How to Heal After ACL Reconstructive Surgery

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructive surgery stabilizes the tibia bone (shinbone), prevents the tibia bone from sliding forward on the femur (thighbone) and stops the femur from sliding backward. It is a complex procedure, and as such, often requires a lengthy recovery process to ensure proper healing.

At La Peer Health Systems, our orthopedic surgeons help patients streamline the ACL reconstructive surgery recovery process. As part of our commitment to providing exceptional care and support, we are offering the following tips to help patients heal properly following ACL reconstructive surgery:

Participate in Physical Therapy

ACL reconstructive surgery actually begins prior to treatment. At this point, patients may perform physical therapy exercises to strengthen the leg and ACL muscles.

Physical therapy may be required for several weeks prior to ACL reconstructive surgery. A physical therapist usually works with an ACL reconstructive surgery patient and teaches him or her assorted leg and ACL exercises. Then, the patient performs these exercises with a physical therapist or at home.

ACL reconstructive surgery pre-rehabilitation exercises simultaneously reduce knee pain and swelling and increase range of motion in the knee. Failure to perform these exercises may slow down the healing process following ACL reconstructive surgery. Perhaps worst of all, ACL reconstructive surgery patients who ignore these exercises may struggle to regain full range of motion in the knee after treatment.

Follow the RICE Model

ACL reconstructive surgery patients may experience pain and swelling in the days following treatment. Patients who follow the “RICE model,” however, can alleviate these issues.

The RICE model offers a simple process to help ACL reconstructive surgery patients manage knee pain and swelling. It involves four steps:

  • Rest: Get plenty of rest. Also, use crutches as needed and avoid placing too much weight on the knee.
  • Ice: Ice the knee frequently; it generally helps to ice the knee at least every 2 hours for 20 minutes at a time.
  • Compression: Place a compression wrap or elastic bandage around the knee.
  • Elevation: Lie down and use pillows to elevate the knee.

In addition to the RICE model, physical therapy sessions following ACL reconstructive surgery may be beneficial. These treatment sessions help ACL reconstructive surgery patients strengthen the muscles around the knee, as well as improve knee flexibility.

Practice Proper Wound Care

An ACL reconstructive surgery patient will leave a treatment center with dressing and a bandage around his or her knee. The dressing and bandage should not be removed until an orthopedic surgeon indicates it is safe to do so; otherwise, a patient risks infection.

Furthermore, an ACL reconstructive surgery patient will need to wrap his or her leg in plastic when showering or bathing. This may be required until an orthopedic surgeon removes stitches around the treatment area.

Manage Post-Surgery Pain

Pain is normal following ACL reconstructive surgery. And in some instances, an orthopedic surgeon will prescribe medication to help an ACL reconstructive surgery patient minimize post-treatment pain.

To manage post-treatment pain with a prescription medication, an ACL reconstructive surgery patient should follow an orthopedic surgeon’s instructions. A patient should fill the prescription after treatment, along with notify the surgeon if he or she experiences nausea, drowsiness or any other side effects.

Avoid Work and Other Strenuous Activities

The first few weeks after ACL reconstructive surgery are crucial to ensure a successful recovery. For those who work a physically demanding job, it is important to take time off from work. This allows an ACL reconstructive surgery patient to focus on treatment recovery and limit the risk of further injury.

Most ACL reconstructive surgery patients should expect to be out of work for a few days or weeks after treatment. Patients will need to elevate the knee and keep their knee bandage clean and dry during this period.

An orthopedic surgeon may provide a patient with simple exercises to perform in the initial days after an ACL reconstructive procedure, too. These exercises are designed to help keep blood flowing to the leg and reduce the risk of clotting.

Begin to Put Weight on the Knee

An ACL reconstructive surgery patient may be required to use crutches for seven to 10 days following treatment. Next, when the patient is comfortable, he or she can start to put weight on the knee.

Typically, an ACL reconstructive surgery patient can begin to put weight on his or her knee approximately two weeks after treatment. In some instances, a patient may require up to eight weeks before he or she regains full use of the knee.

An orthopedic surgeon may fit an ACL reconstructive surgery patient for a special knee brace as well. The brace is set to enable a patient to move only a certain amount in all directions. Meanwhile, an orthopedic surgeon will respond to a patient’s concerns or questions about the brace and explain how it works and how to remove it.

Follow a Rehabilitation Plan

An orthopedic surgeon crafts a custom rehabilitation plan for each ACL reconstructive surgery patient. By following this plan, a patient can ensure his or her recovery stays on track.

ACL reconstructive surgery recovery varies based on a patient’s age, health and other factors. On average, an ACL reconstructive surgery rehabilitation program may range from two to six months. In some instances, the program may extend beyond six months.

Regardless of how long an ACL reconstructive surgery rehabilitation program requires to complete, it is paramount to maintain constant communication with an orthopedic surgeon. If a patient experiences any signs of infection or has ACL reconstructive surgery recovery concerns, this surgeon can provide immediate assistance.

