ACL Injury – Five Tips for Rapid Recovery

April 13, 2018

Recovery

The ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is one of four crucial ligaments that provide strength and stability to the knee. The others are the PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament), MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament), and LCL (Lateral Collateral Ligament). The MCL and LCL are on the inner and outer sides of the knee and run vertically whereas the ACL and PCL cross beneath the kneecap from top to bottom.

The ACL and PCL have a very poor blood supply which means that reconstructive surgery is usually required and a graft used to replace a torn ACL/PCL. Indeed, as the PCL is much stronger than the ACL, it is the ACL that is most often torn (200,000 cases per annum in the US alone) and it is the ACL injury that is, therefore, such a debilitating injury.

This article provides 5 key tips for rapid recovery from ACL injury. These are from my own personal experience. I quickly recovered from a full house of complete ACL, MCL and LCL tears, and I have documented what I believe to be the key factors associated with that rapid recovery.

Tip 1

In terms of ACL recovery secrets, the single most important factor for a quick recovery – a factor that improves the recovery time by a factor of 2 or greater – is the type of graft chosen. Of course, you should consult with your surgeon on what is best for you and, if you’re a professional athlete, my recommendation is not likely to be the best choice. However, for the rest of us casual athletes, this recommendation will see you recover way quicker than any other.

Grafts tend to be of the following three types:

  • Patellar tendon – a piece of your own tendon is taken and used to replace the ACL. It matches tissue well and allows bone to bone healing which is strong but this can lead to anterior knee pain for years to come.
  • Hamstring tendon – two tendons are taken from the hamstring and bound together and used as the graft. Healing can take longer because there is no bone to bone healing but this graft alleviates anterior knee pain.
  • Cadaver – donor tissue. This has the advantage of requiring less operation time, being less painful and allowing for smaller incisions. The focus is on one area only and is much less disruptive as there is no secondary operation to remove the graft from the patella or hamstring. The disadvantage of a cadaver graft is that it is not as strong as the other graft types.

I had ACL surgery on day 34 after incurring my injury. Four days later I was off painkillers, was not using crutches or my knee brace and was starting post surgery physical therapy. I had a cadaver graft. This contrasted with other people I know who had grafts taken from their own bodies and were largely incapacitated for two weeks post-surgery.

So for non-professional athletes my number one tip for a quick recovery from ACL surgery would be to take a cadaver graft.

Tip 2

Use RICE techniques (rest, ice, compression, elevation) immediately post-injury, up to surgery and then afterward. This is somewhat obvious but, for rapid ACL recovery, take it to extremes. For example, in my case, the discipline that helped me enormously with my leg inflammation was passing up on situations where I would have to sit with my leg hanging down. I was lucky in that I work in an office and was always able to sit with my leg supported by another chair, but dining out, eating at the dining table at home were all passed up in favor of sitting with my leg up on the sofa.

Also, icing and compression can be accelerated and accentuated with an ice/compression cuff system such as the Aircast Cryo/Cuff Cooler.

Tip 3

Pre-surgery knee strengthening. Keep the leg and knee moving before surgery. Establishing a good range of motion (120 degrees of knee bend) ahead of surgery will help with the healing process post surgery. Ankle pumps help reduce calf muscle atrophy (wasting) where quad sets are essential to minimize quadriceps atrophy.

Walking is good and can be enabled by an ACL brace such as the DonJoy TROM Adjuster Knee Brace. This not only gives you a degree of normality and independence but it also means your calf muscle will work which will reduce atrophy and control swelling. In my case, use of this brace also meant I could drive again 8 days after injury – admittedly I drive an automatic.

Tip 4

Stay ahead of the pain curve. Anyone suffering an ACL injury will be prescribed strong painkillers both immediately after injury and then again after surgery. It is really important that they are taken as prescribed, including during the night. I set the alarm during the night to ensure I did not miss taking the painkillers. This is essential because if the pain gets you it can be very difficult to get rid of and, more importantly, you won’t want to move and moving is critical to rapid recovery.

Tip 5

Post-surgery knee strengthening exercises. As soon as possible post-surgery, begin the exercise regime that will re-build strength and stability, reduce inflammation, and increase range of motion.

Use of a stationary bicycle is extremely important to keep the knee moving. Twice a day, even if just rocking on the pedals in the first few days, was the frequency that saw me make such a paid recovery.

