ACL Post-Surgery 7 Months

7 Months! This is a huge milestone for anyone who has undergone ACL surgery: No more visits to my surgeon, no more physical therapy & release to sports. That’s right – No more Physical Therapy!! I could have stopped a month ago, but I felt like I needed a few more sessions to feel confident enough to be on my own. My last appointment was bittersweet – I really grew to love working with all of my physical therapists, but they rehabilitated me to a point where they could no longer help. Now I am free! I have been going to boxing, running longer distances, more yoga and tennis. My knee is feeling great – not 100%, but getting better everyday.

I look back and can’t believe it has already been 7 months. I have worked so hard to get back into shape, and have finally gotten to a point where almost all of my strength has come back. I look back at my first post and all the research I did to prepare for this recovery – a lot of expectations, fears, but always positive. The journey to recovery was a learning experience for me, and I do not regret having the surgery at all. Time goes by very quickly, and by staying positive, it makes the road seem not so bumpy.

7 Months Post-Op Summary

  • Running 2-5 miles 1-2 times a week
  • Icing and/or applying oils to my knee at least 1x a day
  • NO MORE PHYSICAL THERAPY!
  • Still a little swelling in my knee, it comes and goes. I am doing a whole30 – 30 days of strict paleo – to see if what I am eating is causing any inflammation. Right now I am on day 18 and do not notice much of a difference.
  • Went to a few boxing classes – no issues! I didn’t do any kicking, but I was very aware/careful of pivoting my knee when punching the bag
  • Did Stand-Up-Paddleboard Yoga this past weekend – I think I have found my new favorite activity!! (I’m the blonde in front)

SUP Yoga

PT Exercises/Workouts

  • Elliptical at the beginning of my workouts to warm up, 4 minutes
  • Run half mile on treadmill @ 7-9.5 speed
  • Bosu ball jumps – like this, but only bouncing on one leg. Then I turn around and do the other side (bosu ball is against the wall). 10-15x each leg, 2-3 sets
  • One-legged jumps over hurdles – kind of like this – but, with a half turn in the air. There are 4 hurdles – Jump over 3 hurdles, turn back and repeat. 2-4 rounds
  • One-legged ladder work like this and this and this. Complete down and back.
  • One-legged jumps onto a box – 10x, 2 rounds
  • One-legged jumps off of a box – 10x, 2 rounds
  • One-legged jumps off of a box, with a half-turn in the air. repeat on each leg, 10x, 2 rounds
  • TRX band – side jumps: stand on left leg, jump to left of left leg onto right foot, at an angle. Jump back. Repeat on right side. 5 each side, 2 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps, alternating between hopping on right and left leg –10, 2 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps to the side – 10, 2 sets
  • 2 markers set up on ground – jump up on a high box (think box jumps) into a squat, then jump down into a squat. PT calls out color of marker, and I run forward to the marker, then back to middle – about 2-3 minute each time, 2-4 times
  • Played Tennis with my PT – it felt great! He threw the ball to me, and I hit it back. Sometimes he would catch it, or it would just rebound off the back wall.
  • Stretching after every workout
  • Yoga – everyday for at least 5 minutes
  • Running on treadmill or outside for 10-50 minutes 2-3x a week
  • Beginning to do HIIT on the treadmill again – jog for 10 minutes, then sprint for 30 seconds, jump off for 30 seconds, repeat for 10 minutes. 

So what’s next? a 4 miler in a few weeks… a Half marathon in January… and my 200 hour yoga teacher training after that. I am a very curious person & love being active, so I will always be pushing myself and always, always learning.

I will be updating my ACL progress every month now instead of every week, since most of my major healing has taken place. Most likely the posts will be shorter, and will continue to post until at least my 1.5 year mark. I really hope that my blog been helpful for anyone undergoing ACL surgery, and am so thankful for those who have supported me through my recovery! Below is a picture I took of my favorite flower – a Sunflower – to remind everyone to always be positive, always look for the beauty in all situations and never forget be the bright & shining being that you truly are, deep down <3

Sunflower

ACL Post-Surgery 6 1/2 Months

Hi! I saw my surgeon yesterday, and it was my final check up!! I won’t have to go back and see him! Everything looked great, except for a few minor things I asked him about (see in summary below), which he said was nothing to worry about. He encouraged me to get a brace if I wanted to get back into sports where I am pivoting my knee a lot, like basketball or soccer. I asked id there were studies that showed that a brace helped – he said there are conflicting studies that show braces help, or no evidence that they did help… But he has had patients come back because of a torn ACL after playing sports 6-12 months after surgery. He recommends a brace because he doesn’t want his patients to come back in for surgery again. With that being said, I don’t really play sports that intensely, so there isn’t that much of a reason to get a big bulky brace if I don’t need it. My surgeon said just to be careful until around the 1-1.5 year mark – that is when the ACL is 100% attached and good to go!

