Reply

Second day after ACL RECONSTRUCTION & Meniscus repair ligament graft. Should I have pressure wraps on both legs? And, is it alright to leave Ice Machine on ALL the time?

Reply

    Vickie,

    Thanks for your questions. Firstly, we recommend following your surgeon’s orders for post-op recovery. Pressure wrap instructions vary by patient. As for the ice machine, we typically instruct our patients to apply the ice machine in 15 minute intervals. Again, this is all subject to your medical history and your doctors specific orders. We would recommend reaching out to your surgeon’s nurse/medical assistant for detailed instructions.

    Reply

I tore my ACL in my right knee and am having pain in the top to the right of my knee where the graft is. I’m 16 day’s out from surgery.. did I do something wrong and injured the graft?

Reply

    Mj,
    Pain after surgery can be normal. Have your had a post-operative appointment yet? I would recommend voicing your concerns with your surgeon and they can give you detailed advice.

    Reply

      I had accident 10 April 2020. Acl pcl mil reconstruct took place on 2 May 2019. Now it’s 15 June 2020. I am still not normal. Aged 26. I can walk around but can’t do running. Or put too much weight as a normal person. How much time it take to be normal. 1.5 tonne pallet fell on my right knee.

      Reply

        With that type of injury and knee reconstruction it is going to take more than 8 weeks to recover. I would expect it will be closer to 6 months. Work hard on your range of motion and strength. John

        Reply

2months after my ACL, PCL and meniscus reconstruction of right knee, my leg is still so stiff, achived only 90°.
Is there any complication??
Can I achive full range atleast 150° in 20days..If Yes How???

Reply

    There is some concern for such limited flexion after 2 months post op. I find that active hamstring contractions/strengthening is vital in restoring flexion. Besides just passively moving your knee into flexion be sure to be working those hamstrings into flexion. A prone hamstring machine might be of benefit. It is going to take a lot of hard work to get to 150 degrees in 20 days. If you live in the Park City or Salt Lake area I would be happy to demonstrate the exercises in person. John Flint

    Reply

    Do graston technique… it will give instant range of motion… i am 16 days post operation of my ACL surgery and i can bend 110 degrees already without pain… i could bend 95 degrees just on the 14th day… believe me Graston technique is the best treatment ever.

    Reply

I had my acl and meniscus repaired 18 days ago. In the last 2 days I’ve felt a sort of stuck feeling, (like when my knee would start to lock up when I first tore my meniscus) when I do flexion exercises. I’m only cleared to do slight flexion exercises, I have done nothing that pushes my knee to the point of pain. Not sure if this stuck feeling is normal or if I buggered up my meniscus.

Reply

    Did they repair the meniscus or “trim” the meniscus? Either way it is unlikely the meniscus. Keep working on range of motion. Sometimes the swelling in the joint can cause that feeling.

    Reply

      I have also getting same feeling it’s became 2months of my acl and miniscus surgery i also feel little bit stuck in knee and sometimes from that stuck small sound comes out is that normal or my operation was not done properly
      I’m so worried about it

      Reply

        Saroj,
        If you are having stiffness or pain after surgery, I would recommend following up with your surgeon. Knee stiffness can have many causes. If you are having painless popping I wouldn’t be too concerned, but if you have associated pain with the popping I would recommend getting in to see your doctor. If you are worried about your recovery after surgery you could also consider getting a second opinion. Hope this helps.

        Reply

I am having my acl revision, during my first surgery hamstring graft was used but now BPTB is being used please can you tell me the bones taken from front of knee cap heals or not

Reply

    Hi Aryan. The bone from the donor site in the patella typically fills with bone and scar tissue. Often a patient is unable to notice any defect or pain from the surgery in this area. All the best! -Dr. Gibbs

    Reply

I’m 4 months post ACL and MCL surgery and have been doing physical therapy obsessively with fantastic results so far. My best advice for anyone recovering is to take your PT seriously.

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    Great advice, Mike! Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you’re recovering well, keep up the good work!

