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Avoid these Common Mistakes – What Not to Do after ACL Surgery

Having an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) procedure is a major step towards healing from a knee injury and reconstituting balance to the joint. Nonetheless, for a full recovery, it is vital to comprehend which activities should be avoided after the surgery. Knowing this helps advance the healing process, stay away from problems, and reach the most favorable result.

It is important to be aware of potential mistakes that may occur during an ACL surgery recovery journey; following your surgeon’s advice and comprehending the basics can help you achieve a successful recovery. Taking the necessary steps to optimize your rehabilitation, reduce setbacks, and ultimately regain strength, mobility, and function in your knee will ensure a smooth process.

Introduction to ACL Surgery

Your Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is critical for knee stability, constituting an astonishing 90% of the joint’s structural support. It stops your shinbone (tibia) from running ahead of your thighbone (femur), and keeps your knee from hyper-extending. Clearly, a well-functioning ACL is essential to optimal joint operation.

You may know ACL surgery by its monikers, “reconstructive” and “scaffolding”. During the procedure, either autograft tissue from you or allograft tissue from a donor is used to form a new ligament. To ensure the new ACL heals in the correct place, screws and/or metal buttons are employed as support while it sets.

Many who have an ACL surgery can go back to their usual activities in 4-6 months. It is a must to follow your surgeon’s post-op advice and attend all physical therapy appointments to reduce the chances of being hurt again and guarantee a desirable result.

What not to do After ACL Surgery

After ACL surgery, it is important to avoid certain activities and behaviors in order to promote healing and prevent further injury. These include:

  • Instead of engaging in high-impact activities, such as running, jumping or contact sports, opt for lower-impact exercises that can still give you an effective workout.
  • Using shoes that put stress on the knee, such as high heels, can be harmful.
  • Remaining in one position for extended periods without taking the time to get up and move around.
  • Sleeping on your stomach or side can put extra stress on the knee and lead to pain.
  • Failure to abide by the physical therapy protocol prescribed by your doctor or therapist is unacceptable. It is key to recovering from ACL surgery, so it must not be ignored or neglected.

Common Mistakes People Make After ACL Surgery

It’s crucial to allow your incision time to heal, before applying any pressure by jogging, heavy lifting, carrying heavy objects or doing high-impact activities. Your doctor will be able to provide the necessary go-ahead when your incision is ready.

  • It may be appealing to rush back into your usual activities, however, that can have the opposite effect and potentially cause a re-injury. Accordingly, it is important to follow the advice of your doctor and step up your activity level gradually, with necessary rest periods in between.
  • Failure to follow through with physical therapy after ACL surgery can cause decreased range of motion, muscle weakness, and an increased risk of re-injury. PT is a crucial part of the recovery process and should not be ignored.
  • It is crucial to engage in strengthening exercises as part of your recovery, so that the muscles around your knee joint can be properly supported by the new ACL graft. Neglecting these exercises carries the risk of re-injury or continued instability and pain in the joint.
  • Getting clearance from a doctor before engaging in high-impact activities is essential for the safety of your ACL graft. Returning to sports or similar strenuous activities without proper authorization risks serious injury. Get approval from your physician prior to engaging in any vigorous exercises.

Physiotherapy and Recovery Exercises

It is critical to follow the correct recuperation program after suffering an ACL tear in order to guarantee a successful conclusion. Not doing so can result in a re-injury or more harm to the knee joint. Here are some common errors to evade during physical therapy and healing:

  • It is critical to allow the knee to properly recover before beginning any type of physical activity. Placing too much strain on the joint prematurely can impede recovery and even result in further damage.
  • It is imperative that you do all exercises your physiotherapist or surgeon has prescribed. Omitting any of them can increase the possibility of reinjury or additional harm.
  • Make sure you do your exercises with proper form and technique. Not executing them correctly can result in new or additional injuries.

Recovery from ACL surgery doesn’t happen overnight – it requires patience and dedication. To reduce the risk of re-injury while making sure you’ll be back in action, ensure your exercise intensity and frequency increases slowly.

