Friday, June 27, 2008

Week 5- ACL Surgery Recovery

Recovery week #5 is down after ACL surgery. As you can see in the picture above, the scar is healing nicely. The leg on the top is my right leg which has had the recent ACL surgery.
This week i got to test my knee out a bit in the pool. My physiotherapy clinic has a "Swimex" pool which is probably about 12-14 feet long and 5 feet deep. It has jets on both ends to simulate a current and can get very challenging even for the strongest swimmer. For me however, being 5 weeks out of knee surgery, the current was kept on the low end. The pool exercises weren't too exciting. Keeping my knee straight, i had to do side leg lifts into the current. Then, with my back facing the current and keeping my leg straight, i had to do backward leg lifts, also against the current. After that i had to do some backwards walking and light running against the current. I tried forwards walking but that seemed a little more difficult for the stage I'm at right now. After the Swimex session i felt that my knee got a good work out but the next day, oh boy was my knee sore....a good sore, but sore.
That was the main highlight of my week. I did manage to get 2 days of pool exercises in addition to my standard balancing and leg strengthening routine. Overall my knee feels good. My Patella sometime feels weird but i think that may be due to the scar tissue around the incision. I see my surgeon for a follow up on July 8th and will be asking him about it. There is also some pain in the back of my knee, especially when im stretching my hamstring but i'm told that is normal for the stage i'm. Other than that, I am able to lead a normal boring life. By boring, i mean, basically i can go to work which is 80% a desk job and also do most things around the house, like cutting the grass. Still a long way to go before sports are in the picture, although, using the pool was a positive sign. Swimming may not be too far into the future.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them and i'll response.
Thanks for reading my ACL SURGERY RECOVERY blog.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Week 4 - ACL Surgery Recovery

Welcome to my ACL surgery recovery blog where i have been keeping tabs on my progress from my second ACL surgery in the past 10 years. My surgery was on May 22nd, 2008 and I'm now finishing up week 4 of the recovery stage.

ACL injuries are in the news more these days. The latest famous victim, Tiger Woods who announced that his season is over due to a torn ACL which he has been trying to play though. Also, some interesting stats also come out today from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

  • About 200,000 ACL injuries occur annually in the United States, often in conjunction with damage to other knee ligaments and cartilage. (wow!)
  • Doctors perform roughly 100,000 ACL reconstructive surgeries nationwide each year, mostly on an outpatient basis.
  • ACL surgeries have a long-term success rate of 82 percent to 95 percent, depending on numerous factors.
  • Rehabilitation takes about half a year, or longer for certain athletic activities.
    Post-surgical limitations can include stiffness, some loss of motion and less stability for the knee than before the injury.
  • Sports commonly associated with ACL tears and ruptures include football, tennis, basketball and soccer.
  • Women have a higher rate of ACL injuries than men, for reasons ranging from estrogen's effects on ligaments to gender differences in the alignment of the pelvis and legs
Okay on with my progress report. Everybody is different when it comes to recovery time but the main thing to remember is that you must put your full effort towards your physiotherapy schedule. I'm told for only being 4 weeks out of surgery that I'm doing very well but despite the positive response to physio, it's hard mentally not being able to do many things outside when the weather is nice.

As you can see in the pictures below, the bruising from the surgery is all gone and the scar is healing nicely, however, I've been told that I'm not massaging the incision area enough and the scar tissue is building up. So they did some ultrasound therapy on it and I've been giving strict order to massage the area as ofter as possible. The swelling is still there a bit in the quad and knee. Its gone down but still noticeable.

In addition to all the previous exercises, they added in some balancing on a trampoline. Unfortunately I'm not allowed to do any jumping. Booooo!!!! Its challenging, especially with your eyes closed. Also balance on one leg and throwing a ball against a wall. Not much else in the way of new stuff. I can't stress enough how important your physio program is and should be followed as instructed. This will help in a quick recovery.

