I’m moving for the second time since I had my surgery. Not just moving apartments, but moving cities. I moved from Chicago to San Francisco at 3 months post-op and now am moving back to Chicago this weekend, 10 months post-op.
Two pieces of advice for those who move post op:
1. Seek a reputable therapist and gym membership immediately!! I waited until I “settled in” until I found a therapist out here and it was too long. Do it ASAP because good PTs are hard to find and harder to schedule.
2. Be careful with all the lifting, carrying and stair climbing. Be sure to stretch pre/post move. (Or bribe friends to help you out!) I might sound like a broken record here, but if you are lifting, be sure you are doing it properly.
Here’s some advice from About.com:
- Plan ahead before lifting.
Knowing what you’re doing and where you’re going will prevent you from making awkward movements while holding something heavy. Clear a path, and if lifting something with another person, make sure both of you agree on the plan.
- Lift close to your body.
You will be a stronger, and more stable lifter if the object is held close to your body rather than at the end of your reach. Make sure you have a firm hold on the object you are lifting, and keep it balanced close to your body.
- Feet shoulder width apart.
A solid base of support is important while lifting. Holding your feet too close together will be unstable, too far apart will hinder movement. Keep the feet about shoulder width apart and take short steps.
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight.
Practice the lifting motion before you lift the object, and think about your motion before you lift. Focus on keeping you spine straight–raise and lower to the ground by bending your knees.
- Tighten your stomach muscles.
Tightening your abdominal muscles will hold your back in a good lifting position and will help prevent excessive force on the spine.
- Lift with your legs.
Your legs are many times stronger than your back muscles–let your strength work in your favor. Again, lower to the ground by bending your knees, not your back. Keeping your eyes focused upwards helps to keep your back straight.
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I haven’t posted a pic–or a post–in a while. Sorry for the delay. I’ve been too busy rehabbin’! I promise to be more active, especially since I am entering six-months post-op and the home stretch for my first post-op ski trip at the end of Jan.
Here’s what my knee looks like these days. It’s slightly bent in the picture, so it’s a little more white than usual. Hopefully it will go “clear” soon.
Six months post-op ACL scar
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A Quick Overview on Life These Days:
-Bending, Extenstion and ROM seem to be very up to par
-My knee only feels stiff when I am sitting at my desk for long periods of time
-Still no running, but I am avid on the bike, rowing machine, eliptical and others
-My knee doesn’t “pop” as much, apparently the knee cap is getting back into it’s groove
-My operated leg is still not as strong as the other leg (only 50 million more squats to go!)
-I am (cautiously) “jumping” on the BOSU ball and shuttle machine
-My scar is pretty much clear, no more purple/red to it
-My scar tissue has faded fast, sometimes I have to search hard to find the little bit of it
-I am actually looking forward to getting back to sports soon (sports, as in playing on a team) I’m also a huge advocate of being cautious with this bionic knee, so no set date yet, but I feel ready. I will be hitting the slopes in Tahoe this January.
I hope all is well with everyone! Where are you at post-op and what is your new knee life like these days?
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An ACL surgery where most pain and swelling subsides in 4-6 weeks, vs. 3-4 months for traditional open or partial-arthroscopic ACL replacement? Where was this option when I needed it five months ago?!
Excerpts of this article were taken from ”Ohio Orthopedic Surgeon Daniel Zanotti, MD, is One of the First in the U.S. to Perform All-Arthroscopic ACL Replacement Surgery” on PRWEB
“This time of year, athletes have a lot of knee injuries, especially football and soccer players,” says board-certified orthopedic surgeon Daniel Zanotti, MD. “At the Center for Orthopedics, we’re pushing the envelope with a brand-new all-arthroscopic ACL reconstruction procedure.”
Daniel Zanotti, MD
| Orthopedic surgeons have recently started using allograft or donor tendon tissue. We’ve tried to eliminate any incisions for harvesting grafts or even for inserting them–doing everything arthroscopically through a few tiny holes.
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Today is my five-month anniversary with my newly constructed ligament.
Overall things have been going well. I think my biggest obstacle now is life getting in my way. It’s hard to stick to a 2/day PT schedule when you work long hours, socialize and overall are feeling a little bit more back to normal. Not that normal, though. I still try to make it to PT twice a week, but find myself cancelling a lot of those appointments due to the aforementioned commitments of “life.” Some of it I can control, while others I can’t.
