At the end of Week 7 the operated leg continues to show improved mobility, but some swelling which inhibits full flexion or extension. Meeting with the Physio yielded a whole new range of exercises to incorporate into weekly rehab work at the gym, including swimming and rowing machine. Apparently, the main thing with early stage ACL rehabilitation is to focus on ‘closed chain’ exercises, for instance where the hip and glutes are also engaged as in a seated leg press, versus ‘open chain’ exercises such as kicking where the knee mostly acts alone. Psyched to be able to diversify my gym routine and got into the pool for the first time in many years. The Physio also cleared me to continue the BJJ drills I started in Week 6, however as I get quite a lot of side effects from these drills, I need to lower the reps and build up more slowly; the range of motion and rotational qualities of these drills are quite challenging and even 25 reps of each leaves the knee a bit miffed.
While my range of activity is increasing and the operated leg feels stronger and more ‘normal’ for day-to-day activities, all the time, the tedium of recovery is taking a toll. The last two weeks, in particular, have been a bit of a struggle in terms of keeping the positivity and more so in terms of weight-control; have started to pack it on a bit. This is a combo of lower activity levels and comfort-eating, so reigning in the diet this week and amping up the swimming, which hasn’t caused any ill side-effects on the leg. Playing on Fitocracy definitely helps with the rehab motivation, and almost clear of month 2 of 9 with Spring and the mats not that far away!
I addition to the mix and match of exercises for Week 5 rehabilitation Physio cleared me for a wider range of ‘closed chain’ exercises such as swimming and rowing machine with the caveat that any new activity be started at a very low level with the duration and intesity of a new activity scaled up gradually.
- 30 laps in the pool
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.