Anyway, that's it for week 4. Thanks for reading my ACL surgery recovery blog. Next week I've been told I'll be doing some new exercises in the pool.

If you have any questions, leave a comment and I'll answer it.

Here are some more picks of my knee taken today (June 18th, 2008):

Week 3 - ACL Surgery Recovery

Week 3 after ACL surgery and my knee is recovering nicely at this point. There is still a lot of bruising down the side of my shin to my ankle but it is starting to clear up at this point. As you can see, the ends of my stitches haven't dissolved yet and are still sticking out. I'll be putting the scissors to them before the end of the week. There is still some noticeable swelling, mostly in my quad above the knee. The actual incision.

At Physio, im up to 25 minutes on the bike. I then move on to a squating machine where you're basically doing squats but you're lying down and you have a muscle stimulator machine hooked up to your knee. After that i move on to balancing on a balance pad. New this week is side steps on an aerobic step and also stepping over hurdles. Nothing to strenuous but effective. After my 2 hour physio session is over, its more of the muscle stimulator and ice.

Week 3 is over and the ends of the stitches have been cut out....hope that wasn't a mistake.

Anyway, here's a comparason with my good leg on the left. You can faintly see my old scar from ACL surgery in 1999. When i had that ACL surgery done, it was the same procedure but my progress was a lot slower. I was on crutches for 6 weeks and them only partially for another 2. It was very frustrating. This time, the only thing i think i've done differently is that i was on my feet within a few hours after the surgery. Back in 1999, they made me stay in the hospital overnight and i only got out of bed once. I see a lot of people now at physio who have had the same surgery and not progress nearly as fast. I guess everybody's different.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The first 2 weeks after ACL surgery

4 days after my ACL surgery i took the dressings off to clean up my leg a bit and also to get some nice pictures. I have had a leg brace on and have been using crutches when to walk but i am putting as much weight as i can tolorate on my bad leg. Here's the first picture taken May 26th, 2008. The swelling is mostly in my quad and there is quite a bit of brusing on around my shin and calf. But overall it was not as bad as i had expected. As you can see they used desolving stitches. I had staples in when i had my first ACL surgery on my left knee. They were quite painful to take out so I'm thankful i won't have to go through that again.

May 26th was also my first day at the physiotherapist. I scoped out a few places one month prior to my surgery and found Kings Cross Physiotherapy in Brampton, Ontario (where i live). I had heard good things about this place and they have a lot of great rehab equipment for all sorts of sports related injuries. For those of you in the area and need a place to go for rehab, here is their web site:

At this point, id like to point out that I'm getting around quite well with the crutches. Ive taken the leg brace off for good at this point. The evaluation went well, my range of motion was not as bad as i thought. They measured the angle that i could bend my leg and it was at 105 degrees which was better than i expected. Once my appointment was over they sent me home with a list of exercises i could do, some of which i was already doing. Ankle bends, Quad Flexes Patella mobilization and straight leg lifts and heel slides. Also, when icing the knee after exercises, you need to keep your leg elevated and its straight. 3 sets of 10 reps, 3 -5 times a day.

Towards the end of the week, the brusing was really starting to show right down my leg all the way into my ankle. Nasty and a bit sore to the touch but it looks worse than it felt.
By week 2, everything was coming along quite nicely. I am off the crutches already, well ahead of what i expected and I'm able to drive. The swelling has also come down a bit too. The brusing is still there by fading. Physio added in a few more exercises for me to do. Mostly to strengthen my Hips and quads and calves along with some balancing. I will scan them and post them if anyone requests it. After the 2nd week my knee can bend to 125 degrees, a 20 degree improvement from my first physio appointment. Not too shabby! This is what happens when you stick with the program.

Here is the final picture for this post. My knee after two weeks.
Here's a good youtube video explaining the surgery:
Thats it for this post. Thanks for visiting my ACL surgery recovery blog.

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