ACL Reconstruction Post-Operative Instructions


  • Locked straight while walking and sleeping for the first 10 days after surgery.
  • Unlock it for range of motion exercises while sitting.
  • The strap nearest your incision should be snug but not too tight.
  • While walking, the straps need to be tightened to keep the brace from falling.
  • The brace is used for 4 weeks to protect the knee during the healing phase.
  • If you are sitting, you may remove the brace, but put it back on for walking.


  • Wear your support stocking if you have swelling into the foot or ankle.
  • Wear your Ace bandage on your knee for swelling control and support.
  • Over your incisions, you can use regular Band-Aids; ointment is not necessary.
  • You may shower and get your incision wet, but do not soak. This may cause wound complications before it is healed.
  • No bathtub, hot tub, or swimming pool until we see you back at the next visit.
  • Steri-strips/paper Band-Aids may fall off over the next several days.

General Considerations:

  • Continue ankle pumps and straight leg raises.
  • You may have areas of numbness around the front of your knee from the surgery as well as the swelling in your knee.
  • Bruising may appear over the next few days/weeks, especially in the back of the knee. This is normal. You may massage these areas as it is tolerable.
  • Your quadriceps/front thigh muscle will be weak from wearing the brace. Several times a day, contract this muscle. If it twitches, that is normal as it begins to contract normally again.
  • Crutches are usually used for the first 5-7 days after surgery. You may walk on your leg as tolerated unless otherwise instructed by Dr. Collard. We want you to walk as normally as possible.
  • Physical Therapy and your home exercise program are extremely important!

Early Goals:

  • Week 1 & 2: 90° of flexion (bend) of the knee; swelling & pain control; regain muscle control of the thigh muscles.
  • Week 3 &4: Continue gains in flexion (bend) of the knee; thigh muscle control; balance improvement.