Saturday, October 25, 2008

ACL Surgery Recovery - Week 22

Welcome to my ACL knee surgery recovery blog where I have been giving week by week updates on my recovery process since my anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery. Please keep in mind, I am just writing this blog to give people an idea of what the recovery process is like. If you've had or are planning on having ACL or any type of knee surgery, make sure you go to a therapist for a proper workout program.

We're up to week 22 now. For the most part, my knee is fairly strong. The majority of movements are easy with the exception of running. I'm still dealing with the development of Jumper's knee or patella tendinitis in my surgically repaired knee so I have to be aware of what is aggravating it.

There were a few new exercises this week at physiotherapy in addition to my standard routine. First, we used the Pro Fitter 3D ski & balance machine.

Holding on to ski polls, you just slide from side to side. There are adjustable cables underneath to increase or decrease resistance. This is suppose to improve core and leg strength as well as improve your reaction skills. It's also good cardio and has a number of other different exercises you can. Its not just for knee rehabilitation. Checking prices on line for this it actually runs about 600 bucks. ouch! Anyway, I did this for about 10 minutes. It can get boring but not much different than any other cardio machine i suppose.

On to the Shuttle MVP machine (below), I have been doing one legged jumps. Its very much like a squat machine. The pad that your resting on is on wheels and slides back and forth as you squat or jump. There are cables to add resistance.

This week, we added one leg jumps but, with me laying on my side (i couldn't find a picture of this) making sure my hip is flat on the board. It actually was a lot more difficult than when I was doing it lying on my back. I did 3 sets of 10. I like doing the jumps on this machine because it does not bother my "Jumper's Knee"

Next up, we did another plyometric exercise Zig-Zag hops. Placing two rows of 10 pylons parrallel to each other but one slightly a head of the other. You jump side to side with both legs. Turn around and start over again. I did 10 of these.

The good thing about these exercises is you can do them at home, and you don't need any fancy equipment to do them.

Finally, we did some sprinting, but a little different. I would start of running forward and my therapist would yell "switch" which ment i have to, very quickly, stop and start running backwards. Next time she yells "switch" I would stop and start running forward. This goes on randomly for about a couple of minutes then i took a break and did it again. This exercise is to get my knee use to the quick stop & start movements that I need to play sports like ball hockey & soccer. Its also good to improve your reaction time.

My knee was a bit sore the next day and i think it was from the last two exercises i just went over. The discomfort was in same area I've been complaining about for the last 10 weeks or so. The tendinitis seems to be where the patella meets the shin bone. After a couple days it was not so bad. An alternative to these plyometic exercises is that they can be done in the pool. I may try that instead next week.

Thats it for this week. Again, please do your homework before attempting any of these exercises. The purpose of this blog is to give an idea of the workout programs and recovery process after knee surgery. Everyone is different and can do different levels of exercises at different points post surgery. Consult your doctor or therapist.

Thanks for reading my ACL knee surgery recovery blog. Check back next week for another update.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Week 21 - ACL Surgery Recovery

Welcome to my ACL knee surgery recovery blog where I have been giving week by week updates on my recovery process since my anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery.

Week 21 and running has taken a backseat since it's been determined that I've developed jumpers knee (see the Week 20 post), I have to do exercises that do not aggravate it.

Its hard keeping things fresh doing the same exercises over and over, week after week. So, I've started to incorporate the Bosu ball into my knee workouts to make things a bit more challenging. A lot of local gyms should have one as they've become quite popular over the last few years. Its a great tool to help improve your balance when doing exercises.

So, the Bosu ball is basically half of an exercise ball with a flat bottom. Its very good for performing your balancing exercises as well as squats and lunges. Balancing on one leg is not too difficult at week 21 but, it can be when you add throwing a tennis ball against the wall while doing it. You can also flip the Bosu on the ball side and stand on the flat surface. This will make it more difficult.

Squats are also more challenging. You can really have to use your leg and core muscles more when doing this stuff. Of course, you have to make sure you're keeping the correct form when using the Bosu.

To make squats even more difficult, flip the Bosu with the ball side down, stand on the flat part. Just watch that you keep proper form and dont squat too deep. Once you master this, you can add dumbells.

For lunges, you basically step forward onto the ball part and lunge down and make sure your knee does not go over you toes as you would a normal lunge.

To do backwards lunges, it would be the same idea. step backwards onto the ball or if you think you can handle it, flip the Bosu over and step back onto the flat part. Again if you master this exercise, just add dumbbells for add weight.

Okay, this seems like a promo blog post but Im really just trying to show different options of how you can do your re-hab workouts because they can become very boring. There is a wide variety of exercises you can do with the Bosu for you knee and for overall body workouts. It can be kind of pricey if you want to buy one for yourself. It does come with a DVD that goes over how to use it. Retail price for the Bosu can be between $75 and $130 bucks at your local exercise equipment stores. Sometimes eBay has deals for as low as $55.00. To find the Bosu on eBay, click here. Just watch out for the shipping costs. You can also find the Bosu Ball on Amazon and there are knock off brand names for a bit less as well. I've added a banner on the left of your screen if you want to check out prices there. Like i said, if you go to a gym, they should have one or two there but if you're into doing your re-hab exercises at home, this is a great tool to help with a lot of your knee exercises and also can be used in other exercise routines.

