Hi, I'm Stephanie.
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Tag Archives: Surgery
8 Weeks Post Op
It’s officially been 8 weeks post op. 2 months. That’s insane. The past two months have been some of the most difficult moments of my life thus far (first world problems. I know). I’ve spent days in bed icing my knee, learned how to walk again, regained much needed strength in my hamstring, calf and quad and improved my confidence in my operative leg. 4 Weeks ago I was able to stop wearing my brace full time and now I am looking ahead to 4 weeks from today and being able to start running again. This past week I spent a lot of time at the gym doing PT exercises, upper body strengthening and core work, took 2 spin classes (cage pedals only), and took my first yoga class post op. I am limited in my yoga capabilities but it felt amazing to spend 90 minutes going through the Bikram sequence. My Core Power membership is currently on hold until next week but I cannot wait to get back to CPY and take some HPF classes and gradually add in C1 classes to build up to C2’s.
My PT schedule was taken down to 2x per week instead of 3x which means I am making progress. My extension is perfect and I can bend my knee to 127 degrees which is something my PT and I are working on improving. To improve my flexion, my PT gave me the exercise of heel slides on the floor with a stretching strap around my heel. I lay on my back and bend my knee, then pull my knee towards my glute to bend my knee, then once I reach my max flexion I hold for 5 seconds. I am assigned to do this exercise 2x per day for 15 reps each time. I already feel my knee loosening and allowing more flexion just from this exercise.
- Hamstring stretching: 30 seconds, all directions, both legs
- Calf stretching: 30 seconds, 3 reps
- Hamstring curls on exercise ball: 30 reps
- Lateral Step downs: 30 reps
- RDLs (Roman Dead Lifts): 30 reps, 7.5 lbs
- Single Leg Sit to Stand: 30 reps, both legs
- Step Ups: 14″, 30 reps, both legs
- Heel Slides (as described above), 30 reps
- Planks: 3 reps of 30 second holds
- High to Low Boats: 30 reps
- Forward Reaches on One Leg: 30 reps, both legs
- Elliptical: 5 Minute warm up on days I have PT, 30 minutes on days I do not
- Spin Class/Stationary Bike: 45 minutes on days I don’t have PT
A lot of my PT involves utilizing my core for stability, so I have always added in core strengthening to my workouts as soon as I could after surgery. The next few weeks I will be adding in more and more exercises to my PT program in hopes of strengthening my leg for week 12 (running). I am officially cleared to go down stairs again but I am required to always use the handrail just in case I misstep or get clumsy…
It’s weird to look back at my progress and remember how desperately I wanted to be able to bend my knee just to make a full rotation on the stationary bike or how I would avoid drinking water during the night because I didn’t want to have to get out of bed and attempt to walk to the bathroom the week after surgery. In 10 months I hope to look back at this and feel gratitude for all that my body is capable, but also that my mentality was positive and confident during this process. Most people would say I’m crazy for wanting to ski again after tearing my ACL skiing in February, but skiing is something I am passionate about and have been since I was 4 years old. I may not be the daredevil I once was, but I hope that this process will strengthen and condition me to get back to the slopes again.
Four Weeks Post Op
I’ve officially made it to Four Weeks Post Op! This is my first of many milestones in my ACL recovery process. My pain has gone down significantly this week and my swelling has continued to go down as well. My scar is definitely visible but really is not as bad as I expected. It looks pretty good. Week 4 means I no longer have to wear my brace all the time and I can start adding more exercises in to my physical therapy regimen. I rejoined a gym and now spend my workouts doing my PT exercises and then on the stationary bike (elliptical can start around week 6). I am hoping to add swimming soon. The past four weeks have tried my patience and constant need for movement, but I made it here in one piece (and continuing to heal). Another few weeks until I am “out of the woods” as my physical therapist refers to, but if these next few weeks go by as quickly as the first four did then I will be at my next milestone in no time.
- Double heel raises- 75% weight on bad leg, 25% weight on good leg. 30 reps
- Single Leg Raises- 3 lb weights on ankles, 30 reps per leg, every direction
- Hamstring sets on exercise ball- 30 reps
- Hamstring Curls w/ resistance band- 30 reps
- Quad Sets against the wall- 30 reps
- Clam Shells w/ resistance band- 30 reps on each side
- Side Steps w/ resistance band- up and back along a line 2x
- “TKEs”- 30 reps of extending my knee backwards while hooked to a loose resistance band
- Balancing on 1 Leg (bad leg)- 3 reps of 30 second holds
- Stationary Bike- low low low resistance, 30 -45 minutes on days without PT, 20 minutes on days with PT
- Strengthen Quad in bad leg
- Improve balance. I NEED to get back to yoga but that is not possible with how terrible my balance is right now.
