ACL Post-Surgery: 2 Years

It has been 2 years since my surgery – 2 YEARS! Time has certainty flown by, and my life has changed dramatically since the day I was wheeled out of surgery (in a good way!). Recovery has pushed me down a path of becoming a certified yoga teacher, maintaining a healthier, stronger body, even better body awareness, and giving me confidence to go after things I feared the most. When you have to learn to rely on others, re-learn how to walk, develop extreme gratitude for having working legs, and practice PATIENCE – it is inevitable that you will change. You have a choice on looking at things from a positive or negative light, and each will have a dramatically different outcome on your life 🙂

While I don’t feel like my left knee is 100% back to normal – I still think there is a little scar tissue where part of my hamstring was removed (I am currently having work done on this to break up the scar tissue), plus along my scar – it is definitely now the more stable and stronger knee compared to my right knee. I’ve had my gait analyzed while running, and both feet under-pronate, and my right foot tends to turn out to the right a little bit (due to a weak hip/glutes).

Now that I’ve been training for a half marathon, increasing my miles from 4 miles/week to 17+ miles/week, my knees have NOT been happy. So new shoes, KT Tape, icing, foam rolling, and cross-training have all been regulars in my life as of late! I know it’s due to lack of cross training & weak muscles, so I’ve been incorporating a few exercises on top of running & yoga to strengthen my hips, hamstrings & quad muscles. Runners knee is no joke – it knocked me out of my last half marathon – so I want to make sure I am taking all of the necessary precautions so it doesn’t happen again!

DCIM100GOPROG0261081.

Golden Gate Bridge Run!

Unfortunately, I was blind-sided by Peroneal Tendonitis, which I have been rehabilitating the last few weeks. Nothing to do with my knee (that I know of), and grateful that it’s not my ACL 🙂

As far as flexibility goes – the more I run, the more relaxed my knee feels. Some days it feels more swollen, but these days it seem to be less! Not sure if its the running or hot yoga, or combination of both… but I’ll take it!

Overall, my knee has healed up very well. One of my biggest concerns was re-tearing my ACL – I was extremely cautious the entire first year, and as time passed & I began doing more activities with side-to-side movements again (like tennis), my confidence built up, and my knee became more and more stable.

So for those who have recently gone through surgery, or are currently in recovery – there is light at the end of the tunnel! You know your body, so be patient, and listen to it! It knows how to heal – all you have to do is help strengthen it – the first few months are ridiculously important to the final outcome of recovery. So do the initial work in PT, and you will be so happy you did, 1-2 years later!

For all those Post-ACL surgery veterans out there – runners, non-runners, yogis – how do YOU feel 2+ years out after having knee reconstruction?

And for those still in recovery – what is your biggest struggle? And what are the biggest things that have changed in your life since you’ve had surgery?

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.

Improve your range of motion, increase your strength, and feel more confident post-surgery with a 2 month yoga progression plan.

Weekend Update, Impromptu Travel & 5K Recap

Sooooo where to begin? Things have been absolutely crazy the last month, and I have barely been able to keep up! A few things:

New job – yep, after 2 (LONG) years of working in ecommerce, I quit my job. New job = a new chapter in my life, advance in my career, and less stress. Besides the longer commute to work, I couldn’t have asked for anything better! Well, unless I was traveling for my job, but that might be in the not-too-far-away future 😉

Running – I decided to run a 5k on Thanksgiving – so lately, I’ve been making time to run 2-4 miles a few times a week, as well as signing up for a 5k this past weekend as a preparatory race. The race was called “The Donut 5k” – you get to eat donut holes every mile, then are handed a half a dozen donuts once you cross the finish line. Of course it was a no brainer to sign up! Unfortunately, I didn’t feel so good from going out Thursday and Friday night… but, fortunately, my body magically decided it was fast – and I ended up running the race in under 24 minutes! First place in my age group, 7:41 pace. Considering I had major knee surgery last year, I am incredibly grateful for the progress I have made in running – the body is capable of amazing things!

