Knee Surgery… Anybody busted their ACL before?

posted 2 years ago in Fitness
Post # 2
Member
306 posts
Helper bee

I can’t be of any help with your particular injury but having had surgery last year to fix two broken legs (at once), I understand the feelings you’re having. My best advice is to practice self-care, start physical therapy as soon as you are cleared to do so and document your progress as you go along. It’s a dark time – it’s very much ok and normal to cry and have your rough moments. ***But*** don’t forget it is only temporary! Time heals. And you will be so appreciative of legs that work when you have recovered! You will have a new respect for your abilities and the human body’s ability to heal. 

Definitely work hard in physical therapy. Find a good therapist that is passionate about their work and invested in your progress! I prefer sole practitioners over larger clinics where they don’t do as much one-on-one. 

One very important thing that has kept me going through my recovery (I have several other severe injuries) is the ability to see my progress. With ACL surgery, you’ll probably be working quite a bit on knee flexion and extension. Take videos every few days starting from day one so you can go back and see the progress you’re making. Absolutely has propped me up when I felt like quitting.

And again, don’t forget…it’s temporary. You’ll be back to doing what you love before you know it and the downtime will be a distant memory. 

Hugs to you and good luck!!!!

 

Edited to add: I did watch what I ate as far as junk food/empty calories. I was mindful that I wasn’t as active so I tried not to go overboard on the snacks. I did tried to eat healthfully as I wanted to make sure my body was getting the nutrients it needed to repair itself. Don’t obsess, just be thoughtful of your choices ❤️

 

Post # 3
Member
2041 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

My dad tore his ACL. Give it the proper time to heal, or it will bother you for the rest of your life. If you gain a bit of weight, you’ll be okay. I promise. I understand how you feel, but resting is the best thing for your body.

I have a torn meniscus. I was told that I wouldn’t need surgery, as long as I stopped all high impact activities. I did. I used to do triathlons, ran 6 km or more several times a week, played soccer, and was a former internationally competitive figure skater. Taking breaks and time off is not in my vocabulary. But I adjusted my fitness routines, as hard as it was, and I’ve never been in better shape.

Although not the same thing, this summer I had a baby. I was cycling, doing hot yoga, weight training, etc. until two days before my baby was born. I had a c-section. It was July 13th and the nurse told me I wouldn’t be able to resume exercising until mid-September. I cried at the hospital when she told me that. But I listened to their advice and only did what I was cleared to do. I walked a lot, but didn’t do much else. It’s six months later, and I’m still not doing the same level of activity as before pregnancy/birth. But you know what? It’s okay! Out bodies are smart, especially when we take care of them, which you do. With just walking, I had lost all my baby weight in two months. I have slowly added things back into my routine, and I feel really strong and healthy. I haven’t really been watching what I’m eating, but I’m not gorging on treats every day. Try to relax about it and give yourself a break while it heals. You’ll be back at it before you know it!

Post # 4
Member
9614 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

My Darling Husband is currently dealing with a torn ACL, LCL, MCL, and partial hamstring tear. Compared to the other surgeries, the ACL was a walk in the park. He was only on pain pills a few days, at physical therapy two days later. Starting to learn to walk this week. It’s a process, but you can recover. Don’t rush things, do every little thing by the book according to your surgeon. These injuries are so common, (well not my DHs combo, but yours) that the surgeries are routine. Talk to your doc about using a donor graft instead of taking it from your own leg. That is what causes a lot of the pain, and when you have a complex injury you don’t need to be weakening other parts. If your surgeon isn’t comfortable with a donor graft get a second opinion.

Post # 5
Member
9614 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

And as far as weight gain, you’re just going to have to adjust your diet and not seek comfort in food. Which is hard I know. Hang in there.

Post # 6
Member
11866 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

mrsbjj17 :  I was in a cast for several months recently for a broken foot, so not the same injury but I also was used to exercising daily and very depressed by the idea I couldn’t.  

I’m not sure how these would work for you, but I found several chair HIIT workouts for ankle injuries. It is possible to elevate your heart rate with just your arms, as well, and they make those videos. 

I also found a PT in Australia who put a whole exercise and rehab routine on dvd for dancers recovering from injuries (I was back en pointe when this happened, bone snapped completely off). Using her videos, I was able to rehab in my cast and discover muscles I hadn’t been aware of previously. It actually helped me improve my technique.

Point is, the internet is a vast resource for just about every injury. If you search, you’ll find trainers to pro athletes who have a routine for your injury.

i also went to PT 3 times a week and did the exercises faithfully at home no matter what. When I got my cast off, the owner of the PT facility said he’d never seen anyone walk so steadily immediately. I put that down to luck, mostly, but also exercising every support muscle group I could while lying down or in a chair. I don’t know what those groups are for your injury, but your core is one area it seems you could keep strong safely (obviously ask your doc and PT peeps)  and will help you when you’re doing PT. You can still do your arms as well, and the butt is another power group of muscles. 

I know this seems absolutely the worst right now, and it sucks. It does. It gets worse before it gets better. But you can do this. I tried to remind myself how lucky I was every day, because it was an injury that would eventually heal. 

