ACL Reconstruction / Keyhole surgery

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Hi 

I had ACL reconstruction 5 weeks ago and also keyhole surgery to re attach a bone fragment which had come off and was sitting behind my knee which caused it to lock.

The injury occurred on 23.09 and I had both operations 22.10. 

I am now 5 weeks post op and still can’t fully straighten my knee past 18 degrees or bend past 90 degrees which I am beginning to worry about more and more every day as I was on crutches for 2 months and had my knee bent this whole time.

As discussed I am 5 weeks post op but was not referred to a physio so have only had 2 sessions which started 10 days ago.

Any feedback or alternative exercises that people have found worked for them in the past would be great.

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi jack,  I've not had acl reconstruction but had mpfl reconstruction and I'm 4 weeks post op.. I'm still unable to bend knee to 90 and fully straighten leg... i to was on crutches for 2 months while waiting for op and my knee was bent .. just keep at it

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    • Posted

      Hi Gemma,

      Good to speak to somebody at a similar stage of rehab and recovery as myself. How soon did you have physio after your operation and how long is your estimated recovery?

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    • Posted

      Hi jack.. I had my first physio 2 weeks after op which I really struggled with and leg and ankle swelled up so much.. I had my 26 staples out that same day too... I now have physio every week with main aim at moment is working on getting knee bent and to put more weight through leg when walking.. I am struggling but getting there.. I got it quite bent today and in agony now haha so I'm just taking each day as it comes... consultant told me it can be 3/6 months before I can start high impact activities etc and could take up to this time for full recovery

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  • Posted

    Hi, i struggled with bending & straightening too, I didn’t have an ACL reconstruction though, but an arthroscopy to remove torn cartilage and then some complications after which delayed my recovery a lot. 

    What exercises has the physio said to do? And are you in pain? 

    My surgeon was v keen to get my leg straightened & seemed to put more focus on that initially, he told me to lie front-down on my bed with my knee just at the edge, and let gravity pull my leg down. It was sore at first and he told me to build it up from a few seconds to a few minutes depending on how it felt. After a while I was told to also use my ‘good leg’ to push down on it a little more to help it straighten further. I’d lie on the bed reading or just resting (as much as you can rest when your leg’s dangling off the edge!) 

    Also - sitting on floor with legs straight out in front of you, and putting something under your heel to raise your foot slightly. I used a small towel, just folded a little to start with and gradually rolled up to create a higher platform (though it was never really that high) It just means again there’s a little more gravity at work, you can push down on your knee too if that doesn’t hurt too much. I found it took quite a while to see much change, I’ve realised knees are things that take way longer than you ever expect, so patience (which I generally lack!) is needed! The bending exercises I was given were the ones where you sit on a chair and put your foot on a plastic bag (so it slides easily) and slide your foot back underneath your chair seat as much as possible. Also use your good leg to push/bend it more if possible. I think those are usually the standard ones, but check with your doc/physio if they’re ok for you. 

    And now for another option if things don’t change... go back to your surgeon & ask about internal scarring. Hopefully it won’t be an issue, but my leg wouldn’t bend barely at all despite me trying all the exercises and everyone telling me to “give it time”. I managed to get back into see my surgeon & he sent me for a scan and it showed internal scarring on my knee. With persistent & rather brutal physio this would apparently break down eventually, but would take a very long time, so another option I was given was an MUA - manipulation under anaesthetic, where they give you a general or a spinal + sedation, and then force your leg to bend and straighten to break the scar tissue. A pretty grim thought I know, and I was really scared of it, but it didn’t hurt in the end as I was out of it! I think MUAs are more commonly used for total knee replacement patients whose knees won’t bend/straighten afterwards, but if you’re prone to scarring (no idea what makes someone prone to it) or have had other stuff going on causing problems (I had bleeding into the joint which caused problems) then it may be an option. 

    I don’t know the time frames for knee bending/straightening for ACL ops, but hopefully it’ll just be the physio that you need. I was told to do my exercises 3x/day every day. Hope some of this helps, and hope things start to improve for you. 

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    • Posted

      Hi sally,

      Good to hear about different avenues and types of solutions that could be restricting currently.

      I have been laying on my front with ankle weights - 1.5 kg to add force but have been doing so for 2 weeks now with no progression.

      I started with 20 degrees 2 weeks ago and have had a slight improvement of 18 degrees since and I am finding this the most difficult stage of my rehab.

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