How Long Do You Wear a Brace After ACL Surgery?

ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery is a common procedure performed to repair a torn ACL in the knee. After undergoing this surgery, patients are often required to wear a knee brace as part of their post-operative recovery. The purpose of the brace is to provide support and stability to the knee joint, helping to protect the repaired ligament and aid in the healing process. But how long do you actually need to wear a brace after ACL surgery? Let’s find out.

The duration for which a brace needs to be worn after ACL surgery can vary depending on the surgeon’s preference and the patient’s individual healing progress. In general, patients are advised to wear the brace for about 2 to 6 weeks following surgery. During this initial phase, the brace is typically worn at all times, even during sleep. The brace helps to limit the range of motion in the knee joint and prevents any accidental movements that could potentially damage the newly repaired ligament.

After the initial phase, the brace may be gradually discontinued, and patients are allowed to begin gentle range of motion exercises and physical therapy. At this point, the brace may only need to be worn during strenuous activities or when participating in sports. Ultimately, the decision of when to stop using the brace is made by the surgeon based on the patient’s progress and recovery.

Now, let’s address some common FAQs regarding the use of a brace after ACL surgery:

1. Will I be able to walk without a brace immediately after surgery?
No, you will likely need crutches and a brace for the first few weeks to support your knee and aid in walking.

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2. Can I remove the brace for showering or bathing?
Yes, it is generally safe to remove the brace for bathing. However, consult your surgeon for specific instructions.

3. Can I drive with a brace after ACL surgery?
It is not recommended to drive with a brace on due to the limited range of motion it provides. Consult your surgeon for guidance.

4. How long will I need to wear the brace during physical therapy?
The duration of brace use during physical therapy varies. It is typically determined by your therapist based on your progress.

5. Can I sleep without a brace after ACL surgery?
Initially, you will be advised to wear the brace even while sleeping. However, your surgeon may allow you to remove it later on.

6. Is it normal to experience discomfort while wearing the brace?
Some discomfort is normal, especially during the first few days. However, if you experience severe pain or swelling, contact your surgeon.

7. Can I engage in sports or physical activities while wearing the brace?
In most cases, you will need to wear the brace during sports or other physical activities to protect your knee from further injury.

8. Can I adjust the brace myself?
It is recommended to consult your surgeon or physical therapist before making any adjustments to the brace.

9. What should I do if the brace becomes damaged or broken?
If your brace becomes damaged, contact your surgeon or the medical professional overseeing your recovery for guidance on repair or replacement.

Remember, every individual’s recovery process is unique, and the duration of brace wear after ACL surgery may vary. It is crucial to follow your surgeon’s specific instructions and consult them for any concerns or questions you may have during your recovery journey.

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