Reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament involves a day in hospital. Drains are removed approximately four hours post surgery. You will commence some basic range of movement exercises. Instructions will be given on how to use crutches and you will be taken for a walk.
You will be given a description of all the exercises and it is suggested that you continue to practise them at home every hour or so.
1. Active flexion and extension
Slide your heel up and down the bed to allow bending and straightening of the knee.
2. Active flexion and extension lying on side
As for No.1 but performed on your side with your affected leg down.
3. Calf exercises
Bend your foot up and down from the ankle to maintain good circulation in the leg.
1. Static hamstring exercise – With one knee bent at about 30o, push the heel into the bed and hold for about 5 to 10 seconds. These may then be performed at varying angles of the knee.
2. Co-contraction exercise – These involve contraction of the hamstrings and quadriceps muscle at the same time. Think of trying to hold the leg as rigidly as possible which helps to protect the knee joint and in particular the graft. With the knee bent over a pillow, push down into the pillow as hard as you can. Once you have achieved this and are holding your knee down, try and take the weight off your heel by lifting your foot off the bed. Hold for between 5 and 15 seconds.
IT IS MOST IMPORTANT THAT THESE EXERCISES ARE CONTINUED ONCE YOU GET HOME, UNTIL YOU BEGIN FORMAL PHYSIOTHERAPY.
Do Exercise as often as possible – little but often is best, eg 5 minutes each hour.
Do Keep the leg elevated when not walking.
Do Stay on crutches until advised otherwise.
Do Apply ice to the knee if you are concerned about any swelling.
Do If braced, adjust the brace as necessary as it will tend to slip as the leg loses some bulk, ie loosen the straps, adjust the hinges of the brace so they are opposite your knee cap, then tighten the velcro straps.
Don’t Ensure the leg does not get wet until the wounds are clean and dry.
Don’t Drink too much alcohol, especially in the first few weeks as the leg may become swollen and walking with crutches may be difficult.
Walking for the first time using crutches can be difficult.
When attempting to walk with crutches, there are a few important points to keep in mind.
When confronting stairs remember:
When going up, take your weight through your crutches and move your unaffected leg onto the first step. Take your weight through this leg and then move your crutches and injured leg up onto the same step.
When going down, take your weight through your unaffected leg and move your crutches down onto the first step. Take your weight through the crutches and move the injured leg onto the step, followed by your unaffected leg.
IF YOU HAVE ANY WORRIES OR QUESTIONS, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL THE DOCTOR OR THE HOSPITAL