Nerve Issues After ACL Surgery

by Markg

I am 3 weeks post op on a Hamstring ACL reconstruction. Feeling pretty good, walking around the house without the brace and going for some flat walks outside...walked 1/2 mile today.

Having one problem though and trying to see how common it is. When I lay on my back to sleep, my leg from the knee to the top of my foot lights up like someone is sticking needles in all over the place.

Also my foot on top is still quite numb, this makes sleeping quite an issue. I am not wearing the brace to sleep now so I am able to move some but to get comfortable on my side and sleeping ALL night is a problem, mucho twisting and turning.

I have tried sleeping pills and pain killers, but don’t like how I feel the next day. Has anyone else experienced this and how long before it went away?

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Apr 17, 2008
Good question...
by: Bart - SII

This is a great question. Numbness/tingling sensations after surgery can be caused by several things.

The tingling sensation you are getting when you lay down sounds like it is within the L3-L5 nerve distribution - that means that it could be coming from your back. I have seen these same symptoms in a few of my patients, and it was caused by tightness in the lower back, and them walking with a bit of a limp. Compensation of the muscles when they were walking caused some increased tightness, and then when they layed down at night and everything relaxed, they got the tingling in their legs. It usually went away after a few weeks once they were walking normally again.

The numbness on the top of your foot could be from the anesthesia from the surgery, the tourniquet pressure, or a nerve irritation. Numbness that is constant isn't as common as the above discussed tingling, but it does happen. This too usually resolves a few weeks after surgery.

I would recommend talking with your physician about these issues, as they should be aware of your status and may be able to give you a better idea of what could be going on.

Also, some stretching of the lower back and hip muscles may help as well.

Feel free to comment back with other questions.

Aug 27, 2009
Tingling nerves
by: Angel & the bad knee

I am 2.5 weeks post op and doing PT three times a week for my left knee. I am without the brace and down to one crutch for walking around. Last week my knee was still numb to the touch and hard to sleep with. Suddenly today is started coming " awake" and started shooting those tingly shots all over my surgery site and incisions. Like you, this was not painful bit odd. My doc said it is the nerves reconnecting and pretty common. The numbness should be completely gone by week 4.

Aug 25, 2014
12 days post ACl repair NEW
by: Anonymous

12 days post ACl repair right knee. Appreciate the comments. Having the tingling , pins and needles. saw PA today who said he knew of only one case that didn't resolve but feels like it's getting worse instead of better right now.

Mar 24, 2015
tingling after ACL surgery NEW
by: Mel

I had a ACL surgery performed on my knee. 2 days after surgery, I noticed that my foot and leg up to my knee felt like it was asleep and was extremely tingly. I could move my foot and ankle, but it felt extremely odd. A type of pain that isn't painful, but uncomfortable. I was quite worried but my surgeon said don't worry too much and will be better after few days. Now, after 1 week from surgery the my foot is still very tingly and it is very irritating; especially when I'm trying to sleep or when I touch it. I am really worried about this. Please anyone help! Help me!! How long is this going to be like this.

Mar 24, 2015
Peroneal nerve issue NEW
by: Anonymous

My recommendation is that you go see a nurologist as soon as possible. Chances are during the surgery that your peroneal nerve was somehow affected, this is what happened to me and I had exact same kind of pain. Was very difficult to sleep when sheets were touching my foot my foot was on fire all the time like pins and needles with a host of different things going on with nerves ,my ACL surgery.was fine. The neurologist put me on antidepressants drugs which somehow affect nerve pain. The drugs are very strong and we had to try a host of different ones before we found one that worked. Also the drugs have side effects but the nerve pain went away. After 18 months I got off the drugs and the nerve pain was gone. The good news is the nerve pain never came back.

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