Also, my surgeon said that usually athletes feel great around 6-7 months and go back to playing their sport… but most report back that they don’t feel 100% until about the year mark. This makes me feel a lot better, as I still feel like my knee is not 100% yet.

6 1/2 Months Post-Op Summary

  • Running 2-5 miles 1-2 times a week
  • Icing and/or applying oils to my knee at least 1x a day
  • Physical therapy only 1x every 2 weeks now
  • Pain just above my scar – its on the bone. It hurts every once in awhile, and I notice it mostly when over-extending my knee (or even pressing on that area/my scar – I told my boyfriend that I am just like Harry Potter). My surgeon said sometimes there is swelling where the bone was drilled into (or more scar tissue), and this will go away with time. Also, keep strengthening my quad muscle, as this will cause a lot of pain to go away.
  • Still a little swelling in my knee, it comes and goes. I am doing a whole30 – 30 days of strict paleo – to see if what I am eating is causing any inflammation. Right now I am on day 4!
  • A few weeks ago, I mentioned a weird feeling I was getting behind my knee. When I am bending my knee, then straightening it – it sort of feels like the ligament or muscle is getting stuck over something. It doesn’t hurt, but you can feel it when touching behind the knee. Kind of like a clicking or catching. My PT and ART specialist said that it was my hamstring, but couldn’t pinpoint what the issue was. My surgeon said it was most likely a little scar tissue from where part of my hamstring was removed and would go away with time.
  • Went to a TRX/Kettlebell class this past weekend… my body hurt for 4 days after. It hurt to squat, lift my arms, walk… but best of all, the class didn’t bother my knee at all! I honestly teared up a little in class realizing how far I’ve come – it really filled me with gratitude for how well my knee has healed 🙂
  • Used KT Tape for my left IT band… i don’t really notice pain at all there anymore, just a little looseness… so I decided to tape it, and it seemed to help (you can find a video tutorial on how to tape here). I am starting to have issues with the IT band at the top part of my right hip again, so I might try to tape it on my next run!

KT Tape ACL IT Band

PT Exercises/Workouts (same as month 6!)

  • Elliptical at the beginning of my workouts to warm up, 5 minutes
  • Run 1 mile on treadmill @ 7-9 speed
  • Bosu ball jumps – like this, but only bouncing on one leg. Then I turn around and do the other side (bosu ball is against the wall). 10x each leg, 2 sets
  • One-legged jumps over hurdles – kind of like this – but, with a half turn in the air. There are 3 hurdles – each one gets higher. Jump over 3 hurdles, turn back and repeat. 3-4 rounds
  • One-legged ladder work like this and this and this. Complete down and back
  • TRX band – side jumps: stand on left leg, jump to left of left leg onto right foot, at an angle. Jump back. Repeat on right side. 5 each side, 2 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps, alternating between hopping on right and left leg –10, 2 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps to the side – 10, 2 sets
  • Agility work: shuffle around 5 cones, run to first cone directly in front of cones. Stop & pivot diagonally across court, then do 1 legged jumps over raised markers set up on the ground. Run to another cone directly in front of markers – stope & pivot, running back to the original 5 cones. Repeat 2x – 4 set of 2
  • 4 markers set up on ground – stand in middle – jump up on a high box (think box jumps) into a squat, then jump down into a squat. PT calls out color of marker, and I run forward to the marker, then back to middle – about 2-3 minute each time, 3-4 times
  • Standing in middle of court, 2 PTs are in front and behind me, holding colored rings. First PT throws colored ring super high into the air, and I run to catch it. As soon as I catch it, then other PT throws the next ring into the air, and I have to run to catch that ring. This was great for running, stopping, cutting, pivoting without really thinking. If I know where I am going, I over think the next move, placement of knee, extc. This helps with being more in the moment, more natural sports-related movements as if I was playing basketball, soccer, etc. Repeat 1-3x
  • Stretching after every workout
  • Yoga – everyday for at least 5 minutes
  • Running on treadmill or outside for 10-50 minutes 2-3x a week
Handstand

Practicing my handstands at home!

