|Left knee 9 weeks after ACL reconstruction |
and meniscus repair.
Weight bearing: The morning after the surgery my nurse made me attempt to walk to the toilet clutching her shoulder. Not only did it hurt, but I nearly killed her because my leg was still just a numb uncontrollable blob and I was really busting! Nevertheless I was relieved to avoid the potty they pressured me to use the night before. Making a grown woman do that is just plain cruel! Especially when her friend, in the bed adjacent to her, gets free wheelchair rides to the big girl toilet! Anyway the point is you can weight bear as tolerated fairly soon after surgery, but that’s just my opinion; don’t bear too much weight on it.
Showering: You can shower from day one, but you can’t get your dressings wet. Just sit on a chair in the shower and cover your leg with glad wrap or a plastic bag; I’d be “glad” to show you how. I got my dressings off at 2 weeks.
Walking: I could hobble adequately at 2 weeks, but only trusted myself for short distances around the house and looked absolutely ridiculous. It got exponentially easier and I could walk fairly confidently by 3 weeks.
Work: I went to work at my office job 2 weeks after my surgery. Really though, by one week post surgery, I was skipping work just because I could, and I really wanted to sleep in and cook eggs for breakfast every morning (I really love eggs, despite feeling like they’re basically bird period). I still can’t go into my field based position at work that involves standing all day, uneven terrane and lifting.
Brace: I got my brace off at six weeks. Up until this point I wore it every second of my life, including while sleeping. As a matter of fact it was most critical while sleeping; because it’s easy to accidently contort your body into strange positions during the night. I certainly do (being paid to sleep at a sleep clinic is my dream job). My friend Bianca had her ACL reconstructed and no meniscus repair and she didn’t wear a brace at all.
Bending: I had a meniscus repair so could only bend to 60° for the first 6 weeks. In the week after that I had full range of motion. This is important. Get good range of motion as quickly as you can and make sure you can fully extend your leg (I hope you’re reading this Bianca!!)
Stationary bike: I was riding at 6 weeks, once my brace was taken off. This particular phase of my recovery really annoys me, I just feel like I’m going nowhere.
Jogging: I’m still not allowed to jog, not that I did it all that much before. I mean I always wanted to exercise, but it just didn’t work out. I almost wish I was a pig, just so I could say “I can’t run, I have a problem with my hamstring”.
Carrying hot coffee to your room: Do not try this when on crutches, or even in the early stages of walking when you’re limping like a zombie with one leg broken and dragging behind it. Just trust me.
House chores: You’ll never be able to do them again, so make sure you train up your house mates. I’m actually a bit of a freak though, and love cleaning my room. I had a minor private hissy fit while cleaning as a result of how much the vacuum sucked, or... how much it didn’t suck. Luckily somebody unblocked it and I can go about my obsessive room perfection as usual.
|Me on my 6 week spirit raising trip.|
Drinking: You obviously shouldn't mix pain killers with alcohol, which means you can’t drink right after your surgery. The real challenge is after 6 weeks, because your knee is beginning to feel stronger again, but the graft is actually loosing strength while it establishes a blood supply, making it a risky phase. This means that if you’re sensible you have to avoid the “pint of no return”, where you stop caring about your knee. I understand that you’re spirits may get a bit down sometimes, and by that I mean vodka, tequila and rum, but pull through! Having said that... I took a trip to celebrate getting my brace off at 6 weeks and let’s just say it helped raise my spirits.
P.S Bianca just walked into my room and glanced at the draft of this post and said “that looks a bit serious, not funny at all!” So I thought I’d include something I know she finds quite funny:
|My physio diagram for squats. Nobody has walked into |
my room without laughing at it.