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  1. #1
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    Jun 2008
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    How long before I can walk without crutches?

    Just had ACL Reconstructive surgery with Patellar Autograft (my own tendon, same knee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q96M0jRqn7k ).

    Quick question, just wanna know estimated time before I can walk aroud without the use of crutches. I had the surgery on the 19th, it is currently the 29th. Also, what do I have to make sure I am able to do before I can walk without crutches.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2007
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    That is a tough question. Biologically to walk normally without crutches you need to have a knee that is only moderately tender and not so swollen that you can get about 100 degrees of flexion and near full extension. You also need good control of the quad muscle.

    I have seen a range from walking under you own power out of the hospital, to three-four months. It depends on the condition of the knee before the surgery (prehab), the techniques used by the surgeon (and those include far more than graft choice) and the rehab you have been subjected to.

    What did you doctor tell you to do?
    drmark
    Mark Sanders, MD FACS
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  3. #3
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    Jun 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by GimpyKnee
    Just had ACL Reconstructive surgery with Patellar Autograft (my own tendon, same knee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q96M0jRqn7k ).

    Quick question, just wanna know estimated time before I can walk aroud without the use of crutches. I had the surgery on the 19th, it is currently the 29th. Also, what do I have to make sure I am able to do before I can walk without crutches.
    I had the same procedure done on the 18th and at my post-op appt about a week later on the 26th, the doc cleared me to walk without crutches as much as I could tolerate. He said it usually takes people 1-2 weeks. The 1st couple of days were really weird and I was walking very slowly and carefully, with small almost shuffling steps, but I've gradually gotten better. I haven't used the crutches at all since then, but a couple of days have been bad pain-wise, and the pain is usually worse in the afternoons and evenings after being on my feet for a good chunk of the day. The pain is inside the knee around the knee cap.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmark View Post

    What did you doctor tell you to do?

    This is what you should be doing, following the doc's orders regardless of what anyone might tell you different about their own experience.


    My doc gave the ok to walk as soon as I thought I could, which for me was @ day 5. Getting full extention is paramount for getting the proper gait back w/o limping.
    Move upside and let the man go through...

  5. #5
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    Agree. Was just sharing with Gimpy what my experience has been, but not trying to imply that's what he should be doing. Of course his case is different than anyone else's and he should listen to what his doc says 1st and foremost.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Doctor said I can put as much weight on my knee as long as the pain is tolerable.I dont have 100 degree flexion (Im at about 45 degrees currently today) but my extention is full. Im fine, i just wanna be on my feet more or less within the next 10 days. Just wanted to know if that was realistic or not. SkiBrain, ur the shit bro, we're in this together haha. Thanks doctor mark Ill keep that in my and work a little on stregnthening those areas. U guys are all awesome!

  7. #7
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    Nov 2003
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    generally you need about 90 deg of knee flexion and full extension to walk without a limp. Whe you can get to 90 deg + FLX, full extension and can produce a good quad contraction is when you should be getting rid of the sticks. In the mean time you should already be putting some wt. on it advancing ~25% every 3-4 days until you are full wt bearing.

    But if you can walk without a significant lmimp then I would stay with them in partial wt. bearing until you have 90+ flx full EXT and decent quad control.
    fighting gravity on a daily basis

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  8. #8
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    Nov 2007
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    Boulder
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    Consider yourself lucky to get the okay sooner to walk without crutches! The first dr I went to said 2-4 weeks on crutches (after which I said, unacceptable!) and the dr who will do my surgery (TOMORROW AAAAH!!!) said 2 weeks. It makes me a bit uncomfortable to think of how Vinman and others have said its much better to get off the crutches much sooner, as I know that with Kaiser as my insurance and the fact that I'm moving to South America in October, I'm kinda outta choices. I'm trying not to think that a more conservative protocol means less confidence in his work...I'm sure it's just a different school of thought...right?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Here
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    It's definitely different for everyone. I'm about 2.5 weeks out and am getting more and more mobile w/o crutches. 95% of the time I still use a crutch and can't wait 'til the swelling/soreness goes down and I can start walking with greater frequency.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Bellingham, WA
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    i'm almost two weeks post op (allograft) and i've been walking around since about 4 days after surgery. i reached full extension and 70 degrees flexion two days after surgery, as the doctor recommended. just hang in there.

