The ability to climb stairs after ACL surgery depends on several factors, including the type of surgery performed, the surgeon’s recommendations, and your progress in the rehabilitation process.
Here are some general guidelines…
- Early post-surgery period: In the immediate days following ACL surgery, you will likely be using crutches or a walker and may have limitations in putting weight on the operated leg. During this early phase, you should avoid climbing stairs to protect the healing graft and avoid unnecessary strain on the knee.
- Weight-bearing status: As your surgeon allows you to begin partial weight-bearing or full weight-bearing on the operated leg, you may gradually be able to climb stairs with support. However, this will likely be a slow and cautious process, and you should only do so under the guidance of your physical therapist or surgeon.
- Rehabilitation progress: Successful rehabilitation is critical to restoring strength, stability, and range of motion in the knee. Your physical therapist will guide you through exercises to strengthen the muscles around your knee and improve overall function. The ability to climb stairs will depend on your progress in rehab and your ability to support your body weight and control movement.
- Proper technique: When you are ready to climb stairs during your rehabilitation, it’s important to use proper technique to avoid undue stress on the healing knee. Use handrails for support and take one step at a time, leading with the non-operated leg and then bringing the operated leg up to the same step.
- Gradual progression: As your strength and confidence improve, you can gradually increase the number of steps you climb and decrease reliance on handrails.
Always follow your surgeon and physical therapist’s instructions and avoid pushing yourself too hard or attempting activities before you have been cleared to do so. Returning to activities too quickly can increase the risk of re-injury or complications.
The timeline for returning to stair climbing and other activities varies for each individual, depending on factors like the type of surgery, the success of rehabilitation, and the overall healing process. Adhering to your rehabilitation plan and attending follow-up appointments will optimize your recovery and help you regain full function in your knee.