Return to Physical Activities

An orthopedic surgeon sets ACL reconstructive surgery recovery milestones that a patient needs to reach before he or she can resume certain physical activities. Although it may be tempting to rush back to playing football, jogging and performing other physical activities, an ACL reconstructive surgery patient must meet an orthopedic surgeon’s recovery milestones before resuming these activities. That way, a patient can minimize the risk of future knee injuries.

Remember, the goal of ACL reconstructive surgery is to help an individual repair his or her knee and regain full range of motion in the knee. If a patient collaborates with an orthopedic surgeon throughout the recovery process, this individual can get the help that he or she needs to safely resume various physical activities as quickly as possible.

Schedule an ACL Reconstructive Surgery Consultation with a La Peer Orthopedic Surgeon

La Peer’s orthopedic surgeons teach patients about all aspects of ACL reconstructive surgery. By doing so, they help patients prepare for ACL reconstructive surgeries and achieve the best-possible recovery results. To find out more about ACL reconstructive surgery, please contact us today at 855.360.9119 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic surgeons

Summer Exercising Tips to Promote Orthopedic Health

Regular exercise is the key to orthopedic health, as strong muscles ensure strong bones.  Exercise not only has physical benefits but also has emotional and social benefits. A number of activities including running, swimming, golfing, tennis, weight lifting, hiking, and even walking can be safely pursued to enhance your orthopedic health. What if you want to embark on a regular fitness plan or have a medical diagnosis that may affect your ability to exercise regularly? It is always a good idea to see your physician for a check-up if you have any injuries or a chronic or unstable health condition, such as heart disease, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, a joint or bone disease (e.g., osteoporosis), or a neurological illness (e.g., stroke). This is especially true if you haven’t been active recently. It is imperative that you resist the urge to go full steam ahead into vigorous workouts, as this is a surefire way to overexert yourself and wind up with injuries. As the overall goal is to remain healthy and free of injuries, the following list discusses summer exercising tips to safely promote orthopedic health.

Maintain your equipment and dress appropriately

You don’t have to purchase expensive workout gear, but you should choose the appropriate clothing and athletic shoes for the activities you’ve chosen. You should wear light-colored and comfortable clothing that are loose-fitting and allow for free movement. Lightweight, breathable materials made of cotton or moisture-wicking materials are the best when exercising in hot weather. You should replace your athletic shoes as their cushioning wears out, every 6 months or possibly sooner if doing high-impact exercise such as running. It may be necessary to invest in protective equipment, such as a helmet or reflective clothing, and don’t forget to maintain your equipment and check it regularly for your comfort and safety.

Be aware of the weather

Warm summer weather is conducive to outdoor exercise for the promotion of orthopedic health, but exercising in the heat requires extra precautions. In general, the sun’s ultraviolet rays are at their most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Vigorous exercise between these hours can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke. It makes sense to take advantage of the cooler early morning or evening hours when the sun is less intense or exercise at an air-conditioned facility.

If you’re exercising outside, wear a hat and sunglasses as well as sunscreen to protect your face and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. It is recommended that sunscreen be applied 30 minutes prior to going outdoors and reapplied every 2 hours for prolonged exercise.

Always warm up and cool down

You should always have a warm-up routine of 5 to 10 minutes to prepare for exercise, even before stretching. A warm-up period gets your blood flowing, increases your heart rate, and loosens structures such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints, all of which help your body adjust to the demands you will be placing on it during exercise. Likewise, every workout session should end with a cool-down period. Some exercise experts insist it be twice as long as the warm-up period. You should decrease your pace and movement until you eventually cease to exercise. This allows both your heart rate and breathing to normalize as well as the cessation of sweating.

Don’t forget to stretch

A stretching routine before you move onto your actual workout will help increase your flexibility and maximize the benefits of your fitness routine as well as orthopedic health. The best time is after a warm-up period, as you can injure yourself by stretching cold muscles. The stretches should be slow, deliberate, and controlled, holding each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds (no more than 30 seconds) before a slow release. It should be noted that you should never stretch to the point of pain or bounce during a stretch. Just as you require a cool-down period after exercise, the performance of slow stretches is required after or during your cool down.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout, which should prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke. You could lose as much as 1 ½ liters of fluid for every hour of exercise. A general rule of thumb is to drink 16 ounces of water 15 to 30 minutes before commencing exercise and another 16 ounces after your cool-down period. A quick sip of water every 20 minutes or so during exercise will also help you stay hydrated. For most people, simply drinking plenty of water is sufficient, but rigorous exercise for prolonged periods may require sports drinks that replenish both fluids and essential electrolytes.

Be aware of your body and listen to what it is saying

You should pay attention for signs and symptoms of exhaustion or dehydration, which may include dizziness, nausea, confusion, or irritability. Avoid vigorous exercise when you’re ill or are extremely tired. If you stop exercising for a while, resume your workouts at a lower level initially. For example, if you’re doing strength training, lift lighter weights or do fewer repetitions. By all means, stop or shorten your exercise session if you feel you cannot finish or if something doesn’t feel right.

