Hi! First things first… Check out my Yoga for ACL Recovery Course. The 2-month course includes 1-2 videos a week you can do over the course of your recovery, quickly improving ROM, strength, balance, and flexibility. Based on my own recovery, I created this course specifically for anyone recovering from ACL surgery, and includes 15+ videos full of safe & effective postures & flows that progress with you.
Secondly… 10 Weeks Post-Op! Great things happening… see below for my 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
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 🙂
If you are itching to get back into yoga, or are looking for a way to improve your ROM, strength, and flexibility in addition to your PT appointments, check out my Yoga for ACL Surgery Recovery Course! It’s a 2-month progression course that aligns with a typical ACL recovery, beginning at 3-months post-op.
If you are past 3 months but are still looking to get back into yoga, this course can be done by anyone, no matter how far along you are in your recovery!!
This e-book was created as a guide to help everyone – Adults, Kids, Athletes, and Non-Athletes – recovering from ACL surgery. After reading this guide, you will have a better understanding of what to expect, surgery options, costs & insurance, and a detailed timeline for recovery.
Knee looks amazing, Not swollen. How exciting.
Great progress! And thanks for showing these yoga poses – I find it very helpful, thanks. ?
Thanks! No problem, i feel like yoga is a hard sport to really know how to get back into after knee surgery.
Thank you for sharing your progress with us! I am going to have my ACL surgery this week and have been dreading about this time without exercises. I have been struggling with anxiety and wanted to begin yoga (since sadly there are no Bikram schools in my hometown) to help me out with it.
Hi Juli! I am happy to share! It is a confusing and scary surgery, but I hope all the information I post makes it not so scary! And you don’t have to go to bikram yoga – you can go to any yoga studio. I just happened to go to a bikram studio because I thought the heat would help. any regular heated or non-heated yoga class would be beneficial! I thought the time without exercise would be hard as well… however, physical therapy was actually pretty tough, and I did a lot of my exercises on my own. I ended up losing weight (albeit a lot of my quad muscle), but you regain it back pretty quickly if you are diligent with your physical therapy exercises. I hope this helps – if you have any other questions, please let me know. thanks!
I am week 4 post ACL surgery. I am very anxious to get back into my normal activities. Your post is very helpful and reassuring there is still yoga active life after surgery. Thank you, Bridget
Hi Bridget! I hope your recovery is going well! I think I started going to hot yoga around the 4-6 week time period… you should be starting up more fun exercises in PT soon! I am glad I could help!
HI Nina, I just came across your post as I have extensively been researching the post-ACL operation healing process. I’m a 34 year old male in outstanding physical condition. I played competitive soccer through college. In my early 20’s I ran marathons, and trail ultra marathons. I am a mountain climber and guide having led expeditions in the Himalaya and Andes. The last 8 years I have dedicated my athleticism ( and deep curiosity of alternative healing modalities in the body) to a very consistent Hatha Yoga Practice in which I have gained strength and flexibility. This has included reclined varasana and full padmasana. Recently I ruptured my ACL and tore medial meniscus cartilage. I am 4 weeks post surgery, with my hamstring graft as replacement fro the old ACL and the meniscus was not trimmed, but stitched up. I am strictly following my surgeon and pt’s prescriptions. Because of the medial meniscus tear, I am still on crutches 4 weeks post op, weight bearing only 50% on my operated (left) leg (again as per doctor’s orders), and completing a number of leg lift exercises with currently 4lbs on my ankle of the operated leg. I have gained strength, and confidence in this practice. My flexion is at 90 degrees and my extension is pretty much perfect. In 2 weeks, I return to see my surgeon- the plan is at that time, post op 6weeks, to be given the green light to remove my straight leg brace, or at least unlock it when I walk. My pt has told me I am a great patient, compliant with all the instructions, and well ahead of most in terms of reduced swelling and proven ability to excercise my quadriceos and hamstring muscles, with the exercises I have been given, and do daily. However based on my research I am concerned that I may not regain full ROM in the operated leg. My goal is to completely regain full ROM. I want to sit in virasana again someday, and in padmasana again someday, and generally be able to sit cross legged comfortably as well as squat with my butt to my heels. I understand the medical understanding is that 125 degrees ROM is pretty good and considered a huge success for many ACL replacement clients., but I really want to regain all of it,and I am pleasantly surprised to stumble upon your post. I’m curious to know, if you have any advice regarding developing my asana practice again. My surgeon knows nothing about it, and I am trying to reconcile what the medical field ay consider a success stroy versus my desire to go deeper, and again to get it all back, such that my practice is fully there again. Did you just push yourself, or did you seek anatomy/ yoga teachers who could advise you on the integration of developing a strong yoga practice witht he awareness of an ac replacement? What physical exercises besides asana did you find most helpful? Soon I hope to get on a stationary bike, but I am finding I may need to push myself beyond the advice.exercises of my surgeon and pt as they do not have a yoga orientation…. Sorry for the long note here, but any feedback would be most welcome and appreciated! Thank you, – daniel
