Advice on recovering from an ACL tear
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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Advice on recovering from an ACL tear

    On Saturday, I was skiing and I tore my ACL. Complete rupture with a torn meniscus and sprains to the other tendons and ligaments. A little blood in the knee, but not enough that it needs to be drained. I'm getting a repair in 3 weeks with a patella tendon graft. After that, barring any complications, crutches for 2 weeks and a brace for another 4.

    I'm in my early 40s, 5'8", 150lbs. I generally run 15-20mi per week, and bike 50-100 mi. Probably around 7 hrs per week of running and biking. Then maybe another hour or two at the gym every week. I try to exercise 6 days every week. I run half-marathons, and I usually finish in the top 10%, sometimes the top 5%. I ride time trial in a local bush-league, and I finish near the bottom.

    I'm guess that it will be a year before I'm even close to where I am now at a competitive level, but I would like to be able to run and bike for pleasure and health. I'd like to be able to get out there, get my heart rate up, and sweat.

    The advice I'm hearing is:
    1. Take it slow. Have realistic goals.
    2. Stick to the PT.
    3. Listen to your body.

    People are also warning me about the brutality of the PT. Can anyone offer any other advice or just personal experiences? Thank you.

  2. #2
    JSR is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    I donít have any advice, but I can commiserate. I broke my tibial plateau two weeks ago. Iím told it will be six months before I can get back on the bike.

    Best of luck to you in your recovery.

  3. #3
    Reputation: jetdog9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Don't rush it. You might feel great in 6 months, but just be careful. When pro athletes come back that fast it has alot to do with constant treatment and training they are getting paid for, whereas we normal folks pay for treatments and have jobs.

    Definitely listen to your PT folks.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2020

    What city do you live in? Surgeon? Try to get swelling down prior to surgery. Get quad working as best as possible and try to get full range of motion in straightening and bending. Ride you bike is you can, just spin.

    As far as after do quad exercise as soon as possible to get the quad function back. If you are not having meniscus repair with stitched you can weight bear in locked brace as tolerated from day 1. Exercise from day 1 are quad sets, ankle pumps, hamstring curl active bending sliding for on table, Bridges, clams exercise, sidelying hip abduction with brace on.

    Once your quad works and you can do straight leg raise without extensor lag (knee bending), you can walk without the brace one. This is also when you can spin on stationary bike. Keep resistance very low to start. Also start single limb balance, mini squats, split squats, step ups, heel sides, thera band walks, wall sits. Google all those to find picture and probably video.

    Once you can walk without a limp, you can get back on bike for fitness. Stay flat to start. No it of saddle climbing or sprinting.

    Push rehab hard. Should exercise 5 times per week. Let seeking be your guide. If it gets more swollen, probably when you need to elevate, rest and do easy easy motion such as heel slides, Bridges, soon with no resistance.

    From week 6 post op to week 16 is really the time to crush strengthening. Anything goes just no running, jumping or twisting through the knee.

    If you are able to do 8 solid single limb squats holding onto TRx, you are probably ok to start back to jogging.

    I have been a physical therapist for the past 12 years in Ortho PT. Send me a private message if you have any questions.

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