In the third month of ACL reconstruction recovery you'll start to feel like your old self again (finally!).
OK so I'm not completely immune to weekend-long alcohol binges at the beach. I was gone for 2.5 days, pretty much in an active state where I was utilizing my legs 90% of the time (not counting sleep). On top of this, I slept with my ACL surgery knee bent two nights in a row (and the car ride was ~5 hours with it bent). Needless to say, my knee got swollen and hurt like hell, so I've been icing it and elevating it as much as possible, and sleeping with it my bad leg straightened, both of which seem to be helping. I didn't want to take a picture because I'm too angry at myself for the setback, but I have an appointment with the surgeon this week as well as my last knee physical therapy session, so I will follow up with what they had to say.
TL;DR: Even two months out, be careful!
As promised, after following up with both the surgeon and physical therapists (both of which I was scheduled to see this week coincidentally), they told me that the knee swelling is the body's way of letting you know that you overworked it. It does feel like it's gone down faster than it had post-op, so I might have overreacted, in part due to the fact that alcohol was involved and I was unsure if I caused traumatic knee damage or not.
Side note: This was my final physical therapy session, and they sent me home with an knee rehabilitation exercise program to continue on my own at the gym, which I've posted here. It's mostly light-weight, high repetition exercises, with stretching mixed in.
I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture but the swelling has gone down a lot from a week and a half ago. Most of the remaining knee swelling is below my knee cap, to the outside (in the picture above, it's the top-left I'm referring to).
I've been keeping up with the ACL reconstruction rehab exercises, and the gym at my university has all of the same things I used at physical therapy which is great. My knee still gets sore if it's in the same position for too long, such as a long car ride, and I can feel it while walking if I've been sitting down too long like when I'm at work. I purchased a Knee Brace that works really well while I'm at the gym or walking long distances (I walk to campus), by adding noticeable support. I would highly recommend buying an athletic knee brace, as it also adds peace of mind.
It's been 15 weeks since my ACL reconstruction surgery. I'm now half way through the typical recovery process of 6 months, and my leg is still vulnerable to swelling and soreness if I go on a long car ride, or go out on weekends and am too active. I still feel like I'm fighting the swelling regularly, and am not sure if working out causes it to get worse, but either way with the brace I still get good leg workouts and stretches in while I'm at the gym. My inner-hamstring is also almost always sore, which could be a result of walking.
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