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2600 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Oct 29, 2014 12:30 PM by TheSpartanDAWG
jkstevens21 Amateur 9 posts since
May 3, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 27, 2014 9:36 AM

ACL Recovery

Hi, all;


Wednesday will mark week number 17 since I had surgery to repair a ruptured ACL, bi-lateral tears in my miniscus, and a severly sprained MCL, which occured skiing on March 1st. This morning at PT, they finally let me use the zero-gravity treadmill (, which is a pretty cool piece of equipment if you have access to one and need it. Everything has been progressing well, and I have been being extremely careful so as not to push things, as I do not wish to go through this again.


I have been walking some decent distances since early May, been back on the bike for the last several weeks, and been swimming whenever I can get into the water. Prior to my accident, I was training for my 4th half and in the mid-30 miles per week, and gaining. I had made some huge strides (pardon the pun) last year and had dropped my 5k times into the mid-18's, and my half's were under 90 minutes. I was just shy of a total mileage accumulation of 1000 miles last year. I am in better than average health for my age: just turned 37, and usually stay about 165 lbs, although I have crept back up to about 175 at the moment.


There is some history; now for some goals that I wish to work on:


I would like to be running outside again at a regular (3 times a week, 3 miles at a time to start with) basis by August 1st. I would then like to try a 5k on August 14th, and possibly a 10k the following week, depending upon how everything feels. The more intimidating goal is to train for a half on September 27th. I know that's a kinda lot of racing in a short window of time, but I just want to be able to go the distance: I have no aspirations of trying to set a pr. Long term, I would very much like to be back to where I was when the injury happened this next March 1st.


My questions are these: How realistic am I being? I have no problem putting in the time for training, but am I just trying to fool myself by thinking that I could actually accomplish that - would my knee allow for it? Even more importantly, no matter the amount of training that I begin with, what should I be looking out for, pain-wise? What is normal soreness compared to I-need-to-shut-it-down-now type of pain?


If anyone has any thoughts, suggestions, first-hand experience, whatever - anything anyone would like to share on the matter, I would be extremely appreciative of the knowledge. Thank you much!


- Jeff

  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,291 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jul 15, 2014 9:51 AM (in response to jkstevens21)
    Re: ACL Recovery

    "Realistic" depends on your short-term and long-term goals. I have no doubt that if you stick with your conservative training plans, you are at least as likely to improve as to become re-injured. I know that does not sound too encouraging, but a lot can go wrong in training that can set you back, depending on how and where you train. Since you have ambitions regarding competition, my fear is that you might at some point in time become impatient and push too hard.


    On the other hand, I would bet my life that your chances of successful recovery would increase if you stick with conservative training and stay away from competition longer, because you compete at a higher level than the average athlete. The training and recovery habits of professional athletes sometimes mislead non-professionals into thinking they must recover and jump back into competition as soon as possible. If there is a multi-million dollar paycheck riding on it, sure... but if you do not want to trade off a future without chronic pain for some temporary glory, I would advise accepting a temporary loss of fitness and a longer recovery.

  • TheSpartanDAWG Rookie 1 posts since
    Dec 12, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Oct 29, 2014 12:30 PM (in response to jkstevens21)
    ACL Recovery



    I have also undergone surgery for an ACL tear and have 3 tears in the meniscus in my left knee.  Prior to the injury, I wasn't a runner, nor did I bike much; I preferred playing sports such as basketball, football, soccer, etc. I rehabbed, went straight back to change-of-direction sports, and 5 years later, tore my ACL again.  Now, I am forced to focus on straight line sports, like running on the street, trail running, riding the bike, and am I starting to swim to prepare for triathlons.  The straighter you run, the easier it is on your knees.


    When your leg muscles get tired, your weight transfers more to your meniscus, and that will cause inflammation in the knee joint.  I think it is very important that you continue to ride your bike as part of your workout, as the bike riding will keep your legs strong, protecting your knee.  Also, icing AFTER a run is part of my regime and can only help you.


    Personally, I don't think that running 5ks will hurt your ACL or meniscus.  The race is so short, fatigue can't really set into your legs, but you'll really have to self-monitor and make sure you aren't overloading legs in an attempt to jump back into what was your previous running speed.  If you start to think longer distance, like a marathon, increase your mileage slowly.  I increased my miles too quickly and experienced severe swelling in my knee.  Also, if you get into trail running (I am 45, old guys like the dirt, it is softer), don't go too far on those uneven surfaces at first, ease into it.  Your body will take time to adapt to all of the odd ball footfalls, and that can put a lot of stress on your knee.


    Good luck.  And remember, listen to your knee.  The first 12 months after surgery are important.  Don't ignore and power through a twinge.  If it hurts inside, rest and ice up and live to fight another day.



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