ACL Recovery: Month Four

I finally got through the first intensive few months post-ACL reconstruction – yay me! It really is a different world once you get past those critical first 12 weeks post surgery. At times it seems you’ll be limping and struggling and out of exercise forever.

But then week 12 ticks over and you are suddenly allowed to do a little more. And that feeling of achievement is the best feeling in the world after months of inaction!

BTW, don’t forget to check out my ACL recovery progress from Month One, Month Two and Month Three to catch up with my recovery so far.

Month four has been a big month of progress in all sorts of areas. It’s been a very satisfying month that has finally seen my return to regular exercise, starting out with a weekly outing at my local parkrun.

I was also able to sit with my legs crossed for long enough to take a photo (I wasn’t able to do it for more than 30 seconds but at least it’s a start!) and I’ve been tentatively trying to kneel a little more. Again, not for a long time, but long enough to get photographic proof.

Testing the knee -

Back to parkrun. I was cleared to walk the 5km course at the end of December but I’m not allowed to jog it as yet. My physio wants to see some more strength in my right leg before I begin to exert more sustained pressure. But I don’t mind. Just being able to undertake parkrun again is enough for me.

The first week back out there was hot but as it was New Year’s Day it felt like the best way to start off the new year. A time of 53 mins was a respectable return time, particularly after 5 months out from sustained walking. I did pay for it with a swollen and stiff knee for a day or so but that was a small price to pay for the chance to get back out there.

The second week was even better. I decided to go all out and see what I could do. On the 4 month anniversary of my surgery, I achieved a personal best time of 42.17 mins! Yes, there was another swollen and stiff knee but It wasn’t as bad as the week before and I proved that I could back things up.

Parkrun Collage -

Apart from my parkrun return, month four of my recovery saw my regular physio appointments reduce from twice a week to once a week. My physio regime has also progressed, with the introduction of single leg reps to my existing exercises.

Single leg bum lifts

Single leg calf raises

Most recently I started a circuit at physio consisting of 30 bum lifts (double and single), 30 bridge lifts, 3 complete sets of walking lunges and 30 calf raises (double and single). The first time around I was only able to manage 5 reps of this circuit – it’s not easy. But the aim is for me to be able to make 10 reps. Eventually!

As it is a challenging circuit I’m not expected to undertake this everyday – 3 times a week is about as much as I’ll be able to manage without setting my leg back too much. And I have to admit that I haven’t actually completed a full set at home as yet. But if I want to get back to jogging and full weight bearing I need to commit to completing these on a regular basis.

So my goals moving forward are:

  • to continue completing parkrun each week
  • undertake my new circuit regime at least twice a week at home
  • try to fit in extra exercise whenever I can (jogging on the mini-tramp and riding the exercise bike) to build up my stamina and my general fitness.

I’ve just got to keep my eye on the end prize – getting back into tennis and eventually jogging parkrun in under 35 minutes.

Entirely manageable, right?

Have you come back from a major injury? Any advice or tips you can share with me?

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13 Responses

  1. Sally says:

    Don’t rush it! I had surgery on both knees and the first time I got back into running way too soon. Put back my recovery by six months. The second time I paced myself and had a much faster and better recovery. It’s frustrating but worth it in the end. Rehab and strength building very important – join a Pilates group if you’re not motivated to do rehab by yourself. Posture and core strength also essential to a good recovery.

  2. Mary Denman says:

    I’ve had shoulder surgery 3 times….I didn’t have a choice but to follow the doctors orders. There was no trying to push myself. But in the end, it was worth getting my shoulder back.

    I have an Achilles tendon problem right now. I want to start exercising to try and lose weight, but I have to be patient. I’m trying to avoid surgery on my tendon so I’m trying to get my head in the right place and not overdo it or get frustrated. Congrats on your recovery going so well.

    Too, I looked around your blog. My heart goes out to you with having a son with Albinism and Autism. But it looks like you’re a great mom! My eldest daughter does therapy with kids with Autism. She’s pursuing her masters in the field. This is her life work and she loves it!

    And thanks for dropping by my blog. I will have tips that will help you with photography for sure! Have a great weekend!

  3. Rachel says:

    Go Kirsty!! You’re making awesome progress!

  4. Aleney says:

    Against all advice to the contrary , my dad had similar surgery and did the opposite to what your doing and it was never quite right again. Sounds to me like you’re managing it sensibly and you’ll be back playing tennis in no time.

  5. One of my colleagues had the same operation and I had to drive her to work for a couple of months. You sound like the perfect patient to me. You’ve managed your recovery sensibly, Kirsty! I am in admiration of your dedication to exercise too. Good luck 🙂

  6. Wonderful that you are on the road to recovery, well done!
    Mandy @ Barbie Bieber and Beyond recently posted..Are These 10 Disney Movies Suitable For Your Kids?

  7. Oh wow. Great progress and good on you for setting those goals. I have no doubt you will smash them! Xx

  8. Good luck with your recovery! Looks like you are on the right track 🙂
    Sara | Kid Magazine recently posted..Giving Your Kids an Abundance Mindset

  9. Tracey says:

    I have today been told my op will take place on 1st April and I’m petrified. Have you any advice as to when I should return to work? I have an office job but drive 35 miles per day return. Would I be able to manage on the train? Sorry for asking such silly questions but when I was told I was having the op (after bring told initially I was too old – I’m 41) I went to pieces and didn’t ask! Any guidance would be much appreciated

    • Kirsty says:

      Hi Tracey! Good luck with your op – it can seem huge but it really is relatively routine these days.

      For me, I work from home so I didn’t have to seek leave but as I was in the brace and had crutches for 10 days after the operation so I would have struggled if I had’ve been working (even if I had been catching the train and not driving). If you can, try to have at least a week off to rest and recover as you’ll also need to regularly ice and undertake gentle range of movement exercises for your knee during the day. As my right leg was operated on, and in Australia the right leg is the one used for the pedals when driving, I could not drive for the first month or so which really made things difficult when having to drop and collect the kids from school and travelling to physio appointments.

      I would ring your surgeon’s office and see what the general feel is for going back to work after the operation. And also ask when you should start physio again as the earlier you start that, the better. Let me know how you go and don’t hesitate to ask any other questions you may have 🙂

  10. Tracey says:

    Thank you very much for your response. I have my pre-op checks on Thursday so I’m hoping they will also give me a bit more info as to what is entailed. I’m so grateful for you and people like you making blogs as I’d be going into it totally unaware otherwise. Good luck with the rest of your recovery

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