ACL Surgery Recovery Time

ACL Surgery Recovery Time


If you need to undergo ACL surgery, we know how vital the healing process will be to you. Ultimately, your goal is to get yourself back into form and at an optimal physical performance. New York Sports Medicine Institute is here to share with you some information and tips on ACL surgery recovery. From surgery to rehabilitation, we’ve got you covered. The team at NYSMI will help you by repairing your ACL and by developing an individualized postoperative treatment plan that can help strengthen your knee and get you back to full playing strength! 

What Does ACL Surgery Entail?

An examination of the knee reveals that this structure is made up of 3 major components. These components consist of your shinbone, your thigh bone, and your anterior cruciate (KROO-she-ate) ligament (ACL). Your ACL connects both the shin and thigh bone and helps stabilize your knee when you stand and walk. 

In the majority of cases, a torn ACL occurs during sports and fitness events that place an enormous amount of stress on the knees. Some of these events can include examples such as gymnastics, basketball, soccer, football, or skiing. Other physical activities can include a few of the following: 

  • Suddenly slowing down while running. 
  • Changing directions abruptly.
  • Landing from a jump incorrectly or harshly. 
  • Receiving a direct hit or blow to the knee. 

When this happens, an orthopedic surgeon may either repair or remove the torn ligament and replace it with a tendon from either another part of the knee or from a donor. This surgery is performed through small incisions around the knees. 

Recovery time for an ACL surgery usually requires an extended period of time. Your approach to the recovery process will likely determine the promptness in which you’ll be back on your feet. That is why you should contact the team at NYSMI, our staff will assist you throughout the entire process of rehabilitation. 

ACL Surgery Recovery 

In most cases, you will be sent home after the operation. After the anesthesia wears off, the orthopedist will show you how to walk on crutches and get you fitted for a knee brace. Your orthopedist will also give you specific instructions to follow after the procedure to help reduce pain and swelling. 

During your recovery, it is recommended that you apply ice packs to your knees and rest as much as possible. In order to help strengthen and stabilize the knee, you will also likely be appointed one of our certified physical therapists. These therapists will teach you how to do exercises that are important for proper healing and achieving the best results possible. 

Tips For A Faster Recovery 

Your recovery is likely going to be a long and arduous process, but here are a few tips that can help you heal as quickly as possible. Remember your approach is crucial to achieving the best outcome. We recommend following along with the tips that are listed below:

  • Listen to your post-operative instructions – You will likely be given verbal or written instructions after the surgery, so make sure that you follow them and ask any questions that you may have. 
  • Attend all post-operative appointments – Don’t miss or reschedule any of your appointments following surgery. Your progress must be monitored and followed consistently. 
  • Go to your physical therapy appointments –  Physical therapy is crucial to help regain strength and improve flexibility in the knees. Be sure to perform all activities given to the best of your ability. 
  • Take medication as recommended – Your orthopedist  will most likely prescribe pain medication. Ask your doctor about how and when to take them. 
  • Get enough sleep and proper nutrition – Good dieting will likely help you recover at a faster rate. Eat foods with lean proteins, dairy, and plenty of vegetables. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night and avoid sleeping pills. 


Typically, you can start to add weight on your knees after 2 weeks and start walking again after a month or 6 weeks post-operation. General recovery takes about 8-9 months. For athletes, it may take up to a year before you can return to your sport. 

Recovery varies from person to person. Just keep following your instructions and with a little patience and support, you’ll be back to full strength in no time. 

For more information or to schedule your appointment, contact us today at NYSMI!