ACL Post-Surgery 13-14 weeks

Hi!

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!
Stryker Knee Laxity Testing Instrument

Stryker Knee Laxity Testing Instrument

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?


ACL Post-Surgery 3 Months

3 months! One more month until I can run! I have been having pain around the incision area when I walk, to the point that I am limping to not put weight on my knee. This only happens sporadically, and I am wondering if its muscle or bone pain (where the dr drilled into my tibia). My PT said the pain is around my Tibia and the bone might still be healing. I get random pains here and there, but my knee is feeling a little bit more normal every week. The rainy weather probably isn’t helping though! Summary is below 🙂

3-Month Post-Op Summary

  • Can run in 1 month! May 28th, to be exact 🙂
  • Pain in knee where screw was drilled into bone – maybe needs a few more weeks to heal 🙂
  • Reached 153 Degrees Flexion! My heel can touch my butt when I push it there
  • I only have to go to PT once every other week now! My PT doesn’t have much more to give me, so as long as I do my PT exercises on my own 2-3 times  a week, I don’t have to go in. (money saver!) Yoga and workout classes count, as I am doing balancing/squats/lunges/strength training etc.
  • My knee cracks when I do squats – just a mini crack, it doesn’t really hurt
  • Still a little swelling in my knee, I can definitely feel it when it rains
  • Pain on left side/under knee cap sometimes when I bend my knee up or down – my PT said it might just be from a small pocket of swelling.

PT Exercises (new exercises bolded)

  • Elliptical at the beginning of my workouts, 15 minutes
  • Side-lunges – 3 sets of 20
  • Balancing on Bosu-ball on injured leg, ball side up. Balance on bad leg and bring other leg as far out diagonally behind you, then to the other side. 1x 30
  • Balancing on Bosu ball, ball side down – lower into a squat and reach down and to the side like I am trying to touch foot, then back up and around to other shoulder (twisting) – 2 x 20
  • 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/ 12 lb ball – 3 sets of 20
  • 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
  • Calf raises on leg press machine – 3 sets of 15
  • Holding onto bands on wall, squat on one leg then back up – when coming up, curl band up to work arms.
  • Sliders – in plank position on hands, bring one leg out to the side and back. repeat on other side. then bring both legs out & back. Repeat 15 times, 2 rounds.
  • Lay on back w/sliders under my feet. Bridge stomach up, then slowly slide one leg out and back. Repeat on other leg -2-3 x, 30 seconds
  • Lay on back w/sliders under my feet. Bridge stomach up, then slide one leg out and back. Repeat on other leg , going as quickly as you can, non stop -2-3 x, 30 seconds
  • Lay on ground – put both feet up on an exercise ball. Bridge hips up & pull feet towards body – 3 sets of 15
  • 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)

I finally got a picture of my leg when it starts to look all funky… in past posts, I mentioned that the part of my leg that is numb looks really off when I get hot/workout. I snapped a picture during my workout on Monday (and this isn’t as noticeable as it normally gets!). Hopefully it is just damaged nerves – I have been applying oils on the numb area 2x a time, massaging it in to the leg and bottom of my foot. I have read up on it and have seen studies where diabetics were able to regain feeling back in their legs/feet after using them. I am going to try a different protocol next with a different combination of oils + applying heat right after to really drive the oils in. Fingers crossed!

Leg1

Leg2                  Leg3


ACL Post-Surgery 11 weeks

Almost 3 months post-op! Summary is below 🙂

11-week Recap

  • Saw my surgeon on Monday – he said my knee looked great! Still a little swelling, but it should go away soon. The pain under my knee cap is caused by weakness in my quad, and it will eventually go away. No running till 16 weeks – my surgeon said even professional athletes that do rehab every day shouldn’t be running till 16 weeks – too much risk of stretching out the graft.
  • Surgeon also said I could wear heels now if I wanted – he said it just depends on if I am willing to risk wearing them! Obviously more risk of twisting my knee… I asked since I have several weddings to go to this year, and he said I can wear heels, but dancing should be my biggest concern.
  •  Told PT my hamstrings have never really been that strong, so we worked hamstrings a lot this week – the back of my leg bruised a little bit, so I am taking a little break
  • Had a skype session with Sargam Mishra, and she performed (long distance) Pranic Healing on my knee from India. I should start to notice a huge difference in the next few weeks! The rest of the day after our session, my knee was really hurting. .This morning, though, it feels pretty good!
  • Flexibility is back and my Bikram Yoga classes are getting easier!