These past few weeks have been insanely busy – between work, trying to catch up from vacation, traveling on the weekends… I feel like I already need another vacation! I have a huge stack of books I want to read, yoga classes I want to attend, more days so that I can run more… There is just not enough time in the day! I really do not know how people have families and houses to take care of , all while working full time and trying to fit “Me” time in – I definitely respect those who can do it all!

I am also looking into going back to school to get my minor in Spanish.. However, I am having a hard time finding a good school that offers online classes. Does anyone know of anywhere I can take online spanish classes? I am thinking of just taking a few classes at a local community college, as they offer hybrid classes (both online and classroom).

ACL Post-Surgery 6 Months

6 Months Post-Op Summary

  • Ran 4 miles the other day, longest run yet!
  • Icing and/or applying oils to my knee at least 1x a day
  • Tapering my physical therapy appointments from 1x a week… to maybe 1x a month!
  • Behind my knee, there is this really weird feeling. I first noticed it last week – its when I am putting some weight on my new acl leg, bending it then straightening it – it sort of feels like the ligament or muscle is getting stuck over something. It doesn’t hurt, but you can feel it when touching behind the knee. My PT said to give it time, it will eventually go away. Has this happened to anyone else?
  • A lot of pivot/cutting work done in PT. This is helping my confidence in running, stopping, pivoting without thinking. A lot of quick, short movements. I am exhausted and soaked in sweat after every PT appointment, its great! I am feeling very confident with my movements, and less afraid my knee will give out on me.
  • Still a little swelling in my knee, it comes and goes. I can sit back on my heels, but only a little further than that – think Fixed Firm Pose, or Supta-Vajrasana (see picture below – no, it is not me!). I can attempt to go into this pose, but my left knee just doesn’t have the flexibility like my right knee yet.
Fixed Firm Pose

Fixed Firm Pose

PT Exercises/Workouts (new exercises bolded)

  • Elliptical at the beginning of my workouts to warm up, 5 minutes
  • Run 1/2 mile on treadmill for – 7-8 speed
  • One-legged ladder work like this and this and this. Complete down and back
  • TRX band – side jumps: stand on left leg, jump to left of left leg onto right foot, at an angle. Jump back. Repeat on right side. 5 each side, 2 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps, alternating between hopping on right and left leg –10, 2 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps to the side – 10, 2 sets
  • Agility work: shuffle around 5 cones, run to first cone directly in front of cones. Stop & pivot diagonally across court, then do 1 legged jumps over raised markers set up on the ground. Run to another cone directly in front of markers – stope & pivot, running back to the original 5 cones. Repeat 2x – 4 set of 2
  • 4 markers set up on ground – stand in middle – jump up on a high box (think box jumps) into a squat, then jump down into a squat. PT calls out color of marker, and I run forward to the marker, then back to middle – about 2-3 minute each time, 3-4 times
  • Standing in middle of court, 2 PTs are in front and behind me, holding colored rings. First PT throws colored ring super high into the air, and I run to catch it. As soon as I catch it, then other PT throws the next ring into the air, and I have to run to catch that ring. This was great for running, stopping, cutting, pivoting without really thinking. If I know where I am going, I over think the next move, placement of knee, extc. This helps with being more in the moment, more natural sports-related movements as if I was playing basketball, soccer, etc. Repeat 3
  • Stretching after every workout
  • Yoga – everyday for at least 5 minutes
  • Running on treadmill or outside for 10-30 minutes 2-3x a week

After a week of yoga, day-long hikes, lots of walking to the beach while in Costa Rica last week, I definitely got in my fair share of workouts. I honestly wish I had tried out surfing – I think my knee could have handled it! Next time I am at the ocean, I will give it a go 🙂

Costa Rica

At Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica

I am excited for my upcoming 4-miler… although I am running around a 9 minute pace, it gives me a challenge that I both love and hate – pushing myself to be faster! I definitely have a love/hate relationship with running. Since I am 6 months post op, I am excited to start more exercises/sports: tennis, TRX, kickboxing… What sport was the best to come back to (or most satisfying) for everyone following an ACL tear?

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!

 

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 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!

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.

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