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hey, so i had an acl replacement last august and am meant to be allowed to run. I used to do a lot of sport and have been going to the gym 2-3 times a week since my operation trying to build up muscle on machines and then doin some cardio on the bike buuuuuut i have the feeling i will never be able to run again...i cannot seem to land on a bent knee and so have a massive limp when i try to run. basically im looking for any advice on how to get back on the track??
Running may not be the best choice of exercise after your injury, then again I tore a PCL in a mountain biking accident years ago and still run myself. It took a while for me to feel secure running. Make sure you have full range of motion and your strength back first. Before you runn warm-up with a walk, use a foam roller to prep your muscles and connective tissue. Remember to use newish shoes and preferably a dirt track. Keep your stride easy and your pace slow. As you feel better build from there. Balance work on a Bosu would also benefit you greatly.
I tore my ACL back in 2000 in a skiing accident. Fell 600 feet down the mountain. I'm lucky to have only had a couple of major injuries. One being the ACL. I had the reconstructive surgery. I didn't have insurance at the time and had to do my own PT at home. I wasn't the best patient I started running on it to soon. But I didn't stop because I love running so much it's makes me stupid!
Looking back I wish I would have been a better patient and done all my exercises and got my full range of motion back, but I didn't.
I felt like my knee was going to give way sometimes. Sometimes it felt like it was going to hyperextend itself again. It took a couple of years before I stopped worrying about it. I wore a cheap neoprene brace to help give it a bit of support. I think it was more a mental thing after a while.
Do you limp when you walk? Do you have your full range of motion back? Do you use/have a supportive device?
You will be able to run again, it may just be to soon. But I doubt it. I think using a brace may help.
I will start by saying you'll most certainly run again and run at your speed and level before the injury, perhaps even better.
However, this relies heavily and solely on how hard you're willing to work and how dedicated you stay. I tore my ACL and lateral meniscus, as well as severe bone bruising on my tibia and femur (was in mid air and came down hard on my foot/leg which drove the two bones into each other), in April 2009. My ACL was completely shattered and I had to wait for two months to have surgery in order to allow time for the bones to heal from the bruising. I was devastated being a hard runner, athlete and simply someone who was always active and moving around.
I simply used my love for running and an active lifestyle as hard dedication and will. I set a goal that I would come back even stronger than I was before the injury. I was at PT and in the gym the day after receiving the injury news from the doctor. I forewarned the PT that I was determined to come back stronger and may just do all the exercises and then some, so she may want to consider the "assignments" she gives me. I worked hard and did all the exercises and especially the ones that weren't as fun to do. Mantras I needed to learn to live by: stretch, stretch and stretch more. THE BIKE IS MY BEST FRIEND.
I had achilles cadaver reconstruction in June 2009 and, again, was back on the bike and in PT that week. Sure, my PT visit and bike routine consisted of simply bending the knee slowly at not even a 90 degree angle. I stuck with PT and doctor instructions and found a way to set mini-progress goals and simply seek improvement each day. I also took this opportunity to learn about myself emotionally and psychologically speaking. It had happened, it was changing my life...I needed to find ways to learn from it and pull positives.
I started running with my PT on a treadmill very slowly in Dec/Jan 2009/2010, which progressed only at a very slow rate. I believe the key recover time is 8 - 14 months. This is the time when I had to be patient. I felt like I could go...could run hard, jump and be athletic again...the body was responding well to the PT and I became tired with the same routine. However, I NEEDED to stay disciplined and keep with the exercises as I still needed to allow time for blood vessels to secure in and around the cadaver.
I competed in my first race in late November 2010 and was able to carry a 6:15 pace for 5 miles. I felt like the old me (only I was still upset at my time...should have been faster. Oh, a runner!). Sure, my knee aches and needs ice here and there. Let's be honest, it won't feel as though it felt before the surgery. The injury happened and I must realize it. However, I do feel stronger than before. I'm better balanaced due to leg strenghtening, balance, agility and lateral movement drills. I cross train as I now am a cyclist (all started with my biking during rehab) and I am back to yoga. You see, before I just ran and ran and ran. Now, my lower half is stronger than ever before and I find joy in a variety of activities, including running, which is still my go to and overall joy.
Sorry for the length...I could honestly write pages about this. Just don't let it win. Don't let it beat you. You ARE stronger than this one unfortunate injury. Make it inconsequential to the rest of your life. Parting tips:
- the bike is your best friend (during rehab)
- stretch often and always be bending and moving your leg/knee (during rehab)
- balance is key. single leg squats, hamstrings excercises (heel on excercise ball) and even single leg cycling
- don't wear a brace. i didn't wear one at all throughout all pre and post surgery (other than the massive ACL brace immediately following but never during rehab exercises)
- maintain flexibily and keep your hamstring and calf loose
- cross train
- stay focused. never lose sight of your end goal
I can't say for sure that you will run again, but it's possible to run again after tearing an ACL and having it repaired. I tore my ACL and my MCL while skiing in 2004. I had the ACL reconstructed (used my hamstring tendon) and was running again within a year. Then I tore my other ACL 3 years ago (fell on ice) and I had that ACL reconstructed, again using my hamstring tendon. I was back running again within a year. Before tearing my first ACL, I wasn't exercising much. I started going to the gym to do PT (on my own) and started running on the treadmill. I progressed to running 5K's. After the second ACL surgery, I did PT 2 times a week at a good PT center and then started back at the gym. In PT, the most important thing they helped me with was getting back my range of motion. I run anywhere from 5 -9 miles a week. I'm not pain free and I won't ever be, but I run because I like to and it's good cardio. I don't use a knee brace. Stretching and Ibuprophen help me manage the pain. I'm 48 and I plan on running as long as I can.