Right now I feel like I’m in a weird holding period of “feeling fine to go about the normal day” but “not up to par with normal physical activities.” I can walk to work just fine, substitute the stairs for the elevator with no problem, but I’m just not back to my old physical regime–soccer two nights a week, the gym every other night, run 3 miles, then play various other sports throughout the week. I’ll get there. I just have to reevaluate the importance of pushing myself to go beyond getting through the normal day and getting back into normal activities. Besides, if I want to be skiing by the end of January, I think I have my work cut of for me.
If it helps any, at least it did for me, go back and look through the pictures of your progress. Maybe you have pictures after surgery, your scar progression or any pictures of you post-op. Now, think about where you are today–how you feel, how your strength is and your mobility. Finally, take your hand and give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back. Congrats, champ! You’re that much closer to your normal life.
I think about the bandages, the CPM machine, the pain killers that made me sick, the crutches, that damn brace in the middle of summer and my humility–none of those things are present in my life anymore. I hope you continue to shed layers of bad ACL experiences every day.
After Surgery–ACL Scar
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In a few hours, I will finally be going on my New Zealand trip. What this really means is my declaration to getting back to living a normal life. Knee surgery takes it out of you. Confides you. Isolates you. Frustrates you. Confuses you. Puts weight on you. And changes you. While your knee may be snapped, it’s really how you choose to deal with it that makes or breaks you. When I was doing PT in Chicago, they had pictures of people–famous athletes, average Joes and kids–who signed their pics with inspirational messages for recovery. I’ll never forget this marathon runner who signed his with this message: “Bones may break, but nothing can shatter the human spirit.” It might be a famous quote, but it’s so true. I gotta throw in one of my favorite baseball quotes, too. From the great Jack Buck, “Things turn out the best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.”
Your recovery is entirely up to you. Somedays you can’t crawl out of bed–and somedays you don’t want to. Sometimes you skip excercises and stop after a few squats. And somedays you really feel hopeless, but it gets better. Your knee finally starts bending, your gait starts looking normal and people stop telling you they feel sorry for you. Keep your mind strong, your excercise schedule strict, and before you know it, your knee won’t even bother you. I’m three months, two weeks post-op and can go through the normal day just fine. No running or contact sports yet, but that’s just another goal to reach for. My first goal was getting back to normal life, and that officially starts today.
I wish the same for you–and in an even speedy manner. If you have stories of what, or who, got you through rehab, please share them! We can learn from each other and grow stronger for it! Brighter days are certainly ahead.
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My solution is simple:
“Make no little plans…” Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect. (1864-1912)
1. Think about your passions/hobbies pre-ACL surgery.
2. Make a plans to return to one thing a few months out, when you are mostly recovered.
3. Start an envelope/savings jar and start stashing away the money you would be spending at restaurants, bars, clubs, sports or traveling. Since you are confined to the couch and a brace, think of it as a nice savings plan for your big ”welcome back to civilation” celebration.
For me, I love to travel and play sports. So much so, that I tore my ACL five days before my ski trip to Whistler. (Ouch!) Since my tear and surgery, I haven’t been able to travel or play sports. But, no worries, mate. My ACL plan I made to help my mentally get through this process was to plan a trip to New Zealand. I get my travel fix and my adventure sports fix in whatever level I choose to participate, even if it is just watching an All Blacks game or my friends zorbing down hills. After this rehab process, I’ll certainly need some new adventures in my life–we all will. Sorry I encourage you to make plans. Back to my opening quote, “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work…”
Pic from breakaway.co.nz I found this wonderful photgrapher, Kenny Muir, on Flikr. Maybe some of his travel photography can inspire you to make no little plans when your ACL is back and kicking.
The rehab thing is definetly physical, but we all know it’s so much of mind game, too. As if being couped up on your couch for weeks isn’t enough, good luck trying to retrain your leg how to bend and walk again. Forget about that for now, go make your plans. I’ll be leaving for New Zealand in three weeks, almost three months after my surgery. I’m sure it’s worth the wait, that’s why you gotta plan big.
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