donut run nina elise

Travel – I took an impromtu trip to the beach in FL on Monday this week – yep, for 1 day. I needed some time to relax before starting my job, and even though I only had 1 day to do it, I did it right! After teaching my Sunday yoga class, I booked a flight 6 hours before take-off – went to a yoga workshop for 2 hours – then hurried to the airport to catch my flight. I arrived in Florida around 1 am, slept, then went to the beach from 11 am to 5:30 pm at night. I read, napped, and swam in the ocean. At night, I hung out with family. It was the most perfect day trip I could have asked for! Tuesday I flew back to Columbus at 4 pm, managing to somehow run errands, go shopping, and meet friends for dinner. Travel is awesome, but sometimes it lacks in the sleep department. But – that’s what the weekends are for, right??

west palm beach yoga

jupiter florida

fit blonde yogi beach

Yoga Teacher training – only 2 more 10-hour Saturday classes before I am DONE! This 200 hour training has taken quite a toll on me mentally – but in a good way! I have been learning so much, and there just are not enough hours in the day to study. Also – I will be putting on my first ever workshop next Friday! Update to come on how this goes/possible future handstand workshops in Columbus!

One More Thing…
body building warehouse protein powder
My friends over at body building warehouse were kind enough to send me some samples of their products – whey protein from happy European, grass-fed cows. I finally was able to give their protein shakes a try – the hot chocolate (YES, a hot chocolate drink that’s good for you!!) and Banana Peanut Butter. I consider myself pretty smart, so I decided to mix the 2 together – banana + chocolate + peanut butter = Gods gift to humankind.. so basically, this was an amazing shake. I recommend mixing with ice/a frozen banana + milk (I used almond). You can find a huge range of products at their site – check them out here, it’s hard to find good quality protein mixes these days! There are also non-dairy flavors too, so there is something for everyone!

protein shake body building warehouse

That’s it… for now! I’ll be posting a recap in the coming weeks of finishing up my yoga teacher training, more races, and moving! Also – where will I be traveling next?? More to come on this 🙂 Hope everyone is having a fabulous week!

ACL Post-Surgery: 1.5 Years

It has been 1.5 years since my knee surgery last February, and I wanted to give an update on how my knee is feeling!

Running:
I have taken a mini hiatus from running due to picking up teaching yoga, working 50-70 hours/week at my full time job, as well as trying to fit in my own personal yoga practice… so when I do run now, it is 1-2 times a week, running 3-6 miles at a time. Also – because of the runners knee I developed earlier this year, I decided to take it easy on running to give my knee a rest after running the quarter marathon back in May.

I’ve started going to a different chiropractor, who has been doing some soft tissue work on my scar tissue, which I think has been helping. It’s painful, but great. I feel a little instability/clicking behind my knee, but I am thinking it is just scar tissue. I also still have issues with my IT band from time to time, but I need to be more conscious of rolling on my foam roller after I go for a run. Oh – and I’ve also been using a lacrosse ball to work out knots – in my hips, my back, shoulders, ankles, chest, calves, etc. It HURTS… but the tightness and knots are making things worse, so getting in there and working them out end up helping in the long run.

I had a full-on evaluation of my gait (while running) the other day, and this is what they found:

my hips are tight (way tighter than I realized)
I am kicking my legs back too much (bending my knees) and not engaging my glutes when I run. Like, at all. This means I overcompensate and use my quad/hamstring muscles, which tire out.
**The woman evaluating me looked at my butt, then told me that with the amount of running I do, my butt should be way bigger. I literally laughed out loud, because I thought my butt had gotten bigger… I used to have such a pancake butt, its kind of what I was known for. Hey, baby steps.
Because of the above, it is causing stress on my IT band, which it why it tightens up so badly after my runs increase past 5 miles
My right hip is way outa line. I can’t even do a pistol squat properly on that leg.
My right hip is out because my knee is out of line (on my good knee! dangit.). So, looking at my legs, my right knee splays in, while my left knee (new ACL knee) is in one straight line up and down from my ankle up to my quad.

What does this mean? Retraining the alignment of my knee, strengthening my hips, improving my hip flexibility and learning to use my butt when I run! So physical therapy every. day.

Because of all of this, I’m an going to focus solely on fixing these small details before really getting back into running. I’d rather give my body a break and start from the bottom so I am not continuing to get burnt out from running so much, as well as getting these recurring injuries.

Yoga:
Continuing to do yoga, because 1) I like it and 2) it is low impact on my knee. Between teaching and taking heated classes, my knee flexibility has improved immensely. I can do full on lotus (see below!), which is part in due to hip flexibility improving… And there are days where my knee does feel stiff and swollen, but it only happens maybe 1-2 times a month. I’ll ice to help, or even stretch to loosen up the muscles a bit.