    Reply

      I just had ACL and meniscus repair/surgery yesterday… my surgeon said he cut a piece of my hamstring off for the ACL repair…. I just want to know what my next couple of weeks are going to look like? (Pain wise)

      Reply

        Justin,
        Pain can vary patient to patient. Your surgeon can give you a detailed plan of recovery and tell you what to expect. Complete recovery from ACL repair can take up to 9 months, but needs to be discussed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

        Reply

Hi, I am an avid hiker and pretty much do it everyday. I had a Right knee ACL (patellar tendon)with meniscus repair back in 1996. Everything has been well. Last week I was on a 13 mile hike and half way I felt a pop, crack lots of pain in my right knee. I was not doing anything! I had just stopped to get water and right knee extended turned and down I went. I was in remote area and had to hike out for the remaining 6 miles.
MRI shows, Torn MCL don’t know degree, ACL graft is torn.
I have been icing my right knee, no swelling and it becomes sore with any amount of walking. Unstable on the inner knee medial side.
I am scared to have surgery again. I figure a revision surgery is more complex. Do I need surgery? I am 58 and in physical condition.
I was also just diagnosed with Osteopenia is that going to be an issue? I have been researching surgeons that do knee revisions.

Reply

    Theresa,
    I’m sorry to hear about your injury. That sounds painful, especially the 6 mile hike back out.
    We wouldn’t know to what extent treatment is needed without seeing your knee and images. A full exam by an orthopedic knee specialist would be recommended. Are you in the Salt Lake or Park City, Utah area? Perhaps we can recommend an orthopedic surgeon specializing in revision for you to get a comprehensive exam and advice.

    Reply

    Hi – can I ask what you ended up doing? I re-tore my ACL doing ‘nothing ‘ 3 yes post op also. I just had second reconstruction and also the ALL was augmented. I am looking for advice on how NOT to get here again! I am 59..

    Reply

Specialist said i tore my ACL. Had MRI done yesterday. Will see surgeon in 5 days. So you’ll be hearing a lot from me. Lol

I can only bend my knee at 30 degrees? 100 would be a fully bent back knee with heel to thigh.

Question is should I keep trying daily to bend knee as much as possible. AND do i still need to keep leg elevated most of day?

Reply

    Brandon,
    We’re glad you were able to see a specialist and obtain an MRI.
    As for moving and elevating the leg, we would recommend sticking with your surgeons instructions. They will give you guidelines on when it is safe to begin exercise the knee and what can be done in-between. Wishing you a quick and full recovery! Let us know if you have any other questions.

    Reply

I just got my ACL and Meniscus repaired and it’s been a month and I’ve going to physical therapy and been doing everything they’ve told me. They say my progress is good from where I’m at. I started walking on it on my third week and it’s doing better I could bend not all the way but there’s some bending in there. But I have some questions to ask if you don’t mind.

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    Roxy,
    We will try to answer any questions you have. If you would like to speak to a doctor about your questions, please call our office @ 435-615-8822

    Reply

Hi! I injured my right knee from playing volleyball. Xray finding is suspected lutency of arterior and proximity area. What does this mean? Thanks.

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    Hi Calvin. It is difficult to tell exactly what is going. A lucency is an area of bone on x-ray that is less dense than the rest of the bone. I would recommend seeing an orthopaedic surgeon for evaluation. All the best, Dr. Gibbs.

    Reply

I completely torn my acl 8 months ago now I do acl reconstruction surgery with patella tendon,my surgeon tell me not put weight, bend and not do exercise till one month. Is that good for my knee?

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    Jagdeep,

    It is recommended to follow your Physician’s advice post surgery. They typically have a protocol in place for optimal recovery. Once they have cleared your for exercise, they will often refer you to a Physical Therapist for a guided and supervised recovery plan. If you have concerns about the length of immobility, I suggest bringing up these concerns with your doctor. They can discuss your recovery plan with you and explain their recommendations. Each patient needs a tailored recovery plan based on their injury and surgery.

    Reply

My thigh muscle are too weak after acl reconstruction surgery it’s about one month my doctor suggest me don’t do exercise till one month. Is that good for my knee?

