Post-ACL Surgery Yoga Flow

It’s been about 2.5 years since my ACL Surgery… Since then, I’ve fully recovered, trained to become a yoga teacher, and have been instructing for the past 1.5 years. During this time, I have learned a LOT about the anatomy of the body (actually, just the body in general!), and I’ve been getting more technical when creating my classes/YouTube videos.

There was a request from a few of my readers to put together a post-ACL surgery yoga sequence, and I was finally able to record something after returning from my recent travels. Check out the video below and let me know what you think! I can create more based on each person’s timeline recovery & what needs to be strengthened. I hope this helps!! <3

ACL Post-Surgery 5 1/2 Months

5 1/2 Months Post-Op Summary

  • I ran my first 5k!! I have really been struggling with cardio, but I had no issues running a 5k at less than a 8:30/minute pace the other night… and my knee did not swell or bother me that night or the next day. Words cannot express how happy I am to have run that far – barely making it to 1 mile since my surgery was really starting to stress me out, thinking I wouldn’t be prepared for my next race – a 4 miler!
  • A few days later I ran another 3 miles, but my legs felt like BRICKS. However, my cardio felt great! Just an off day 🙂
  • Doing more strength work/ 1-legged jumping in PT
  • Icing and/or applying oils to my knee at least 1x a day
  • My PT said that when I get back, I might not need to go to PT every week. 6 months is usually the time when ACL patients get released from PT! I said I would go a few times and play it by ear, as I haven’t done as much pivoting/cutting work as I would like. I want to go more as a mental workout, so I can gain more confidence getting back into sports like basketball, tennis, kickboxing, etc.
  • Scars are beginning to lighten up!

PT Exercises/Workouts (new exercises bolded)

  • Elliptical at the beginning of my workouts to warm up, 5 minutes
  • Run 1 mile on treadmill for – 6.7-8 speed
  • Jumping onto a box, then stepping off box onto one foot and balancing – 6 times, 2-3 rounds (this helps the PT to see if my knee is caving inward versus staying strong and over my ankle)
  • Box jumps – jump up onto middle of box, then jump into a squat, immediately jumping up again and landing on one leg (balancing for a few seconds) 6x, 2-3 sets
  • A LOT of One-legged ladder work like this and this and this. The most tiring one was: jump forward 2 squares, then jump back 1 square (one-legged). Go up and down ladder once. Complete 2x
  • TRX band – squat jumps – 10, 3 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps, alternating between hopping on right and left leg – 10, 3 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps on left leg only – 8, 2 sets
  • 4 markers set up on the ground: Run fast up to second marker –> squat down and shuffle as fast as I can to the next marker –> run backwards as fast as I can to the next marker –> shuffle back to the first marker as fast as i can. Repeat 3 times
  • 4 markers set up on ground – stand in middle – PT calls out color of marker, and I run either forward or backwards to the marker, then back to middle – about 1 minute each time, 3 times
  • Foot work on aerobics stepper – toe taps with feet close to each other, then toe taps with feet wider. 40 times, 2X
  • One-legged jump over line, forward and back, 40 times – 2x
  • One-legged jump over line, side to side, 40 times – 2x
  • Stretching after every workout
  • Yoga – everyday for at least 5 minutes
  • Running on treadmill or outside for 10-25 minutes 2-3x a week
Ladder

Ladder Drills

Next Week will be a week off from blogging about my ACL, since I will be in Costa Rica! Next time you will hear from me will be a 6 month update 🙂 Have a great week everyone!

 

ACL Post-Surgery 21 Weeks

5 Months + 1 week Post-Op Summary

  • I started cutting exercises in PT!
  • I jumped on a (mini) trampoline! The reason I am so excited is because this is where my knee buckled under me – and since I am missing part of my meniscus, I feel like my stability isn’t very good, and I am afraid of the same thing happening to me again (and the PAIN!). I need to mentally get over this fear and trust that my body is strong and healed and can support me 🙂
  • My kneecap pops out, like there is a tight muscle over the top of my knee that needs to be stretched. However, I have been stretching out my quad more, and the issue is pretty much gone
  • Icing and/or applying oils to my knee at least 1x a day
  • Running and Yoga are my main work outs!
  • Lots of squats in PT! I notice a little dull pain under my knee cap, but I attribute that to my leg just not  used to all of the new exercises. Continuing to build up quad strength will help!