That's it for Week 21. Thanks for reading my ACL KNEE SURGERY RECOVERY blog.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Week 20 - ACL Surgery Recovery

Welcome to my ACL surgery recovery blog where I have been giving week by week updates on my recovery since I had ACL reconstructive surgery on my right knee on May 22nd, 2008.

For you newbies to my blog, be sure to check the blog archive to read my older posts, especially if you're going to be having ACL surgery soon.

Okay, so week 20 is finally here and I had my follow up appointment with the surgeon on Oct 7th. X-rays showed my knee has healed properly. I questioned the doctor about the pain I've been experiencing in the lower patella area below my knee and he simply stated that it was "Jumpers Knee". He gave me a loose number that about 1 in 20 people will experience it after ACL surgery so of course, I'm one of the lucky ones. He wasn't overly concerned about it stating that it goes away after awhile. So, of course I had to go home and google it.

Jumpers Knee or Patellar Tendonitis is when the patella tendon comes under a large amount of stress (perhaps stress from the surgery??) mostly in individuals who actively put extra strain on the knee joint like those who participate in sports on a regular basis involving direction changing and jumping. With repeated strain, micro-tears as well as collagen degeneration can occur as a result in the tendon. So here's a picture of where you would experience pain if you had Jumper's knee.

Now this is not quite where i feel the pain. My pain is lower where the tendon meets the shin bone which is consistent with Osgood Schlatter Disease. Osgood Schlatter Disease is when you get pain and swelling directly over the tibial tubercle (shin bone). Pain is aggravated by loaded knee extension activity, especially activity with power or impact characteristics (according to Wikedpedia). The problem with this self diagnosis it that Osgood Schlatter Disease is caused by adolescent growth spurts and is mainly a problem for growing children. Since I'm 35 years old, this can't be the case.

Regardless, the healing process for Jumper's knee and Osgood Schlatter Disease can be a slow process and requires rest and rehab for months (great!). The quadriceps muscle need strengthening specifically with eccentric strengthening exercises. Also strengthening the calf muscles and other surrounding muscle groups are suppose to help. Top it off with massage therapy and lots of icing. This sounds pretty familiar......Its basically the same stuff that I'm doing to heal my knee from ACL Surgery. This is becoming VERY frustrating.

I'm wondering if anyone out there has had Jumper's knee...specifically after ACL surgery but also even if you haven't had the surgery. Please leave me a comment if you have any knowledge on the subject.

Well, that's it for this week. Thanks for reading my ACL Surgery Recovery blog. Hopefully it was informative for some of you. Be sure to check back for more updates.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Week 19 - ACL Surgery Recovery

Welcome to my ACL surgery recovery blog where I have been giving week by week updates on my recovery since I had ACL surgery on my right knee back on May 22nd, 2008.

If you're new to reading my blog, you might want to check the blog archive to read my older posts. Especially if you've just had or planning on having ACL reconstructive surgery on your knee. The archive list is on the left hand side towards the bottom.

Torn ACL ligaments in the news recently, St.Louis Blues defenceman Erik Johnson. The funny thing is, that he apparently tore it at a team golf event. The season hasn't even started and they've already announced he'll miss the entire season. (He tore his MCL ligament too).

Okay, on to my personal recovery process. We're fast approaching week 20 and still no running. As I mentioned last week, I'm not going to try again until i see the surgeon again on Oct 7th and get some x-rays done. Its also looking at this point that my 5km race at the Toronto Zoo on Oct 18th, will be a not so competitive 5km walk for me since I've already dropped $40.00 to participate. It bothers me but I trying not to concern myself about it at this point. Even the best athletes have troubles recovering from anterior cruciate ligament reconstructive surgery.

This week at Physio I did a couple of new things. They are plyometric movements. First was on the trampoline. It is just basically getting a bit of height in my jump and then jumping off the trampoline to the side and landing on the ground, making sure to bend my knees when I land to absorb some of the pressure.

The other new exercise was using this squat machine that they have. You're actually laying down and simulating a squat. It using cable resistance to increase difficulty levels. I don't know exactly what the machine is called, nor can i find a picture on the Internet of it. Anyway, on this machine you're actually doing jumps. I have been doing jumping with both legs but this week I've advance to one leg jumps. The key on this is to land with your knee and ankle aligned properly making sure the knee doesn't lean inwards or outwards.

We did some strength testing on the Kin Com machine and it did show that my strength has improved over the last week. I still continue to hit the gym hard and challenge myself with reasonably heavy weights on leg presses and leg curl machines as well as the hip abductor machines. I'm also keeping up with my 30 minute sessions on the elliptical machine. I'm even keeping a set of exercise band and ankle weights by my TV in the living room so if I'm just sitting around, there is no excuse for me not to do some work on my knee while watching the tube.

My next post will be after I see my surgeon for my 4 month check up. So I'll report back then. Thanks for reading my ACL Surgery Recovery blog.

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