ACL Reconstruction: 3 Ways To Make Recovery More Comfortable And Convenient

Recovery after ACL reconstruction can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months depending on the extent of the work that was done during surgery. Your doctor will provide you with the information and support you need to ensure that recovery doesn't drag on longer than necessary. But the recovery process is likely to be stressful and inconvenient because it will likely interfere with your lifestyle. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to make your recovery easier, less stressful, and more convenient overall. Consider using one of these tips:

Make the Resting Period More Interesting

During the first couple of weeks after your ACL surgery, it will be possible to move your knee but it's likely to be pretty painful. You will need to spend a lot of time resting and elevating your leg throughout the day to keep swelling in check. Your doctor will provide you with a series of exercises to perform while you rest so blood clots are less likely to develop, but otherwise you can expect to experience downtime most of each day during the 2 weeks or so after surgery. Make the initial recovery process more comfortable and less boring by packing an activity box before the surgery and storing it in the room you plan to spend most of your time recovering.

The box should include things like puzzles, crossword books, magazines, and books that will make it more enjoyable to pass the time when you're sitting or lying around. Head to the movie rental store and pick up a few movies you have yet to see but haven't had the time for and include it in the box too. The idea is to make sure that you always have something interesting to do during the initial recovery period so you're less likely to focus on your inability to move around and go about your daily life as you did before surgery.

Take Your First Steps in Comfort and Style

After about 2 weeks of resting your knee after surgery, you should be ready to start walking around and putting full pressure on your leg. However, your doctor may fit you with a brace that you'll have to wear for extra support as you build your strength back up again. To ensure that your self-esteem and confidence doesn't take a hit while walking around in a knee brace, consider going on a small shopping spree for new clothes that will cover the brace. A new pair of slacks for work and a loose pair of jeans for casual activities can go a long way in terms of making the recovery process less stressful and more comfortable overall.

Turn Rehabilitation into a Hobby

Once you're up and walking around, your doctor will prescribe physical therapy treatments that can last up to six months, so it's important to work with them in creating a plan that you'll enjoy and can turn into a hobby as time passes. Start by making a list of physical activities that you already enjoy doing so your doctor can implement as many as possible into your physical therapy plan. Your doctor should also be able to suggest therapy activities based on your basic lifestyle interests.

Once you've identified a few activities that you'll enjoy and will help you recover, you can work with your doctor to create a weekly treatment plan with your physical therapist. The activities you engage in during physical therapy should be things you want to do in your own time so you'll be more inclined to practice at home between official sessions. Consider engaging in sports activities, swimming programs, or low-impact kinetic workouts. 

For more information and help with your recovery, talk with an orthopedic doctor, such as those at Town Center Orthopaedic Associates, P.C.