Motion and mobility after ACL repair is a key factor in the long-term success of the operation. Studies show that without good motion, the joint is compressed and wears out faster. Ten years down the road, the patient develops degenerative arthritis and the ACL repair looks like a failure.
Patellar mobility (kneecap motion) is a key factor in regaining overall knee motion. It is always advised to get your motion back before you start strengthening exercises.
Your physical therapist or surgeon can assess patellar motion and teach you how to manually move it side to side, up and down, and along the diagonal planes of motion. This type of motion will help prevent scarring from occurring between the patellar tendon and the tibia and between the patella and the tibia.
Without an 80 percent return of motion early on, there's a good chance another operation will be needed to release adhesions in the joint. You should have full motion by the end of six weeks. The right rehab program must match the type of surgery you had while regaining motion. Strength training comes after joint mobility is restored.