PT Exercises/Workouts (new exercises bolded)

  • Elliptical at the beginning of my workouts to warm up, 5 minutes
  • Run on treadmill for 10-20 minutes – 6-7.5 speed
  • Jumping exercises to warm-up – jump side to side, front to back, diagonally across a line
  • Long jump-squat and hold – down and back across gym, 2x
  • Stepping off a box onto one foot and balancing – 10 times, 2-3 rounds (this helps the PT to see if my knee is caving inward versus staying strong and over my ankle)
  • box jumps – big jump up onto middle of box, then jump into a squat and hold for a few seconds. 5x, 2-3 sets
  • TRX band – squat jumps – 15, 1-2 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps, alternating betwen hopping on right and left leg – 10, 2-3 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps on left leg only – 5, 2-3 sets
  • 4 markers set up on the ground: Run fast up to second marker –> squat down and shuffle as fast as I can to the next marker –> run backwards as fast as I can to the next marker –> shuffle back to the first marker as fast as i can. Repeat 4-8 times
  • 4 markers set up on ground – stand in middle – PT calls out color of marker, and I run either forward or backwards to the marker, then back to middle – about 1 minute each time, 2-3 times
  • Foot work on aerobics stepper – toe taps with feet close to each other, then toe taps with feet wider. 40 seconds, 2X
  • Cutting work: “Suicides” across court – run to spot, then stop with left leg and push off with post surgery leg. Run back, repeat to a farther point. Run back, then run to other side of court. repeat 3-4x
  • Cutting work: Cones are set up in zig-zag cadence. Run to first cone, and land on one leg, like I am stopping myself. Push off leg and run to next cone and repeat until making it through all of the cones. Repeat same motions back to my starting point across the cones. Repeat 3-4 times
  • Cutting work: 5-6 different colored markers are set up on the court, randomly placed. I run around the markers and my PT calls out a color. I immediately change directions and go to the colored marker, stopping myself with one leg. Then I continue running until my PT calls out another color. Rest and repeat however many times your PT feels like torturing you 🙂
  • Stretching after every workout
  • Yoga – everyday for at least 5 minutes
  • Running on treadmill or outside for 10-25 minutes 2-4x a week
cut

Example of Cutting

cut2

Example of cutting – foot planted to side in ground and putting all weight into that planted foot, then pushing off foot

I leave for Costa Rica in 1 week! I will be doing Yoga, learning Spanish and possibly surfing! Has anyone surfed post-acl surgery? If so, how long did you wait to get back to the sport? My surgeon said it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to surf, but I am just playing it by ear. I am up for any adventure that comes my way 🙂

Also –  I have honestly really been struggling with running – not that my legs are not strong enough or I get tired – I just can’t breathe! I struggle with getting to a mile! And sometimes, ladies, I don’t know if any of you have experienced this, but I get cramps – like a combination of lady cramps + food poisoning is hitting my intestines – about 5-10 minutes into running. (and its not even that time of the month :() On Monday I had to stop it was so bad. When this happens, I usually lay on the ground for about 5-10 minutes till the cramps go away. I read somewhere that this isn’t uncommon – some say it is related to endometriosis, others blame it on a tilted uterus and some on ibs. I used to only get it maybe once a month before my surgery when running, but now its pretty much every time I run now. It is hard to build up endurance and train when I can’t even move from pain! Has anyone every experienced this?? I would be interested to hear if anyone has had success with finding out the root issue that causes this!

ACL Post-Surgery 5 months

5 months! 5 months! I never really had any expectations as to where I would be right now, but I guess I would say my recovery is coming along pretty great! Less pain in the knee, more agility moves in PT and more running. I am so grateful to be where I am at in my recovery, so any progress is good news 🙂 Summary is below!

5 Months Post-Op Summary

  • I am running 1-2 miles 2-4 times a week on the treadmill and outside. I tried to run 2 miles straight the other day (when i was sick), and I had to stop and walk at 1.5 miles for 1-2 minutes. My stomach had cramped up so bad and I couldn’t breathe. I keep telling myself baby steps!
  • There is some clicking/cracking on the left side of my knee, but I don’t notice it as much any more. Also, my kneecap pops out, like there is a tight muscle over the top of my knee that needs to be stretched. Doesn’t hurt, just a little uncomfortable
  • Icing and/or applying oils to my knee at least 1x a day
  • Lots of handstands! Working on my straddle press right now – and signed up for a handstand class with patrick beach in august (he is coming to Thank Yoga in Columbus!!!)

