It’s been 3 weeks since I blew out my knee (ACL & Meniscus) in a back-country skiing accident and it’s been, admittedly, a rough road. After realizing the extent of the injury, I found out that surgery was in the cards. Immediately, the wheels began turning. Ski Season: Over. Recovery time: months. Hiking, running, mountain biking: postponed till further notice. So many of the reasons I moved to Colorado, I would have to put on a shelf until I healed. But then, I realized these things would be waiting for me after surgery (which is scheduled for April 4th). After my rehab, after my physical therapy, after all the baby steps I have to take, I’ll be back, stronger than before.
So the wheels started turning, this time in the right direction. A forward motion. And I started planning. I’m sharing what I want the next three weeks, before the April 4th surgery, to look like.
My Surgeon is part of Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center & I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the facility (and they’re a client as well!). My Dr. uses HealthLoop, which is basically a patient portal that engages patients before and after procedures, pushing reminders, exercises, nutritional recommendations. It’s a holistic approach to a major health incident and I greatly appreciate it. In addition to the exercises the Dr. recommended, I signed up for a residential pass to the Apex center in Arvada so I can swim! Also, I’ve been researching yoga poses that you can do with an ACL injury. By hell or high water, I will get my physical fitness on!
Here are the exercises my Dr. passed over through HealthLoop.
This exercise will improve your hip motion and strength while alleviating a lot of the tightness you may experience. Lying on your back, slide the heel of your leg up toward your buttock until your ankle is directly beside your other knee. Slowly lower it back down to the extended position. Practice with both legs. Perform 10 times, twice per day until the day of your procedure.
This exercise strengthens the quadricep muscle on the front of your thigh.
- Place a big towel or bolster under the knee of your operated leg.
- Then, keep your knee on the bolster while raising your foot up to the ceiling, until the leg(s) you are having your procedure on is completely straight.
- Slowly return your foot back down to the starting position.
- Repeat ten times each day until your procedure.
You will be needing sufficient arm strength to help you get in and out of bed, and arm chair push-ups can help with this.
- With hands on arms of a steady chair, push down to lift buttocks off the chair and straighten your elbows.
- You should feel the muscles behind your arms tighten.
- Perform slowly 10 times, twice each day.
On this front, I feel I’m well on my way to optimizing my recovery time – I already eat TONS of plants! I do plan to meal prep for the post recovery, when I literally can’t stand, so will incorporate more protein, plants with iron, calcium, and high fiber (which helps with all of the antibiotics/pain pills I’ll have to take post surgery). Below are nutritional tips that I received from my Dr. and I plan to stock up!
- Eat at least three times a day and don’t skip meals
- Drink 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day
- Include protein-rich foods with each meal such as beans, nuts, tofu, chia seeds, lentils, tofu, chick peas, green peas, quinoa, millet, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and nutritional yeast
- Incorporate high-fiber foods in your diet such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables to help prevent constipation
- Get lots of calcium to strengthen your bones (Kale, Almond & coconut milk, tahini, broccoli, sweet potatoes, chia seeds)
- Eat iron-rich foods to promote healthy blood (leafy greens, cumin, soy beans, spinach, collard greens, tofu to name a few!)
It’s the 3 week mark of my injury and while I’ve kept up a positive attitude up until this point, I have to admit, the blues have crept in a bit this weekend. Denver has been exceptionally warm and all who are able to take to the trails, bikes, streets, have. And I have been restricted inside. And it has SUCKED. I realized today, despite the list of ‘fun’ things I’ll be able to do while recovering, I will need to keep mentally positive. So, starting tomorrow, I’ll be starting a meditation practice in the morning and continue throughout my recovery period. Your thoughts become energy, your energy becomes action, and that action needs to move me forward.
Time right now is my best friend and worst enemy. Focusing on the things I can control (my physical therapy, nutrition, mental state) will make or break my recovery. My goal will be to document my journey to recovery: the good, the bad and inevitably, the ugly. You get what you put in, and I plan to make this experience a learning one.