Dr. Johnson explains when a woman can return to her normal hygiene routine after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery.
I think those basic things you need to do to remain independent are probably very hard to get over in that first, I call it the first two or three weeks after ACL surgery. It’s just not fun, and I tell my patients that. You lose your independence.
It’s a pain in the bottom. You know, going to the bathroom is difficult. You really can’t get your wound wet for about 7 to 10 days. We will let patient shower. We will let water run down their leg in about 72 hours, but there’s no scrubbing the wound. There’s no soaking it in the tub, putting it into the Jacuzzi for two or three weeks. You are generally on the crutches which everybody hates. There’s not a patient around that likes crutches for two to three weeks after ACL surgery.
If it’s your right leg, all of a sudden you can’t drive. So people don’t think about that. They go, “Oh my God, I can’t drive. Who’s going to drive me around?” So it takes a couple of weeks before you can drive because you’ve got to get the muscle function back, right? To make the muscles work so you can work the gas peddle.
So all those simple things that you took for granted–taking a shower, getting in and out of the car, driving, are all lost in the first few weeks after surgery, and usually it’s a young person who is very independent. So this is a big challenge for them.
About Dr. Johnson, M.D.:
Dr. Darren L. Johnson, M.D., received his medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles and his fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Dr. Johnson is currently Professor and Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery and Director of Sports Medicine at the University of Kentucky. His clinical interests include arthroscopy, knee and shoulder reconstruction and the double-bundle procedure for ACL repair.
Dr. Johnson was named among the Top Doctors for Women by Women’s Health magazine in 2008.