For more information with a detailed timeline, exercises for pre- and post-op, and yoga videos, check out The Complete ACL Surgery Recovery Guide here!
Lost of traveling this past weekend, and my schedule has been crazy! I missed last week, so I am just combining the past 2 weeks below 🙂
13-14 weeks Post-Op Summary
- PT tested my knee with a Stryker Knee Laxity Testing Instrument – this measures the tightness/laxity of your new ACL compared to your other knee, in millimeters. My PT was actually surprised, as my new ACL was tighter than my right knee (a good thing). He said I was a little above the curve as far as recovery, and I push myself a little more than the average person. Because of this, he thought it would be the same or a little looser, as my joints are already a little looser (due to gymnastics), the natural hyper extension in my knees and intensity of my workouts.
- I got to practice the Cybex Machine, as I will be starting testing in it at my next appointment. This machine measures the strength and endurance of my knee/hamstring/quad in my right knee versus the one I had surgery on.
- Can run in 2 weeks! May 28th, to be exact 🙂
- Still bruising in area of knee where screw was drilled into bone, but feeling better every day
- Can go into childs pose at yoga now! I am getting way more flexion in my knee to the point where I don’t have to force my heel back to my butt
- Still going to PT every other week until I run! I have been doing PT/Yoga/workouts 3-5 times a week, so no need to go in.
- My knee cracks when I do squats – just a mini crack, it doesn’t really hurt
- Swelling in front of knee almost gone!
- Traveled this past weekend, flying all the way out to Montana. Thanks to the advice of mommybites (her ACL blog is here), I brought along plastic bags for icing. Honestly though, I didn’t have much of a problem with swelling after flying. However, I did ice on the way there and at least once a day, so I was happy I brought plastic bags. I just filled up ice from the ice machine at the hotel and iced 1-2 times a day.
- Got a workout in while traveling, lots of walking and I danced at a wedding for a few hours on Saturday. I made sure I wasn’t twisting my knee or jumping on it too much, and my knee felt fine the next day.
- Started using Cortesia acute and chronic injury salve – so far, so good! It’s kind of stinky, but I think it has been helping my knee a lot!
PT Exercises (new exercises bolded)
- Elliptical at the beginning of my workouts, 15 minutes
- Balancing on foam roll cut in half on injured leg – bring other leg as far out in front, to the side, and diagonally behind you. 3 x 10
- Balancing on foam roll cut in half (on bad leg) – throw ball at trampoline, it rebounds back. Left hip is facing trampoline – do one set, then have right hip face trampoline. 2 sets of 15
- Lunges w/twist to side – lunging forward on a bosu ball w/ 8-12 lb ball – 2 sets of 30
- Monster walks to the back/side (stand looking forward with a slight squat, side step left leg & to the back – so stepping not to the side or to the back, but in between) – 10 each side, 2x
- Holding onto bands on wall, squat on one leg then back up – when coming up, curl band up to work arms. 3×10
- Lay on back w/sliders under feet. Bridge stomach up, then slowly slide one leg out and back, then the other leg. 30 seconds. Rest. Bridge stomach up again, then slide one leg out, then the other. Go as quickly as you can, non stop for 30 seconds. Repeat for a total of 2 rounds.
- Lay on ground – put both feet up on an exercise ball. Bridge hips up & pull feet towards body – 3 sets of 15
- With a weighted vest, step up onto a platform (with bad leg) while holding a weighted ball (6-12 lbs). bring up, hold, then slowly come down. 1 set of 15
- With a weighted vest, step up sideways onto a platform (with bad leg). Bad leg is crossing in the back, so the step up should be a little awkward/tricky. Holding a weighted ball (6-12 lbs), step up and bring ball towards the sky diagonally. Slowly come down. 1 set of 15
- One-legged lunge, with good leg resting in a TRX band behind me. Step onto a foam mat for more balancing exercise and do a lunge on bad leg. 3 x 10
- Workout at gym 1-2 times a week, doing PT exercises above
- Stretching after every workout
- Bikram Yoga/Yoga (1x a week, if I can find time)
So far, my knee has been feeling fantastic! I was surprised after so much walking, dancing and workouts in the past week that my knee actually felt better! I think I have been babying my knee maybe a bit too much – pushing myself has yielded better progress, at least for me. I still have pains and swelling, but my knee is feeling better more and more everyday.
If I had to give advice to anyone going through ACL surgery, I would recommend YOGA. I think this has been such a huge asset to my recovery – I am more flexible than I was before my surgery, it has helped my balance immensely and it has been a great way to let go of stress. I am able to push myself, but in a way that I feel safe and comfortable. Obviously, 1.5 months post surgery I was not able to do much. But I listened to my body and kept going, and I believe it has been key to my recovery. I have always gone to Bikram or a heated yoga class, which might not be for everyone… but I think this has helped loosen my muscles up more, sweat out the crap in my body and made me more focused on my poses/body (instead of focusing on how hot it is in the room!). I only go 1-2 times a week (If I am lucky and have time! Sometimes I will do a quick yoga flow at home), and I have received so many benefits from only a few classes here and there. Has yoga helped anyone else during an ACL recovery? If not, what has been the best workout/sport that has been the most beneficial for you?