Rest, Ice, and Elevation

Elevate your knee under heel not the knee to prevent flexion contracture or stiffness in the knee. The Cold Therapy unit is helpful in reducing swelling, minimizing requirements for narcotics and accelerating return to normal knee function. Follow instructions given at the time of discharge and use the cooling system a minimum of 12 hours/day. Continuous use is allowed and encouraged, if not uncomfortable. Keep knee's dressing dry. Do not remove it. Small amount of bloody drainage on the dressing is not unusual and this can be covered with a clean 4X4 gauze and ACE wrap.


Weight bearing on the operated leg is allowed. Use your crutches for ambulating. Your brace is to be worn at all times. The brace is to be locked in full extension (0 degrees).


Begin exercises the night of surgery. Repeat 10 times every hour.

  • Quad sets: Push the back of the knee into bed and hold for the count of 10.
  • Straight leg raises (SLR): lift leg in knee brace off the bed for count of 10.
  • Ankle pumps: Push ankle up and down multiple times to encourage blood flow in leg.
  • Hamstring sets: Push heel into bed for count of 10.


Take the following prescribed medication as directed:

Take one Enteric Coated Aspirin 325mg by mouth daily starting the day of surgery.

Additional medications may be prescribed for you.

Pain Medication Tips

  • Do not drive while taking pain medications.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking pain medications.
  • Pain medication should be taken with food as this will help prevent any stomach upset.
  • Often pain medications will cause constipation. Eat high fiber foods and increase your fluid intake if possible.
  • To alleviate constipation, purchase a stool softener at any pharmacy and follow the recommended directions on the bottle.

Substitute Tylenol or Advil as soon as possible for pain control. 


Your surgeon should be contacted by calling 703-810-5215 Option 3 or 703-810-5213, 24 hours a day for any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever greater than 101.5 degrees F for 24 hours.
  • Redness or swelling in the calf that doesn't resolve overnight.
  • Numbness, loss of good color or coolness in the foot.
  • Severe pain unresponsive to narcotic medication.
  • Excessive bleeding or vomiting.
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath – CALL 911


You will receive information on when and where your post-operative appointment is scheduled.

If you need to verify or change your post-op appointment, please call 703-277-2663.

Arrangements to begin your formal ACL rehab program will made at this time.