ACL Reconstruction recovery journal
Tore my ACL while playing badminton. An awesome jump, delivered a smash at a impressive angle. On landing I slipped twisting my ankle and entire weight of my body fell on the right knee. After 15 minutes I was walking out of the club with the idea of a 10k ride (cycle) back home. Probably I was high on adrenaline/endorphins. But as soon as walked 20 meters, I couldn’t take another step.
Friends helped me out. Few days later a MRI confirmed the ACL tear. Sought opinions from 3 surgeons. A day later I was scheduled for ACL Reconstruction.
Day 0 : Wheeled into surgery. Got shots of anaesthesia in my spine. 5 minutes into the procedure I started feeling my knee again. Then some new shots to my neck and i’m out for next 4 hours. Woke up in recovery room. Crying with pain in my thigh and knee.
Day 1 : High fever. Unable to move my leg. Felt like a dead log.
Day 2 : Realised that morphine (a better refined form .. Fentanyl ?) is being pumped in to me 24 hours.
Day 3: Fever continues. Unable to therapy. But was on CPM.
Day 5 : First time moved around 10 meters (felt like 5 km) to physio rehab. Was able to walk holding support ramps. Did some weight excercises. Morale boost.
Day 6 : Fever started fading.
Day 7 : Discharged from hospital. Realized I lost so much muscle mass. Right leg is very lean.
Day 8 : Woke up at brother’s place. Good food. Ate like a hungry pig.
Day 11 : Regained some strength in the thighs. Able to move around confidently with support.
Day 16 : Moved back to my own place.
Day 17 : Afraid to bend my knee. Looks like I’m resisting to bend the knee.
Day 18 : Able to sit with around 90 degree bend in my knee. Noticed some muscle development.
Day 19 : 90 Degrees knee bending 😀
Day 21 : Mental battle is tougher than actually bending the knee.
Day 22 : Walking without support (crutches). Yay!
Able to handle stairs without support.
Day 25 : 95 – 100 Degrees. Moving to Squat exercises.
Started riding on a stationary bike. Able to walk small distance with little limp.
Day 31 : 115 Degrees. Knee feels stronger.
Day NN : Recovery still continuing. Yet to build muscles. And regain those remaining degrees. But I’m confident now that i would be back to 110% in few months (yeah .. months!).
I should confess that I’m not a very fit athlete. I’m just a ordinary clumsy guy who started playing a bit. So this is my recovery timeline. Rehab is the tough part. Painful and needs a good amount of will power to keep doing it. It is going to take a long time to get back to my running (hopefully a marathon!). Can’t wait to get back on my bike (cycle).
One thing I kept remembering was this “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever” (Lance Armstrong). In this case it is literally true.
- Do research. Learn about the injury and the procedure before you go in. Helps a lot. Realize that you have options on the graft being used.
- Ice is the best pain management you got. I personally don’t like pain killers.
- Most of the online materials on this subject give times lines for fit athletes. So don’t get discouraged if you are not. Keep at it.
- Mail from nice people at Bangalore Bikers Club
- Fun when you are on a stretcher and pushed around. Profound 🙂
- Scary part was not the surgery, but the catheter in my arm. Got over it after a day.
- Enjoyed the royal treatment. People always around you. don’t have to do anything. Everything is there as soon as you think about it!
- I was without a laptop for about 15 days.
- Long phone calls from stoned friends. 😉