PT Exercises/Workouts (new exercises bolded)

  • Elliptical at the beginning of my workouts to warm up, 5 minutes
  • Run on treadmill for 10-20 minutes – 6-7.5 speed
  • Jump over small object and land in a small squat – repeat down the line 4 x
  • Long jump-squat and hold – down and back across gym, 2x
  • Small jumps up facing wall, trying to touch farther up wall – 10x, then jumping from a smaller squat 10x, then jumping from a deeper squat 10x – complete 2x
  • Stepping off a box onto one foot and balancing – 10 times, 2-3 rounds (this helps the PT to see if my knee is caving inward versus staying strong and over my knee)
  • box jumps – big jump up onto middle of box, then jump into a squat and hold for a few seconds. 5x, 2-3 sets
  • TRX band – squat jumps – 10, 2-3 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps – 10, 2-3 sets
  • Stretching after every workout
  • Yoga(1-2x a week, if I can find time)
  • Running on treadmill or outside for 10-25 minutes 2-4x a week
Box Jumps ACL

Box Jumps

one legged trx squat jumps

One-Legged TRX Squat – with a jump!

TRX-Jump-Squat

Jump-Squats with a TRX band

Sweaty Sloth

This is how I look after my PT sessions – soaked in sweat! I look like a Sweaty Sloth.

Does anyone else feel like time has sped up this summer? Or that the weeks are just flying by? I can’t believe it has been 5 months since my surgery… and its almost July! I wish it were warm year-round in Ohio. Fortunately, I will be making my way down to Costa Rica in 2.5 weeks + I am planning a vacation with my cousins in FL later this year (HELLO HARRY POTTER WORLD). Even with surgery this year, I would say this year has been pretty awesome. Lots of learning, growth and traveling. I guess getting older isn’t so bad 🙂

ACL Post-Surgery: Weeks 18 & 19

18 Weeks Post-Op Summary

  • I can run 1-2 miles every other day or so… on the treadmill, but I can run on smooth pavements (nothing where the terrain changes too much)
  • Left IT band is feeling better! No noticeable problems when running! -Seeing an ART specialist to help with IT band/tight back/structural issues
  • Still feeling soreness on the front/top of my knee/kneecap – I start to notice this after running for 10+ minutes at a time or trying to run faster
  • Saw my surgeon this morning, and he said the above issue was just my strength – I still need to work on my quad strength. Once I have all/most of my strength back, that pain and soreness will go away
  • Surgeon also mentioned that if I wanted to get back more intensely into sports where I would be doing a lot of pivoting/cutting, he recommended I get a brace. Since I am not a serious athlete, I am not sure if that is something I will do… but, he also said no one ever really knows how well the ACL has attached to the bone, so going back to more agility-type sports (not running, as its mainly straight forward running) too soon without support would not be a good idea. I have a follow-up in 2 months. If I feel the need to go more full-blown back into sports, he told me to come back in and get a brace. If not, I would be fine without a brace and most likely be able to go back 100% to sports next spring. Has anyone else had experience with a brace post-ACL surgery?
  • The numb part of my leg – feeling is starting to come back! I didn’t really notice it at first, but it has gotten better!
  • Icing at least 1x a day
  • Signed up for a 4-miler in September, so I need to step up my training a little 🙂
  • Working on improving my handstands – I love doing these, as they are building up my core & shoulder strength

Handstand                                                      Handstand2

PT Exercises/Workouts

  • Elliptical at the beginning of my workouts, 5 minutes
  • Run on treadmill for 10 minutes – starting out at 6 speed, picking up to 6.5 @ 5 minutes and 7-7.5 speed the last 2 minutes
  • Agility ladder work on the floor
  • High knees across gym/ladders – forwards and sideways – 4x
  • Jump over small object and land in a small squat – repeat down the line 4 x
  • Long jump – measuring how far i can jump – set a baseline (76″)
  • Hopping over lines forwards/side to side/diagonally
  • 4 markers set up on the ground: Run fast up to second marker –> squat down and shuffle as fast as I can to the next marker –> run backwards as fast as I can to the next marker –> shuffle back to the first marker as fast as i can. Repeat 4-8 times
  • Foot work on aerobics stepper at 20 second intervals
  • Stretching after every workout
  • Heated Yoga(1-2x a week, if I can find time)
  • Running on treadmill for 10-25 minutes 1-2x a week

Things have been slowing down a little, so I have been taking a little more time for myself. Sleeping in, naps, reading (Blink and now on Spirit Junkie), practicing my handstands with a little help from patrick beach and getting ready for my trip to Costa Rica in July. Has anyone traveled to Costa Rica? Any tips for a week-long trip out of the country? I will be mostly on the beach, learning spanish and doing yoga, but I will most likely trek out into the jungle or go on an excursion somewhere. I AM SO EXCITED! 🙂

ACL Post-Surgery 17 weeks

17 weeks!