Reply

    Has your doctor referred your to a Physical Therapist?

    Reply

In my acl reconstruction surgery Only one pin is visible in one month post operative x ray . Pin is not attached to bone and there is no screw in lower bone . Is it successful operation?

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    It is difficult to say without seeing your x-rays and medical records. I would recommend a second opinion, if you are worried about the information and outcome. Some physicians can give you a second opinion via telehealth appointments.

    Reply

Hello, I just did my ACL and medial meniscus reconstruction surgery last Sunday. So far so good, just the discomfort and the new normal (crutches, brace and all in between). My only issue is I can’t sleep. I’m not a back sleeper. I wish I can sleep on my side. But dunno how to do it…

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    Hey, just had my Acl and meniscus repaired today. I am having trouble sleeping. I don’t normally sleep on my back. I was considering just going on my side and still keep it elevated with a pillow. Is this something I should try or do you have any ideas?

    Reply

      Hermine,
      You can try switching to your side with a pillow between your legs, if that helps relieve the pain. Unfortunately, sleep disruption after ACL surgery is common. Depending on your surgeon’s instructions, you can also try icing before you go to bed. The first few days are the toughest though, so hang in there. Call your surgeon if you’re not getting any sleep and they can give you detailed instructions or prescribe a sleep aid.

      Reply

    Hey..I too had gone under the same surgery…How are you now with ur knee??

    Reply

I use a pillow between my legs and roll my whole body as one unit to lay on my side. I am 8 days out of ACL graph and MCL scope. Trust me I completely understand the discomfort. Top of my knee is still swollen like a softball.

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Hi dr
I had my acl surgery on 22 nov 2019. And before I was walking ok and now when I walk normal as well my middle of foot is paining near my ankle and I cant walk properly why is that. Sometime I feel ok and sometime I feel pain in my foot

Reply

    Kamal,
    Have you seen a podiatrist or foot and ankle specialist yet?

    Reply

Hello,It’s being 6weeks after my acl reconstruction and meniscus repair. My doctor have recommended me to walk using one crutches but, while walking I feel instability. Is this a problem or it happens in initial period of walking?

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    Nashath
    Instability is common after surgery – your knee brace can help immensely here. Have you started Physical Therapy? Beginning a PT program can also greatly help you regain mobility and strength after surgery. Though instability is common, listen to your body and gradually increase your mobility to avoid injury.

    Reply

I ruptured & fully tore my acl, & have 2 tears in the meniscus. It took 2 weeks just to get the results & see the orthopedic. He says i can do surgery or therapy & try to heal that way. Im more confused now. Family is saying do the surgery can you tell me is there a way to heal & get back to normal with just the therapy

Reply

    Angie,
    Some people can avoid surgery after an ACL tear with modified physical activity and rehabilitation therapy. Physical therapy has been shown to ease the symptoms of a torn ACL and strengthen the muscles to help stabilize the knee joint. This is usually the case with minor tears though, whereas full ACL tears almost certainly require surgery. It is also important to note that Physical Therapy(PT) doesn’t necessary heal the meniscus tears either, but helps prevent stiffness and increases strength while the injury heals. We are unable to recommend surgery or PT without seeing the imaging of your knee. Each tear needs to be evaluated by an Orthopedic Surgeon to determine the best course of treatment. Ultimately, we would recommend getting a second opinion to help clear up any confusion. Wishing you the best!

    Reply

I had acl reconstruction done 5 days ago (second time, first one was 10 years ago and then I recently fell and prob twisted my knee on impact). Surgery went well,no pain. Not needing crutches for 2 days but using ice machine and brace while walking. Is it ok to use only brace, no crutches ?

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    Thank you for your question. We always recommend following your surgeon’s instructions for optimal recovery. Some surgeons will recommend full weight bearing (with the brace locked in full extension) within a few hours of going home. Other surgeons will recommend gradual weight bearing as tolerated. There are exceptions to these recommendations, where weight bearing needs to be restricted for several weeks. In general, you should be fine walking with the brace as tolerated. Always double check with your surgeon’s office though. Wishing you a quick recovery!

