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16 year old have ACL repairs on each knee and tender to touch. Concerned

Feb 2014
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Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 5931 Questions
16 year old female has had ACL repairs on each knee
both calves swelling and very hard and tender to the touch
Posted Mon, 5 Nov 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 2 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

Time of recovery post ACL repair (knee surgery) varies from person to person. On an average it may take 6 month and beyond it.

During this time, it is normal to have swelling in both calf muscles. The gravity works on the blood from the haematomas (bruises) caused during the surgery and it migrates gradually down your leg when you are immobile leading to calf swelling. This blood rush pain after a knee operation is one thing we all suffer.

What you need to do are
- Elevate your leg so that your foot is higher than your heart.
- Support the leg using under the ankle/heel support and NOT the knee (although this is more comfortable).
- Then just point your toes away from you and then move your foot as to it to the highest possible position. The action has to be swift - like using a foot pump to pump up a tyre or air mattress. I refer to this movement as foot / ankle pumps. The foot / ankle pump action contracts and expands the calf muscles, mimicking walking. It helps in return of blood from the calf to the heart.
- While you elevate and ankle pump, you can also ice to reduce the swelling around the knee itself.

In addition to the above, I also recommend good physiotherapy. It helps in getting your knee movements back to the normal. Getting full extension is one of the first priorities after a knee operation. It is only when you have full extension that you can walk without a limp.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if you have any more concerns.

Wishing you good health...

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