Post op- Week 2 summary

Post op- Week 2 summary
Week 2 Summary
  • Full extension
  • ROM increase to 115/120 degrees
  • Full weight bearing and walking with no limp
  • Massive reduction in swelling
  • Slight increase in swelling after days of being more mobile
  • Noticeable shrinkage in quads on operated leg
Goals for week 3:
  • Use bike regularly
  • Maintain consistency with rehab exercises
  • Increase quad/hamstring strength in operated leg
  • Complete a ‘knee friendly’ workout every day to prevent weight gain.
Icing regime: Every 2/3 hours, 3/4 times a day for 30mins each time.
Exercises: (introduced post Phsyio)
  • 3 x 15 knee flexion to 100 degrees
  • 3 x 5 mins knee hangs
  • 3 x 10 quad tensening
  • 3 x 15 quarter squats
  • 3 x 15 hamstring catches
Monday (day 12)
I had been feeling a little agoraphobic, so I managed to get out of the house via wheelchair for a while..
IMG_20140502_185421                                                                                   Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
The rest of the day was much the same. Icing like crazy and resting, lots.
Tuesday (day 11)
I visited the nurse in the morning, who trimmed my stitches. Not before yanking the sh*t out of them first, I hasten to add. 
She was happy with the healing, and stuck some clear cling film stuff on my leg after spraying it with some antibacterial stuff. Lots of stuff.
This was then followed (later in the day) by a trip to the Phyiso. When I hobbled in, he instantly commented that I’m limping too much to be off crutches (god dammit). His first bit of advice was to use them again, until I’m not dropping my weight so heavily onto my good leg (as in, I’m taking the weight off my bad leg really quickly and dumping in straight onto my good leg, causing it to land heavy). He then checked out my knee. He was genuinely amazed I was only 10 days post op as he couldn’t believe how little swelling there was (ICE FTW).
He then checked out my range of movement by asking me carry out the flexion exercise, which I easily obtained 90 degrees on. He told me to not to push further than 115 degrees for now as I have to respect it is a new graft and it’s still settling. He then extended my leg and said I reached full extension easily too (something he was also surprised about as patella tendon patients usually struggle with this more than hamstring graft patients).
Despite impressing him with my range of movement, I mentioned that I was concerned about a slight bit of shrinkage I had noticed in my left quad. He said shrinkage is inevitable, but gave me two exercises to work on, to reduce too much leg wastage.
1) ‘Quarter squats’. When he demonstrated it, all I could think is, “This is what I see guys at the gym do when we’re told to do 20 squats, so they squat real fast and real shit”. Quarter squats look really laaaaame. How could they look even lamer? Doing them up against a wall- that’s how! Anyway, it felt kinda good squatting a little when practicing them at home. Man, I’ve missed squatting.
2) Ok, so this one involves lying on my front, actively pulling my heel back to my butt (as much as possible) then relaxing, letting my leg fall and stopping it just as it’s about to hit the floor. Pretty risky stuff, but it works on strengthening the hamstrings which is something I definitely need to do. 
Wednesday (day 12)
By mid-week, I’d been having massive leg brace related issues. Whilst hobbling from the lounge to the kitchen, my leg brace would slump down to my ankle. It sure as hell wasn’t doing it’s job. The physio at the hospital gave me a size ‘large’ brace as my knee was swollen straight after surgery but due to the swelling going down, I needed a new size. So a quick trip to the hospital, where I met yet another physio, who was again surprised I lacked much swelling (use ice, kids) whacked a medium sized brace on, and off I went.
My knee did feel tighter today. I’ve been taking advantage of being able to ‘walk’ and being on my feet much more often, which is causing more ache and stiffness. The first 2 or 3 of my knee flexion drills felt really tight, but once into the swing of it, my knee loosens up fine. More rest is definitely needed though. Despite the boredom it brings..
I have also noticed that my knee hyperextends easily. It did it twice today, whilst standing. Um, y’know how girls stand? Like, all weight on one foot? I often hyperextend my knee when I do that. I think that’s fairly normal. Now, I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing, as in, my knee is feeling comfortable enough to go back to being a little hyperextended, or a bad thing that my knee goes back that far already. Either way, it bounces straight back reminding me that it doesn’t want to be put in that position again. Thankyouverymuchpleasethankyou.
I also joined the darkside, aka; twitter. I had been putting it off, because, I freakin’ hate twitter. But it’s a good thing to help spread the SHEBEASTBJJ word. I don’t understand twitter. But spending my days frustrating over a website is more fun than frustrating over no Jiu Jitsu.
IMG_20140503_101743Thursday (day 13)
Knee was a bit stiff upon waking up. Stiff when doing initial knee flexion drills too, but again loosened up quickly. I noticed a little increase in swelling (noooooooooo!) so I iced like crazy and rested lots.
All this resting is boring as hell though. I am starting to do the odd circuit to keep my upper body busy. I miss working out, so I’ve been doing the following sort of thing;
  • 3 x 20 12kg KB shoulder pressed
  • 3 x 20 12 kg KB floor presses
  • 50 push ups
  • 10 inch worms
  • 10 awful, awful chin ups

