Young woman having leg injury. Close up male hands massaging leg of an injured woman at the gym. Sport injury concept.

ACL/MCL Reconstruction/Repair Protocol


  • Maintain your operative dressing, loosen the bandage if swelling of the foot and ankle occurs.
  • It is normal for the kneed to bleed and swell following surgery.  If blood soaks onto the ACE bandage, do not become alarmed, reinforce with additional dressing.
  • To avoid infection, keep surgical incisions clean and dry for the first 7 days following surgery – you may shower by placing a large plastic bag over your brace beginning the day after surgery.  NO immersion of the operative leg 

(i.e.: bath or pool)

  • Wait until your first post-operative appointment to have Dr. Mead’s team remove the surgical dressing.
  • Please do not place any ointments, lotions, or creams directly on the incisions.
  • Once the sutures are removed at least 7-10 days post operatively you can begin to get the incision wet in the shower (let water and soap lightly run over the incision and pat dry).  NO immersion in a bath until given approval by our office.


  • Icing is very important in the initial post operative period and should begin immediately after surgery.
  • Use an icing machine continuously or ice packs (if machine not prescribed) for 30-45 minutes every 2 hours daily until your first post-operative visit – remember to keep your leg elevated to the level of your chest while icing.  Care should be taken with icing to avoid frostbite to the skin.
  • You do not need to wake up in the middle of the night to change over the ice machine or ice packs unless you are uncomfortable.


If you have any problems or questions about your post op care, please do not hesitate to call our office at 

504-309-6500.  Let the operators know you just had surgery by your doctor and ask to speak with a medical assistant.  If you should need to call after hours, the answering service will get your information and have the on-call physician return your call.  If the matter is urgent, proceed to the emergency room.

Weeks 0 – 4 (Acute)

Range of Motion

  • Weeks 0 -1 
    • Flexion 0 to 30 degrees
  • Weeks 1 – 2
    • Flexion 0 to 60 degrees
  • Weeks 2 – 4
    • Flexion 0 to 90 degrees


  • Weeks 0 – 2
    • Toe-touch weightbearing
  • 2+ Weeks
    • Weightbearing as tolerated


  • Weeks 0 – 2
    • Braced locked at 0 degrees until 10 straight leg raises
  • Weeks 2 – 4
    • Brace 0 to 60 degrees
  • 4+ Weeks 
    • Open and discontinue once gait is normal

Weeks 6 – 12 Phase 2 (Strength)

Range of Motion

  • Progress to full flexion


  • Leg press, step ups, step downs, wall sits 
  • Squat progression: bodyweight squats 
  • Advance hip abduction & glut strength 
  • Core exercises 
  • Balance training


  • Stationary bike: interval training
  • 6+ Weeks — Elliptical & rowing machine 
  • Initiate dynamic warm-up

Weeks 12 – 24 Phase 3 (Agility/Plyometrics)


  • Dynamic warm-up & integrate sport specific warm up 
  • Biking, elliptical, jogging, swimming, & rowing 
  • Treadmill walk/jog progressions


  • Ladder drills, footwork agility drills, cone drills 
  • Double leg plyos 
  • High intensity predictable patterned movements, incorporate sport specific drills

Weeks 24 – 28 (Phase 4)


  • Gym strengthening squats, deadlifts, Olympic lifting 
  • Interval strength circuits 
  • Dynamic eccentric loading: double & single leg 
  • Dynamic core 
  • Isokinetic training protocols


  • Dynamic warm-up 
  • Biking, elliptical, jogging, swimming & rowing 
  • Advance to linear speed drills and sprinting drills


  • Tuck jumps, squat jumps, bounding, SL hop, SL triple hop, SL cross over hop 
  • Change of direction drills 
  • Non-contact sports specific drills

Weeks 28 – 36 (Return to Play)


  • Gym strengthening squats, deadlifts, and Olympic lifting
  • Interval strength circuits & work/rest timed intervals  
  • Complex movement patterns 
  • Isokinetic protocols: 300°, 180°, and 60°/sec


  • Jogging, biking, swimming, rowing, & interval sprint workouts


  • Max effort DL and SL jumps 
  • Lateral & rotational agility drills 
  • Return to practice 🡪 return to contact practice 🡪 return to scrimmage 🡪 return to interval play 🡪 return to full play

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