Post-Surgery Exercises

Post-Surgery Exercises

 

ACL Rehabilitation: Free Squat

Once you can bear weight on your leg without pain, start adding advanced exercises to your workout. Using gym equipment can be a good way to improve overall knee function. Before you begin, talk with a physical therapist or certified athletic trainer. Learn how to use the equipment the right way. Start slowly, and rest between each set. As you feel stronger, increase the number of sets.

CAUTION: Ask your healthcare provider if you're ready to do this exercise. If you do too much too soon, you could create new knee problems, or even reinjure your knee.

  • Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, feet flat, and toes pointed out.

  • Keeping your back straight and heels on the floor, bend down from your knees. Don't bend past 90 degrees, or so far that it causes pain.

  • Hold for 1 second(s). Then slowly rise back up.

  • Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

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ACL Rehabilitation: Hamstring Pull

After you regain muscle control, it's time to build strength. This helps you put full weight on your leg. For best results, warm up and stretch before starting. If your injury is recent, wait until swelling and pain decrease before doing this exercise.

  • Tie the ends of a piece of elastic tubing into a large, strong knot. Place the knot behind a door and close the door securely.

  • Sit in a chair and slip the other end of the tubing around the heel of your injured leg.

  • Slowly pull your heel toward you. Hold for 10 seconds. Then return to your starting place without releasing all of the tension.

  • Repeat 5 times.

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ACL Rehabilitation: Hamstring Stretch

Begin your rehabilitation with exercises that develop muscle control. These help you meet basic goals, like driving a car or going back to work. Exercise as often as you're advised. But stop right away if any exercise causes sharp or increasing pain. Icing your knee for 15-20 minutes after exercise can help prevent swelling and soreness.

  • Lie on your back with your good knee bent. Put a towel around the back of your injured leg. Tighten your stomach muscles.

  • Keeping the knee as straight as you can, slowly pull on the towel to bring your injured leg up. Raise it as far as you comfortably can.

  • Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

CAUTION: If you feel tingling or pain in your back or legs, you're not yet ready for this exercise.

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ACL Rehabilitation: Heel Raise

After you regain muscle control, it's time to build strength. This helps you put full weight on your leg. For best results, warm up and stretch before starting. If your injury is recent, wait until swelling and pain decrease before doing this exercise.

  • Stand with your back straight. Use one or both hands to hold on to a sturdy chair, railing, counter, or table.

  • Rise up on your toes, then lower your heels to the floor.

  • Repeat at least 10 times.

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ACL Rehabilitation: Leg Press

Once you can bear weight on your leg without pain, start adding advanced exercises to your workout. Using gym equipment can be a good way to improve overall knee function. Before you begin, talk with a physical therapist or certified athletic trainer. Learn how to use the equipment the right way. Start slowly, and rest between each set. As you feel stronger, increase the number of sets.

CAUTION: Ask your healthcare provider if you're ready to do this exercise. If you do too much too soon, you could create new knee problems, or even reinjure your knee.

  • Sit with your head and back lined up. Set the machine to the lightest weight. Put your foot on the plate with your knee slightly bent.

  • Push until your leg is almost completely straight. Then slowly and steadily return your leg to its original position.

  • Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

  • As your knee gets stronger, begin this exercise with your knee bent at 90 degrees.

Note: Ask your healthcare provider if you should use one or both legs for this exercise.

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ACL Rehabilitation: Straight Leg Raises

Begin your rehabilitation with exercises that develop muscle control. These help you meet basic goals, like driving a car or going back to work. Exercise as often as you're advised. But stop right away if any exercise causes sharp or increasing pain. Icing your knee for 15-20 minutes after exercise can help prevent swelling and soreness.

  • Sit or lie on the floor with your injured leg straight and the other leg bent. Point the toes on your injured leg straight up.

  • Raise your injured leg a few inches off the floor.

  • Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

Note: Do this exercise with toes turned out to strengthen inner thigh muscles.

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Exercises to Increase Agility: Cross Steps

The following exercise helps to increase your ease and quickness of movement. It copies complex everyday moves. This exercise was chosen for you based on the type of activities you'll be doing.

Note: Always stretch before and after exercising. Stop any exercise that causes pain.

  • Start with knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart.

  • Cross your right foot in front of your left.

  • With your left foot, step to your left.

  • With your right foot, step behind your left foot.

  • With your left foot, step to the left.

  • After doing the cross-step sequence 2 times in that direction, switch directions.

Repeat the entire exercise 10 times.

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Exercises to Increase Agility: Short Sprints

The following exercise helps to increase your ease and quickness of movement. It copies complex everyday moves. This exercise was chosen for you based on the type of activities you'll be doing.

Note: Always stretch gently before and after exercising. Stop any exercise that causes pain.

  • Sprint forward 10-15 feet. Stop. Feel your muscles absorb the shock.

  • Sprint backward the same distance. Stop. Go forward again.

  • Continue for 2-3 minutes.

  • Gradually increase your distance, speed, and total exercise time.

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Exercises to Increase Agility: Side Steps

The following exercise helps to increase your ease and quickness of movement. It copies complex everyday moves. This exercise was chosen for you based on the type of activities you'll be doing.

Note: Always stretch before and after exercising. Stop any exercise that causes pain.

  • Start with knees bent and feet together.

  • Step to the side with your left foot.

  • Step with your right foot to meet your left foot.

  • Step 3 times. Keep your steps short and comfortable.

