Nerve Issues After ACL Surgery

by Markg
(CA)

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

Jul 03, 2015
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Dec 28, 2015
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5 weeks post op NEW
by: Anonymous

The tingling in my foot was very painful for the first week, then it was an occasional occurrence but recently it came back terribly. I can't where my shoes or socks because anything that lightly rubs the top of my foot can bring tears to my eyes, sleeping is incredibly hard because of the sensitivity. My toes are numb and in pain 90% of the time... Not sure if this is normal.

Jun 09, 2016
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Pins and needles one month post op NEW
by: Jeff

I see this forum is a couple years old. Hoping to hear how the pins and needles feeling went. I'm one month post op and still feeling pins and needles fire like sensations in my calf and top of foot. The back of my calf is numb to the touch. I'm stretching and exercising every day. PT three times a week. Still fighting to get my knee to bend to 90 degrees. Going to see Ortho in a few days so I will let him know. Hoping this isn't permanent!

Jun 22, 2016
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ACL NEW
by: AJ

I'm now three months post op. I can bend my leg almost fully and I'll be starting to jog soon. Also, my calf is still numb and I often feel pins and needles in that spot. Doctor recently told me the numbness will go off in years time or it might turn out to be chronic... )-:

Jul 11, 2016
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ACL surgery - 1 1/2 week post-op - nerve pain NEW
by: Albert

Hi I think I'm experiencing similar sensations. 1 day after ACL op, which used my hamstring, my ankle and the lower part of my calf feels like needles are piercing through it.

If I touch 1 inch below my knee, which seems like a trigger point, the whole needle-piercing feeling intensifies.

Anyone experienced this? Should I be worried?

Sep 28, 2016
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ACL post op NEW
by: Anonymous

I'm 2 weeks post ACL op and have felt pins and my needles everyday since the surgery (except when my foot was still numb from the nerve block). My toes are very swollen. Sleeping is very uncomfortable as it is so sensitive to touch.

Nov 02, 2016
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might have a solution! NEW
by: Beth

Hi everyone! I had a total ACL reconstruction back in 02-2008. I had the same restless nerve pain discomfort. It's almost like your leg is on fire but it's also not in a comfortable position. It gradually got better over the next few months and I still had some deadened sensation by my ankle for 2 years. My husband was injured in Afghanistan and had a lot of nerve damage from the swelling surrounding the break in his humorous. His doctors gave him gabapitin for nerve pain and helped tremendously. I just had a DFO ( Distal femoral osteotomy) and a HTO ( High tibial osteotomy) which left my femur, tibia and fibula broken. Due the incisions being close the the ACL ones where the major nerves are in my leg I'm experiencing the same *wonderful* nerve pain again: I'll be asking my surgeon at my 11 week checkup for some Gabapitin to help ease this pain.

I hope everyone is healing/has healed fantastically without any complications!!!

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