If you need a more accessible version of this website, click this button on the right. Switch to Accessible Site


You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Close [x]

Request Appointment


Other than total knee replacement, a couple of the most common post-op knee surgeries we see are for ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and meniscus repair.  First, lets look at the ACL.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery is one of the more recognizable surgeries of the knee, especially to those familiar with the sports world.  Most people think of a gruesome football injury when they hear someone tore their ACL, but in fact a majority of ACL tears are non-contact injuries.

This comes from the USA Today article below:  "There are an estimated 80,000 annual ACL tears in the USA; 56,000 occur during sports. Basketball and soccer might account for two-thirds of the ACL injuries suffered by U.S. female athletes, according to one study. High school and college women's basketball players are five times more likely than their male counterparts to suffer the injury. Female soccer players are struck with the injury about three times more often than men in that sport."

The meniscus is a horseshoe shaped disc of cartilage in the knee for stabilization and shock absorption.  For some pictures of common tears, click here.  The third link below mentions that statistics show that more than 60% of patients with an ACL tear will also present with a meniscus tear.  According to this article, the medial meniscus is five times more likely to be injured than the lateral meniscus.

Surgery will only take place after swelling has gone down and range of motion is restored to normal or near normal.  Some surgeons will have you start physical therapy prior to surgery to decrease swelling and increase your strength.  After surgery, rehab for an ACL ranges from 6-9 months depending on your activity level and work situation and anywhere from 3-6 weeks for a partial meniscectomy and 12-16 weeks for a meniscus repair.

Rehab will focus on range of motion (ROM) first and light strengthening which may vary depending on if other structures are injured also. The quadriceps muscle is a main focus early on, as is full extension (a completely straight knee).  Some of the main early exercises are in our Basic Knee Exercises post.  Jogging generally isn't allowed till the 10th week at the earliest and generally not until the 12 week mark.  The great thing about aquatics is that it allows you to start jogging in water around the 7-8 week mark, so you get a head-start on that and other exercises because you are significantly reduced weight bearing in the water (approx. 40% weight bearing in chest deep water.)  Around the 4-6th month you will focus on return to sport activities if you are an athlete.

For an article on stats and prevention: 

Looking at grafting options and a general outline of rehab progression:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anterior_cruciate_ligament_reconstruction

For a very informative article written by an orthopedic surgeon:  http://hss.edu/conditions_14341.asp

For good info on a variety of knee conditions:  http://www.onsmd.com/knee/

For a video animation of a patellar graft ACL reconstruction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q96M0jRqn7k

Go to top of page