ACL Recovery: Month Three
I can’t believe that it’s already been 3 months since my ACL reconstruction surgery. But last week marked 12 weeks since my operation and today marks exactly 3 months since I went in.
I must confess that after the relentless monotony of Month One, time is now passing a whole lot faster than I anticipated, which has been very welcome for this rather impatient, exercise-deprived mother!
This month has seen a welcome increase in knee function, movement and strength. There has still been some sore days – I guess that’s going to be par for the course. The sore days occurred after I started a new exercise at phsyio and when I neglected my physio for a week while I was unwell with a virus. But overall I’m feeling more confident in my knee when walking, climbing stairs and navigating slopes.
There is still some residual stiffness, especially after sitting for long periods of time. I still can’t kneel on hard ground and I’m yet to successfully cross my legs when sitting on the ground. I guess my ability to undertake these basic movements will come back in the coming months as the healing continues and normal function completely returns.
On the positive side, I have found that I have increased endurance now. Initially I was finding my knee tiring quickly after long periods on my feet and I would fall back into limping by the end of the day. But my limp has now gone and I rarely find myself sore or strained three months on. It’s a great feeling.
The key to recovery remains staying true to the physio regime. When I let things slide my knee certainly lets me know. So even though I’m tempted to not do my exercises some days, I still do something each and every day to ensure my knee continues to build in strength and function.
I’m still doing the majority of the exercises documented in my Month Two update but have added a few new ones in as well.
ACL Recovery Month Three
Jogging on the mini-tramp
I’ve been allowed to jog for 10 minutes on the mini-tramp everyday. I’m not ready just yet to fully jog on hard ground but as long as I wear my new stabilising footwear (New Balance) and don’t experience any knee cap pain while jogging, I’m free to start building up my fitness again on the mini-tramp.
The first time I tried these I set my knee back for a week – it just wasn’t yet ready to bear this sort of weight. This exercise will progressively become harder as my knee strengthens but for now I’m concentrating on perfecting my technique. It’s all about starting to build up the quad muscles by stretching and bearing weight by lunge walking. I’m only doing the easy version right now – I’m not looking forward to the time when I will need to fully bend my recovering knee down to the ground!
I’ve added 10 minutes on the exercise bike to my daily routine to build up my cardio, maintain my range of movement and strengthen my knee. It’s strangely satisfying spending 10 minutes going all out on the bike while watching something mindless on the idiot box. I’d love to move to some road riding down the track but for now this is the safest and most convenient way to build my strength without re-injuring my knee.
I’m quite excited as I’ve just been cleared to start power walking again on level ground. I’m so keen to build up my cardio fitness again and recommence my favourite form of exercise. For now I won’t be able to walk around my usual haunts near home (it’s too hilly around here) but knowing I can drive to a flat track and see how far I can walk with pace is very exciting after four months out of real exercise!
The other good news for this month is the prospect that my physio sessions will reduce now that I’ve reached the crucial 3 month mark. The first 12 weeks are the most vital when it comes to ACL recovery, requiring frequent and intensive physiotherapy sessions. If I continue to do well up until Christmas I’ll be looking at dropping from two sessions to one a week. Which is excellent news for my bank balance as well as for my work week!
Have you survived knee surgery? How did your physio and rehab go?
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