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yelselI feel you. Mine is scheduled for 3.28 and I'm nervous too.
Have you been doing physical therapy at all beforehand? They first scheduled me about 2.5 weeks ago and I've been doing PT three times a week. What a difference it's made. I'm no longer in pain, I have great mobility and my quad is much stronger than it was before which is the reason for doing it.
I've been told the first week is pretty shitty and you really can't do much, let alone shower-which is freaking me out. Make sure you have someone that can help you out. Get a removable shower head and something you can sit on in the shower when the time comes because you won't be able to stand. After the first week, start doing some simple exercises to get it moving again.
I've been told you're on crutches for about a month and then on to 1 after that for a little bit longer. It sounds like it all depends on how strong you are now, how good your surgeon is and how well you do afterwards with the exercises.
taylornickyKind of weird timing... it's been 4 years to the day that I tore my acl!
I completely tore my acl and meniscus, fractured my femoral condyle, and completely shredded all cartilage in my knee. So depending on the comparison of my injury to yours, my experience could differ. My ortho used the patella tendon as a new ACL and did not repair my meniscus at all.
The first few days after surgery was the worst part of the recovery in my opinion.. I had a bad reaction to my pain meds though so that definitely influenced the pain. It's very important to begin the range of motion outlines that your surgeon gives you... even though it'll hurt and you'll be exhausted, follow it as he/she says.
The rest of the recovery process was not nearly as bad as the first few days. Going to PT was a rough time for me. Definitely takes a lot of patience. Keep doing the exercises if they give you the OK to do so at home. Stretch stretch stretch!
A big part of the recovery is also the mental aspect of it...which effected me and I wasn't expecting it. I became very sad and discouraged being that I was in bed constantly and couldn't go do things that I would normally do. I spent a lot of time thinking, and it drove me crazy! So try to keep yourself occupied, but also remember that it's normal to be sad during the recovery.. I had a long talk with my PT about it, and he said it's one of the hardest things during most people's recoveries.
I ended up getting tendonitis from where my patella tendon was taken. This caused for a longer recovery... I was on crutches for about 1 month and did a single crutch for about 1 week following that. I was also not given any sort of brace during my recovery... which i would assume effect a lot...
As for how long it took to go back to doing activities... I went to italy 2 months post surgery on foreign exchange and was able to walk around. I would be very sore after a few hours, but it was manageable. It took me until December to ski again (surgery was in May). If i'm being honest, I am still not fully back to the ability i used to be at for skiing. A huge factor is that i'm just afraid. i'm sure that I could go back to my previous level, but i'm just a big sissy. As for other activities, I trail run very often as well as swimming and biking.. All I am fine doing. I will be sore by the end of the day, but it's nothing too crazy.
You'll be fine. No lie, it'll be a long road and it'll feel like life sucks, but you just have to remember that you determine how you recover. A strong attitude, a driven mind, and how you treat your body is very important. Do what the doctors and PT says. Don't fall behind on exercises and stretches.
As for activities, I watched all seasons of Grey's Anatomy. hahaha try to get out of the house though. Even if it's sitting outside reading or something.
You'll do great! Embrace how amazing your body is and can be! You have the ability to heal! So rad!
dkirseThanks Taylor! I've been pretty discouraged already since yesterday. My leg feels heavy and not like it's mine anymore. I'm almost scared of it...But tomorrow I plan to take advantage of the weather and sit outside for a bit, i think it may help.
Back when I first crashed, I thought it was a meniscus tear. (Lol that was the night I got way too smashed at Kody's bonfire thing). But I found out that i completely tore my ACL and my dad has done the same thing 3 times now. Skiers, huh? I have to say that the worst part of all this is having my parents worry about me so much. It's killing me to have them wait on me. When will I be able to do everything on my own? And omg, it's KILLING me not to shower. I look awful hahaha.
Thanks for your advice. I think swimming and running are two things i'm really looking forward to, i mean, apart from skiing. I feel like when I get back out on the slopes, I'm gonna have such a mental block and be super afraid to ski at the level I left off on. Which makes me sad, but as long as I get back out there...I think I'll be okay. I feel like I already went through the depressing part of my injury in the month after it happened. Now i'm just focused on bouncing back and not letting my muscles atrophy. Also, painkillers are rad!
On another note, did it take longer to heal because it was the patella tendon? I got my hamstring tendon taken out and man, that's like the only part of my leg that is in constant pain. And thanks again for the advice, I'm really glad I started posting on ns. There are hella people that have gone through/are going through injuries similar to mine and it really helps!
taylornickyOh my god! I had no idea this was you!!!! Hey girl! Hahaha I feel so stupid!
Who was your surgeon??
Yeah showering was definitely the worst part. I used trash bags and as weird as it sounds, had my mom help me shower.
