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!
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.
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.
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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