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coming back after acl repair

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Hi there TT'ers, its been a long 4 months post my ACL and meniscus repair - 2 months to go.   Can't wait to get back in the saddle on the one hand and on the other feeling quite anxious - don't wanna do this again! 

 

Thinking back on some of the crazy stuff I was doing before my accident it seems a lifetime away and like I will never be able to ride with that level of confidence again.   

 

Appreciate other enduro/trail riders feedback on how you felt during your first ride back, how long it took to get comfortable/confident again and any riding style changes you've made.

 

 

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It was quite a mental game getting back and riding with confidence. For the first few months I was visualizing the worst scenario and just imagining what would happen to my knee if I fell, not committing and riding. 

 

Confidence did come but it was not easy.

 

Get out there, take some easy rides and than some easy trail rides. Dot count on your riding buddies riding at your level, they will get you in over your head in a hurry.

 

There is riding life after ACL reconstruction.

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I'll second red rooster. Mine was a little more involved. I severed the ACL,PCL and broke off the tibia plateau. The tibia was fixed but I lost my ACL and PCL. My knee is heard together with scar tissue. No big air for me anymore but single tracks, rock gardens, drop offs, river crossing etc. is where i spend my time now. I actually like the technical side of riding better. The low speed diggers are more forgiving too. lol Having 10 bikes with another on order I will never give up riding. I was off work for 9 months and never want to experience that type of injury again. It took me a year and a half to feel comfortable again. Good luck and take your time!

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Thanks for the encouragement gents, starting to think people took up bowling after acl repair given the lack of replies. Trouble with tentative riding and negative thoughts is that they are usually prophetic! Its gonna be tough waiting at the bottom of technical climbs or finding easier ways around while riding mates blast up and over everything - really enjoyed tough tech before - muscling the bike along and dabbing/catching a foot here and there without a thought for ligaments. Well as you say - a few easy trails to start with and maybe the confidence and desire come back.

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I heeded this suggestion that one of the PT's told me about that really helped me get back into everything, including riding again.  He had me doing all kinds of strange movements, one-legged hopping and off balance type of stuff once things were healing along pretty well.  He said the idea is to not be so focused on the one part of your body that was injured---since you never thought about it before, you want to get there again.  I did have that time early on when I would come up to a situation and think, Wow what could this mean to my knee if I do X or Y?  His approach was to throw everything at you constantly, and after PT you do it on your own, so that you do not think of one body part over another...back like you were before you were injured.  I ended up joining the local Y and taking pretty much every aerobics, interval, boot camp class they had to offer...after awhile I stopped thinking about my knee and it has stayed that way.  He said its kind of like when you accidentally bite your tongue when eating...for awhile you are cautious while it heals, but you eventually get back to normal eating and don't give it another thought.

 

Now I do have one riding thing I have done for the past 10 years since my knee surgery...I basically do not put my foot down for turns...instead just mentally work to keep my feet on the pegs.  My injury came from the back wheel sliding out on me, then me doing this awful side split, which in turn took out my knee.  So if I am going to slide out too far, I know that keeping tucked in tight to the bike, my handlebar width will buy me enough room against the ground so at worst I might get a little leg rash...but I'll take that over doing the knee up again.

 

I had all the thoughts about giving up on riding...and of course anyone that sees someone who is old enough to know better really has no sympathy, especially when they see you return to the sport that just hurt you.  You gotta do the things you love, and there are risks in pretty much anything fun as far as I can tell.  Hope you healing curve is a short one!!

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Thanks for a great reply - advice of your pt sounds spot on ito trusting the knee, developing great balance and instinctive corrective reaction to imbalance. Also strengthening the hell out of quads and hamstrings as natural knee guards. I can imagine going through the same mental games as you describe so great to hear you have conquered the fears. going to be difficult not to stick the leg out but makes sense to take a slide rather than the alternative. Been doing a bit of off road mtb to keep at least some of the two wheels feeling going - hoping this also helps.

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Thanks for a great reply - advice of your pt sounds spot on ito trusting the knee, developing great balance and instinctive corrective reaction to imbalance. Also strengthening the hell out of quads and hamstrings as natural knee guards. I can imagine going through the same mental games as you describe so great to hear you have conquered the fears. going to be difficult not to stick the leg out but makes sense to take a slide rather than the alternative. Been doing a bit of off road mtb to keep at least some of the two wheels feeling going - hoping this also helps.

I heeded this suggestion that one of the PT's told me about that really helped me get back into everything, including riding again. He had me doing all kinds of strange movements, one-legged hopping and off balance type of stuff once things were healing along pretty well. He said the idea is to not be so focused on the one part of your body that was injured---since you never thought about it before, you want to get there again. I did have that time early on when I would come up to a situation and think, Wow what could this mean to my knee if I do X or Y? His approach was to throw everything at you constantly, and after PT you do it on your own, so that you do not think of one body part over another...back like you were before you were injured. I ended up joining the local Y and taking pretty much every aerobics, interval, boot camp class they had to offer...after awhile I stopped thinking about my knee and it has stayed that way. He said its kind of like when you accidentally bite your tongue when eating...for awhile you are cautious while it heals, but you eventually get back to normal eating and don't give it another thought.

