ACL Reconstruction Surgery: Post-Op Weeks 5&6

Hello! Summer is definitely in full swing here and the last few days have been hot. Luckily, the humidity is still relatively low so it’s not unbearable (and it’s cooled down a lot today!). Isn’t talking about the weather fun?

Time for another knee update! Today marks six weeks since ACL Reconstruction surgery. I remember just wanting so bad to get to this point, because I heard that you really start to feel “normal” again around six weeks. I don’t know if I necessary feel normal right now, but I definitely feel better (physically) than I have since the day of surgery. Here’s a little breakdown of how things have been going during weeks 5 & 6 post-surgery.

Pain Level: My pain level over the last two weeks has been pretty minimal. I still have some swelling around and behind my knee, which makes everything feel pretty stiff. I have some soreness around the large incision, but the pain level is very minimal. I went for my 5-week check-up last Tuesday, and the doctor was very pleased with my progress. He did the “ACL test” on my leg (to make sure the ACL was really in there!) and it kind of freaked me out. That night, I randomly had shooting pains in my hamstring on my operative leg, which really sucked. The pain lasted midway through the next day, and suddenly went away in the afternoon. Since then, I’ve had a bit more swelling around my knee (but no more pain in my hamstring).

Here’s a close-up of my knees yesterday:

postop6wk1

And just to compare, here’s a photo from two weeks ago:

postop3wkknees

There’s not a huge difference, but my left knee is starting to look more normal. There was a ton of swelling above my knee cap before, and that’s reduced a bit. There’s still a bit around the knee cap too.

Here’s another leg/knee shot:

Yesterday:

postop6wk2

Two weeks ago:

postop3wk1

Physical Therapy & Activity: I’m still going to physical therapy twice a week and doing the exercises 2 times daily at home or in the gym. I was cleared to use the stair climber and elliptical (on low levels) at week 5, which is a nice change of pace from just riding the exercise bike. I was also permitted to add a little more resistance to the bike (but not much). I still only do about ten minutes of “cardio” during my PT sessions, followed by other exercises like squats, lunges, calve raises, various straight leg lifts and hamstring curls. I’m supposed to be focusing more on functional movements and balance for the next few weeks – which is hard!

I went on my very first post-surgery hike yesterday, and it felt great!

firsthike

I took it very slow and hiked for about 45 minutes total (on a route that normally would’ve taken me half that amount of time) and didn’t do anything too steep or strenuous. My knee definitely felt a bit sore after, but not too bad. It was just what I needed though- I miss hiking so much! It will still be quite a while before I’m able to explore my favorite local trails or attack any 14ers, but I’ll take what I can get for now.

Mood: These last two weeks (especially during week 5) have definitely been the toughest emotionally. It really set in that I can’t do 99% of the physical activities that I’d like to for quite some time. Before surgery, I really took for granted being able to go hiking, ride my bike, teach classes, have a “normal” gym workout or even just be able to do a proper body weight squat! Seeing so many of my friends constantly posting photos on Facebook and Instagram showing how much fun they’re having hiking, trail-running, etc. started making me feel really angry and bitter (which is ridiculous, I know). My husband goes mountain biking a few times a week and I’m happy for him (because he loves it so much), but very jealous at the same time. I began feeling really sorry for myself and sad about what I can’t do right now… but luckily have been able to snap out of it. I know that it’s not doing me any good to harvest anger about what I can’t control and have been just really trying to focus on recovery and the new things that I’m able to do each week (however small they may be!). Also, cuddles with one of my pups is always an instant mood lifter.

jackson

80 lbs. and still thinks he’s a lapdog

Fun Stuff: There’s been quite a few fun events going on in Denver during the last two weeks. I went to a whiskey tasting presented by Troy & Sons, a distillery out of Asheville, NC.

troy

It was a really fun night and the varieties of whiskey were great! The owner (Troy) told us all about how she started the business, which was really inspiring. I love the story behind the brand too (which you can read about here).

My friends Justin and Matt were visiting from Maryland and stayed with us for a few days. I loved having them here! We went to this really cool taco and margarita competition at Sculpture Park in Denver one night and ate ourselves silly.

taconight

We also spent a day in Breckenridge, stopping by Loveland Pass on the way.

LP

All in all, life is pretty good. There are definitely good days and bad days (but lately more good than bad) and I take one day at a time.

That’s the bulk of everything that’s been going on with the ol’ knee. In a nutshell, my day pretty much revolves around PT. I do a session in the morning and the evening, no matter what. It definitely takes up a lot of time but it’s worth it if it means that my knee and leg are getting stronger.

Have a great day!

Comments

  1. yay! so glad you got to hike! really happy you are recovering :)

  2. it looks SO much better! I about squealed out loud when I saw you got to hike! I’m so glad!!

    • Thanks so much for saying that! I still think my knee looks mutated, but it’s definitely looking less swollen than a few weeks ago now.

  3. I’m so glad you were able to get in a little hike and that things are going smoothly with your recovery! I’m sure those discouraging days will be fewer and further between as time goes on with all that hard work you’re putting toward your PT! Keep up the great work. :) You’re awesome!

  4. So glad your feeling better, and was ridiculously happy when I saw you got to hike the other day. I know that must of felt so good for you! P.S. You better keep that humidity though-I’m headed out there tomorrow, and I definitely want to leave humidity behind here in OK!

    • I’m sure you won’t see this for a while, but I hope you’re having a fantastic time on your trip!! Thanks for your kind words. :)

  5. Laura H. says:

    I’m sure it’s hard. It’s normal to take things for granted until they are taken away from us! You seem to be bouncing back well and it’s really impressive that you’re being so diligent with all the PT stuff. Keep taking it day by day…and like you said, control what you can control :-)

    • Tell me about it- I never even gave a second thought to having healthy knees before this! It can be a pain doing PT all the time, but it definitely helps!

Comments are welcome (and encouraged)!