“Help!” Continues . . . So you’ve had ACL Reconstruction, Now What??

Hi! We are continuing our discussion on ACL tears and last post we talked about what to do if you think you have torn your ACL. Today we will discuss Rehabilitation and all the questions you should ask your Physical Therapist and Orthopaedic Surgeon and the answers they may give you . . .

If you missed the first part you can read it here Help! My daughter tore her ACL . . . We think??

So you’ve had surgery . . . 20150625__701135-s500-phHopefully you are feeling like you made a great choice ~ I don’t suspect you are necessarily happy with needing surgery and the coming rehabilitation but now that your joint is stable again proper healing can begin ~ its uphill from here baby!

I suspect you have the lots of questions tho . . .

  • How long do I have toimages-8
    • take meds
    • use the crutches
    • wear a brace
    • keep icing
  • When will it stop
    • hurting
    • being so swollen 
  • When can I get back to
    • sports
    • school/work
    • walking normally
  • Is this normal???

First lets talk about some common things you may be surprised by or concerned about that your  surgeon may not have mentioned . . .

  1. You may have a LOT of pain and swellingtherapeutic-drugs-monitoring-19-638
    1. STAY ON YOUR MEDS AS LONG AS YOU NEED TO!
      The pain and anti-inflammatory medication is needed to manage the pain and swelling along with frequent icing for the first days after surgery. If you do not take your medications regularly they will not build up in your system enough to control the pain and swelling.
    2. It is okay to use the ice machine that was sent home with you as much as you need. It doesn’t really freeze your knee just keeps it cool and comfortable.
    3. elevate your leg as much as you can during the day.
  2. You may bruise ~ tearing your ACL and Surgery are both internal injuries that can cause bruising.
  3. You may have trouble sleeping ~ Because of the pain and swelling, you may not be able to find a comfortable position.
  4. You may feel nauseous
    1. This should only last a day or two 
    2. if it lasts longer the pain medication may not be sitting well in your stomach. Speak to your physician about a different medication.
  5. You may feel more tired ~ everything you do may require more effort.
    1. Getting in/out of the car
    2. Walking with brace and crutches
    3. You may have trouble lifting your leg
      1. It will be heavy and your muscles may not be working well.

Lastly, you will (sometime in the rehabilitation process)images-6

be frustrated at the speed of recovery,

be concerned about your progress,

be anxious to get back playing your sport,

be sad that this is taking sooooo long,

be angry that this happened!

Allow yourself to have these feelings, sit with them, embrace them, accept them and move through them ~ it’s a part of the healing process.

A typical rehabilitation protocol looks like this:

Phase 1

  • Control pain and swelling with ice, medications and exercise to create optimal healing conditions.
  • Keep muscles working with exercise to avoid atrophy.
  • Introduce joint range of motion with exercise to prevent stiffening of tissues.
  • Continue wearing brace until you have adequate quad muscle control to protect ACL ~ usually 2-6 weeks depending on surgeon.
  • Use of crutches as needed when walking ~ usually only 1-2 weeks.

Phase 2 ~ continue with above and . . .

  • Introduce coordination exercises if haven’t already.
  • 6 weeks is a key healing time requiring protection of graft ~ at this point many people are feeling better and assume they can doing things that could put the graft at risk for tearing.
  • Toward the middle and end of this phase introduce balance, agility and coordination.

Phase 3 ~ continue with the above and . . .

  • Increasing speed with balance, agility and coordination
  • Remediate movement pattern dysfunction to prevent future injury.

Phase 4 ~ Return to Sport

  • Typically return to practice with a specialized knee brace at 8-9 months and playing in games at 9-12 months.
  • All making sure that you are using normal movement patterns and are cross training the opposite movements as well to reduce your risk of future injury

So there you have it  . . . The Nutshell Version of ALC rehabilitation!

Have I answered your questions? Created more? Post below and let me know . . .

Speak with you soon! Roxi

Return to Reality ~ Remember Who You Are

f65f1cc99b863ca37484061c3c05283bIts September 1st and here is my update . . . . 

Well, actually it is September 12th because  ~ Life Gets In The Way 😛  but . . . Here’s my update 🙂

The Life that got in the way included:

  1. My son had his wisdom teeth removed!
  2. We tented the house which required bagging things, moving out and then cleaning up.
  3. The start of school while we were moved out! I earned my “master schedule juggler” award that week!
  4. I continued to see patients at various locations (because my clinic is in my home ~ which was tented).
  5. My volunteer commitments resumed ~ I coordinate the Snack Shack for my son’s high school and we had opening days for AYSO and FRAM soccer!

