News & Updates

How Soon To Start PT After ACL And Meniscus Surgery?

The timing for starting physical therapy (PT) after ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and meniscus surgery can vary depending on several factors, including the specific surgical technique used, the extent of tissue damage, the individual’s overall health, and the surgeon’s recommendations. However, in general, physical therapy typically begins relatively soon after surgery to facilitate recovery, promote healing, and restore function to the knee joint.

Many surgeons recommend initiating physical therapy within the first few days to weeks following ACL and meniscus surgery, once the initial postoperative swelling and pain have started to subside and the surgical incisions have begun to heal. The exact timing for starting PT may vary, but it’s typically within the first 1-2 weeks after surgery.

The goals of early postoperative physical therapy for ACL and meniscus surgery include…

  1. Pain Management – Physical therapists may use modalities such as ice, elevation, and gentle manual techniques to help reduce pain and swelling in the knee joint.
  2. Range of Motion – Passive and active range of motion exercises are introduced early to prevent stiffness and maintain mobility in the knee joint. This may involve gentle stretching and movement exercises performed under the guidance of a physical therapist.
  3. Muscle Activation – Strengthening exercises for the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles are gradually introduced to prevent muscle atrophy and improve muscle activation around the knee joint.
  4. Gait Training – Physical therapists may assist patients in learning to walk with crutches or assistive devices if needed, while also addressing proper weight-bearing and walking mechanics.
  5. Joint Protection – Education on proper body mechanics, positioning, and activity modification is provided to minimize stress on the healing tissues and reduce the risk of complications or reinjury.
  6. Functional Rehabilitation – As the knee begins to heal and range of motion improves, physical therapists will progress to functional rehabilitation exercises aimed at restoring balance, proprioception, and agility, as well as sport-specific activities and movements.

It’s important for patients to follow their surgeon’s postoperative instructions and attend all recommended physical therapy sessions to optimize recovery and achieve the best possible outcomes. The specific duration and frequency of physical therapy sessions may vary depending on individual progress and rehabilitation goals, but most patients will continue with PT for several weeks to months after ACL and meniscus surgery to ensure a safe and successful return to activity.