45 Comments

  • Shayla Sims Sims April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    We all want to say thank you for saving are animals. You save a lot of animals and it means a lot to me because I love animals

  • Bobby Davila April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    omg i love ittttff

  • still laughing April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    You guys are amazing! A true blessing!

  • Justin Maldonado April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Thank you

  • meenakshi negi April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    God bless you

  • Kutong Lupa April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    I really love this guys.

  • Rishika Dey April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Lovely!animals love best they can only give real love and everything's

  • oi Fofinha April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

  • Silva Richard Silva April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    May God Almighty Bless you Animal Aid Unlimited and all on here ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ˜ฟ

  • Irini Adler April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    What a sweetheart! Thank you for helping her!

  • Manpreet Singh April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜˜

  • Bianca Jensen April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Poor little guy ๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ข

  • Chelsea Benn April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Poor baby โค๏ธ
    Iโ€™m so happy you guys save these little sweethearts โค๏ธ

  • softcupcake ytgaming April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Excellent job animal aid but i saw in the bottom of the video there were 407 dislikes,who would disliked this video

  • Rommel morales sanchez April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, I DONT HAVE MONEY BUT THANKYOU

  • Irish Valencia April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Your the best animal heros

  • Selene Mondragon April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Woooooooooooooow!!! Millones de like! !!! ๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘los amoโคโค๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

  • Caitlin Bellah April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Yay!! She really is Happy ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Redcat Redcat April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Thank you angels, as usual๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

  • joydeep sarkar April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Who hit her on head ? Probably a MF evil soul . I swear if I see in front of me such case , I'll do the same hazard to the person which they do to these vulnerable animals.

  • Anjana MS April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    I love dogs and other animals.i also want to help those poor animals.but how can I????

  • Priya Raj April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    my side 1000th ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘good gope

  • Gabriela One April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Do they get adapted after recovery?

  • Abhijit Mukherjee April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Thakur apnadar mongol koruk.

  • Rohan Reznor April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Watching this made me happy. ๐Ÿ’š

  • Lexi Hewitt April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Did you save the dog

  • Deijee Das April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Great

  • ุฎุทูŠู‡ ูŠู…ู‡ ุงู†ูƒุณุฑ ู‚ู„ุจูŠ ุนู„ูŠู‡๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’” ู…ู† ุทุงุจ ูŠู„ู‡ ูุฑุญุช

  • Big boss. RJ April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    I love your team
    of new life to…….animals
    thanks to…………all

  • Howard Henderson April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Me

  • shadow deman April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    pictures of the dogs I cannot watch the whole video I was too sad why do animals die in Game of Thrones I love animals I wear pajamas and I have a lot of towels from your house so if you just please help other animals like I can Jordan everything even if it's a wild bear or something Pikachu can't do that fun stuff call the fire department on the in the doctor thank you my name is flurry heart can I go in Virginia to Henderson actually School first grade and I am in miss Ryan's class

  • Galactic Tรก Ren April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Dude like, my heart is dark AF, but, this made me tear up, bless you for saving her, the animals always get me

  • Oscar Gaming April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Or uptown funk

  • Oscar Gaming April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    What if the put itโ€™s the best day ever by spongebob

  • Harnek Singh April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    animal aid loveeeeeeeeeeeee you

  • gurcharan singh April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    happy ending …..

  • Igor Sanders April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    ะฅะฒะพัั‚ะธะบ ะฑัƒะดั‚ะพ ะฟั€ะพะฟะตะปะปะตั€)

  • Igor Sanders April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    ะšะฐะบะฐั ะถะต ะพะฝะฐ ะทะฐะนะบะฐ)

  • Vijay Rana. April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Aap bahot hi aachha kam kar rahe ho. Me god se aap ke lia aachi prathna karu gaa. Or me gujarat me rahta hu mere aaha koi aesa khas hospital nahi joo animals ki jarur pade tab kam aaye. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

  • apoorv tiwari April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    you just saved one life

  • UNIQUE ONE April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    I like the work done by you

  • Daffa Rusydi Hasibuan April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am
  • jyoti dhole April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    You guys are amazing!

  • sheraarehs April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    โ™ฅ๏ธโค๏ธโ™ฅ๏ธโค๏ธ

  • Jineesha James April 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

    hands of god

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