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ACL Replacement Finally On Track

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PisteOff

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Jeff
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15 days post-op. Had a consult with the surgeon today. They took 2 x-rays. I’ll post them once they’ve been uploaded to my portal. They looked great. Doc is happy. I was told to unlock the brace hinge in the brace I don’t use. He graduated me to the next phase of PT and PT turned up the heat. After stretching was done everything included leg weights and resistance bands. No more TENS pads. Spent time in a horizontal leg press doing sets with both legs and just the surgery leg. I didn’t find any of it hard. It was a decent entry level exercise group for strength training of primarily the quadriceps and hamstrings and glutes secondarily.

I scheduled a few more weeks of PT and my next consult is in 4 weeks. I don’t know that I will continue with them after that point. If I still find it beneficial I will. I know how to train so we’ll see.
 
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Jeff
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23 days post-op and just returned from my 7th PT visit. Doing planks with weights on the back of my knees, wall sits, leg press, a few resistance band exercises. Start the hour long session with about 20 minutes of stretching quads, hamstrings, and calves. The stretching opens up my range of motion in the surgery leg. Still a little swelling and fluid on the knee. Progressing rapidly. I don’t use the brace at all any longer and they’re fine with it given my leg strength.
 

Jim Kenney

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23 days post-op and just returned from my 7th PT visit. Doing planks with weights on the back of my knees, wall sits, leg press, a few resistance band exercises. Start the hour long session with about 20 minutes of stretching quads, hamstrings, and calves. The stretching opens up my range of motion in the surgery leg. Still a little swelling and fluid on the knee. Progressing rapidly. I don’t use the brace at all any longer and they’re fine with it given my leg strength.
YES. Hope to make some turns with you next season.
 
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Jeff
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I should mention……. I was prescribed Vicodin post-op. I had mentioned earlier in this thread that I was taking it only prior to going to my PT appointments. The pain of just trying to bend the knee was pretty stark. It allowed me to pull/push/flex through that swelling and pain and actually stretch the muscle. Anyway, I ceased doing that after my 4th PT visit. By then the swelling and inflammation had subsided enough that just moving it wasn’t that painful any longer. Now I only have pain when I flex it to the limit of my range of motion or when first getting up after being in the recliner for awhile. Those first couple steps can be a little stiff and even a little painful but it loosens up quick. I also have a little arthritis in that knee too so……. I’ll also never get back the meniscus I’ve lost at this age either. Conditioning will be a vital part of keeping this knee together for years to come.

Historically, I’ve always spent a couple months prior to ski season getting my legs and core in some semblance of shape. I need to make my conditioning a year round habit. I’ve no excuse now that I’m retired.

Also of note, been retired 2 months and she hasn’t divorced me…… :roflmao:
 
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Jeff
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OK, I’ll be 7 weeks post-op tomorrow. Had my 6 week consult with the surgeon today. He is thrilled. I quit PT rehab at his clinic a little over two weeks ago. They torqued my knee good. It took a good 10-12 days to recover from that. They had me anchor a resistance band around my ankles and do long side steps. It put too much leverage on my knee. It was meniscus pain. Anyway, I let that settle down and I’ve been doing my own workouts. I’m doing different exercises for my hip flexors and abductors. I will gradually leverage my knee laterally in the coming weeks. Right leg is stronger than the left leg so I am working on balancing that out as well. Fusion of the graft is almost complete. I have full extension and full flexion range of motion. I went over my training regimen and Doc was pleased. He just wants me to continue as I am for a few more weeks, let fusion complete, and then I can start in the gym. I have no pain, I have no swelling. For now I concentrate on exercise that doesn’t put rotational or lateral torque on the joint. I’m also doing 5-7 miles of walking per day and swimming in the pool (careful how I kick). I am eating well with intermittent fasting and I’m down 9 lbs. so far. I have fallen off the wagon with my smoking a couple times but I keep on quitting. My breathing is improved, my 02 levels are better on average than they were by a couple points.
 
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Jeff
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Not that I'm aware of and there was nothing in the exam or surgery notes about it. I figured this is their standard procedure but I'll ask at the followup.
How are you doing with your recovery?
 

skiki

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Surgery was Friday and went well, thanks. Slight glitch at discharge when I went to transfer to the wheelchair with my crutches and automatically tried to put weight on my numb foot, which of course was completely non-compliant. Whoops. So they sent me home with a walker until the nerve block wore off. I had my first post-op PT today and it went well. My PT seemed quite happy that I had full extension, ROM was at 87, and my quad was cooperating too. I'm glad you posted the photo with the Breg Polar Care Wave. I found one for a good price on FB and agree that it is so much more effective than balancing an ice pack on my knee.
 
