What can be done to straighten leg post op?

I had an acl replacement/repair approx. 19 years ago and it did the job!...allowed me to get back to playing rugby.

However I could never get my leg straight and has always had a fairly high degree of flexion (approx 5-10 degrees) which has always had some impact on the stability of the knee.

At the time of the operation I believe the 'wisdom' at the time was to keep the knee in a brace at a flex angle of approx 30degrees. My understanding, although no-one would admit to it, was that they left the brace on too long and hence I couldn't ever get my leg straight (again, not sure if this' true).....at the time I did everything possible to straighten it.

I'm suffering constant pain in it now (medial) and although I suspect it's cartlidge problems (yet again) - I wonder if anyone has had an op to straighten the leg/knee following such an op.........and what the outcomes where!?


Comments for What can be done to straighten leg post op?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 17, 2011
Hard to straighten

I know what you're talking about.
I had my ACL/meniscus surgery 3.5 months ago.
The doctor came to see me after the surgery while I was doped on drugs and far from alert. He apparently told me to keep the velcro cast on for 2 weeks, I kept it on for about 2-3, maybe 4 days. I couldn't remember anything he told me.

Later, he was worried about it not being straight.
I went to physio every 3 days for this. Deep tissue/muscle massages (most painful thing ever), stretches, ice, electric... mostly massages.
I also got this torture-looking brace type thing. Basically it elevates my foot and has straps to pull my knee straight down. Not fun.

SO anyone reading this... make sure you keep it straight from the get-go. I'm sure it's much easier that way.

Sep 21, 2009
scar tissue surgery
by: Anonymous

i know what your going throught, i had my acl reconstruction in june, but they didn't put me in a brace, and my legg would not go straigght after surgery, so two weeks ago they opperated on my knee again to get it straight. Right now i have five more degrees to go, but before the surgery i had 30. It much worth getting the surgery!

Nov 20, 2008
knee extension
by: Bart - SII

you are correct regarding the "wisdom" of the time - ACL reconstructions used to be treated with a full leg cast or strict immobilization for several weeks immediately following surgery. After the cast or brace came off, it was a major chore to try to get full motion. The management has changed significantly since, as we usually advocate early motion the same day as surgery, and work to gain full extension in the first week post-op.

You likely have some significant scar tissue formation, some articular cartilage changes, and possibly some meniscus involvement that is preventing your knee extension. It is possible that arthroscopic surgery to remove scar tissue, clean out the joint, etc could help to restore some of your extension, but with it having been so long, it could very well be impossible to fully restore full extension.

If it is causing significant problems, it would likely be an option worth exploring - likely wouldn't hurt anything and may make things better.


Click here to add your own comments

Return to Sports Injury Answers - Knee Ligaments.