Sunday, July 27, 2008

Week 9 - ACL Surgery Recovery

This past thrusday marked the 9th week after ACL surgery on my right leg. I'm still going to physio 2 times a week plus doing the assigned exercises daily at home or at the gym. My sessions are about 2 hours long. This week i did a spin class for the first time since my surgery. There was a little discomfort around my patella but overall it wasnt too bad.

I had started doing spin classes prior to the surgery to help keep my legs strong. I found it helped. Normally i just like doing some moutain biking but when the weather is not so great, a spin class can work your legs pretty good.

Here's a little bit of news on ACL surgeries using Cadaver tissue. It was posted on the Washington Post's Web site about a week or two ago:

"ACL Reconstruction With Cadaver Tissue Risky in Younger Patients

Using replacement ligaments from cadavers for reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) may have a failure rate as high as 24 percent in active patients under the age of 40.
The finding, from researchers at the Mississippi Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, which were to be presented Thursday at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla., raises the question as to whether other alternatives would be better for younger ACL patients.

An estimated 800,000 ACL tears occur each year in the United States......"

Here's the link if you'd like to read the full article:

Bottom line is, it looks like they need to do more research.

Anyway, on to this week at physio. I was able to do a few new exercises in addition to everything else i've been doing to date. The first was with bungee cords. The cords are attached to a wall and the other ends are strapped around my waist. There are two pilons set out infront of me making a "V" shape. Step one - walk (no running yet) out to the first pilon. The resistance of the bungee cords makes it mildly difficult. I can add more cords to make it harder. Step two - side shuffle to the other pilon. Step three - walk backwards to the starting position. Repeat 10 times then redo starting at the opposite pilon.

The next new exercise was trampolin jumping. With this one, I'm not allowed to do with my full weight so my theropist has me leaning over a railing while doing the jumps to take some of the weight off my knees. its basically just forward/backwards jumping on both legs and then side to side jumping.

My new routine in the Swimex pool consists of Squat jumps. see the little picture below. Remeber im doing this in about 5 feet of water, not outside of the pool yet. Doing it in the pool takes pressure off the knees. 3 sets of 10.

The other water exercises is a full lunge. I actually have "water weights" which look like dumbells but float. It adds resistance when your bending into the squat or lunge as you basically have to push the floating dumbells down. Again, 3 sets of 10.

Previously I was doing backwards running against the current in the Swimex pool. Now i've graduated to forward running. I do about 8-10 minutes of this. The pool is not that back, so with the current going against me, i can do about 12-15 steps before i reach the end of the pool.

So, I've been told that i can start running (outside of the pool) in the 10-12 week range. Im just one week away. In addition to these new exercises, I 've started some fast pace walking on the treadmill with an incline to help get me ready for running. Only 10-15 minuites at this point.

The running thing is big for me. Most of my favorite sports involve running. When i originally torn my ACL (which was 2 years ago next month), i couldnt play any sports but i wanted to keep up my cardio and so i took up jogging. The lack of side to side movement made it easier for my knee to handle at the time. I didnt have any pain so i kept at it. I ran about 4 days a week - no too much maybe 3 to 5 km and then to satisfy my competitive edge, i did a few 5 km races.

There is a 5km run at the Toronto Zoo on October 18th and Im hoping i can run in it. I don't know if i'll be able to break my personal 5km record of 19:27 (which i did with a torn ACL) but i'll be happy to be able to finish it with no discomfort. The way I'm progressing, i don't see why that wouldn't be possible. Thats still about 10-11 weeks away.

Anyway, thats it for this week. Thanks for reading my ACL surgery recovery blog. To anyone out there reading this who are about to go through the surgery, good luck. If you have any questions, just leave me a comment and make sure to check back later for my response.


  1. i just found out I have a torn ACL and was crying all the way home. I'm an official gym rat. I take spin 2X a week, kickboxing, weight light and run! I'm so depressed that I have to give everything up. It sounds like a long recovery! How soon were you able to go back to the gym?

  2. You should be doing weights again within a month or two depending on how your recovery goes. YOu just have to be careful. You'll be on the bike pretty quickly but I dont know that you'll be about to go all out for a few months. Kickboxing may take some time to get back into. Get your legs as strong as you can right now before surgery and that will help you afterwards and make sure you get yourself a good physiotherapist and start seeing him/her right after the surgery.



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