When can I get rid of these crutches?
This timeline varies from patient to patient. It is largely dependent on how fast the acute pain and swelling settle post-operatively, how soon knee range of motion returns, and the patients comfort walking with or without the crutches.
When can I return to sports?
It generally takes 6-9 months post-operatively to return to cutting and pivoting type sports. This is the length of time it takes for the ACL graft to become incorporated into the knee. It also takes at least this long to properly rehabilitate the knee and restore the strength and coordination required for these activities.
Is swelling normal?
Each patient is expected to experience swelling on the knee following an ACL reconstruction. The amount of swelling immediately post-operatively can be quite variable but often is quite dramatic and similar in degree to the swelling that develops following an acute ACL injury.
When can I drive?
It is possible for patients to drive sooner if it has been the left leg that has undergone surgery and if there is access to a vehicle with automatic transmission. Driving should be generally delayed until one is off narcotic pain medication, and once reasonable mobility has returned. This usually takes a period of approximately 2-3 weeks.
When can I return to work?
Return to work is dependent on both the nature of work and the time it takes for the acute pain after surgery to settle. Those employed in sedentary type positions, office work for example, are generally able to return to work 4-6 weeks post-operation. Some factors that may allow you to return to work sooner include: the rapid resolution of pain post-operatively, a less pronounced swelling response, the possibility of modifications being made in the work environment, or the ability to work from home. Those employed in more physically demanding positions would likely return sometime between 3-6 months post-operatively. An earlier return could be influenced by the patient's progress in rehab, the physically demanding characteristics of the job, the ability to purchase a functional ACL brace post-operatively and the possibility of whether modifications could be made in the work environment.