My Successes included:

  1. I resumed cooking delicious and healthy dinners for my family (once we were back home and the kitchen cleaned).
  2. I relaxed over this weekend after the chaos of the last few weeks. Relaxation is so important to allow us recharge our physical and emotional energy banks.
  3. I reconnected with people I had missed over the summer!
  4. I began a health journal which I will continue sharing as the weeks go by!
  5. I played fetch with the dog and did some yoga flow today 🙂

My Stagnations included:

  1. Forgetting who I am

It all comes down to this! For me when I let life gets in the way it is because I have forgotten who I am and therefore I no longer make the choices that I want to make but allow my circumstances dictate how I spend my time. I lose myself in my circumstances.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought or said:

  • “What the . . . ?”
  • “Who is that?”
  • “That’s not me!”
  • “When did I get ____________ (old/fat/crows feet/dark circles/bags/jowels/chin hair)?” 😀

I am shocked when I look in the mirror because what I see reflected back is not how I actually see myself! In my minds eye, I see a timeless beauty; an intelligent, vivacious, woman; someone who loves yoga, hiking, taking care of her mind, body and soul. What is reflected in the mirror is not that person. So how did I get off track? Life got in the way 🙂

More importantly how do I get back on track?

I have been asking this question for years and have never found an answer until . . . a recent conversation I had with someone with whom I am working on my branding. She asked me a series of questions about the future ~ goals, desires, plans. But she asked it in a way that made me see who I am 6 months from now. AND THEN . . . she told me to act the way that person acts.

Eureka! See what you are 6 months, a year, 5 years from now. Act the way your future self acts. It’s so simple. If I see myself as an athletic, intelligent, compassionate wonder woman then all I have to do is consistently act like an athletic, intelligent, compassionate wonder woman and that is what I will see in the mirror!

So . . . now I finally have a cairn to mark my path, a guide to show me the trail, a way tostay on track and stop life from getting in the way!

img_8518
~ My Cairn ~

Join me on this journey as I post more personal and professional stories. And stay tuned for continued PT education!

Follow me on facebook, twitter and this blog!

Blessed to share the journey~  Roxi

Life Gets in the Way!

If I had a dime for every time I made this excuse . . .

images
I’d be rollin’ in dough!

A perfect example is vacation right?

We have a routine that keeps us doing t
he things
that keep us healthy ~ eating right, exercising, taking our vitamins, etc. Then we go on vacation! We relax, indulge, pamper, overdo (or under-do), and return home feeling like we need a vacation from our vacation before we return to work. Because we are tired and have lots of laundry or yard work to catch up on we skip returning to our regular routine until we realize we have been back for a month and still haven’t gotten to the gym or studio . . .

This can happen with the holidays, projects at work, illness, renovations or any number of other things that make it easy for the majority of us to set aside our commitments to our heath and wellbeing and focus on outside things.

Do you find yourself in these examples?

(I hope I am not alone~heeheehee)

I think of this because our family is currently on a college touring road trip. And I have 8 hours in the car . . . We have toured 5 campuses in 5 days, from Iowa to Pennsylvania! Driven 1,288 miles (not including the 1700+ it to get to the first campus ~ #roadtrip) and walked 21.8 miles!

It was good exercise but not complete exercise. We were all missing the flexibility component of our routine, as evidenced by our taking every opportunity to stretch ~ in line at the gas station, during the standing portions of the tours, and while in bed!  We are now done with the college tours and starting the family vacation portion of our road trip . . . so what did we do when we got to Mackinac Island?? Walked around a lot the first afternoon and rested from our college touring ~ its actually quite tiring! Yesterday we slept in and then rented bikes! We were so excited to not be walking that we road the entire island and then some! The circumference of the island is 8.2 miles, but we also wanted to see the interior and only had yesterday left (as I write we are traveling to Two Harbors, Minnesota to spend five days with family).  So . . . we biked around the island sightseeing, returned to the hotel to get our swim suits, biked to a place to swim in Lake Huron and back to the hotel again ~ A total of 20 miles (gasp). Needless to say the legs were jello, the joints were achy, the spirit was blessed and the mind was clear!

