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ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline to Resume Daily Activities

20 January 2023

ACL Reconstruction | Dr. Pankaj Bajaj
ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline to Resume Daily Activities

An ACL tear occurs when the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the center of your knee is damaged. The tear may be partial or total, with severe pain. You will hear a loud popping sound followed by excessive swelling and pain around the knee.

 An ACL tear is a widespread knee injury. It's usually caused by sports involving a lot of pivoting, jumping, twisting, turning, or sudden changes in direction, such as football, tennis, gymnastics, or basketball. There are surgical and nonsurgical treatments. To get ACL Surgery in Delhi visit neemtree best Orthopedic Centres Delhi/NCR, India.

ACL Tear Recovery Time

While each person is different, partial ACL tear recovery time is within three months, especially if you undergo physical therapy to rebuild function and strength in your knee.

However, it varies depending on the injury severity. You may never fully recover and will be at higher risk of injury.

ACL surgery recovery time

After surgery, acl recovery time takes around nine months. This includes the initial healing phases post-surgery and physical therapy. It’s imperative to wait until your ACL reconstruction  has entirely healed before returning to sports to prevent re-injury.

What to Expect During ACL Surgery Recovery

ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline

1–2 Weeks

You’ll experience pain and swelling immediately after surgery. It is crucial to rest, apply ice and avoid any activity that results in discomfort or pain. 
Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation starts a few days after surgery once the swelling and pain go down. Your physical therapist will advise aerobic exercise, gentle walking, and the reintroduction of strength training exercises.

Physical therapy is crucial to reduce inflammation and preventing scar tissue formation. ACL tear symptoms after two weeks, like pain and swelling, subside. It’s essential to regaining 90 degrees of flexion and works on strengthening the quadriceps muscle.

Many people discontinue crutches after two weeks, but it varies individually, depending on your surgical procedure and health. The pain medication use is discontinued around nine days. Patients can resume driving around 11 days, and people return to work around 7-11 days after surgery.

3–6 Weeks

Most people can move around in six weeks but still, struggle to perform activities requiring knee flexion. Your physical therapist will focus on proprioception and balance exercises during this time. They might also introduce basic strength training exercises to strengthen the hamstrings, quadriceps, and surrounding musculature. It’s crucial to respect ACL sprain recovery time to avoid reintroducing activities or sports too soon and work closely with your physical therapist to prevent the risk of re-injury.

2–3 Months

After clearance from your physical therapist, you can reintroduce certain activities as you receive approval from a physical therapist. A good range of motion is crucial to limit swelling before reintroducing exercise. Your physical therapist may approve reintroduction to activities involving a forward motion but still, avoid activities that require twisting movements or quick turning.

The focus should remain on strength training in your rehabilitation program. Around three months into your ACL injury recovery time, your therapist may start you on a running program that begins with short-duration jogging and gradually work up to more extended periods of running. Modifying your exercise and rehabilitation program based on your progress and after consultation with your physical therapist is recommended.

3–9 Months

Your physical therapist will advise you to gradually reintroduce specific movements, such as lateral and jumping. They may also start to add in sports-specific activity in a controlled fashion slowly.

Moreover, your physical therapist will incorporate more activity and movement based on your knee healing. However, It's important to restrain from returning to sports too early in case the graft is yet to recover fully.

ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline  May Vary.

Some people are approved to return to their sport earlier than around nine months post-surgery, while others may need closer to 12 months before returning.

Your timeline depends on how well your injury is healing, your movement function, and your strength levels which can vary between individuals.


An ACL tear temporarily stops playing your favorite sport or working your job. A surgeon and physical therapist can perform various tests to determine if you are ready for everyday activities, such as the hop and isokinetic quadriceps strength tests. Ultimately, listening to your physical therapist and surgeon about returning to activity is best. Your healing after surgery relies on choosing to use a crutch and working hard on your physical therapy. Doctors based on their experience, skills, and knowledge of ACL tears. Moreover, Neemtree Healthcare is a respected name in the field of orthopedics. With years of clinical excellence, their doctors adhere to the use of world-class technology for innovative care in the area of orthopedics and are your best choice. With more than 35 centers in 13 cities and treating more than 40000 happy patients, and an enriched experience of more than 40+ years, their credibility stands immensely validated.


What is Acl recovery timeline?

Ans. It depends upon Patient, Acl recover time is around 9 to 12 Months.

After an ACL reconstruction, what kind of follow-up is done?

Ans.  You will be seen inside the primary week, at two weeks, six weeks, 90 days and six-eight months. The physician will specifically examine and measure:

. The presence of persistent pain and swelling
. Knee range of motion
. Laxity of the graft Leg strength
. Knee function during routine daily activities

How painful is ACL surgery recovery?

Ans. First week most Patient experience some pain and discomfort related to surgery. Neemtreehealthcare having experience surgeon which help you throughout your recovery from Acl Surgery.


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Dr. Pankaj Bajaj

MBBS, MCh orthopedics , DNB orthopedics , MS orthopedics

Know Your Doctor Extensive experience of more than 25 years in......read more