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Author Topic: ACL Reconstruction - 1 Week Post Op  (Read 1402 times)

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Offline Alan1981

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ACL Reconstruction - 1 Week Post Op
« on: January 22, 2015, 10:10:27 AM »
I had an ACL Reconstruction 8 days ago using a hamstring graft.  Surgeon refused to give me crutches or a brace and said I should be full weight bearing immediately.  I had no real pain for the first 4 days and have been getting around really well.

However in the last four days my calf has become really swollen and bruised and I'm getting a lot more pain.  No real pain in the knee itself but in the calf and in my hamstring.  I assume this is due to the graft but just not sure.

I've been given the standard exercises to do e.g. fully extending the knee and tensing the muscles.  I've also been told to bend the keen until it;'s uncomfortable and am getting well beyond 90 degrees.

I'm a bit concerned that I might be doing too much too early.  Having read a lot of forums, it seems really unusual to be walking without crutches so soon and I've also heard people saying that I shouldn't be bending the knee beyond 90 degrees.

Am I risking damaging the graft?  Any help much appreciated.

Offline kiaran95

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Re: ACL Reconstruction - 1 Week Post Op
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2015, 10:55:22 PM »
Hi Alan,

I've also had ACLr with a hamstring graft currently 4 months post op, and was given similar instructions by my surgeon, I was given crutches but he was very keen for me to bear weight early as it will not damage the graft. It's great that you can get your knee beyond 90 degrees at an early stage, but I doubt that bending your knee will have any effect on the graft unless you push with the flexion too much. But if the amount you can bend is unforced, then I'd expect that to be a good sign.

As for the calf pain, have you still got it? The symptoms youve described sound similar to those of a blood clot, you might want to get it checked out if it persists. If not that then I'd say its general post op pain/swelling, but then again I'm no doctor  ;D

Offline Valgrainger

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Re: ACL Reconstruction - 1 Week Post Op
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2015, 11:38:36 PM »
I'm new here and had a left ACLr last Thursday the 15th jan.
I had a hamstring graft and whilst I have crutches I am weight bearing with the usual exercises. I too can easily get 90degrees and can straighten my leg but I also have severe bruising which is painful behind the knee on the thigh and on the outer part of my shin/calf below the knee. I am black and blue from thigh to ankle despite having leg raised most of the day and using ice.
I'm quite relieved I'm not the only one in this situation!

Offline Snowy

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Re: ACL Reconstruction - 1 Week Post Op
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2015, 03:14:02 PM »
The bruising and pain in the calf is caused by the haematoma (blood and fluid) from the surgery making its way down the leg. It's quite normal, but is unfortunately very uncomfortable while it's going on. It usually takes a week or two to disperse completely. You might also experience blood rushes from it when you go from sitting to standing, which are really unpleasant.

Severe pain can be a sign of a blood clot, so if in doubt have your doctor take a look to be on the safe side.

Crutches and a brace aren't necessary if you just had a straightforward ACL reconstruction. It's actually better for overall recovery if you're weightbearing early, as it means you won't lose as much mobility and strength in the leg as you would if you were NWB for a period. Bending the leg also shouldn't cause any problems, as it's lateral movements that put stress on the graft. Just make sure you follow the doctor's instructions on movements that need to be avoided, and you should be fine.

Keep in mind when you're reading accounts of other surgeries that each recovery is individual, and so is the advice that the doctor provides. It's very common for ACL reconstructions to be done in conjunction with meniscus trims/repairs, which require more protection and more time on crutches. For those of us who just need the recon, early recovery can progress much faster. Let your surgeon and physiotherapist guide you; they're the ones who know your knee best.
Mar 11: R Biceps femoris tear (skiing)
Jul 10: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Mar 10: L ACL rupture (skiing)
Feb 06: L partial ACL tear (kickboxing)
Dec 03: R bone edema (motorbike)
Jan 01: R patellar chip (motorbike)
May 93: R ACL sprain (hockey)
Ongoing: bilateral PFS and OA

Offline magrathea

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Re: ACL Reconstruction - 1 Week Post Op
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2015, 11:42:31 PM »
It's very interesting to see how rehab recommendations change from place to place. I had an straightfoward hamstring graft ACLr on the 19th, and was told not to bear any weight on the leg, keep it always as straightened as possible, at least for the first two days.

Had an appointment just two days after surgery, and was told I could start weight bearing very gently, and to start the physiotheraphy at the one week mark. The physiotherapist just had me straightening and stretching the leg, along with some quad exercises. Still no bending past what feels comfortable (something between 45 and 90). Also still no sleeping on my sides :(

I'm confident in my surgeon, and my leg feels good I guess. I did lose a lot of muscle mass in the leg, but the quads are responding well (the hamstrings feels very tight though). I've tested and I can walk painlessly without crutches (still limping a bit), but I still use the crutches all the time due to the doctor recommendation. It gets me wondering if I'm really doing the best possible for my knee...

Anyway, I believe calf swelling and bruising is normal for a hamstring graft, my calf was as swollen as the knee itself. Now that the swelling is minimal I can see that I actually lost 1/3 of the volume compared to before the surgery.