After ACL or MCL surgery, your doctor will prescribe a rehabilitation programme that may begin in the hospital under the guidance of a physical therapist and continue at home. The specific types of rehabilitation you undergo depend on the scope of your injury, your type of surgery and your goals for returning to activity. Your initial recovery will focus on making you comfortable and speeding your healing. You’ll start slowly and gradually progress to more active therapy later on.
Reduce pain and swelling
Different types of treatment increase range of motion and reduce pain and swelling. Your doctor may use a continuous passive motion (CPM)machine to gently move your joint and help drain fluids from it. The CPM machine can be used in the hospital and at home. ice elevation and pain medications may also be prescribed.
Gait training with crutches
After surgery you may be tempted to limp, developing an abnormal gait (walking pattern). Regaining a normal gait on crutches can help your joint work better. Your doctor will advise you about how much weight is safe to put on your leg.
Improving range of motion
Exercises to improve the mobility of your joint and kneecap (patella) can reduce the formation of scar tissue. Without these exercises, stiffening of your joint is likely. Your physical therapist may get you started on these exercises in the hospital, then you’ll be given others to continue at home.
Discontinue any exercise that causes unexpected pain and discuss it with your physical therapist or doctor.
Visits with your doctor help ensure that you’re on the road to recovery. Your doctor may use this time to chart your progress, change your dressings and check for any complications such as infection.
Call your doctor if you experience redness, excessive swelling, fever or an increase in pain. These may be signs of complications that require medical attention.