Since finishing Week 12 and thereby completing the first third of ACL recovery, I’ve determined to continue to record my experience for the interest for fellow knee-warriors, but will be doing so in multi-week batches, between meetings with my Physio.

Close up of ballet dancer's feet in point
Ballet is tough, though not quite as tough as beatin' up stronger, fitter, younger dudes

The new year heralded the start of a big milestone in ACL recovery terms, with the commencement of the second third of the 9 month slog to full recovery. While a small amount of swelling persists and prevents full flexion and extension, it seems to be at a very minimal level at this point. The scars have healed well though one keyhole entry and the incision on the shin (for access to the hamstring) need more consistent self-massage to help dissipate the scar tissue; it is importnat to rub these scars out on a little and often basis whenever a ‘pea-like’ lump of scar tissue can be felt beneath the skin.

Throughout this process, the operated leg has gotten stronger every day and there’s not been a plateau. Improvement is in small increments, but it is consistent. At this stage, it is increasingly robust and resiliant against fatigue and trying new things and during Weeks 13 to 15 I’ve worked to a high intensity and in a number of new activities:

  • Indoor cycle (aka spin): this was the most mega cardio blast I’ve enjoyed since the op; was great to move into the heart attack zone of exertion!
  • BJJ sparring: worked with some trusted partners who mostly let me surf on top (I can’t bridge and scoot with a person’s weight and therefore can’t work escapes from the bottom, so is more interesting, I suppose, for them to work their defence from my flurry of mount and side mount attacks).
  • Ballet: there’s a class once a week at my ‘regular gym’; haven’t done this in nearly 30 years and was brilliant fun and at basic enough level to be a really good set of movements for the knee

Week 13

Feeling good and stronger and more able to do a variety of activities at a higher level of intensity.


  • Continued with prescribed physio regime from Week 12
  • Daily hip flexor stretches


  • Spin class of high intensity
  • Sparring 4 3 min rounds

Week 14


  • Continued physio work; hamstring difficult to build up with standing curls


  • Hopping exercise much less painful and beginning to transition between feet (sort of as in skipping)

Week 15


Started new cycle of physio exercises:

  • Bridge on Swiss ball with only feet on ball (rather than with calves); hold position and raise and lower alternate legs
  • Hamstring curl with only feet on ball (rather than with calves)
  • Plank with leg kick back
  • Side plank with oblique twist
  • Side plank with leg raise
  • Rear lunge with kick back
  • Directional hopping (forward, to the side and on the diagonal)
  • Running on treadmill 2 mins on 1 min off: first week 3 sets, 2nd week 4 sets, 3rd week 5 sets; 3 times per week with rest days between runs


  • New classes at gym including ballet and body pump
  • Treadmill running intervals


Every ACL op and recovery will be particular to the person. The thoughts and experiences recalled in this series of posts is in no way intended as medical advice or as a replacement for seeking medical attention for any injury. This information is presented merely as a record of one person’s experience with ACL operation and recovery.