IMG_8417I know the rest of the week holds hiking and water activities, shopping and more. Of course there is the long drive home as well (sigh). So what will happen when I get home?

Back to the same routine of 3 day a week strength training, 3 days a week walking the dog, 10-15 minute of yoga and foam rolling, cooking healthy meals, taking my vitamins?

Or will I let life get in the way?

Stay tuned . . . I’ll give an update September 1st!

The Virtual A.T.H.L.E.T.E.

The second in the series: The Athlete and the Injury . . .

images-2
Virtual Athlete

Here are some guidelines for the Virtual Athlete:

Activity pacing – ease into it.

Start slow 15 minutes once or twice a day with walking, biking, cardio equipment. Daily stretching for 15minutes. Every other day for strengthening – push ups, crunches, squats and the like. Most importantly . . . MOVE EVERY DAY for about 60 minutes!

Technique is everything!

Proper technique is critical to performance, if you are doing an exercise unsafely you could get injured, hate the exercise or just quit your activity altogether. Proper technique also helps you get the most out of an activity with the least effort!

Hydrate

As you sweat you will need to replenish with water. You should be taking in about one ounce of water per 2/3rds of your body weight, so if you weight 150 pound = 100 oz of water a day. This can change based on how active you are. Sports drinks are not necessary but . . . Chocolate milk is a great recovery drink after sweating!

Laugh and engage your core

We hear a lot about work your core but what the heck does that even mean?A good belly laugh causes you to tighten your tummy muscles and tone them. So . . . seeing a comedic movie is technically exercise? HAHAHAHA. But seriously, any full body exercise will strengthen your core muscles as long as you are tightening your tummy while doing it!

Enjoy . . .

. . .What you do, or you will not stick with it!

Take a class

Sometimes it is easier to be motivated when you are with your friends! Classes offer you the opportunity to experiment with different types of exercise and find something you like. Classes also are generally designed to incorporate flexibility, strength and cardiovascular exercise so you get more bang for your buck!

Exercise your judgement

If your body is telling you something isn’t right, listen to it. Sometimes the “No Pain No Gain” adage is not correct! (sometimes it is!).

Eat right to fuel your body for the activity you do.

If you have an injury,  are concerned about the best exercises for you, have a  health issue or don’t know where to begin . . . see a PT, the human movement specialist, who can provide you will information to make educated decisions.

Stay tuned . . . Tomorrow we will talk about the Sport Specialized Athlete!

Life Lessons . . . Sarcopenia


I’ve been absent from blogging for about a month. We went to Germany for vacation. Upon returning home it took a week to adjust, as usual. We had multiple appointments and the kids started school. I mention all this not as an excuse but because it has helped me to learn a life lesson. The kind of life lesson that you embrace in your head (because you teach it to others) but have never truly embraced in your heart, as a way of life.

In Germany we walked an average of 8 miles a day, touring the cities and towns. For the first few days I was stiff and sore ~ yoga (und bier) helped. My knee (plagued with 30 years of patellofemoral tracking issues) was killing me for a day or so. By the third or fourth day I woke feeling young, strong, vibrant ~ 18 years old again!! No achy joints, no struggling to get up from a chair, no jolting of my frame when running across the street!

 The life lesson I learned in Germany. . .

 . . . Exercise Keeps You Young.

 Related to this topic is Sarcopenia or muscle loss that occurs with aging. In our 30’s we begin to lose muscle mass and thus muscle function, which equates to strength and coordination. Those of us who are physically inactive (think desk job or long commutes)  can lose as much as 3-5% per decade in our 30’s and 40’s, 10-20% in our 50’s and up to 30% in our 60’s.  Another life lesson . . . Use it or Lose it!

 The treatment for Sarcopenia? Resistance Training! Unsure of where to start? Development of a strength training program is easily done by your Physical Therapist. He or she will help you select the best exercises and dose them based on scientific evidence, identify your movement patterns and teach you correct form to decrease your risk of injury.

 Final Life Lesson for today . . .

. . . Practice What You Preach!

As for me, I am putting these lessons into practice by

  • Committing to walk my dog at least 1 mile daily.

  • Doing at least 15 minutes of yoga daily save for my hour session once a week.

  • Doing Pilates once a week.

  • Creating a plan to incorporate consistent strength training.

I invite you to join me.

Be Well!  Roxi