Lotus pose in handstand

Lotus pose in handstand

Overall, I am still seeing changes in how my knee feels, even 1.5 years post op. Taking off running & incorporating cross training has helped my runners knee (more time at the gym + tennis), so it is not an issue for me anymore. When I do cross training, I don’t even think about the cutting and moving around – before, I used to be so conscious and babying my knee because I was scared of re-tearing the ACL. So even playing tennis is a lot easier, and I can move freely without having to think about my knee.

I will say, the biggest issues are just the IT band, which I can fix just by strengthening my hip and glute muscles…. and the numbness on the outside of my shin. It still doesn’t feel right, like I never regained full feeling back where the nerve was hit. I can feel that part of my leg, it’s just a weird tingly feeling when I press on that small area. I feel like I am still getting feeling back, but I think it is just taking foreverrrr.

I think that’s all I have to report! For those who have gone through an ACL surgery – how are you feeling 1.5 years post-op? 2 years? 3 years? I would love to hear how you are doing!

Nina Elise Yoga

1.5 years post-op ACL surgery in left knee

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.

Improve your range of motion, increase your strength, and feel more confident post-surgery with a 2 month yoga progression plan.

ACL Post-Surgery 10 Months

10 Months Post-Op Summary (11/13/2014)

  • Running about 2x a week on the treadmill
  • Circuit/tabata workouts 1-2 times a week – with HIIT – sprints on the treadmill, ab work, etc
  • heated workout classes
  • Yoga 1-3 times a week. Classes but also practicing at home
  • Trying to gain more flexibility in my knee to sit back – I can sit on my heels, but i can barely sit on my butt between my heels – the Virasana pose in yoga. I feel like after 10 months I would have been able to do this… anyone else still have trouble?

Virasana

  • I have not been running as long – between moving and the colder weather, I haven’t had the time or will to go run on a treadmill for long periods of time. I usually jump on the treadmill for 15-30 minutes, depending on how I feel. I know my cardio has definitely taken a hit, so I am working on building it back up.
  • Last month, I talked about Rolfing. So far, I have gone to 4 appointments and have seen a little bit of improvement:
    • easier to take deeper breaths
    • feel more balanced – when i walk, when I stand
    • legs felt lighter after the second session – not sure exactly what was done, but a lot of work on my lower legs. I feel like they have been really neglected, and now they are not so tight or knotty
    • IT band on left leg – feels stronger, doesn’t bother me except for the occasional meniscus issue

I am going for my fifth session (out of 10) this week, and am so excited. The fifth session works with the deep ab muscles, and is supposed to help with digestion as well. I will most likely be done with my 10 sessions by my next post, so hopefully I will have amazing results to share then 🙂

These past 2 months have been extremely stressful for me – emotionally, physically, mentally – but I somehow feel stronger than ever. I don’t worry so much about things, and my daily meditation practice has made things a lot more easier. I have a lot more time to workout nowadays since my commute to work has literally been cut in half, which has also made life less stressful… although, going through a breakup makes things about 10x harder to do, especially when you just want to lay in bed all day. However, I am thinking of getting my 200 hr yoga teacher training next year, so I know the training will be taking up a lot of my time then!

ALSO: I forgot to mention that I won a giveaway from willrun4pizza‘s blog! I have been wanting to try Nuun electrolyte tabs for a while, so I am so glad I got to try them 🙂 I got the tri-berry active tabs and the all-day grape raspberry. The active tabs had a type of fizzy/biting taste to it, which reminded me of drinking a soda. the all-day tabs had a vitamin-y smell to it, but tasted good! My only negative review would be the fake sugars and a few added ingredients like propylene glycol – are they really necessary??  I always forget to add the active tabs to my water when working out, but I like to add the all-day tab to my water at work. I feel like I drink too much water sometimes, and it really throws off my electrolyte balance. These tabs are awesome for helping with that! Has anyone else tried Nuun electrolyte tabs?

