If you pride yourself on being active, either through your job or your hobbies, it might feel devastating to experience an injury to your anterior cruciate ligament in your knee, or your ACL. You might not have pictured what life after such an injury could look like, and you may be worried that your life has to change radically around your injury.
Luckily, with the proper treatment and self-care, you can have a totally fulfilling and active life after an ACL tear. Keep reading to learn more about the options that Ani Medical Group of Hazlet and Old Bridge, New Jersey, can provide you.
Initial treatment routes
Like many complicated injuries, an ACL tear might differ in severity or effect from person to person, and so the options accessible to you depend on your particular case. The two main branches of treatment are courses of physical rehabilitation and surgical reconstruction or repair. Read on to determine which path might best fit you.
Healing your ACL without operations
Our team at Ani Medical Group will begin by offering nonsurgical routes if your ACL tear is not severe. Nonsurgical options include applying ice to the knee, elevating your foot, using compression wraps, and generally resting your knee and leg.
If these initial steps are helpful, our team will move on to longer-term treatments in the realm of physical rehabilitation. If this applies to you, you’ll be involved in some type of physical therapy course. You might meet individually with a therapist for a few weeks, or you may need to enroll in a full rehabilitation program to stretch and strengthen the leg for a longer period of time.
Surgical treatment options
Unfortunately, your ACL might not respond to nonsurgical modes of treatment. In that case, our team will begin to discuss surgical methods of treatment with you. Although surgery is the most involved treatment and requires the longest amount of recovery, our office is happy to offer several tips to ensure your physical well-being along the way.
Before and after ACL surgery
In an average ACL surgery, your damaged ACL is replaced with a sturdy tendon that helps to return strength to your knee and leg. In the days and hours leading up to the surgery, try to avoid bending your knee as much as you can. For example, try to sleep on the ground floor of your house, and have family members run errands for you that involve using stairs.
In the immediate aftermath of your surgery. you should know what to expect from the recovery process that lies ahead. You’ll mainly focus on easing pain and swelling in the first few days. In the long term, you’ll prioritize rest and taking care of your knee through the use of a brace and eventual transitions to gentle movement.
In about three to five days following your surgery, crutches will probably become your main form of transport. You’ll also want to introduce gentle range-of-motion, balance, and strength exercises over the next two or three months, in preparation for longer forms of rehabilitation.
The “final” phase of your recovery will be three to six months down the line, and this is when you can begin to introduce higher-intensity moves like running and jumping in your rehabilitation. In terms of exercise, you can begin low-intensity workouts like swimming and jogging, and it might be helpful to look into other low-impact exercises geared towards protecting your joints.
It’s true that an ACL injury can keep you sidelined for a significant amount of time, and you’ll need to work hard to help your body recover. However, if you seek treatment as soon as you suspect the injury, and if you educate yourself about your options before and after treatment, you can look forward to a new lease on life in less than one year. If you have any questions about ACL treatment, please don’t hesitate to call our team at Ani Medical Group at 732-264-8282, or request an appointment online today.