I’m almost nine months post-op to the day. Over the months–the pre-op, op and post-op altogether–I’ve gained valuable fro insight from my blog readers, fellow ACL survivors, my surgeon, physical therapists, co-workers and perfect strangers who noticed my brace, crutches or limp and were kind enough to share their words of advice.
So I’ve managed to save all the advice from all of these people over the last few months. And I encourage you to add anything that’s helped you along the way, as well.
10. “Do something every day.” -my physical therapist in San Fran
Whether it’s leg lifts, clams, stretches or intense cardio, it’s important to do something towards progressing your recovery every day. We all don’t have all the time in the world, but we have to do what we can to make recovery a priority. No matter how small the #of reps. It’s better than nothing.
9. “Invest in good running shoes.” -my cousin, the triathlete
If you have a good pair, you know they make a world of a difference. Have your PT evaluate your gait and help you determine if you need running shoes for stability or motion control.
8. “The hamstrings are most important for stability.” -my San Fran ortho dr.
Make them strong–really strong. They will help compensate for a less-than-optimal knee.
7. “Don’t let your knees go over your toes!” -my Jillian, the trainer from “Biggest Loser” (she yells @ me when I do her “30-day Shred” workout video)
No matter what the lunge, stretch or squat may be, it’s important to keep yourself aligned to prevent injury and pain!
6. “Work your core.” my Chicago PT
Same thing with the hamstrings, you gotta work your core to keep you stable and strong and prevent any other injuries.
5. “Clams are your best friends.” -My San Fran PT
They strengthen your glutes and work that IT band. Two major, major factors in determining your rehab success back to normal activity.
4. “It it’s too painful, stop.” -My surgeon’s nurse
3. “Some weeks are better than others.” -My surgeon
Sometimes you feel you can run a marathon and sometimes you hobble home from the gym, either way, you have to accept that this is how life will play out from now on. But, because of this experience, you are more cautious of your activities and more grateful for the opportunity to move your body every way you can.
2. “Performing less exercises with good form is better than doing a lot of reps in bad form.” My Chicago PT
Have your PT assess how you are performing the exercises. Practice makes perfect, but the practice has to be perfect form. It’s better to focus on the biomechanics of doing the exercises correctly than trying to do the most reps you can. Once the form is proper, then you can do all the reps you like.
1. “P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E.” My mom
No one said it’d be easy. Before you physically go into this process, you have to mentally prep yourself for the time it’s going to take and the time you will have to devote to getting yourself back to “normal.” Just remember we are all different. We are heal at different times. And we all return to sports at different times. The text book recovery for ACL reconstruction is 6-8 months. But you and your knee are unique like everyone else. Don’t let the textbook tell you when you feel like yourself, and take your time. It’s better to be fully prepared to compete, then rush into anything and risk further injury, or a re-injury.