    Reply

I have complete tear of ACL, MCL and PCL. Please guide me doctor what will be the next step to heal them. If surgery thn how many ? And after surgery how much time it will take to start walking?

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    Avreet,
    We would be happy to give you a doctor recommendation, if we know one in your area. Where are you located?

    Reply

      My ACL and MCL were completely torn . I had undergone an ACL and a MCL surgery . They reconstructed my ACL. After a year , my knee was unstable. So they fixed an anchor to keep it stable . After 4 months of physiotherapy it got better . But eventually it gradually started to loosen up. Now my question is can I continue my sports (long jump ) . My knee is unstable right now .Would my injury actually get cured ?

      Reply

        Benita,
        You should be evaluated by an orthopedic knee specialist before returning to sports if your knee is currently unstable, to ensure you will not do more damage to the knee.

        Reply

I got injured my knee a year back and took rest for 3weeks after the incident. I did not realise that it is a knee injury so i continued my routine life. But i observed that my knee is unstable and getting pain while doing the quick actions. I contacted doctor and went for MRI scan. Doctor confirmed that i had an ACL tear and needs surgery as my knee is not unstable. I am taking good care to avoid such knee unstable causing actions now and doing all of my daily routines without any problem. My only worry is that its been so long from my knee injury happened. Will it give the good results if i go surgery now?

Reply

    As long as you have maintained your knee strength you should have a good outcome with surgery even though it has been a few years since your injury.
    There are lots of on-line knee strengthening programs.

    Reply

      Thanks for the response. Can i avoid surgery if i maintain good knee strength? My doctor did not say about the knee strength excersice. As per doctor, my ACL Is complete tear and getting pain while making the quick actions so needs to go for the surgery.

      Reply

        We are unable to tell you if you can/can’t avoid surgery without an evaluation of your knee. These would be good questions to ask your doctor, including where you can find knee strengthening exercises. Or you can search for exercises on YouTube or contact a Physical Therapist.

        Reply

Hi, i am 3 weeks post op from a ruptured acl reconstruction. the graphs that my surgeon used was from my hamstring. the rehab is going well and i’m able to get a significant amount of flexion 110-120degrees already. However what i’m concerned about is my extension. My knee barely even touches the 0degree mark when I push down on it and is always at a five degree bend. Is that something to worry about that will go over time, or is there something I have to do about it?

Reply

    Raul,
    At 3-weeks post op, your knee should only keep improving. If you are seeing a Physical Therapist they will help you work towards full extension, with time. If you are not working with a PT, we highly recommend you start. Overall, it’s not anything to worry about at 3-weeks post-op. As always, follow your doctors specific protocol for post-surgery rehabilitation for optimal recovery. All the best.

    Reply

I just had my surgery yesterday on August 12 and I didn’t find out until,6 months later that I a torn ACL and a fractured thigh bone but my doctor refer me to another doctor after 6 months can call a lawyer the first doctor only use the x-ray from the er can I talk to a lawyer the other doctor he referred me to did an x-ray and a MRI what should I do

Reply

    Ann,
    Being a doctor’s office we are unable to provide any recommendation for legal counseling. We hope the surgery went well. Please let us know if you have any additional ACL questions! Best of luck.

    Reply

I believe I have suffered from an MCL injury from a golf swing, when I did a down swing and the body weight shift from the right leg to the left leg, my left leg knee twisted and I fell to the ground when I heard a popping sound around the knee and couldn’t stretched my leg at that time. I consulted a Chinese bone setter and applied Chinese liquid medicine on both sides of the left knee. It’s a physical therapy process. It’s been 5 days since the fall and the popping sound disappears but I can’t rotate my left knee from the left to the right. Please advise .

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    Alex,
    If you still don’t have full range of motion after an injury, I recommend you get in to see an orthopedic knee specialist. At the very least, you may need x-rays to assess the injury. All the best!

