Posts Tagged ‘ACL Surgery Recovery’

Happy St. Pat’s day to all from “Little Miss Lucky”–that’s me moments after my surgery.

Thanks to massive pain killers and nerve blocks, I don’t really remember most of it. I remember waking up to graham crackers and ginger ale and the nurse directing me to eat the crackers. I just wanted to fall back asleep. My leg was numb, but I could feel the bulky weight of my new reality. Maybe if I could go back to sleep, I could magically awaken to a fully rehabbed and strong ACL? Not the case. That was too much to think about. As the anesthesia slowly wore off, my surgeon came in the room. I felt like I needed to ask him so much, but was first concerned with how I was going to get into my car and leave the hospital; I couldn’t bare to think of life beyond that. Then he said,”Well, the worst part is over. It all gets better from here.”

He was and is right. Once you make the surgical decision to reconstruct your knee, every day from that point on gets better and the only thing you have to do is progress. I know, this sounds contrary to what most of the rest of this blog says. Rehab is not easy, but the great thing is that you have the opportunity each day to “rebuild” your knee and the rest of your body. You become more conscious of movements, body mechanics and proper form. You never take a moment you can move for granted again. Most people will never see life–or their bodies–from that angle. So complain as we do, the whole ACL experience makes us better athletes –and people in the end. Lucky us ūüôā

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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¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† DSCN1822

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Today I have my first acupuncture appointment. I’m not one to knock the benefits of natural medicine, but something about strategically placing needles in my body is kinda weird to me.
Some brief research, and here’s some helpful info on how acupuncture can help heal an ACL:

From the Lalli Care Clinic in Canada
Acupuncture can be a usefull tool to increase blood flow into the area of an injury which will improve the healing process. It also acts on pain receptors to decrease pain as a result of injury.

-From ProSportsHealing.com

Dr. Abdullah says accupuncture stimulates the immune system and is a natural pain killer. The doc also says there are three stages to recovery process: inflammation, repair and reconditioning.

Acupuncture has an anti-inflammatory effect–and I can use that about now. I’m still trying to deal with breaking up scar tissue. I figure I would give this a shot, besides, the insurance pays for it.

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In the spirit of, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?”,¬† I’ve decided to fill you in on my personal answer to “How long does it take to get back to normal¬† after ACL reconstruction?”

Let’s keep in mind we are all different, and it also depends on your procedure. From the P.O.V. of someone who had a patellar tendon graft reconstruction and a lateral meniscus repair, I answer the aforementioned question with this: six weeks. It took me six weeks and rehab to finally be able to walk normally (and at a normal pace), confidentily go up and down stairs, comfortably take mass transit and be able to go through the work day without thinking about the knee.

So there. I hope it helps. But I would love to hear your own take on recovery.

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So far, so good. Today, I walked into work without the aid of crutches! Big win for me.

I can’t believe it was one month ago that I was braced, bandaged and doped on pain meds to ease the excruciating throbs. I’ve come pretty far in my progress. I’ve hit plateaus, got frustrated, thought I was moving backwards, but suddenly and a little slowly, you start waking up one week and the act of moving your braced leg out of bed is a motion you don’t think about. And once you’re on your feet, you don’t even reach for your crutches. Each day, you do get stronger, but it’s not easy. It means a lot of PT, and a lot of self-driven excercises at home. I finally reached a positive week where each day builds on the next. If I can do it, there’s certainly hope for you.

Update from my 2nd Post-op Dr. Appt.:

-No more crutches & I get to ditch the brace next week!

-He also told me the worst was over. And to paraphrase the genuis Dr. Nuber, “Some weeks will be better than others. You’ll have pops, pains and swelling, but this is normal. It’s all a process.”

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Meet my new BFF, the CPM (continuous passive motion) machine.

The day I got home from surgery, they suggested I start with minor excercises and start using the CPM machine. Everyone who gets an ACL reconstructed will get familiar with this bulky piece of equipment. The premise is simple: lay down, strap your leg in, set the machine to elevate your leg to the desired degree and let it do the work for you. Set it and forget it, if you will. The doctor recommends I stay in this machine four to six hours a day.

Picture 2 (more…)

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