- Work towards adding stationary bike resistance and hopefully get to a SoulCycle class sooner than later. (fingers crossed but not hopeful until week 8-12).
- Start swimming
- Work to get rid of brace at all times. I am cleared to not wear a brace at all times but I should wear it while in public and especially in crowded places so I don’t get bumped into or knocked over.
- Work out the painful scar tissue using massage and general movement
- Take Hank outside for a walk. He isn’t the most calm dog in the world (he’s a 21 month old golden retriever) so I will need my brace for this 100%.
On days I don’t have PT I am spending 30-45 minutes working on my abs, upper body and incorporating my PT exercises. I have focused on my core a lot throughout these weeks because I know that the core is a stabilizer and helps tremendously with balance. Because my good leg has been compensating a lot for my bad leg, I didn’t want to throw out my back or tweak anything on the good side of my body. If I feel anything funny or painful in my knee I immediately stop. I’ve also incorporate upper body yoga that can be done while sitting or standing in tadasana. I am not a medical professional though, so always consult your doctor before starting or trying anything new.
Throughout the week I have been working out a lot and also have been out and about more than the previous weeks. On Wednesday I won tickets to Hamilton via the Broadway Direct lottery, so I enjoyed an afternoon matinee. I was very lucky and my ticket was in the front row, so I didn’t have to worry about my knee being bent for a long period of time. I did have to navigate through a large crowd and was very cautious of my knee. This experience was a great reminder of why I am wearing my brace.
I am so happy to have made it to this milestone and it only makes me eager to get to the next milestone (6 weeks). Recovery has tested my patience but also taught me to slow down significantly in life.
Namaste. (& happy belated Easter).
2 Weeks Post Op
Well it’s officially been 2 weeks post op. I’m happy to say that I have gone down to using only 1 crutch and had my first post op doctor appointment. My doctor said I am way ahead of where I should be and my quads are strong enough that I could drive. I am not going to drive until I feel comfortable bending my knee, but this news was beyond reassuring.
I started my post op PT immediately after my post op doctor appointment and we started by taking measurements of my extension and flexion. My extension was around 2-0 degrees which is exactly where my range of motion should be. My flexion started at 78 degrees which is short of my goal of 90 degrees. After doing a few heel slides on the wall I was at 90 degrees and then passing 90 degrees towards the end of my exercises. My goal for the start of PT was 0 degrees and 90 degrees. The exercises we started on this week include:
- Heel slides down the wall, 30 Reps
- Single Leg Raises- Laying on Back, Right Side, Stomach and Left Side. 30 Reps- Each Side
- Ankle Pumps w/ Resistance Band, All directions- 30 Reps- Each Direction
- Quad Sets w/ Stretching Strap for boost in height- 30 Reps
- Calf Raises- on good leg- 30 Reps.
- Hamstring/Calf stretching- 1.5 minutes total
- Stationary Bicycling to help gain back range of motion- 10 minutes, zero resistance
- Clam Shells w/ Resistance Band around top of knees- 30 reps
All of these exercises are things I am incorporating into my at home workouts. I am still doing the exercises I talked about in 1 Week Post Op . I am even trying to use the stationary bike w/ no resistance, but at this point I am unable to get a full rotation . This rotation has become one of my new goals.
Goals Currently Include:
- Increase Range of Motion (ROM). Get flexion past 92 degrees.
- Stop using crutch!
Full rotation on bikeI was able to make a full rotation halfway through the week!
- Work towards week 4 which should involve elliptical, stationary bike w/ resistance and more strength work…and NO MORE BRACE!!!!
All of these goals will be incorporated into my 3 PT sessions per week and my at home exercises as well.
I am able to out and about for a while which after spending 10 days in our condo… is incredible. After spending an hour or so on my feet I am exhausted. This past Saturday Chris and I went to brunch in Wicker Park with friends and then walked 2.5 blocks to our car, went to the suburbs to buy a new refrigerator and that is where I needed a break for my knee. I ended up spending half of our fridge trip sitting on a couch and resting. My ice machine is still utilized daily for relief and after time on my feet, the ice machine is a life saver. I returned to work on Monday and am working to adjust my work lifestyle to accommodate my large brace and need for elevating. Everyone is very helpful, so things have not been an issue. It’s nice to get back to a routine again. The past two weeks have been tough but have flown by. Hopefully the next two weeks go by just as fast.