    Reply

I had surgery on my acl almost exactly a year ago. Recently I’ve been having this sharp pain at the upper outside part of my knee and sometimes the lower inside. It tends to happen following a day where I do some strengthening exercises for my knee and lasts a couple days and only hurts when straightening my knee. At first I wasn’t worried but know that it is recurring it is starting to concern me.

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    Andrew,
    Any time you have sharp pain, or your knee/shoulder/ankle/etc. doesn’t feel like it usually does, we recommend you get in to see an orthopedic specialist. It’s always better to be safe and avoid any potential further injury.

    Reply

Hello. I had ACL reconstruction and partial lateral meniscectomy on 08/28/20. I started PT and AAROM during PT on 08/31/20 was at 90 and after PT measured 114. Extension was pretty good per PT. Told to go ahead and weight bear as tolerated, full WB ok as long as I had my brace on. No need to use crutches or crutch if I am at home WB with brace. I did everything as instructed. Doing my HEP. Today I fell while wearing my brace locked in extension. It simply gave out. Felt like a noodle and I fell. I’m 4 days out, what are the odds of me retearing my ACL? My knee is very swollen now and feels hot. Did not feel a pop. I’m concerned I may have retorn. Going to PT tomorrow. I’m able to AAROM but barely to 45. I feel d/t significant swelling. I’m just so concerned I may have retorn my ACL. What are your thoughts? Thank you.

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    Marissa,
    My suggestion would be to let your PT know about the fall and get in to see your doctor. Your doctor will want to re-evaluate your knee and possibly get more imaging. Wishing you a quick recovery.

    Reply

In 2015, I strained the MCL longboarding (and likely ACL too), but make a “full recovery” for both within a couple of months. Pain-free and full mobility. Since 2017, my activity levels dropped, making the protection of my muscle less sufficient.

In Nov 2019, I began to experience some nagging medial knee pain, I suffered a few flare-ups from certain movements, but they never got to be too much or last more than a week so I never got medical help. I skied over the winter a few times and by April, I was 90% pain-free and back to a more active lifestyle of hiking & walking. July 2020 I tweaked something in my left knee (likely patella subluxation) that slowed me down & has since caused both knees to explode with pain to the point of inability to walk over a mile or do stairs w/o pain.

I am just starting PT to regain strength after letting the injuries cool down, but worry that my loose ACL / MCL (everything is intact according to recent MRI, but physical exam shows that both are more flexible than expected) will hold me back and limit my recovery. Do I sound like I might need replacement / reconstruction, or possibly another form of treatment?

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    Taylor,
    It would be hard to recommend treatment, especially a replacement/reconstruction, without a proper evaluation and review of the MRI results. Since you have started Physical Therapy already, I would discuss recovery expectations with your Physical Therapist. If you haven’t seen a doctor, I would also recommend getting in to see an orthopedic knee specialist to properly evaluate your knee and help you determine if surgery is beneficial or not.

    Reply

I am 6 weeks post ACL repair using a cadaver tendon as replacement. I only have pain when I sleep. It can be sharp shooting pain when I am turing over in my sleep or it can feel like all the muscles are locking up or tightening. Is this normal or is there something wrong?

Reply

    Lareina,
    6-weeks post op is still pretty early after surgery. Unless you’ve had a re-injury, it is likely pain from your procedure. I would recommend voicing your concerns with your doctor and continuing with rehabilitation. Hope this helps.

    Reply

Hello I’m 11 days out of ACL surgery, pateller graft and partial meniscus debridement. I’m having a couple issues. First I was prescribed 40x- 5mg Oxycodone but the pharmacy only filled 28. I had to call the doctor after 4 days to get more. This time I only received 15. Why won’t the Pharmacy fill my prescription completely. So again I’m out and 3 days away from my 14 day post opp appointment. Do I call for another refill? Am I taking to many? I’ve been taking 2 in the morning 1 in the afternoon. Depending on my pain at night 1 or 2 before bed. I’ve been able to skip the afternoon dose but it still seems like I’m running out quickly.