  11. #11
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    I was walking at 3 days post op with 130degrees flexion. Then again I went for surgery 2 weeks after tearing it and my legs were VERY strong.

    It depends on how your knee is, how strong and how much flexion you can get.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    3
    Quote Originally Posted by GimpyKnee View Post
    Just had ACL Reconstructive surgery with Patellar Autograft (my own tendon, same knee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q96M0jRqn7k ).

    Quick question, just wanna know estimated time before I can walk aroud without the use of crutches. I had the surgery on the 19th, it is currently the 29th. Also, what do I have to make sure I am able to do before I can walk without crutches.

    It will take at least 4-6 weeks until you're able to bear any real weight without the crutches. Everyone here is telling you as quick as possible but that's because they have doctors that know nothing. As pery doctor! If using a Patellar graft it will take much longer than an allograft because the trauma the knee has suffered is much greater.

    I have had an allograft and a patellar graft done on both knees. I can say that allografts allow you back into motion much quicker but have a higher chance of re-rupturing. Also what your doctors who know nothing haven't told you is about revascularization which occurs within the first 9 weeks when your graft is at it's weakest. If you try walking and push it you will either tear your new graft or stretch it making the surgery you just had in vain.

    I'm just letting you know that an ACL surgery isn't a joke and that trying to walk after day 4,5 even day 10 is just being an idiot. I have the #1 Doctor in NYC for orthopedic surgery at the #1 Hospital in the states for Orthopedic Surgery so I would take my advice.

    Again if you had A PATELLAR GRAFT DO NO ATTEMPT TO WALK UNTIL WEEK 4 at minimum!!! You're at greater risk of stretching your graft! To anyone else who got a hamstring or allograft the rules are much more lax due to the fact that those types of grafts aren't used for competitive sport purposes. So if you stretch it a little that's ok, it's not like you're gonna be playing college ball or any type of real competition in general.

    To anyone looking into ACL Reconstruction, if your an athlete and your doctor wants to do a hamstring graft, RUN! He does not know what he's doing, hamstring grafts will put you in danger on the field/court I shit you not! When I tore my ACL the first doctor I went to wanted me to do a hamstring graft. When I got a second opinion from the #1 ranked doctor in NYC in sports medicine he called my first doctor and screamed at him because of how little he knew about the subject! Some doctors don't know much, they only know how to perform the operation but they never take the time to look at the statistics or even what other options they are out there because that's not what they learned when they were in their apprenticeship. Doctors who do surgery are somewhat just like trade crafts man; they learn a skill and just do it over and over.

    Don't let a stupid doctor sucker you into getting the wrong graft! You'll regret it

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    3
    Quote Originally Posted by Mofro261 View Post
    This is what you should be doing, following the doc's orders regardless of what anyone might tell you different about their own experience.


    My doc gave the ok to walk as soon as I thought I could, which for me was @ day 5. Getting full extention is paramount for getting the proper gait back w/o limping.
    With an ACL it is not case by case basis. Adrien Petersen wasn't even walking until week 4 after his ACL surgery so what does that tell you? It tells you that if ur doctor knows anything he wouldn't want you stretching out the graft which obv he didn't put into consideration.

    I get mad when I hear people say things like I'm walking after day 5, because you put everyone else at risk! People look just because your doctor says so doesn't mean anything. What actually means something is the STATISTICS which have shown that if you try pushing to walk that you have a 57% chance of stretching out the new graft. People please be careful

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    3
    Quote Originally Posted by fallin View Post
    Consider yourself lucky to get the okay sooner to walk without crutches! The first dr I went to said 2-4 weeks on crutches (after which I said, unacceptable!) and the dr who will do my surgery (TOMORROW AAAAH!!!) said 2 weeks. It makes me a bit uncomfortable to think of how Vinman and others have said its much better to get off the crutches much sooner, as I know that with Kaiser as my insurance and the fact that I'm moving to South America in October, I'm kinda outta choices. I'm trying not to think that a more conservative protocol means less confidence in his work...I'm sure it's just a different school of thought...right?
    Stick with that doctor he at least cares about you knee, not about trying to get you walking as fast as possible. You should be attempting to walk by week 4.

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