“My knee held up quite well and I was able to hike up the most difficult trial in the White Mountains ...I could not have done it without your support."

After ACL Surgery less then 5 months before.

Postcard in our pt department from satisfied customer.

ACL Reconstruction Post-Op

Office staff
Our physical Therapy Center
provides complete care.
Post-Op through Day 3

Pain Control

Post Operatively your femoral block should work well at controlling your pain for the first 10 hours.  During this period sensation is reduced, so please don’t use ice.

Don't wait until the block has completely worn off before starting your pain medicine.   You may take one to two pills every three to four hours as needed for the first three days.  After the block wears off you can begin icing for 20 minutes each hour while awake.  Do not apply ice while you sleep! 

Post-Op through 4th Week

Office Visit

Check- ups will be scheduled for the following Wednesday after surgery.  At this time, your incisions will be checked, sutures removed, and range of motion  reviewed. 


Please keep your incisions dry until the final sutures are removed at 10 days.  Until then you can cover your operative leg with a large plastic bag taped securely to your thigh and take a quick shower.  A chair or wooden stool can be used to sit on during showering.

Immobilizer Brace

The brace is worn for comfort and protection.  It is designed to support your knee in extension.  You can remove the brace at any time.  Please perform the passive range of motion exercises.  The knee should be flexed to 90 degrees during the first week and then increase to 135 degrees of flexion during weeks two, three and four.   In addition to flexion it is also important to practice straightening the knee.  As time progresses, you may remove the immobilizer at night for sleep


Use the crutches but walk with the foot flat on the ground placing 30% of your body weight on the operated leg.  After the first week you may advance to full weight bearing as tolerated.


1. Ankle pumps: several times per day to assist circulation in the lower leg.
2. Quad sets: 10x each waking hour.
3. Hamstring sets: 10x/waking hour.
4. Leg lifts (It may take a few days until you can once again perform them):  Start with one set of 10 reps, 3x/day.  Gradually increase to 3 sets of 40 reps, 3x/day.  This exercise is done lying first on your back, then on your stomach and lastly on the non-operated side.

Week 4

Office Visit

Immobilizer Removed.


Begin full weight bearing without your crutches and immobilizer. After you are comfortable walking with all your weight on the operative leg, eliminate first the crutch from the surgical side and then finally the second one.  Occasionally a cane may be needed as a final step before full unassisted ambulation.


In addition to all the previous exercises, an exercise bike, if available may be added.

Weeks 6 - 12

Office Visit

A formal rehabilitation program at physical therapy will be instituted.

Weeks 12 - 16

Office Visit

Continued Conditioning: Correct remaining strength and endurance deficits.  At this time conditioning may be transferred, completely or in part, to a gym or fitness club setting.

Months 4 - 6

Office Visit

Continue strengthening and endurance: Start preparation for return to sports:  Begin running program, start agility program and drills and finally sport specific footwork.

Return to Sports

At this point you may return to sports after demonstrating your ability to sprint, jump and cut from side to side.  You should also be able to perform the skills specific your sport and position.  At this time leg strength should be at least 85% to 90% of normal.

Establish a maintenance, strength and conditioning program.

Printed Information (PDF)

This information is provided by Orthopedic Spine and Sport Medicine Center as basic information about a specific orthopedic topic. It is not intended as a personal reply to your specific questions or concerns. It is hoped that the contents of this instruction will help you understand the nature of your orthopedic problem and the possibilities of treatment. The final decision regarding treatment, however, must take into account the possibilities of outcomes and complications and should be made only after consideration and further discussion with your physician. For more information, please contact Orthopedic Spine and Sports Medicine Center at 201-587-1111.

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