PT Exercises

  • Elliptical at the beginning of my workouts, 10-15 minutes
  • Side-lunges while holding onto TRX band – 3 sets of 10
  • Single-leg squats while holding onto TRX band – 3 sets of 10
  • Balancing on Bosu-ball on injured leg, ball side up. Holding 4 lb weights in each hand, 1) punch forward, slowly, 30 times. Rest. 2) Punch to the side (left & right), slowly, 30 times. Rest. 3) cross-punch in front of you, slowly, 30 times. Rest. 4) balance on bad leg and bring other leg as far out diagonally behind you, then to the other side. 1x 30
  • Balancing on Bosu ball, ball side down – lower into a squat and reach down and to the side like I am trying to touch foot, then back up and around to other shoulder (twisting) – 2 x 30
  • Plank hold, lifting one leg up, then the other while balancing on bosu ball, ball side down w/ankle weights– repeat 10x each leg for a total of 3 sets.
  • On injured (left) knee – holding 12 lb weight in right hand – then lean forward, balancing on injured knee w/weight hanging down (think warrior 3 position) – 2 sets of 15
  • Lunges w/twist to side – lunging forward on a bosu ball w/ 12 lb ball – 2-3 sets of 20
  • 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
  • Without stopping – 15 seconds leg press, 15 second hold @ 90 degrees, 15 seconds leg press (on injured leg) – 3x
  • Sliders – in plank position on hands, bring one leg out to the side and back. repeat on other side. then bring both legs out & back. Repeat 10 times, 3 rounds.
  • Lay on back w/sliders under my feet. Bridge stomach up, then slowly slide one leg out and back. Repeat on other leg -2-3 x, 30 seconds
  • Lay on back w/sliders under my feet. Bridge stomach up, then slide one leg out and back. Repeat on other leg , going as quickly as you can, non stop -2-3 x, 30 seconds
  • 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)

Now that its confirmed I cannot run for another 16 weeks, I am a little bummed… its been so hard not doing cardio! At the same time, I have been reading about people running at 12-14 weeks, and they have a lot of issues from starting back too soon. So maybe it is a blessing in disguise!

I have the house to myself this weekend, and I am planning on lots of sleeping, reading and meditating. I am also going to a yoga inversion class! Now that I feel comfortable enough to do handstands again, I want to really start working on getting my balance even better. Below is a pic pre-surgery!

20140425-083342.jpg

ACL Post-Surgery 10 weeks

10 Weeks Post-Op! Great things happening… see below for recap 🙂

10-week Recap

  • Reached full flexion/ROM (After walking on treadmill)… Finally! I have really struggled with getting my heel to my butt, but I can now get full ROM after a decent workout filled with elliptical & treadmill work. I usually wake up with 2-3 inches in between, but a lot of walking helps loosen my knee up
  • 10 weeks! 10 weeks! That means I am “Out of the Red” – my ACL is pretty much good to go… just need to build up a little more strength in the next few weeks
  • I can run in about a month! Even though I feel like I can now 🙂
  • I am meeting with my surgeon on Monday, and my PT is going to sit in on the appt. He thinks I might be ok to run at 14 weeks!
  • Doing more lateral movements in PT
  • Almost all swelling is gone in knee – just a little in the front
  • Can finally sit Indian-style! Lost a lot of flexibility, but it will come back
  • Working on setting  up a skype session with Sargam Mishra to do some energy/healing work on my ACL next week – more to come later (She actually completely healed a torn ACL on someone!!)
  • Scar still looking the same, maybe a little lighter… using the Vit E 2x a day!
  • Feeling stronger in balancing exercises – knee not so wobbly

PostOp10weeks

I see my surgeon on Monday, and I have a few questions to ask him. I think he is a little more aggressive on what I can do physically versus what my PT allows me to do, so it will be interesting to see how he thinks I am doing.

I went to Bikram tonight, and I can’t believe how much more I can do! I could do almost all of the poses! Not a lot of the sitting poses, but I could definitely see my progress in class. Below is a chart of all of the poses I did – I Xed out the poses I didn’t do. A lot of the poses I tried, but stopped if there was any twisting/pivoting of my knee. The poses marked partial, I only did the right leg and not the left.

