Rehabbing the knee is an everyday thing. Here lately I feel like I have been talking to people who are within the same surgery and they are all running and back to sports. Not me. I guess since I get paid to professionally sit in front of a computer all day, I’m not in a huge rush to sprint. But for the sake of my physical activities, I want nothing more to be back–or at least work up a sweat running again. It’s almost more tough now than it was in the beginning. At least then, I knew I had to lug the brace and crutches around. Now, I’m just waitin’ and rehabbin’ to get stronger. I feel like my surgeon, who only sees my so often, has an opposing view from my therapist, who sees me weekly, about when I can run again. Three months v at least six months. Maybe it’s that little lateral meniscus that’s causing all the fuss.
This guy shows what he can do at 5-months post-op.
It’s not always the most fun watching others gracefully surpass you in rehab, but it can be inspiring, too. Luckily (as always) there is hope. I found some good before-you-get-running news in reading this post from one of the members, ACLrecon, at coolrunning.com:
“Have 2 things checked for sure: That anterior tibial shift is normal, and that tibial rotation is tight. Successful ACL surgeries seem to reproduce normal outcomes in anterior shift, but tibial rotation is usually never as tight again. There is an experimental proceedure called “double bundle ACL reconstruction” where they drill two holes into your legs with two grafts at different angles – to reproduce the normal ACL’s anatomy. This has yet to yield definitive results in tibial rotation, but they’re working on it.
2nd Thing, is to make sure you follow rehab to the letter. Muscle strength MUST BE RETURNED TO NORMAL or STRONGER inorder to prevent further injury AS WELL as staving off early arthritis.
3rd thing is, you will have to adjust accord to pain and how you feel. Don’t ever over do it, you’ll do yourself no favors. If you’ve had meniscus removed, I would hope that you strengthen your legs to make up for it as well as changing how heavy you place loads on your leg when running and playing sports.
Sure….in the short-term, you may be able to run and play sports fine. But in the long term (7-10years+), you may be suffering from EARLY arthritis if you return to sports too early, don’t complete rehab, keep a weaker knee, and don’t adjust loads to compensate for your knee’s current condition.”
Of course, I want everyone to heal and forget about the ACL experience as soon as possible. I just caution people in coming back too quickly. It may bring well-deserved bragging rights, but be sure you’re good and ready to compete.