It’s not unusual for your muscles to feel sore for 12 to 24 hours after a satisfactory workout, which gradually resolves. On the other hand, if pain occurs during your workout session or immediately afterward, you should consult your physician. The same holds true for muscle soreness persisting for more than 1 to 2 weeks. Not listening to your body is the quickest way to not only disrupt your orthopedic health but also your overall health.

Add variety for balanced fitness

Unless you have been exercising avidly, you should plan on starting slowly and boosting your level of exercise gradually. Try your best to develop a balanced fitness routine incorporating strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and flexibility. This not only provides a total body workout but also reduces the chances of boredom with your exercise routine. Remember, your body will adapt if you do only one type of exercise, which decreases the overall benefit of that particular exercise as well as your orthopedic health. Experimenting with a variety of sports and/or exercises also reduces the risk of overtraining and your chances of injury. For example, mix weight lifting with wind sprints or pickup basketball and yoga or Pilates. According to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, each week you should aim for a total of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise at  moderate intensity or 75 minutes at high intensity, plus a minimum of two strength training sessions.

Pay attention to your form

It is imperative that you get the technique right from the beginning, ensuring the correct use of your muscles. For strength training, proper form is crucial and not heeding this warning may result in muscle overuse and other types of injuries. You should progress through the full range of motion with each repetition or set and breathe with regularity to maintain the blood supply to the brain and prevent spikes in your blood pressure. It’s a good idea to use lighter weights when learning a particular exercise and never rush to complete a repetition or set or struggle lifting heavier amounts of weight. It may be worth the investment to consult a personal trainer as you embark on your personal fitness journey.

Don’t forget to rest

You should rest at least 1 day between strength training sessions to allow for muscle recovery and optimal orthopedic health. Remember, fatigue and/or pain are excellent reasons to refrain from exercising. If you are experiencing pain, do not resume your fitness regimen until the pain has subsided.

Be safe and aware of your surroundings

Many individuals take to the outdoors for summer exercise, whether it be hiking, walking, running, or biking. You should keep your wits about you if exercising in secluded areas and/or at night. Ask a friend to accompany you or take your dog and frequent well-lit areas. In addition, wear bright or light-reflective clothing so drivers can see you, especially at night.

Your orthopedic health and fitness level is dependent on you getting regular exercise. The above tips can help you approach a fitness plan sensibly to enhance your well-being without pain or injury. Remember, it’s imperative that you exercise wisely and progressively increase the length and intensity of your exercise sessions, which should go a long way at keeping you engaged, challenged, and safe.

Charlie Daniels Has Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery

Rotator cuff repair procedures are among our most commonly performed surgeries. There are many ways to tear your rotator cuff:It looks like the Charlie Daniels’ Band will be without its legendary fiddle playing for the near future. Legendary singer, guitarist, and fiddler Charlie Daniels underwent successful rotator cuff repair surgery on the morning of Monday, December 17.

  • Normal wear and tear (after the age of 40, muscles and tendons don’t repair as well)
  • Falling
  • Lifting or pulling
  • Repetitive stress (i.e. playing a musical instrument, baseball, tennis, etc.)

If you are in need of shoulder surgery, contact our Beverly Hills orthopedic surgeons for an appointment.

Rotator Cuff Information

As a result of the years of stress on his shoulder joint, Charlie Daniels needed rotator cuff surgery. A lot of people suffer from rotator cuff injuries. The shoulder joint is not designed for many of the over-the-top movements required by fiddlers. As is most often the case, a torn rotator cuff involves the tendons. The tendons of the rotator cuff can be torn either partially or completely.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and four tendons in the shoulder joint that allow the shoulder to both move freely and remain in place. A rotator cuff tear occurs when a muscle or tendon in the rotator cuff is torn. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint: The ball, or head, of your upper arm bone fits into a shallow socket in your shoulder blade. Your shoulder joint is made up of three bones: upper arm bone, shoulder blade, and collarbone.

Signs of a torn rotator cuff include:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Pain when moving the shoulder
  • Shoulder tenderness
  • Shoulder weakness
  • Decreased range of motion in the shoulder
  • Difficulty moving the shoulder

Recovery from Torn Rotator Cuff Surgery

The good news for Charlie Daniels, and his band’s fans, is that the music star’s recovery should not take a long time. According to an update posted on his website, he’ll be back to fiddling in about two to six weeks.

Just wanted to let everybody know that Charlie had surgery this morning to fix a shredded rotator cuff. The surgery was successful, he is resting at home and is doing very well. He won’t be playing the fiddle or guitar for a while, but he will be back to normal in 2 to 6 weeks, and will not miss any shows scheduled for 2013. Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes!

If you are among the estimated two million adults that suffer rotator cuff injuries on average each year, you should contact an experienced orthopedic surgeon at La Peer. To schedule an appointment, contact our office at (310) 777-7845. You may also fill out the website contact form and a member of our office staff will contact you shortly.