Recovering from ACL Tear Surgery

The knee is an important joint that helps connect the lower leg with the thigh. While the knee joint helps us extend, flex, and move our legs in certain positions, it is also a common site for dislocation and injury. Read on to find out more about Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear surgery, which is one of the most common knee related surgeries, and how to prepare and recover from it

Who is Prone to Suffer from the Condition?

ACL is common among athletes and people who engage in contact sports like football. A direct blow, a twist, or a fall can easily cause it to rupture or tear. When this happens, the knee will become unstable. Severe pain and swelling may follow. If you are sure you have this condition, you must take prompt action to salvage the situation. This may mean everything from signing up for a surgical procedure to physical therapy.

What Happens During ACL Tear Surgery?

Surgery is the most effective way to address a torn ACL. During the procedure, the damaged tissues are replaced with a stronger and healthier one, which is from the region close to the knee. This procedure is carried out using a device known as the arthroscope.

Here are the steps taken during the ACL Tear Surgery:

  • Incisions are made to the knee (2 or more incision)
  • An arthroscope is carefully inserted into any of the incisions made
  • Other surgical instruments are inserted to repair the affected area

Preparing for ACL Tear Surgery

You likely may be admitted on the day of your surgery, or the day before. If you have an existing medical condition or other medical issues, you may be admitted even earlier.

Below are some things that you should do and avoid on or before the day of your surgery.


Your doctor will ask you to stop smoking a week before your surgery. Ignore this, and a complication may occur during or after your surgery and you may recover at a much slower rate.


You must not consume any sort of food or drink, not even water on the day of your surgery. The reason for this is to prevent you from vomiting during surgery.

Have enough rest

Don’t engage in any stressful or strenuous activity on the day of your surgery. Try to relax and sleep for 7-8 hours the night before your operation. Don’t hesitate to let your doctor know if you need some sort of medication to help you sleep well.

On the Day of Your Surgery

Your doctor will likely advise that you take a bath and brush your teeth on the day of your surgery. Try not to drink anything, though. If you have to take some sort of medication, perhaps to address an existing medical condition, then you should take it with sips of water.

 Your nurse or doctor will ask you to do the following before your surgery:

  • Change into a gown
  • Remove makeup, dentures, jewellery, contact lenses, and so on
  • Urinate and rest while waiting

After the Surgery

After the operation, you will be taken to a recovery area. There, your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure will be closely monitored. Don’t hesitate to inform your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing any pain, nausea or giddiness. These are likely side-effects from the anaesthesia but being vocal about the pain will help medical staff keep track of your status and react quickly if any complications arose after the ACL tear surgery.


If no complications arise after surgery, your surgeon and physiotherapist will put together a rehabilitation plan for you. Your physiotherapist will likely instruct you to start with low-intensity exercises, like kneeling and hip bending. He or she will also teach you how to walk with a pair of crutches.

To ensure that you recover quickly, you must follow the instructions of your surgeon and physiotherapist to the later. Contact your doctor if you start experiencing serious pain or have any questions about recovery. Come for regular check-ups and practise the rehabilitation exercises at home for strengthening your knee. Be sure to eat healthy and nourishing foods, hydrate frequently and rest at home to recover well from the ACL surgery.

Read more about the ACL Tear Surgery offered here at Providence Orthopaedics.