Diet and Nutrition Tips for a Speedy Recovery

It is essential to look after your diet and nourishment following ACL surgery, in order to allow for a swift recovery. It is best to abstain from certain items to accelerate your recuperation and evade potential difficulties.

First, fatty foods should be avoided as they can impede healing. Secondly, alcohol should be avoided since it can interfere with healing. Protein should be consumed to ensure proper tissue repair, and vitamin C is important for stimulating collagen production. Lastly, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water will help clear out toxins.

Alternatives to Traditional Knee Rehabilitation

There are various alternatives to traditional knee rehabilitation, each having its own advantages and disadvantages. Popular choices include water therapy, electric stimulation, and massage therapy. Before beginning any program, it is best to explore all possibilities with your doctor or therapist.

Water Therapy utilizes exercises in a pool or other body of water to help protect joints from further damage or deterioration. The buoyancy of the water helps reduce the strain placed upon the joints while still allowing movement.

Electrical Stimulation is a form of therapy that utilizes electrical impulses to induce muscle contraction, allowing improved strength and range of motion in the knee joint. It has been demonstrated as particularly helpful for those rehabilitating from sports injuries such as ACL reconstruction or patellofemoral pain syndrome; however, it is important to seek professional advice prior to using this type of treatment.

Massage therapy has long been acknowledged as a go-to remedy for taking away aches and easing tension in joints. Whether one is looking to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, relieve discomfort or gain more mobility and flexibility, massage can be a valuable supplement to any rehabilitation program – even though it cannot protect against potential injuries like other treatments can.

Prevention of Re-Injury after ACL Surgery

After ACL surgery, it is key to evade the possibility of reinjury. Familiar missteps can cause reaffliction, so it is wise to be mindful of them and take precautions to elude them.

A frequent misstep is not adhering to the rehabilitation protocol. It’s vital to abide by the prescribed movements and drills so that you reclaim your strength and mobility. An equal error is overexertion. Performing too much activity can place undue stress on a reconstructed ACL, potentially leading to re-injury. Listen closely to your body and don’t strain yourself unnecessarily.

It is essential to give your knee the time it needs to heal before you increase your activity. Otherwise, there’s a risk of causing a setback in your progress.

Failing to use correct equipment can make re-injury after ACL surgery more likely. Heed your surgeon or physical therapist’s advice on the shoes and braces to wear, as using unsuitable gear increases the odds of having a setback.

By sidestepping these regularly seen errors, you can assist in obviating re-injury post ACL surgery and guarantee a prosperous healing.


ACL injuries can be greatly disabling, and surgery can put you back on track with your active life. Yet, it is crucial that you adhere to your physician’s orders and evade any errors that could hinder your recovery. It is imperative to avoid activities such as bending or twisting at the knee joint, hurrying back into sports prematurely, not carrying out physical therapy assignments, or not wearing a brace when necessary – these will only lag behind the healing course of action. However, with patience and commitment, you can eventually reach full rehabilitation so take care throughout this potential difficult period.


1. What is the most common mistake people make after ACL surgery?

One of the most frequent blunders made following ACL surgery is not tending to their physician’s instructions. It’s essential to be patient and let your body mend itself. Though you may feel tempted to push too hard, it can lead to undesirable results and possibly longer recovery periods.

2. What are some other common mistakes people make after ACL surgery?

Other common blunders include neglecting physical therapy exercises, attempting too much too soon, relying heavily on medication, and disregarding their incision area. All of these can potentially impede your healing process.

3. What are the steps to avoiding these errors?

To ensure a successful recuperation, it is essential to heed your surgeon’s instructions and abide by their recommendations. Start with modest activity and gradually increase as you heal. Don’t forget to do your physical therapy exercises as directed and don’t overuse painkillers or neglect your wound. Adhering to these precautions will get you back to full strength in a jiffy.

4. If I believe that I’m committing an error, what action should I take?

If you are concerned that a misstep is being made, it would be beneficial to reach out to the surgeon as soon as possible. They can provide the necessary guidance on how to address and remedy the issue, allowing you to move forwards with your recuperation.

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