Now I do have one riding thing I have done for the past 10 years since my knee surgery...I basically do not put my foot down for turns...instead just mentally work to keep my feet on the pegs. My injury came from the back wheel sliding out on me, then me doing this awful side split, which in turn took out my knee. So if I am going to slide out too far, I know that keeping tucked in tight to the bike, my handlebar width will buy me enough room against the ground so at worst I might get a little leg rash...but I'll take that over doing the knee up again.

I had all the thoughts about giving up on riding...and of course anyone that sees someone who is old enough to know better really has no sympathy, especially when they see you return to the sport that just hurt you. You gotta do the things you love, and there are risks in pretty much anything fun as far as I can tell. Hope you healing curve is a short one!!

I just split my ACL in half 12 days ago plus some other knee damage. It sucks and is highly depressing. This is my first year back riding after 20 years and I'm not quitting this time.

I rode yesterday and vecroed my leg to the frame. It worked great. There were a few times that the Velcro saveed me from huge pain! I'm scheduled for sergury in august.

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I just split my ACL in half 12 days ago plus some other knee damage. It sucks and is highly depressing. This is my first year back riding after 20 years and I'm not quitting this time.

I rode yesterday and vecroed my leg to the frame. It worked great. There were a few times that the Velcro saveed me from huge pain! I'm scheduled for sergury in august.

Sorry to hear that bud.  With a good surgeon on your side and some dedication to rehab post op there should be lots more riding in your future - although it will not feel that way for a few months after.  Its a nasty injury and requires patience and mind control when you start riding again.  I got back in the saddle about 4 months ago - 7 months after surgery and all's well so far.  Good luck!

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Excellent! Glad to hear you're riding and doing well!

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I might add to the great advice given...wear a GOOD knee brace (hopefully on both knees). Your Doc can help with this prescribing a custom fit brace which insurance will cover, at least partially.

It's been about 4 years since my acl replacment. I race in our local desert series and push pretty hard. I have to keep in mind not to ride over my head.

Time on the bike and plenty of exercise will help to build confidence...you'll get there!

 

Good luck!

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Sorry to hear that bud.  With a good surgeon on your side and some dedication to rehab post op there should be lots more riding in your future - although it will not feel that way for a few months after.  Its a nasty injury and requires patience and mind control when you start riding again.  I got back in the saddle about 4 months ago - 7 months after surgery and all's well so far.  Good luck!

glad your riding and doing well. im facing an acl surgery as welll. which graft did you go with? cant make up my mind yet on which graft ( patella or hamstring) to go with? im surgeon shopping right now. ive read all the pros and cons of both, but im undecided. leaning towards hamstring graft cuz ive got plenty of leg strength and muscle to sacrifice and thinking to avoid patella graft because of the long term patela pain that alot of people complain about.

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glad your riding and doing well. im facing an acl surgery as welll. which graft did you go with? cant make up my mind yet on which graft ( patella or hamstring) to go with? im surgeon shopping right now. ive read all the pros and cons of both, but im undecided. leaning towards hamstring graft cuz ive got plenty of leg strength and muscle to sacrifice and thinking to avoid patella graft because of the long term patela pain that alot of people complain about.

After my research and discussions I opted for hamstring graft - takes a bit longer to achieve full acl tendon strength but after seeing the patella opp on you-tube it seemed a bit extreme/invasive/scarring and in the wrong hands it seems some have been unlucky with this option.  My Doc (knee surgeont)was ok doing either but preferred hamstring graft and definately against using cadaver tendon.

 

Either way you'll lose an alaming amount of muscle mass on that leg, which you'll get back in 6-9 months with hard training - spin bike is your friend initially. 

 

+1 on getting the best knee braces you can afford (helps your head/confidence too).  Work hard to strengthen your quads and hamstrings - ultimately your best protection. 

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Either way you'll lose an alaming amount of muscle mass on that leg, which you'll get back in 6-9 months with hard training - spin bike is your friend initially. 

 

 

I didn't lose any muscle mass. In the 5 weeks between the injury and the surgery, I spent alot of time on my bicycle, and like most of dr mark's patients, I was on an exercise bike immediately, and actually riding my own mtn bike on easy stuff the first week home.

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glad your riding and doing well. im facing an acl surgery as welll. which graft did you go with? cant make up my mind yet on which graft ( patella or hamstring) to go with? im surgeon shopping right now. ive read all the pros and cons of both, but im undecided. leaning towards hamstring graft cuz ive got plenty of leg strength and muscle to sacrifice and thinking to avoid patella graft because of the long term patela pain that alot of people complain about.

a useful write up on the options http://www.orthoassociates.com/SP11B35/ goodluck with your choie and op.

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