When can I get back to work after ACL reconstruction surgery?

Written by: Mr Ahmad Ali
Edited by: Conor Lynch

ACL reconstruction surgery is typically performed when someone damages or tears their anterior cruciate ligament. In our latest article here, find out what the typical postoperative rehabilitation phase entails for patients who undergo the procedure and what the main associated potential complications are, as highly esteemed orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Ahmad Ali, provides us with a comprehensive all-you-need-to-know guide on ACL reconstruction.

What are the most common complications associated with ACL reconstruction?

One of the most common complications following ACL reconstruction is loss of motion and loss of extension.


What does a typical ACL reconstruction post-operative rehabilitation phase look like?

In the post-operative phase following an ACL reconstruction, the postoperative knee brace can be used to support the knee from unexpected falls. After surgery, the patient’s leg will be wrapped in a soft, cotton bandage.


Patients are advised that they should only remove the bandage to change the dressings only if oozing. People who undergo ACL reconstruction will not be allowed to drive a car for at least two weeks after the operation, which is typically when patients can walk while putting full weight on the knee without any pain.


How can I manage my pain and swelling after ACL reconstruction?

Following discharge from the hospital, you should elevate your leg at home whenever possible, and keep the knee iced if swollen. Avoid sitting for long periods of time with your foot in a dependent position (lower than the rest of your body), as this will cause increased swelling in your knee and leg. When sitting for any significant period of time, elevate your leg and foot. Pain can be managed effectively by taking the prescription given to the patient in hospital.


When can I return to work?

As far as returning to work is concerned, if you have an office job, you can return to work when your pain medication requirements decrease, and when you can safely walk with your crutches. This is usually in and around two weeks after surgery.


Patients who have jobs that require plentiful movement, such as policemen, firemen, and construction workers (amongst others), will be looking at being absent from work for a minimum of six weeks.


Mr Ahmad Ali is a highly experienced orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in performing ACL reconstructions. Make sure you visit his Top Doctors profile today to make an appointment with him if you are considering undergoing such surgery in the near future.

By Mr Ahmad Ali
Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Ahmad Ali is a highly-skilled and trained orthopaedic surgeon in the Essex area, specialising in knee procedures. His sub specialties include total knee replacement, repeat knee replacement, osteotomycomplex knee injuries (such as multiple ligament reconstruction), and sports injuries. He offers private surgery with Spire Hartswood Hospital, Spire London East Hospital, and Nuffield Health Brentwood Hospital. 

By using computer-navigated surgery, Mr Ali has not only stayed up to date with new technologies in medicine, but he has also embraced them to improve the outcome for his patients. This new technology helps enhance the accuracy of the replacement operation, the function of the new artificial joint, and increases its longevity.

Mr Ali studied at Oxford University and Sheffield University before furthering his training on the higher surgical-training programme at Health Education England's Northwest School of Surgery. During his studies, he trained in three different regions that exposed him to a broad range of complex orthopaedic conditions, experience, and insight. To expand his training, Mr Ali went to Canada during his training years to work in two major specialised units.

After working for a year as a fellow, Mr Ali started his specialist career with Barking, Havering, and Redbridge NHS Trust in 2003, working within their hospitals. Nearly 20 years later, he remains a highly-regarded consultant there, mainly with Queen's Hospital in Romford, Essex, and King George Hospitals in Goodmayes, Essex.

To add to his dedication in his specialty, Mr Ali helped found Essex Knee Group, a collective of specialist knee surgeons who meet regularly. The group of esteemed doctors share their patient outcomes and experience to advance their skills and benefit both the doctors and their patients.

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