I only had a few days in between my 2 PT appointments, and I only had time to get 1 run in/do my new exercises… and even that was pushing it. I went to an amusement park on Saturday and walked around for 5-6 hours… my knee was not very happy. I didn’t work out on Sunday, and then ran on Monday morning. Afterwards, my knee was bothering me (IT Band) as well as the top part of my kneecap. I saw my PT on Tuesday morning, and he had me take it easy. He said my patellar tendon needed a rest,  and it just needed a little time to recover from the all the new activities I have been adding to my workouts. Because of this, I didn’t run on Tuesday at my PT appointment, and I just worked on hamstring exercises (so as not to work my quad/knee).

I am not upset – honestly, just really tired. I haven’t been getting much sleep, and I won’t until next weekend 🙁 Regardless, I am still extremely happy with my progress so far. The pain I am experiencing is just muscle/tendon pain, which is expected, especially if I am going back into things too fast (or when my body needs to rest more!). Below is a summary of week 17!

17 Weeks Post-Op Summary

  • I am allowed to run 1-2 miles every other day or so… only on the treadmill. Took a breather for a few days to give my knee some rest
  • Left IT band is a little sore, but stretching & using a foam roller helps! Going to see an ART specialist next week for a little more help with my IT band/tight back/structural issues
  • Still some clicking and cracking here and there in my knee – def still some inflammation, but mostly from over-doing it
  • Icing at least 1x a day
  • Knee a little swollen from my weekend of walking at the park – icing and using oils every day, especially after workouts. My mom sent me a new oil blend that I have been using, and it has been working wonderfully!
  • My flexibility is great! Heated yoga has made me even more flexible than i was pre-surgery. I can also go in a very deep squat and sit back on my heels! Not 100% comfortably, but I am getting there.
  • My boyfriend took me to Orange Theory Fitness on Thursday for my birthday – I ran for 15-20 minutes on the treadmill and did some circuit work afterwards. This type of workout uses your heart heart to track your workouts, and it shows your stats on a big screen so you can see how much you are pushing yourself the entire time. I really liked it, but I didn’t feel like I could 100% push myself during the workout. I will for sure be back in a few months when my knee is feeling better!
  • **Edit – I went for 20 minute run on the treadmill at the gym, about 2.25 miles… My IT band was bothering me at first, but after a few minutes, the pain went away. My leg strength feels fine, it is just my breathing/cardio I have issues with… but that will get better in time 🙂 Hopefully at my next PT appointment I will be given the go-ahead to start running outside again!
How I feel when I run now.

How I feel when I run now.

 

PT Exercises/Workouts

  • Elliptical at the beginning of my workouts, 5 minutes
  • Calf raises on a step – both legs – 2 sets of 20
  • Hamstring curls on machine – both legs – 2 sets of 15-20
  • Balance work on steps & on piece of foam
  • Hamstring curls – lay on ground – put both feet up on an exercise ball. Bridge hips up & pull feet towards body – 3 sets of 15
  • Monster walks
  • Stretching after every workout
  • Running for 5-20 minutes on treadmill @ a 6-7 pace
  • Bikram Yoga/Heated Yoga (1x a week, if I can find time)

I went to heated Baptiste yoga the other night, and I was so incredibly humbled and grateful by my body’s ability to heal so quickly. I was surprised by my flexibility and the ease I was able to get into poses…. I even tried flying pigeon pose, something I have never really tried to do or understood how to get into the pose (especially with the pressure on my knee). It takes a ton of upper body and core strength!

I am going to continue with my yoga when I can get to it, and ease back into running. I am signed up for a half marathon, but not until January… so I have time to prepare 🙂

My birthday was also this past week… So lots of surprises, time spent with family and friends and not much sleep. Between early/extra hours at work, a wedding this past weekend and my birthday, I am pooped! I rested all day this Sunday and felt a little bit better… Now off to go for a run at the gym 🙂

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