My other issue is cramping. I’ve been doing okay sleeping taking pain meds right before bed but I can’t find a comfortable sleep. My shoulder feel like there’s rocks in then and my neck pinches every other night. It just extremely still all the time now. Stretching just seems to make it worse. I’m also now starting to experience cramping on my quad and the side of my hamstring on the leg of the surgery. I think this is due to the brace?

Sorry so long but any advise will help.

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    Joshua,
    There can be many reasons the pharmacy is only filling part of your prescription; one reason could be that this is the amount your insurance allows/covers. It would be best to call the pharmacy for an explanation.
    You could also try calling your doctor for clarification on the prescription. If it is an insurance issue, your doctor can try prescribing a different brand/type of medication.
    As for the brace, let your doctor know it is causing your leg to cramp. They may be able to adjust the brace. All the best!

    Reply

Hello I’m 11 days out of ACL surgery, pateller graft and partial meniscus. I’m having trouble with my prescription. First my Surgen prescribed me 40pills but the pharmacy only filled 28. I had to call the surgeons office for refill. This time pharmacy only gave me 15. I’m still 3 days till my 14day post op. Should I call for a refill again? I feel this is excessive.

My next question is am I taking to many. I’m taking as prescribed. I was taking 2 ever 4-6hours. Now I take 2 in the morning one in the afternoon and 2 before bed. Lately I’ve been able to skip the afternoon dosage and down to 1 pill before bed. I’m following surgeons directions but seem like I’m running out every few days since my prescription are barely getting filled.

My last question is cramping. My hamstring and quad on my operated leg keeps cramping I think mainly due to the brace. My neck is extremely stiff from rough sleeping and my shoulders feel like they have rocks in them. Any advice would be great! Thank you.

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    Joshua,
    It would be hard for us to determine if you are taking too many pills as each person has a different pain tolerance. If you feel it is excessive, or that you are running out too soon, this is definitely a discussion you need to have with your physician.
    In many cases, prescription pain medication can be supplemented and/or eventually replaced with over the counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen. It is important to talk to your doctor before taking any new medications though.
    As for your last question, heat or ice can be helpful for stiff neck muscles, along with gentle range-of-motion exercises. If you have started Physical Therapy, discuss a few exercises you can do for your neck/shoulders with your Physical Therapist. Sleep should improve as your healing progresses. Hope this helps!

    Reply

I had ACL reconstruction surgery in Feb 2020 with using a donor graft. I am regretting it now. I feel my knee is not as flexible and i can’t straighten it all the way. This is with 50 physical therapy sessions and home exercises. Is this common with a donor graft? I should have used my own tendon graft. Two weeks ago, my surgeon advised on a manipulation surgery to clear out some of the scar tissues which will help me with my leg extensions. Do you think this will help? I really don’t want another surgery. Also, not being able to walk normally, is creating very bad lower back pains. Ugh! Please advise your recommendation.

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    Cathy,
    Flexibility typically isn’t dependent upon graft choice. The expectation after surgery, regardless of the graft used, should be to regain full range of motion and strength. Manipulation can help in many situations, if physical therapy has failed to restore full range of motion. If you can’t achieve full extension, especially if it’s interfering with your daily activities, I would recommend following up with your surgeon to discuss options. Hope this helps!

    Reply

Hello, I had ligament injury in Nov 19. Post MRI, I found it was complete tear of ACL , Grade 1 tear in PCL and LCL. Took 2 months rest and was able to walk properly. Could not undergo surgery for some reason till date.
As on 10 Sep 20, am able to walk properly, cycle, run(started 1 wk before – 1.5 km max).
Yesterday, a friend of mine told its not good to run with a ACL tear

So, wanted to ask, is it recommended to run or not?
Am not having pain while running or post run.

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    Rupi,
    If you had surgery you should follow your physicians guidelines for return to activity. Recovery/return to sports following ACL reconstruction can be anywhere between 6-12 months, and it’s important to support the body as it heals after surgery. Your Physical Therapist can also guide you through safely returning to sports. Hope this helps.

