Week 8 of 36, done. Month 2 of 9, complete! This second month of ACL rehabilitation has felt much slower than the first. The first month sees rapid gains as the knee recovers from the trauma of the operation whereas the improvements in month two are steady but less pronounced. Incremental progress has been made since Week 7 and, in particular, the BJJ solo drills I’ve been working on are less challenging on the leg than last week. During Week 8 I’ve undertaken two sessions of solo drills, and the second had almost no noticeable side effects immediately afterwards or after 24 hours. This is in marked contrast to having a very stiff leg and clear limping immediately after the drills and increased swelling the following day. These drilling sessions are very modest and consist of less than 10 minutes of:
- Back break fall to stand up in base (also referred to as ‘technical stand up’) alternating sides
- Bridge and shrimp, both sides
- Elbow to knee scoot to turtle, both sides
- Shoulder walking
Now that the operated leg is coping better with reps of 25 of each of these drills, will escalate to reps of 30 this coming week and bump to 35 for a second session if that doesn’t cause ill-effects. This is a humbling process and these are humble goals, but it is some sort of jiu jitsu and while my movement on the operated side is clumsy I *can* practice some fundamental movements and work on rebuilding muscle memory as well as strength and flexibility in the leg.
While the rational side of me understands that there is no rushing this rehabilitation, the last two weeks were especially challenging in terms of keeping positive about not training. The rehabilitation is extremely tedious – going to the gym for its own sake is bad enough, but I cannot even work at a very vigorous level – and while I’m happy to hit the gym once or twice a week at the best of times, it is all about supplementary conditioning for BJJ. I miss working on my game very very much, it is so much more rewarding than this gym-going, not to mention much more effective in terms of maintaining my health and fitness. The last two weeks have been a real pain in terms of weight management and I’ve amassed two intractable kilos; BJJ normally takes care of all this for me and it is a bit of a bummer. Working on the diet up to Christmas, but there’s not a lot of fat to trim, but as my job is sedentary and I work from home my activity levels have been torpedoed without BJJ; the 3 rehab gym sessions notwithstanding.
Week 8 followed the same mix and match of exercises as Weeks 5-7 rehabilitation with the addition of the seated leg press machine in Week 7. Meeting with Physio in Week 9 and expect to get new proprioception exercises. The nitty gritty of my rehab sessions is available at my Fitocracy.
- Two sessions of BJJ solo drills
- Added shoulder walking to solo drills
- Boosted to 20 minutes on elliptical/cross-trainer (from 15)
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.