When can I walk normally after ACL surgery?

The rehab for ACL surgery takes many months and lots of hard work with a physical therapist. Most active people aim to return to sports or demanding exercise. When, though, can you return to simply walking without a limp? In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I answer that question for someone preparing to undergo ACL reconstruction.

Suvankar asks:
I am thinking about having ACL surgery. I am not a sportsman. When could I get back to normal walking after surgery?

The postoperative restrictions a patient must follow differ between orthopedic surgeons. Some surgeons allow full weightbearing right away, while others keep the patient on crutches for weeks after surgery. Often other findings during surgery, such as a meniscus tear, influence the restrictions.

Once the surgeon allows weightbearing, the patient works to get off crutches and walk with a normal gait. Doing so requires getting full knee motion – getting the knee all the way straight and gaining enough bending of the knee – to walk without a limp.

In this video, I explain some of the factors that can cause a patient to limp as he tries to walk in the weeks after ACL reconstruction and how he can overcome it quickly and safely.

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier – When can you return to sports after ACL surgery?
Ask Dr. Geier – Early rehabilitation after ACL surgery

Man on crutches after ACL surgery