From what I've heard, the patella tendon surgery does take longer to heal from. I'm not positive on that though. Getting tendinitis made for a big setback though. I still get it from time to time.
Just try to not get discouraged. You're strong and your body is capable of healing. It'll be over before you know it! (:
If you need anything from me, just let me know. I live right next to the LLC so I'm right here.
Just try not to get discouraged.
holymosesYou've gotten some great advice from everyone else that's been posting on this thread!!!!! Here's my very very very abbreviated guide to surviving and thriving after an ACL:
Prehab: SO SO SO important! Most surgeons nowadays won't even operate until the patient A) can fully straighten their leg and get a nice quad contraction when straight and B) has little to no swelling. If you've been going to PT, they should be giving you exercises that will get this done in addition to strengthening the muscles in your leg and around your knee. This is super important bc the stronger you are going into surgery, the better the place your at after surgery in terms of starting your rehab.
PROTIP: you may be tempted, but I wouldn't advise watching any surgery videos or anything before surgery. Orthopedic surgeons aren't like brain surgeons.... lets just say that the work they do require them to not be so gentle. A lot of people come into the clinic I work at really freaked out after watching surgery videos.
IMMEDIATELY POST SURGERY: is going to suck a lot. your knee is going to be super swollen and you're gonna be zonked out on pain meds. if you are able to, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting a polar cube or something similar.. its basically a little pump attached to something that wraps around your knee that pumps ice water around. It'll get your knee nice and numb and everyone that's ever used one with an ACL that I know has said they are a lifesaver. As soon as you wake up from surgery, work on ankle pumps (moving your foot up and down as if you were pushing a gas pedal). You cannot do too many of these, and they help by literally pumping the swelling out from the swollen area.
REHAB: in general, listen to your PT, and do your exercises. there's a big learning curve in any extended rehab in knowing how much to push yourself, what the right types of pain are, ect. if you do get the patellar tendon, know that you have to be really vigilant in your rehab because that type of graft does sometimes result in patellar tendonitis (which can prolong rehab). However, that is the favorite graft for high level athletes. As far as how you will progress, some is determined by how vigilant you ware with your rehab, some is determined by just you being you... EVERYONE has little differences in their rehab. However, barring any complications/problems specific to your case, if you have good therapists and a successful surgery and you push yourself in rehab, there's no reason why you can't get back to 100% of how you were pre-injury if not more than that (a lot of times you find other weaknesses and stuff unrelated to your injury during rehab).
I hope this was helpful, I know its a lot... good luck and if you have any other questions feel free to reach out or whatever.
dkirseThat was really sweet advice! Luckily i'm now 3 days post-op and am feeling great! I'm slowly weening myself off of the pain meds and onto just a generic Ibuprofen sub and it's going well! I have the polar cube/cooler thing and it seems to be working fine. I just wish that I could unwrap my leg and see how it's doing! I have the CPM machine set to 65 degrees today which is STEEP but i know it's for the best. I really don't want my muscles to atrophy. I can't wait to start rehabbing and getting my abilities back, but my first pt appt isn't until thursday. I'm going to really work on the gas pedal exercises that you mentioned and also putting a little weight more and more each time I walk to the bathroom or whatever.
My leg feels like it's 100000 pounds though, when does that stop? I'm worried about my posture when I stand/walk because the left leg has so much weight. Maybe it's my brace...
Does anybody have any tips for showering/bathing? I successfully washed my hair today but have still not washed my body (which I know is totally gross, sorry). But i would super appreciate sponge bath tips/tricks. I'm not trying to die in the shower hahaha
Also, anybody that has gone through this before...how was it to go back to school/work/play? I'm worried to go back to school because there are so many stairs and obstacles around campus. I'd have to switch my routine around quite a bit. Are there normally accommodations for -disabled- students around college campuses? Also I'm STOKED on my disability placard. Guess who's gonna have the best spot in the parking garage? Me.
In all seriousness, thanks to all you girls who posted advice on this thread. It has been really helpful and equally as comforting!
taylornickyUnr has a disability center. I think you might even be able to use a wheelchair with them and somebody pushes you around. I would definitely go into their office.
Most-DBig up dkirse - good luck with recovery and congrats to all the other great girls on this thread who have successfully made it to the other (more positive!) side of this particular and common injury!
I've been reading through this post with great interest as I'm having my ACL reco op after the weekend here in the UK. A bit nervous but mostly stoked to start making progress rather than lingering in pre-op, prehab limbo as I have been for the last 6 weeks.
Leg is feeling strong and I'm looking forward to feeling 100% again.
Any thoughts on the following though gals?
- Nutrition. I feel like this is going to be just as important as exercises, so wondered if anyone could shed some light on what worked for them / any tips.
- Weights. When did anyone start weighted exercises post operation / in the gym?
Thanks everyone! Love this community :-D