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Author Topic: Cannot straighten my leg after ACL surgery  (Read 9024 times)

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Offline neettim

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Cannot straighten my leg after ACL surgery
« on: April 08, 2015, 05:46:05 AM »
Hello all, first off I just want to say that I'm glad I found this forum specifically about knee injuries and information.

So I currently 2 weeks out from my ACL surgery on my left leg, still on crutches, and I'm unable to fully extend/straighten my leg. I have done a bit of research saying that full extension should be achieved at around the 2 week mark and should be able to walk and if I can't get it to be fully straightened, I may never be able to straighten my knee. I wish I would've done my research a lot earlier because through my first week after surgery, I was doing all things wrong; sleeping with a pillow right under my knee and not working on extension. I hope this hasn't caught up to me and that I still have time to recover to a healthy knee.

For the past few days I have been working on getting my knee straight, but it really hurts to do so. The exercise I do is I elevate my leg at the heel of my foot so that my knee straightens out. I can do that but it'll constantly hurt and I just keep it there for a few minutes and take it back down. I also cannot manually extend my leg to its full extension. I can almost get it straight, but it's just slightly bent. When I'm standing up, it definitely hurts a lot when I try to straighten it. I get pain behind my knee and in front as well and this also happens when I accidentally fully straighten my leg while I'm walking. Please help me out. Any advice, tips, or information is much appreciated.

Thanks,
Nate

Offline neettim

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Re: Cannot straighten my leg after ACL surgery
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2015, 01:52:24 AM »
bump. Please help me out community

Offline rnm37

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Re: Cannot straighten my leg after ACL surgery
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2015, 01:14:39 PM »
You need to keep trying! If you can't manually extend it using your leg muscles, you need to do it passively, lying with your foot elevated and knee unsupported is a good start. Try and work down to having your foot at the same level as your hip with your knee unsupported (like sitting down with your foot propped up on another chair of similar height). These exercises really will hurt but unfortunately they are necessary.
If you werent doing this immediately post surgery it definitely isnt an ideal situation however it is recoverable if you put some hard work in. Do you currently have access to a physiotherapist? If so then I would highly recommend you book a few sessions to get an assessment and some advice.

All the very best,

Ross
June 2012 - ACL rupture and lateral meniscus tear

December 2012 - ACL recon (hamstring autograft) and meniscus trim

October 2013 - Retore ACL and tore medial meniscus :(!

January 2014 - Revision ACL recon (hamstring)

Offline neettim

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Re: Cannot straighten my leg after ACL surgery
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2015, 06:16:35 PM »
Ross,

Alright thank you very much for the advice. I will do my best then, but I currently do not have access to a physiotherapist. However I will continue to doing the exercises

Offline vickster

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Re: Cannot straighten my leg after ACL surgery
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2015, 06:28:58 PM »
So soon after fairly major knee surgery like an ACL you should be following the instructions of a physio. Why are you not seeing one? You might be advised to contact the surgeon for advice and referral :)
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Offline neettim

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Re: Cannot straighten my leg after ACL surgery
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2015, 05:08:44 PM »
So soon after fairly major knee surgery like an ACL you should be following the instructions of a physio. Why are you not seeing one? You might be advised to contact the surgeon for advice and referral :)

Well the doctor didn't tell my anything about it. The first 2 days after surgery he told me just to rest and after that just to do some at home exercises. At around 2 weeks and 3 days post op appointment, which was yesterday, I got the referral for physical therapy.

Offline neettim

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Re: Cannot straighten my leg after ACL surgery
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2015, 05:12:56 PM »
Update: So I'm about at 2 weeks and 4 days out from my ACL operation. I just received a referral for physiotherapy so I'll get started on that. I still can't fully straighten my leg, but I'm close. Like 5-10 degrees short of a straight leg. I can't manually extend my leg. I try to do it as hard as I can, yet I can't manage to move it more. Is this normal? Will I eventually get the motion back to fully extend my leg?

Offline nickcantwalk

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Re: Cannot straighten my leg after ACL surgery
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2015, 09:57:34 PM »
I'm two months (today actually) out of a much more complicated surgery (acl, pcl, lcl, posterolateral reconstruction, and it band) and also am struggling with extension. My current extension work involves stretching my hamstring and calf muscles multiple times a day in addition to at least 7 10-minute long holds in extension. I sit on the floor against a wall or couch, back straight, and place my heel on a folded towel. It is absolutely excruciating and I have yet to see definitive results, but I'm told this is necessary. While I've been in constant pain since surgery, the sensation during this extension holds is particularly brutal, but I really would like to avoid any more surgeries.

From what I've heard and experienced, gaining back extension is a long, slow, and painful process. I guess my only advice is to grit your teeth and put in the work... Best of luck.
1/30/15 - paragliding accident
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still hating life

Offline dal_knee

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Re: Cannot straighten my leg after ACL surgery
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2015, 04:03:35 AM »

I think a supportive treatment that orthopedists and physiotherapists won't necessarily be aware of but that will help extension tremendously would be dry needling of the calf and hamstring muscles.   I think you would be surprised by how much improvement you could get here with the extension problem you are having.    Do these treatments (physiotherapy and dry needling) concomittantly. 
2007 - partial medial meniscectomy
2010 - full thickness chondral defect & adjacent subchondral edema MFC.   Direct result of stupid partial mensicectomy from 2007.
2014 - Subchondroplasty, chondroplasty, unauthorized 2nd partial medial meniscectomy.
2015 - partial failure of subchondroplasty.

Offline neettim

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Re: Cannot straighten my leg after ACL surgery
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2015, 06:25:36 PM »
I'm two months (today actually) out of a much more complicated surgery (acl, pcl, lcl, posterolateral reconstruction, and it band) and also am struggling with extension. My current extension work involves stretching my hamstring and calf muscles multiple times a day in addition to at least 7 10-minute long holds in extension. I sit on the floor against a wall or couch, back straight, and place my heel on a folded towel. It is absolutely excruciating and I have yet to see definitive results, but I'm told this is necessary. While I've been in constant pain since surgery, the sensation during this extension holds is particularly brutal, but I really would like to avoid any more surgeries.

From what I've heard and experienced, gaining back extension is a long, slow, and painful process. I guess my only advice is to grit your teeth and put in the work... Best of luck.

How long do you do the heel raises for? And I totally get you. I'm now 3 weeks out and straightening my leg is so painful. Even worse, my physical therapy place is super busy so I can't start physio until next week which really sucks.















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