5 months post Op

I didn’t fall off the planet but I did need some time to myself which got a bit longer than I thought it would. So what happened month 4-5…I’ve always kind of thought if you don’t have anything good to say don’t say it!

I envisaged it being a month to press on & make strength gains but anterior knee pain put paid to that! Instead I had a rehab holiday. A total break for 10 days (except basic quads ex’s) to let things settle then gently build up & reintroduce activity. It definitely helped but was a knock emotionally as it felt like I was treading water. It nearly broke me.

Surprisingly I went to some pretty dark places this month and wasn’t much fun to be around. With a social life based around being active & exercising I found I was missing the friends I used to DO things with & it was hard going. Suddenly I wasn’t much use to anyone despite the fact I had come so far! I even let a little anger creep in unnecessarily, but all the while I needed to keep my eyes on the prize and try not to project my issues onto anyone else. I was also aware I didn’t want my kids to pick up on how I was dealing with the challenge and start copying any of my less than positive behaviours in relation to injuries.

Also I struggled with guilt about how I was feeling. It was just a knee! I was sooo lucky & fortunate to be back walking, working, breathing whilst others have everything a lot harder particularly as a result of a global pandemic or any manner of other medical or non-medical reasons. What struck me this month was that I had underestimated deeply the psychological aspect of my own rehab & how it was also mixed up in my expectations of myself as a physiotherapist. Geeezzz ….deep.

I did also do some positive things after my rehab holiday that made me smile!! I started a few more faster off-road walks whilst accompanying my daughter hacking, great for proprioception, balance & confidence and continued on with the paddle boarding – yay!

Everyone feels better with some vit D, so after a triumphant finish to homeschooling we planned to head off with the kids via eurotunnel for a massive road trip to Spain to spend some time as a family on my parents boat. Not needing to take a flight we felt we could isolate as much as we needed to offshore. But it did mean a 16 hour drive! It built confidence that I tolerated 6 hours of driving a day and I have to admit it was great to get away.

aches, ACL injury, dorset, injury, knee injury, pain, physiotherapy, rehabilitation

4 Months Post ACL Reconstruction

We’re emerging from lockdown! Whilst things are far from usual I’m now back seeing patients again. The sun is shining and all things knee are moving forwards.

Four months post op slightly reminds me of emerging from the first few months of motherhood. It does get easier! The differences between ACL journeys can also be just as diverse as raising kids. If you’re struggling you aren’t alone, likewise if things are going great & you’re returning to running & into plyometrics that’s equally great.

Just like any other challenge, surround yourself with support from people that are helping make that journey positive. Get in touch if you want some advice, motivation or just to swap stories.

I did start with a treadmill jog in recent weeks as impact loading assessment more than anything else. 5mins walk, 1 min jog, 5mins walk 30secs. This session did build a bit of confidence but did feel “odd” & that was enough for my patella-femoral joint at the moment which is irritable.

You need the sound to truly appreciate this epic! 🤣

I made it back to physio myself this week & it was great to be back on the Alter-G for some work towards running. I started with backward walking, followed by forward fast walk. I jogged for 7 mins with 60% of body weight taken off. That’s the baseline at the moment. It’s useful (compared to my 1min on treadmill) to get more time in running whilst analysing & working on gait with less impact. You get feedback on stride length, weight distribution, time in stance phase & can change things. Hopefully when I get back to full weight bearing I will be as near even gait pattern as possible and will have gradually built up tolerance to loading. Hopefully this will limit me reinforcing suboptimal movement patterns and stop any longer term issues from picking up bad habits.

One example is my heel kick. On the Alter G, I could see from the rear camera I wasn’t pulling up my right heel as high as the left, probably because my hamstring isn’t working as hard on the operated leg where the graft was taken. A quick correction & I could see in real time things change.

Strength work continues to progress. I’ve now introduced some low level plyometrics (jumping type activities) into my rehab and added in some variation too. I’ve been outside on the mountain bike but am not ready for the road bike outside yet. It’s a standard environment in the house with no traffic & limited opportunities to fall off! I can also pull my foot out of the shoe instead of the twisting motion of uncleating. I have started using cleats on the turbo trainer which is a game changer. I also did my first interval ride on Zwift & was promptly dropped by the group! Great to be adding some different workouts in though. Variety in rehab keeps things slightly more interesting!

Family bike ride

Another training variation was the addition of a stand up paddle board. It is soooo nice to finally (6 months after the injury) to be a bit active outside & it’s great for balance training. I would say if you are thinking about getting on a SUP, go in flat & deep water in these relatively early months. Keeping any excited kids well clear of capsizing the board means you have the perfect opportunity for some alone time too!! The potential risk of injury to the ACL graft could come from a slip & twist off the board or landing awkwardly if you fall off in shallow water. If in doubt check with your physiotherapist before you head out.

Freedom at last!

A few of the plyometric exercises I have added in are below. As you will see I have plenty to work to do & compensations to iron out. There are a plethora of exercises that you can be doing at 4 months post op depending on how your rehab is progressing. Get in touch if you need some ideas.

Hopefully your personal rehab is heading in the right direction & you are starting to see the benefits of the work you are putting in. Stick with it….

dorset, london marathon, physiotherapy, sports massage

Waiting to get fit…

Bored of waiting to get fit physiotherapist “H” has set a goal to generate some motivation!

Raising money for mind she’s planning to run the London marathon 2019. https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HDraper

Are you training for London? Come & see us for injury prevention & sports massage to get you race ready.

aches, dorset, injury, london marathon, pain, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, sports massage

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! Having just returned from a years sailing sabbatical with my family we’ve settled back into UK life and I’m delighted to bring you HD Physiotherapy & Sports Massage here in Dorset. Life often takes us on unexpected journeys. Our aim at HD Physiotherapy & Sports Massage is to collaborate with each client to help them navigate their journey back to fitness. Whether that journey is addressing a long standing niggle, rehabilitation after surgery or maintaining peak form for elite sporting endeavours we can help. We will work with you to provide a thorough assessment and listen to your goals, working on a treatment plan and timeline together.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton