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Printed at: 08:49:52 / 15-05-2021

ACL Reconstruction

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Advice and Exercises following an ACL reconstruction

The following exercises should be performed 3-4 times a day.

The exercises aim to:
Strengthen the muscles on the front and back of your thigh. Enable you to fully straighten your knee and bend it to at least 90 degrees.

Remember that you must not lift the leg up by itself, as this will put a lot of strain on the new ligament. When moving try lifting and supporting it with your other leg.

To relieve pain and reduce swelling elevate leg on a pillow or stool above waist height, take a bag of ice or frozen peas wrapped in a towel and mould around the knee. Leave for 15 minutes
then remove. Repeat 3-4 times daily.

Walking – try to walk normally, supported by your crutches using the heel/toe pattern. Only progress from crutches as advised by your Physiotherapist.

Exercise 1
Sit on a firm flat surface, place a small rolled towel under your knee so your leg is slightly bent and relaxed. With your hand, move your kneecap up and down. With your hand, move your kneecap from side to side. Repeat 10 times in both directions.

Exercise 2
Clench your bottom muscles and hold for a count of 5. Relax and repeat 10 times.

Exercise 3
Push the back of the knee down towards the bed and pull your toes toward you. You should feel the muscle on the front of your thigh tighten. Hold for a count of 5. Relax and repeat 10 times.


Try to let your leg relax in a fully straightened position for 2-3 mins after doing this and in general avoid placing anything under your knee when resting your leg.

Exercise 4
Slide your heel towards your bottom and allow your knee to bend as far as possible. Slide your heel back down again. Relax and repeat 10 times.

Exercise 5
Sit with the knee bent and the heel on a firm flat surface. Dig the heel into the surface to tighten the muscles on the back of the thigh. Without moving the leg, tighten the muscles on the front of the thigh as well. Hold both for a count of 5, then release the muscles on the front of the thigh first, then those on the back of the thigh. Relax and repeat 10 times.


Exercise 6
Lie on your side, knees bent, heels towards your bottom, operated leg resting on top of the other leg. Keep your feet together & lift the top knee a short distance, ensuring your hips stay pointing forward throughout. Return to start position and repeat 10 times.


Exercise 7
Standing, bend you knee by taking your heel up towards your bottom. Hold for a count of 5. Lower your heel to the ground. Relax and repeat 10 times.