    Reply

I had surgery on my right knee acl, mcl, and meniscus in February this year due to a car accident and it’s been a few months and I still can’t get past a little more than 90 or it goes down to the 80’s. I didn’t do much in rehabilitation because I was new to this I then received therapy at home when I was discharged which was a lot of pain but they did tell me it was because I didn’t do anything in rehabilitation. after my visits ran out I started going to out therapy it was hard but until recently I did the dry needling procedure and it has helped a lot but the pain never goes away so I might stop doing that. Is there any other procedure I should do? I’m seeing my surgeon in October and he will tell me if I will need Manipulation under anesthesia and he will be removing scar tissue I believe what should I do to avoid this?

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    Carl,
    At this point, considering your surgery was in February, one option to try is aggressive ROM therapy. Overall, I would suggest following your doctors recommendation for treatment. If you are concerned, consider getting a second opinion for treatment options. Wishing you the best.

    Reply

Hello, back in May 2020 I injured myself on a motocross(dirt bike) track. MRI shows partial ACL tear, partial MCL tear and both medial and lateral meniscus tears of my LEFT knee. After seeing a sports doctor her advice was that surgery wasn’t needed and to follow a strict rehab protocol and I would be ok. I pushed for a second opinion and requested a consultation with the surgeon who did my ACL reconstruction of my RIGHT knee 1 1/2 years prior.
After seeing the surgeon he informed me that the ACL was about 80% torn and that I should have it and the meniscus repaired.
I have full range of motion, very little if any swelling, and very little pain. The knee feels fairly stable and I work on it every single day. I’ve had only one time recently that I MIGHT have had a slight “giving away” feeling but I was being fairly aggressive with it.
My question is, should I be getting surgery to repair it like the surgeon said or go without like the sports doc suggested?
I live a very active lifestyle and can be very aggressive on my knees.
I’m tempted to go without surgery and focus on a strict rehab since surgery takes me out of sports for 9-12 months but I worried that it might not be the best approach.
To date the strict rehab approach is working great but the thought of surgery is always lingering in my mind.
Any thoughts or opinions?

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    Charlie,
    When considering surgery your Sports Medicine doctor and Orthopedic Surgeon will try to help you weigh factors such as age, activity level, etc., to determine if surgery is the best option. Your Orthopedic Surgeon might be weighing the risk of further wear and tear on the cartilage without ACL surgery. Ultimately, only you can decide which course of treatment is best for you. If you are still unsure, consider getting a third opinion. All the best!

    Reply

Have my ACL replace and my meniscus fix (25% was removed due to a flap) yesterday.
With the nerve block I’ve been able to do the exercises prescribed (leg raises, straight the knee And squeeze the quads and foot movements) , first time doing those hurt but every hour that I’ve been doing them they been hurting less and less.
I’m also walking with crutches every 2 hours in the house to keep the blood flooding, and trying to put weight on the knee.
I recommend to do a little bit every hour or 2 but keep moving and put weight on it with crutches of course and you’ll be surprise of how fast it’s improving!

The only annoying thing is the night sleep with the brace is uncomfortable but I was ready for couple of rough days so hopefully I’ll be getting better sleep soon as it is very important for recovery!

I’m on pain killers every 4 hours and I have ice machine keep my knee cold 90% of the time so inflammation is not so bad.

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Im 6 weeks post-op on ACL and MCL surgery. What should I expect on my comfort level? I’m not taking medicine anymore for pain because it’s important for me to feel what is happening during therapy… but I feel my therapist expects more from me… I can bend to a 90 degree slowly with much pain to get there.. will my leg ever bend like my other leg? Also… my strength in my thigh is GONE! To the point where when my leg is bent over the side of the bed I can not lift my leg straight… is this normal? I can do straight leg raises but not bending to straight or straight to bend. I only bend with gravity. Any insight or related issues welcomed ✌

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    Amanda,
    Pain and weakness after ACL/MCL surgery is expected. 6-weeks post-op is still early. Follow the guidelines and exercises laid out by your physical therapist. It can be difficult, but it is their job to help you obtain as much mobility as possible. Most Physical therapists have tried and true protocols to get you back to where you want to be after surgery. If you are concerned about the lack of strength in that leg, I would recommend discussing this with your doctor. We hope this helps and wishing you a quick recovery.