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Jeff
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Surgery was Friday and went well, thanks. Slight glitch at discharge when I went to transfer to the wheelchair with my crutches and automatically tried to put weight on my numb foot, which of course was completely non-compliant. Whoops. So they sent me home with a walker until the nerve block wore off. I had my first post-op PT today and it went well. My PT seemed quite happy that I had full extension, ROM was at 87, and my quad was cooperating too. I'm glad you posted the photo with the Breg Polar Care Wave. I found one for a good price on FB and agree that it is so much more effective than balancing an ice pack on my knee.
If you’re at full extension and 87 flexion already you’re doing awesome! Just step carefully and take it slow for awhile. Yes, I was up and moving right away and shed my brace after a few weeks but even to this day I am still very careful where I step. The first 8 weeks are vital to get the ACL fully fused. You’re off to a great start. I hope your recovery goes as well and better than mine has. :beercheer:
 

mdf

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still very careful where I step
When I was recovering, I was walking across some grass and stepped in a hidden hole. I decided to go down rather than fight it ... though "decided" makes an instinctive guarding actions sound more considered than it was.
 
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Jeff
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When I was recovering, I was walking across some grass and stepped in a hidden hole. I decided to go down rather than fight it ... though "decided" makes an instinctive guarding actions sound more considered than it was.
I just allowed myself on grass for the first time this week. I understood what you meant. Totally instinctive. A lot of times fighting the fall will result in injury whereas the fall wouldn’t have. Pulled a few muscles saving myself over the years. Like skiing, it is optimal not to crash, but if you must, than by all means learn the art of crashing……
 

OSD

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How are you doing with your recovery?
It's going well though the slow pace is killing me. I made the mistake of putting resistance on the stationary bike too soon and now I have patellofemoral pain which is a setback. But I'm walking pretty well and have good range of motion. It's hard not to do too much too fast at this stage but damn I'm having endorphin withdrawals with all this caution.

It's interesting that they had you sidestep with the bands on your ankles...seems like our PT is about the same pace and they had me do that with the band right above my knees which is obviously less torque on the knees. They're having me do leg presses as well. I'm dying to start jogging but that's a ways off I guess.
 

Tom Inca

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OP and others who have chimed in -

Thank you for sharing your surgery and recovery experiences. It has been fun and educational to read your posts.

I had my ACL surgery 11 days ago.

This is my second ACL reconstruction. My first repair was 33 years ago. It was open knee, done with a scalpel. My doctor used a graft from my IT band, and there was a LOT of pain during my recovery, with no weight bearing for 4 months. I was in school at the time and I walked to class everyday on crutches with a backpack filled with books. My leg atrophied and I lost a lot of weight. One snowy day, my pants fell off, all the way to my ankles, while I was crossing a busy intersection. There were a lot of people around. Someone honked at me and yelled at me to GTF out of the way. Good times.

My original graft finally failed, but I don't know how or when it happened. I got 30 days of skiing in this year and I felt good the whole time. However, between my days on the slopes, my knee would buckle when playing golf or after a hard ride on my bike. I got an MRI after my ski season was over, which revealed that my ACL was completely gone. I then sneaked in a few more rounds of golf, with a knee brace, and I did PT and a lot of high effort bike rides to strengthen my leg. I then got my surgery.

This time, I am experiencing very little pain, and I can walk without crutches already. That said, I saw my doctor two days ago and he wants me at 0 degrees extension before getting rid of the crutches. So I am begrudgingly using the crutches. I need to be careful as I really want to ramp things up and I feel really great compared to my first ACL reconstruction experience. All I have is some bruising outside the lower tunnel (my surgery was a little more complicated because they had to remove the screws that held my old graft). Swelling is normal, per my doctor. I am currently at 5 and 100 degrees, passively.

For those who have had it, hope your repairs have gone to plan and maybe one day we can cross paths on the slopes with our bionic knees.
 

skiki

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That said, I saw my doctor two days ago and he wants me at 0 degrees extension before getting rid of the crutches.
For extension, I find just propping my feet on the coffee table while watching tv and letting gravity do its thing goes a long way. Tighten up your quads every now and then for a little extra.
 
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Jeff
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For extension, I find just propping my feet on the coffee table while watching tv and letting gravity do its thing goes a long way. Tighten up your quads every now and then for a little extra.
I bought a 9x6x3 yoga block and would put that under my ankle while in the recliner (or on the coffee table as you did) and then put an ankle weight on top of my knee. I’d do that for as long as I could stand it.
 
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Jeff
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@PisteOff, @Tom Inca, @OSD and any others with recent ACL reconstruction, what are your respective orthos saying about skiing this coming season?
I was told 8 months to 100%. That puts me in early December and it’s why I did it within a few weeks of returning from Utah. YMMV. I progressed a lot faster than expected out of the gate. I’ve not worked out much as I should have as I’ve been working on my house a lot. That’s been a lot of exercise on its own. Knee feels fantastic. We’ve accepted an offer on the house. Just had the home inspection today. There’s 3 days left on the buyers option period. If it goes through we’ll be out of TX on the 15th of August. I’ll start my winter conditioning end of August and expect to be in good form for the start of the season.
 

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