At 8 weeks post ACL reconstruction surgery, John has passed Stage 1. This indicates that John has recovered his ability to do normal activities of daily living. More specifically, he is able to walk around unassisted, take care of himself, drive, recovered most of his range of motion and is now working on more complex exercises.
The first 8 weeks were grueling and the first 5 weeks, in particular, tested John’s will. Due to a temperamental hamstring and daily pain, he had some serious difficulty getting his range of motion back and moving around. As he put it, “the process early on was a lot slower and more extensive than I thought. I thought I would be back at work on the Tuesday after, but I was still stuck in bed barely moving around. “ His charts from the Knee app further tell this story, showing a significant jump in his daily pain level as well as a substantial drop in his steps per a day (ability to move around). To say John was distressed and anxious about the future of his recovery is an understatement.
John faced a barrier in his pain and range of motion that he needed to break through to really get moving to the next level of his recovery. In response, he continued to rely on the Knee app and his incredible physical therapist. Realizing through the app that his pain was slowly trending down and his steps were slowly trending up, he developed the motivation and confidence necessary to break through. At 5 weeks post-operation, he broke through his range of motion limitations, began walking around relatively unimpaired and started dramatically increasing his time on a stationary bike. Then, at 7 weeks post-op, he was suddenly riding a bike for 45 minutes with minimum pain and doing leg presses. As he put it, “Knowing and seeing that I could ride the bike for 45 minutes was the most satisfying and reassuring part of my recovery up to that point. It was a turning point for me where I really felt better about my knee, its strength and my recovery progress. I definitely felt more confident and motivated to keep pushing and I know that when I look in the Knee app, I will always get a little confidence boost seeing that data point.” Beyond that data point, his activity level charts show he has much more to be proud of. The trend in his activity level chart over the past year clearly shows he continues to work his way up to longer durations of activity and this trend will play an integral part in his motivation to reach ever-higher levels.
In regards to stage passing, John said, “Passing Stage 1 was extremely satisfying and made all the hard work worth it. I gained a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that I could not have gotten without the Knee app. I have this new feeling of confidence and motivation that will keep pushing me forward and help me maintain my adherence with my treatment protocol.” The typical recovery process is long, filled with small improvements that are hard to keep track of and lacks key milestones. Stages were developed to break the process up into shorter and easier to consume pieces in order to provide real accomplishments and quicker feedback that motivate progress and improve confidence.
Going into Stage 2 he says his biggest concern is whether his knee will feel as good as it was before while running and skiing. He will continue to reduce his daily pain and progress into more complex exercises aimed at further strengthening and stabilizing his knee. Specifically, he will increase his leg press weight, work on horizontal stability, downhill walking, increasing his cycling time and speed as well as other exercises. As he progresses through these exercises, motivation and confidence will continue to be paramount to his successful return to cycling, skiing, and running. Through a combination of the Knee app, his physical therapist and his doctor, he knows he will get the necessary feedback and support he needs to maintain his mental and physical readiness to reach his new recovery goals.
Stay tuned to for future parts chronicling John’s passage through the RecovAware Stages and his triumphant Return to Sport. Until then, download the RecovAware Knee app from the App Store and start tracking your recovery today. If you would like to have your recovery profiled on the RecovAware blog, please reach out to us at Team@RecovAware.com. We would love to hear from you!