  • Repeat the sequence in the opposite direction.

  • Continue for 2-3 minutes.

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Exercises to Increase Agility: Figure 8s

This exercise helps to increase your ease and quickness of movement. It copies complex everyday moves. This exercise was chosen for you based on the type of activities you'll be doing.

  • Follow a large figure 8 at a slow jog or brisk walk.

  • Keep at it for 2-3 minutes. Then reverse directions.

  • Gradually decrease the size of the figure 8 and increase your speed and time.

Note: Always stretch before and after exercising. Stop any exercise that causes pain.

Figure 8's help you to move around corners and to pivot.

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ACL Rehabilitation: Quad Sets

Begin your rehabilitation with exercises that develop muscle control. These help you meet basic goals, like driving a car or going back to work. Exercise as often as you're advised. But stop right away if any exercise causes sharp or increasing pain. Icing your knee for 15-20 minutes after exercise can help prevent swelling and soreness.

  • Sit against a wall with your injured leg out straight.

  • Tighten your front thigh muscles and press the back of your knee down toward the floor.

  • Hold for 10 seconds. Release. Repeat 5 times.

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ACL Rehabilitation: Knee Flexion

Begin your rehabilitation with exercises that develop muscle control. These help you meet basic goals, like driving a car or going back to work. Exercise as often as you're advised. But stop right away if any exercise causes sharp or increasing pain. Icing your knee for 15-20 minutes after exercise can help prevent swelling and soreness.

  • Sit on the floor with your legs out and feet flexed forward. Place a towel around the heel of your injured leg.

  • Pull the towel toward you, sliding your heel toward your buttocks. Keep the heel in contact with the floor.

  • When you feel a stretch (tightness) in the knee, hold the position for 10 seconds. Slide your foot back out. Repeat 5 times.

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ACL Rehabilitation: Stationary Bike

After you regain muscle control, it's time to build strength. This helps you be able to put your full weight on your leg. For best results, warm up and stretch before starting. If your injury is recent, wait until swelling and pain decrease before doing this exercise.

  • Once you can move your leg through a full turn, slowly pedal for 5-10  minutes. Alternate between pedaling forward and backward.

  • As your range of motion improves, pedal at a faster, steady pace.

  • To increase your endurance, pedal a few minutes longer and at a higher intensity each day.

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ACL Rehabilitation: Wall Slide Squats

After you regain muscle control, it's time to build strength. This helps you put full weight on your leg. For best results, warm up and stretch before starting. If your injury is recent, wait until swelling and pain decrease before doing this exercise.

  • Lean against a wall with your feet hip-width apart. Your feet should be about 18 inches from the wall.

  • Slowly slide down to a near-sitting position. Don't let your knees go past 90 degrees.

  • Hold for 10 seconds, then slide back up.

  • Repeat 5 times.

CAUTION: Do this exercise only if your healthcare provider says it's okay.

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ACL Rehabilitation: Hamstring Curl

Once you can bear weight on your leg without pain, start adding advanced exercises to your workout. Using gym equipment can be a good way to improve overall knee function. Before you begin, talk with a physical therapist or certified athletic trainer. Learn how to use the equipment the right way. Start slowly, and rest between each set. As you feel stronger, increase the number of sets.

  • Lie down on your stomach, being careful not to arch your back.

  • Place your heel beneath the bar of the weight machine.

  • Using a steady movement, lift your heel toward your buttocks as far as you comfortably can. Then let your leg uncurl with a slow and steady movement.

  • Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

Caution: Ask your healthcare provider if you're ready to do this exercise. If you do too much too soon, you could create new knee problems, or even reinjure your knee.

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Thermal Shrinkage for Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Repair

The ACL is a band of tough, fibrous tissue that stabilizes the knee. Injuries to the ACL are very common-especially among athletes. Most often, the injury occurs when the knee is forced beyond its normal range of motion. This can stretch or tear the ligament, much like the fibers of a rope coming apart. You may have pain and swelling and feel like your knee "gives out." A treatment called thermal shrinkage can help repair the ACL.

Thermal Shrinkage Therapy

Heating parts of the ACL causes them to shrink. This tightens the ligament and allows it to better stabilize the joint. Thermal shrinkage is done during an arthroscopic procedure. A long, thin lighted tube called an arthroscope is used to see and operate inside the knee.

  • Before the Procedure: Follow your surgeon's instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. You may need to stop eating and drinking after midnight before the procedure. When you arrive at the hospital or surgery center, you will change into a hospital gown. You will be given medication to relax you. You may be partially awake or completely asleep during the procedure.

  • During the Procedure: Small incisions are made around your knee. The arthroscope and surgical instruments are placed through these incisions. Magnified images of your knee joint appear on a monitor. To perform thermal shrinkage, the surgeon inserts a probe into the joint. This probe heats specific parts of the ACL. When these parts cool, they shrink, causing them to tighten and better hold the joint in place.

  • After the Procedure: You will go home the day of the procedure or stay 1 night(s). You will be given a rehabilitation program of exercises and physical therapy to strengthen your knee. This program may continue for 3-6 months.

Risks and Complications of Thermal Shrinkage Include: 

  • Infection

  • Nerve damage

  • Failure to tighten the ACL

  • Restretching or retearing of the ACL

  • Limitation in range of motion

Call Your Doctor If:

  • You have increasing pain or swelling

  • You have decreasing sensitivity or movement in your knee

  • You have a fever over 101°F or chills