    Reply

Hi there! I had an ACL tear (70%) from a skiing accident, 10 years ago. Was told the two options were surgery or to let it heal naturally if I wasn’t “needing to ski” for a season or two (& because it’s just recreational skiing I do, I opted the natural healing) and orthopaedic specialist said there would likely be less scar tissue if it healed naturally. I was able to ski for about 6 years after a few years of healing, and now in the past few, my knee was feeling quite compromised after a 1/2 day of skiing and thought I’d best not push it, so given up skiing for the last 2 years. Talked to the orthopaedic surgeon and he recommended it’s time to do the ACL repair…but then said I likely would never ski again?! That is the whole reason I’m doing the surgery, so I can do the sports etc again with stability! I was so shocked by his comment, that I couldn’t even speak! And unfortunately intimidated & speechless by his horrible bedside manner that I couldn’t bring myself to ask what he meant! I don’t have any pain (unless I over do things, like hiking, or turn wrong, or on my feet a lot etc, then have minor pain and swelling), so with his comment, and all I’ve read about how major the recovery (& complications) can be from ACL surgery, I am thinking maybe it’s not worth it (if he feels I won’t be able to ski anyway?! I am so torn as to what to do, but have been advised that getting the surgery now is better as I’m not getting any younger and will likely cause issues down the road anyway and better to heal when you are younger than older?! I’m in my early 50’s. Any thoughts or suggestions?

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    Bonnie,
    The goal after surgery is typically to help you return to the activities you want to do. ACL reconstruction is typically a 9-month recovery, but afterwards you should be able to return to normal activity. It’s difficult to give any advice without seeing your MRI (or other imaging), but most patients opt for surgery if they aren’t able to continue with activities they want to do, and typically, patients can return to activity after surgery. If you want to avoid surgery you could try skiing with a brace, as long as the knee doesn’t continue to feel unstable or cause too much pain. I would also recommend getting a second opinion before moving in any direction with treatment. Hope this information is helpful.

    Reply

I had a surgery on 16th of july, 2020 of ACL reconstruction (hamstring graft), and meniscus repair too.
Everything was fine but from yesterday I’m having pain on the medial side of my knee whenever I put weight on it.
I have been following their programs and what not.
Is it because I’m pushing myself or is there any other reason. Kindly guide me a bit, I’ll be very thankful to you.

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    Ziauddin,
    Do you recall re-injuring the knee since surgery? Pain in the knee can have multiple causes. I would recommend reaching out to your orthopedic surgeon again for an evaluation. Are you still attending Physical Therapy? If so, mention this to your therapist as well. They can help you determine if it is due to your activity level, or something more. Until you are able to see someone, refrain from strenuous activity to avoid injury/ACL tear, which is often the result of poor leg stability or control. Wishing you the best!

    Reply

Hello, I had acl reconstruction for a grade 3 tear and they removed ~20% of the meniscus. I am 3 weeks post-op and I am getting very concerned that something is wrong because I still can’t bend my knee more than ~40 degrees. When it comes to extension everything seems ok, but when I get near the ~40 degree flexion there is intense pain at the bottom of my kneecap. The pain gets even worse if I point my foot up at all while bending my knee. Additionally, my knee and foot are still quite swollen. Please let me know if you think there may be something wrong or if this is somewhat common. (just a btw, I’m a 19 year-old male athlete, if that info means anything)

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    Ajay,
    ACL recovery is a process. Many patients experience mild swelling for many weeks after surgery. Your Physical Therapist should be working with you to obtain full range of motion, though this will also take time. Extension is often focused on first, followed by flexion, with the goal to ultimately return the patient to their previous activity level. If you are concerned about your swelling or range of motion, I would recommend discussing these concerns with your orthopedic surgeon and/or Physical Therapist. They can give you a more detailed idea of what to expect at each stage of recovery. Wishing you a quick recovery.

    Reply

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