Hope this helps anyone getting back into yoga after ACL surgery! Of course, everyone is different, so listen to your body 🙂


ACL Post-Surgery 9 weeks

I wish I had more to report, but I feel like week 9 was the same as week 7 & 8. My ROM has pretty much stayed the same, and no change in how my scars look. Recap is below!

Week 9 Summary

  • Better strength & Flexibility
  • Different exercises in PT
  • Still a little IT band pain on left side of pain, comes and goes
  • Doing more in Yoga – still careful, but am surprised by how much more I can do! I only wish I had more time to go to class
  • Have been doing headstands AND handstands, no problems 🙂
  • Knee is feeling more stable
  • Still a little swelling in front of knee, which prohibits me from getting past 147 degrees flexion – any tips on how to get past this?? I am icing 1-2 times per day.
  • Workout classes at work! A mix of pilates, boxing, yoga, standing core work, etc. Next week is total body conditioning. I feel so out of shape during the classes! 2x a week
  • Stretching after every workout
  • Yoga – Slow Power Flow & Bikram (1x a week, if I can find time)

I chatted with my PT the other day, and I asked him about running. I was curious as to why 16 weeks was when they had people start running, versus 12 weeks. I really just wanted to know the structure of the knee and healing process that the decision was based on. Apparently, 16 weeks is good for the “average” person. There are people who recover quicker, and they can start sooner. Then there are other people who have a tough recovery, so they don’t run till later on. Since my surgeon/PT center bases everything on studies, they opted to go for the “average” recovery timeline. The reasoning being: A while back, a soccer player recovered from his ACL surgery in 90 days. 90 days! (study info can be found here and here) So, naturally, more studies were done, and the recovery process was pushed to see if other people could really recover in 90 days. What the studies found was this: not everyone is a professional athlete, so 90 days might be a little much to shoot for. LOL. Apparently not everyone is an athlete (prior to surgery), have personal trainers and physical therapy most likely every day or the money/resources to recover as quickly as a professional athlete (no shit). Also, the survey found that people’s grafts were stretching out/more issues arose when the recovery timeline of 6 months they were shooting for was being pushed shorter.

So, even though my PT said my leg is most likely strong enough to run/jump now, he said “better safe than sorry.” Since I am at the 9 week mark when my graft has probably stabilized, there is still a chance of it stretching out (6-10 weeks is the time when your ACL is technically still healing/stabilizing). And I would rather be safe than sorry and have to go through that painful surgery again! However, if I accidentally jog to my car like i did last week or jump up and down when I am excited – I won’t sweat it 🙂

Can't wait for the day where I can jump & Run again!

Can’t wait for the day when I can jump & run again!

Until next time!

ACL Post-Surgery 2 Months

I have been waiting until after my PT appointment to write this, to see if I there were any updates…. but there aren’t. Knee is still truckin’ along, about the same as week 7. I notice I have good days and bad days, and it just fluctuates depending on how active I am. Summary is below!

  • Scars looks the same
  • Knee feels almost back to normal
  • Not 100% ROM where my heel can meet my butt, but pretty close
  • Jogged to my car the other day on accident (it was raining and i forgot!)
  • Still experiencing pain on right right of knee, slight bruising – where the screw was drilled into bone
  • IT band pain pretty much gone
  • Hyper-extension on knee is starting to come back (to match my other knee!)
  • 1.5 months until I can run again!
  • Got a massage the other day – the lady did an awesome job of working out a lot of knots on both of my legs! Def recommend to get the blood flowing and give your legs a break from working so hard.

Went to Bikram Yoga again the other day and I almost fainted. I felt nauseous, light-headed… I already am not doing a lot of the poses, but had to sit down for most of the class. That has NEVER happened to me in all of my years going to heated/Bikram yoga. I usually start to feel great after 20 minutes in. I think I had a slight ear infection, and I spent the rest of the night laying on the couch after class. I am going again this week, so fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again!

Asked my PT about the discoloration on the numb part of my leg when I start to sweat – they had no idea! Looks like I will have to check with my surgeon in a few weeks. I also will be working with more with my other PT, so hopefully some new exercises are on the horizon as I continue to get my leg strength back.

Until next time!

-Nina

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