Wednesday, 19 September 2012

ACL Reconstruction Recovery: Personal (not so useful) Tips

Doing your physiotherapy properly speeds up your recovery dramatically, so DO IT! (That yelling is mostly at my own lazy arse). The downside is that doing your physiotherapy properly sometimes seems about as possible as building one of those ships in a bottle...impossible. However once you google the secret you realise its not so bad (and all your childhood admiration is shattered to pieces). Here are a couple of things that have helped me shoo away my inner sloth.

Not my work place and not a draft
entry of this blog on my computer. 
Exercise at work: I currently have an office job therefore part of the job description is procrastination. Sometimes I go to start something productive (that I said I’d do days ago) and then realise I’m connected to the internet, and then suddenly I’m looking up barnacle penises. Now I try to tunnel that procrastination energy into my knee recovery.  I often go into an empty room, close the door, and do my exercises. Work is very understanding, and it’s a good break from mind numbing boredom (and barnacle porn, barnacles have HUGE penises, relatively speaking).

Incidental exercise: Part of my physiotherapy involves steps, so I take steps to do them. There is no reason why you can’t accomplish this day to day by taking the stairs (when you’re confident enough). In the early stages simply getting full extension back in your knee is crucial. I would lie with a pillow under my ankle and leg straight and just read a book. If the book is good enough you just forget the achy pull in your knee. If you’re a guy you could read a different kind of book and concentrate on a different kind of pull. Ewww gross! I can't believe you just thought that! 

Exercise in the shower: I’m not sure I should recommend this, because it might be a safety hazard, but I quite like doing my squats in the shower. It’s also an excuse to stay in the shower longer.

Go camping: I realised as I was typing “doing my squats in the shower”, that squatting in the bush to go to the toilet is both necessary to not pee on your legs (unless you have a funnel), and strengthens your muscles! Doing a “number two” can be quite an endurance challenge, although its probably best not to challenge anybody else to this. They might look at you weirdly, or worse, accept your challenge, and then let's face it, you would probably loose, because you've just had an ACL reconstruction. 

Think of the future: It’s easy to forget just why you have to take time out of your day to do your knee exercises. When you picture yourself hiking a volcano, skiing down a slope or boarding down a sand dune things get a bit easier. Unless you’re like me that is, and you picture yourself tearing your ACL again, (actually probably both ACL’s) then rolling down the slope in searing agony, until you’re stuck paralysed at the bottom crying out for help... but instead of a rescue team a wild animal wanders your way... and eats you.

Listen to music: Everybody knows music makes it easier to perform otherwise mundane tasks. I find that One Direction really motivates me. 

"You're insecure, don't know what for, your knee won't buckle when you walk through 
the do-o-ooor". 

It really sums up the surprise I feel about my new knees stability and the mental barrier of being able to trust it again. 

Make it routine: This one is a bluff. I’ve never ever been able to fit my physiotherapy into a neat timeslot that I achieve every day, but I’ve read that it works for some people.

Think of other benefits: You may be doing these exercises for your knee, but if you’re like me and you’re trying to lose weight but it keeps on finding you, then remember that your exercises also help you get in shape (and not the round one). 


  1. It really sums up the surprise I feel about my new knees stability and the mental barrier of being able to trust it again.

  2. Hi,
    thanks so much for these tips! My blogs usually do bring readers and responses. One thing I do is engage with the readers.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. I dread physiotherapy but its like vegetables, it's good for you. The biggest improvement you mentioned is exercising at work. I took it up a notch and used a treadmill desk (like this: lifespan tr 800-dt), set it at the lowest setting and I'm off. Estimated recovery time from my doctor was 1/4 faster. Another bonus would probably be the minimal back pains too.

    1. I love your analogy with vegetables, its a shame I'm a vegetarian though! That treadmill desk is certainly interesting. What's your job? I wrote this post when I was still sitting in an office, but actually my recovery just sailed along when I went back to my job in mining. Who would have thought simply standing up all day would seem like exercise?

  5. Hi,

    I was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special ride. I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

    Robert Tomlinson MD

    1. Thank you. I get such a buzz out of knowing that! I neglected this blog for some time because quite frankly my knee felt ok. Thankfully my knee has been aching lately so I'll have things to write about soon enough (hahaha)!