Nuun

ACL Post-Surgery 9 Months

9 Months Post-Op Summary (10/16/2014)

  • Running 2-10 miles a week
  • Circuit/tabata workouts 1-2 times a week – with HIIT – sprints on the treadmill, ab work, etc
  • Workout classes like barre and heated workout classes
  • Yoga 1-3 times a week. Classes but also practicing at home
  • Still a little swelling in my knee, it comes and goes. I can sit back a little more easily on my heels since last month
  • I have been running longer distances, usually 4-6.5 miles. I sometimes have to give myself a few days rest, as my knee (outside left) feels a little off/sore. This is an indicator that I need to strengthen my quad muscles more… meaning more squats!
  • Went to an orange theory HIIT class the other week, and my RIGHT knee started to hurt! I’ve been trying to build up more strength on the right side of my right leg – from my ankle to my hip – as there is some serious instability and weakness going on there. I have had soreness in my right knee/knee cap and all up and down my right leg for a while, and I am wondering what is really happening. I have never had knee pain like this before (in my good knee) – I couldn’t jump up or do a squat! This was after doing 30 minutes of sprint intervals on the treadmill (with an incline), so I am wondering if I just overdid it with my workouts.
  • I went to my first Rolfing session today! It is pricey (about $120-$130/session) and painful, but I have heard that it works wonders for athletes (or anyone in general!). You do a series of 10 sessions to re-align the body. I was evaluated standing up: my hips are tilted, my entire left side of my body is slumped lower than my right, my entire torso is tilted/shifted, and my right leg/knee is over-compensating. For my first session, my neck, lungs, shoulders, arms, hips and lower back were worked on. The only way to describe how it felt is that my skin felt like it was being stretched! I could feel the crystals being broken up under my skin, and it HURT. However, only a few hours after my appointment I feel like I have more space to breathe in my lungs (I have always had trouble taking deep breaths). I was told I might feel tired for the next day or so, and to drink lots of water, as the tissue/fascia is opened up, so more fluid is able to flow through. Below is a description of rolfing – has anyone ever tried? If so, what were your results?
    • Wikepedia describes Rolfing as “…an alternative medical treatment marketed by the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration (RISI). The Institute states that Rolfing is a “holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organize(s) the whole body in gravity.” Rolfing is essentially identical to Structural Integration, whereby a forceful technique is used in an attempt to re-position tissues under the skin.
    • “Rolfing is typically performed in a progression of 10 sessions, sometimes called “the recipe,” which is claimed to provide a systematic approach to address goals for the theorized alignment and movement of various body areas. The purported purpose is to educate the body to have better alignment within gravity. Rolfers manipulate the body to move the fascia until they believe it is operating in conjunction with the muscles in a more optimal relationship. In addition to physical manipulation of tissue, Rolfing uses a combination of active and passive movement retraining.”
    • “Skeletal muscles often work in opposing pairs called the “agonist” and the “antagonist”, the one contracting while the other relaxes. Rolf theorized that “bound up”fascia (connective tissues) often restrict opposing muscles from functioning in concert. She aimed to separate the fibers of bound up fasciae manually to loosen them and allow effective movement. She claimed to have found an association between pent-up emotions and tension in muscles. This claim of a muscular/emotional connection is not supported by scientific studies.”
    • Benefits of rolfing: “Rolfing Structural Integration has the ability to dramatically alter a person’s posture and structure. Rolfing SI can potentialy resolve discomfort, release tension and alleviate pain. Rolfing SI aims to restore flexibility, revitalize your energy and leave you feeling more comfortable in your body. The genius of the work rests on Dr. Rolf’s insight that the body is more at ease and functions most effectively when its structure is balanced in gravity. Athletes, dancers, children, business professionals, and people from all walks of life have benefited from Rolfing SI. People seek Rolfing SI as a way to ease pain and chronic stress, and improve performance in their professional and daily activities.”

I am seriously so.excited. for how I am already feeling after only 1 session! Back tightness, sinus issues, IT band tightness, lower back issues, breathing restriction, knee problems… I am hoping a lot of these issues are resolved after my 10 sessions.

So 9 months – not feeling much difference from 7 or 8 months… maybe a little more confidence, and not thinking about my knee so much. And my knee flexibility – never thought I would be doing a scorpion in handstand like this EVER! The human body’s ability to heal after surgery continues to surprise me everyday.

scorpion

Also – I ran my first race last month – 4 miles! Normally, I would have run at a 7:45/8 minute pace… however, I ran at an 8:40 pace. The course was awesome, but I was not feeling good. About 1.5 miles in I was ready to be done! I feel like I have really grown to dislike running because my pace times are not very good. I have to be patient with myself and realize that it will take time to get back to where I was! Besides, I am enjoying yoga and my heated fitness classes way more than running every day 🙂

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