Hey Daniel! I am sorry to hear about your ACL… it sounds like you are in pretty good shape, especially since you practiced yoga before tearing your ACL. I personally had no idea what type of yoga to do post-surgery, and neither did my surgeon or PT. With that being said, I decided on Bikram for a few reasons – it is in the heat, which is great for warming up the muscles, and the poses are all static. So, no flow, and you hold the poses. It was helpful for me, as I could just skip a pose if I didn’t feel my body was ready for it. I did a LOT of research as far as getting into yoga post-knee surgery, but ultimately I ended up just listening to my body. I was very gentle, and pushed myself to what I felt comfortable with. Each person is different, so I would recommend taking this time to tap into what feels right for you and your body – I learned a ton about my body & what it needed, as it taught me to slow down and pay attention to what was best for me (versus constantly going and pushing myself, which is what I did before surgery!). I did my PT 1-3 times a week, or whatever my physical therapist told me to – I never skipped a day! After 4 months, I began running again, and as soon as my PT released me for side-to-side movements, I slowly started playing tennis again. I didn’t find any teachers that were super helpful in my recovery, so I basically taught myself what felt right/best for me. As far as regaining full ROM again, I think I did a really good job of it – there Is some scar tissue with the hamstring, but I am still slowly working on that. I found it helpful to use a foam roller/stick to work out knots in my quads/IT band/hamstrings, as those can get tight & cause unnecessary strain/tightness/issues around your knee. Sitting on the ground with my foot elevated on a block/weight on my leg helped me to get my knee straight, no issues, if you are worried about that. The swelling will take a while to go down, but give it time – my PT was very impressed by my ROM when I started adding yoga back into my routine, and I have almost full ROM almost 3 years later. There are some days where my knee feels more stiff than others and I can’t sit back in heros pose, but it isn’t something I normally work on – but there are days where my knee feels looser & I can sit back more easily. Lotus came back over time, and it wasn’t even something I worked towards getting back – so just going about your normal practice, and that should show up eventually! I started back to normal vinyasa yoga 4-6 months post-surgery – let the teacher know about my knee, and I just did what I could. All teachers should let you go at your own pace & do what you can based on your injury!
I hope this was helpful – if you have any other questions, or need anything else, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email – info at ninaeliseyoga dot com. Best of luck in your recovery!
Great posts about yoga for Acl R. There is so little available!
I’ve had my hamstring graft used for an Acl R ten weeks ago tomorrow and the physio is really pleased with my strength/range and has said he would like to get me jogging at 13 weeks which scares me! After reading your posts I don’t think this is right. I previously had hyperextension in both knees and the surgical leg is now where the physio said is good for extension and not close to even with the other side. The goal is to tighten up my non surgical side by strengthening those hamstrings to reduce its hyperextension. What do you think? I think running with an uneven gait leads to injuries iof uneven wear/tear but the physio is hesitant for me to stretch out the graph. Hmmm 🙂 it’s not a bad place to be but I thought you mentioned you also had hyperextended prior to surgery. I also was wondering what made you wait to go back to Vinyasaa yoga at 4-6 months? Thanks again!!
13 months seems a little early, but it’s not totally uncommon. It just depends on the PT/surgeon – if you don’t feel comfortable or ready, then don’t be afraid to tell them you’d like to wait. My hyperextension wasn’t equal with the other knee when I began running – in fact, it still isn’t 100% equal, but that’s ok! I had weak hamstrings, and it causes more strain on my knee – def work on strengthening them, as women with weak hamstrings are more likely to tear their ACLs.
As for vinyasa yoga – it is constant moving, and it can be a lot faster than power yoga or bikram, where you actually have time to switch between poses. In vinyasa, there is more cutting/pivoting, so I waited a little bit. Once I started doing those exercises in PT, I felt more confident to go to a vinyasa class. My decision was based on where I was at in PT, and whether I felt comfortable enough that my knee was healed to the point where it could do more.
I hope this helps – if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out again! info (at) ninaeliseyoga (dot) com. Best of luck in your recovery – it sounds like you are doing great!