sweat shirt
My actual high school swim team sweatshirt from '89
After a hiccup with a nasty cold and recovery during weeks 20 and 21 was able to get back to regular gym sessions and in to see the Physio in week 22. Had been experiencing pain and stiffness at the front of the knee when walking or heading up stairs since around week 16 or 17. Physio did some massage to ease off the muscles and suggested that a combo of factors contributed to tightening up the muscles to pull on the knee. Since seeing her have sought to be more conscientious with the foam rolling, which definitely seems to keep the problem at bay, though sometimes a sports massage is the only thing that will work it out. For anyone with knee pain, would recommend investing in a foam roller (as a priority second to seeking medical attention and getting a diagnosis and path to recovery). They are cheap, easy to store and ‘self massage’ of your IT band and quads should really help with certain kinds of sharp knee pain.

Weights and conditioning in week 22 definitely showed signs of muscle loss and there was continued pain with squats and lunges. However, with consistency by week 23 most pain was gone during exercise and was building back up to pre-illness levels; squat reps still down and just managing the same weight per leg on the leg press machine. In week 24 was scheduled to see the Physio but completely slipped my mind, so won’t be back in for a few weeks. In the interim, will keep up with the gym work and foam rolling. Though I would much MUCH rather be sweaty and gross and learning on the mats, have been trying to enjoy the swimming more. I was a member of my high school swim team freshman year and while I wasn’t really in to it, I did learn a lot about how to swim so have been taking the chance to think back to what I learned and improve my stroke and flip turns. While I can’t say I look forward to these sessions, they do provide a good workout without inflaming my knee. One thing that makes the experience much more enjoyable is a decent pair of goggles; my first pair would fog up after a single lap – maddening! I picked up a pair of Zoggs Predator Flex goggles which fit very well and have lived up to their anti-fogging claims over the past month. If you’re in a position where you’ve got to integrate a lot of swimming into your routine, would recommend.

Week Physio Milestones
22 Cut out treadmill and increased swimming. Continued pain with squats and lunges. Back to 3 regular gym sessions/week after illness.
23 Swimming times increasing just through consistency and offers best way to push at this time, in terms of cardio benefit and no knee-side effects. Pain in squats gone and much reduced in lunges.
24 Staying the course with weights and swimming. Boosted sets of laps from 5 with a 1 minute rest to 10.


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.