My Dad found our old exercise bike too. Now, my physio mentioned nothing about using a bike, but my sheet given to me at hospital says I should be ‘upping’ my biking to 20mins by the end of week 2. I had better get started first! So I’m going to be all over that for the next week or so.

Today was also the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE. No, it wasn’t really. But Mackenzie Dern retweeted me. That was pretty sweet. Not only is she one of my favourites, but she’s also undergone ACL reconstruction (using the patella tendon graft too) recently. She’s rehabbed like a beast, and was back on the mats super soon, see for yourselves;


No, no, she’s not complimenting me on my generally lush face. I posted that above picture of me in the scramble spats and stupid hat in my tweet. Why god, why. But maaan, competing at 4 and half months! I’m fairly sure I’d like to be back doing super light drills and good movement drills by 4 months. I couldn’t even predict when I’d be able to first compete again. I’m aiming to do the worlds next year which gives me a good 13 months, but I have no idea how soon I’d feel ready to go back to a local competition beforehand. I’ve heard such different advice ranging from 4 to 9 months before stepping on the mat for light drills, and from 6- 12 months before competing. It’s hard to assess yourself and where you will be on that scale. It was super cool of Mackenzie to retweet me, as having the same type of graft makes her surgery more specific to me. Many people who’ve contacted me with advice have had hamstring grafts, or donor grafts. Whilst I massively appreciate all the advice I can get, it was worthwhile hearing a recovery timescale from someone who’s had the exact same surgery as me. It’s something I’m still very interested in gathering too (anyone..?).

 Friday (day 14)

 I woke up, with a really achey stiff feeling leg. Swelling had increased a little again. I seem to get rid of swelling during the day, and it reappears a little again by the morning (not by much though). Once I was up, and I had put my brace on and hobbled over to my crutches, I realised something. I wasn’t hobbling. I was walking fairly normally. I felt comfortable putting 100% of my weight through my bad leg long enough to pick my good leg up and put it down again gently. So I’ve sacked off the crutches again (hopefully for good this time).

I blasted out my quarter squats and knee flexion drills first thing in the morning. I reckon I achieved 115-120 degrees easily today. I can also use the bike, but super sloooowly. It feels uncomfortable for the first few pedals, and I can’t go for much longer than 5 mins without it starting to ache. That was a bit of a bummer. I’ll keep working on it.


But I discovered something better today. As I can stand evenly on my feet, and I was really comfortable driving weight through my bad leg, I figured I’d attempt some kettlebell swings. Success! 200 swings later and I’m beginning to get a sweat on! (I love that beautiful chunk of metal). I did some standing shoulder presses and push ups in between swings to complete a mini circuit. I’ll create a circuit to follow for the next week. I can’t explain how relieved I am to workout. That, along with eating healthy for the next few weeks, should get me shredding some pounds.

_20140509_131009 (1)
Well, that’s it for week 2 of rehab.
Looking onwards to week 3, where I hope to keep the reoccurring swelling under control and to up the intensity of my workouts. 
14 days gone, about 170 to go. (Gah, I was feeling good until I worked that out! Ha!).

3 thoughts on “Post op- Week 2 summary”

  • Really enjoying you recovery diary,I am recovering from torn cartilage but they found I also have no ACL currently due to a Bjj sparring injury, so looks like I will Face the same operation and agonising recovery you are currently, inspired by your progress though! Thanks

  • Hello,
    I have found your blog really helpful.
    I am now day 10 post acl reconstruction.
    I am just wondering if you can remember if clicking/popping is normal? If you even had this? It just started today.


    • Hi Danielle, sorry for the massively long delay! Yep, lots of squelching and clicking. More than likely scar tissue floating around. Hopefully you’re all recovered now? 🙂

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