My thoughts are with you, bee. I know how depressing it is to think you’re going to lose all of the work you out into things so far. There is light at the end of the tunnel. 

Post # 7
Member
216 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I’m sorry you’re going through this Bee!

i fractured my tibia plateau and tore my LCL in my right knee years ago. I had 3 days in the hospital and 2 surgeries. It was an extensive recovery, and I was non-weight bearing for 8 weeks. During this time, I got really good at using crutches to get around and developed some pretty amazing triceps and biceps! 

It will be very hard to workout, but you can still work your upper body and abs if you’re careful. Just try to get up and use your crutches as much as possible. Go out for “walks” with a friend or family member. Try not to sit on the couch and sulk all day, which will really hinder your mentality. 

I assume you’ll need some PT during your recovery, which will also help you stay active. I did a lot of biking for PT and had to overcome some serious muscle atrophy in my broken leg. After I was able to put weight on again, lunges and squats helped to regain the muscle I lost. I still cannot run like I used to, but I’ve had no other long term affects from the injury. 

good luck with your surgery and recovery! 

Post # 8
Member
473 posts
Helper bee

Swimming is great because it didn’td put too much strain on your knees. It’s really important the you give yourself enough time to heal because your ACL is a major stabilizing factor for the joint

Post # 12
Member
1353 posts
Bumble bee

I currently work at a PT clinic ad a technician, have a Masters in Kinesiology, and will start PT school I’m the next few months. Everyone’s recovery will look different, it also depends on the surgery type you are having. If they are taking a part of your hamstring, you will likely have a little longer recovery and may have some special restrictions at first. Most ortho’s use a cadaver now, which is better for recovery time generally. 

I also agree with PP that you need to find a good PT clinic. Research your area and ask your dr who he recommends. There are ACL protocols that therapists follow, but there are also advanced protocols for athletes and those who progressed quicker.

As for weight gain, I would recommend watching what you eat until you are able to incorporate some modified exercise in your routine. This might be a perfect time to get some upper body and core in! 

Post # 13
Member
9614 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

mrsbjj17 :  my husband just had so much damage they weren’t about to weaken his remaining intact tendons! So cadaver graft was assumed from the start. They do have their own risks (like rejection) I would talk to your surgeon, and another surgeon about what they prefer and why. Some drywall sheets fell on him and pretty much snapped his leg the wrong way. 

Youre going to find different info, because every person is different. He has been in PT this whole time, twice a week. They also give you exercises to do at home. You will bounce back quickly if you’re athletic. You will have a lot of progress in 3 months, however I don’t think you’ll be running again then. Don’t push it and reinjure yourself. I would also look into aqua therapy. That can help people get back at it quickly. 

Post # 14
Member
2019 posts
Buzzing bee

mrsbjj17 :  I tore my ACL twice, same knee. full ACL, MCL, LCL, bone bruise, strained hamstring, etc. 

My first surgery was relatively easy. They went in with 3 small incisions to scope it out. My ortho surgeon used my hamstring to “tie” into the ACL and I was out of surgery and into rehab almost immediately. The PT, to me, was the worst part. The surgery itself felt relatively minor, pain wise and down time.  I was in PT basically the next day working it out with light movement and yeah– it was uncomfortable, but not unbearable. It just felt stiff more than anything and PT forced you to loosen up that leg.

 

Now here is where I yell at you… DO NOT RESUME FULL EXERCISE UNTIL CLEARED BY YOUR DOCTOR, NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU FEEL. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT.

I *felt* back to almost 100% and decided to play a pickup game of basketball. Came down and hyperextended my knee and completely ripped out everything they just did, and then some. A lot more cartilage was ripped, and since my ACL was shot, there was nothing to work with so had to use a cadaver tendon. THAT recovery and surgery was 10x worse, more painful and I have a 8 inch scar starting at the top of my kneecap down the front of my shin. I have no feeling in that knee anymore and my legs are not “even” since my left leg spent so much time in a cast/brace and that muscle atrophied. That was 14 years ago and it still hasn’t caught up to my right knee/leg. If I do anything to it now, full knee replacement– there’s no other option.

So, it is a very manageable surgery the first time around. Wear the braces, take the meds to manage pain, do not exceed what your PT tells you and you should be fine. ALWAYS wear your brace when you’re training, running, playing or doing anything physical– it will be a life saver. Even if 15 years from now you don’t feel like you need it, trust me, YOU DO 🙂

Post # 15
Member
11866 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

mrsbjj17 :  I did not gain weight, I actually lost a few pounds. I did get a decent cardio workout in the chair, which surprised me. Arms are actually a good way to raise heartrate. Of course it’s a big loss- it doesn’t feel the same. But it is possible. 

I get where your head is at right now, I did the same thing. I pushed myself for a dance event I was dead set on doing. Well. I re-injured myself exercising before I was cleared – during the “rest” before work PT. I won’t get into the gruesome details but it was awful and it taught me that I had to go along with the process.

healing bones and tendons won’t be rushed. 

Keeping the surrounding support muscles strong is your best bet. It’s a process. It’s not fun. But you aren’t in charge of the speed of recovery, sadly (believe me, I tried). 

 

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