ACL Recovery Day 1

Mental State

I arrived at 6:30 in the morning to Mount Sinai in Union Square. Spent most of the time in between arrival and surgery filling out paper work, napping, and talking with the surgeon, anesthesiologist, PA, surgical assistant, nurses, and some student about what’s going down. My operation was an ACL reconstruction using a patella autograft (a tendon from my own knee used as the new ACL) and partial lateral meniscectomy (remove parts of torn meniscus which act as shock absorbers for your knee).

Walking into the operating room was a familiar site. A bunch of people setting up tools and supplies  and trying to keep you calm during the whole process. There’s a table smack dab in the middle of the room with mechanical arms on both sides; doesn’t look to different from a body laying there already. Knowing what’s entailed with an arthroscopic ACL reconstruction is good and bad. Good in that I know exactly what’s being done to me. Bad in that I know that they are putting a fucking drill into me. For those that are interested (not for queasy people), this is exactly what happens:


  • 9:30AM – Surgery begins
    • General anesthesia
    • Femoral nerve block applied for front of knee pain control post-op (lasts 12-18 hours)
  • 12:00PM – Woke up from surgery
    • Took two Oxycodone to relieve posterior knee pain
  • 1:00PM – Intense burning on heel, moved foot around to relieve pain
  • 3:00PM – Still dizzy from anesthesia, eventually left on crutches


Total Time: 55 minutes, started at 10:25PM (10 hours post op)

  • Passive Extension
    • 8 X 15 seconds
    • Pain: 4/10 on back of knee on extension
    • Aimed for 15 reps, but difficult to gauge how far I was extending after unlocking top part of brace.
  • Quad Sets
    • 15-20 reps
    • Pain: 2/10, mostly because my adductors/abductors are numb from nerve block
    • 25% activation, pretty shitty compared to good leg. Not easy trying to isolate muscle without activating surrounding muscles
  • Patellar Mobilization
    • Pain: None due to nerve block
    • Gently massaged near patella but didn’t do much due to bandage/dressing and mental block of going too close to knee
  • Sitting Hamstring Stretch
    • 15 reps
    • Pain: 3/10
    • Tough on abs, felt stretch in glutes as well. Left leg at 0 degrees extension.
  • Plantar flexion/Dorsiflexion
    • 15 in each direction
    • Pain: 4/10
    • Pretty easy, same range of motion as good leg.
  • Calf Strengthening
    • 15 reps
    • Pain: 5/10
    • Medium difficulty due to pain. Used yellow Theraband to wrap around foot, could only get 90 degrees flexion.
  • Toe Grabs
    • 15 reps
    • Pain: 1/10
    • Pretty easy, used yellow Theraband under toes to scrunch up while in sitting position at 0 degrees extension.


Pain & Inflammation Meds: Oxycodone, Meloxicam

Front Knee: No pain, femoral nerve block to prevent pain lasts 12-18 hours

Back Knee: 6/10 pain when moving around to get up or adjusting leg.

Other: Top of foot slightly sore. Pretty sleepy and fatigued all day.


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