1 Year Post-Op (Surgery #2)

[..Also, 4+ years post-op from surgery #1!...]

It's hard to believe a year has gone by since my ACL reconstruction surgery on my right knee.  I had the pleasure of getting back to indoor/outdoor soccer, indoor volleyball, flag football and softball too! I feel confident on the field (er-well, as confident as I did before) once I got over the fear of the first few games of soccer, which was the worst on the knees out of all of my activities.

There were a few plays in flag football where I had to cut side-to-side to keep the other team's QB from getting around me, and I told my team I needed to move to another position, because I remember those exact same motions were how I tore my first ACL, and I just can't "turn it off" when I'm in the middle of a play!

Otherwise it's been back to normal, even though I wish I would have committed more effort to my rehab the second time around. Part lack of effort, part full of excuses, I found having to entertain a toddler during some of the critical rehab times would easily distract me from what I really needed to be doing.  Luckily I think I had a good enough start to the rehab, I did not lose range of motion (ROM), but perhaps just don't have the muscle I once had.

The good and bad of having 2 ACL reconstructions on opposite legs is that if one quad was smaller before, now they're pretty much back to even! I have not felt that whatever muscle I might be lacking from before has been a handicap in my activities, so I must have done something right to get back to a confident level.

That being said, I was happy to be a part of a championship volleyball team, a runner-up flag football team and currently on a softball team that is running away with the #1 spot with a landslide! (Thank goodness for athletic friends to support these endeavors!)

05.20.2013 Indoor Volleyball CHAMPS (with our camping chair prize!)
I'm hoping I won't have to frequent this blog again, but I encourage anyone who's followed it or found it (and has been or is going through an ACL reconstruction) to not be afraid to get back out there and do what you love!


  1. Hi i had acl surgery almost three months ago and recovery is going well. I can run and cycle and have been going to the gym but ive still got bruising behind my knee. Is this normal? I thought by now it would have left. Thank you!

  2. Congrats on your comeback! I don't recall exactly when the bruising left entirely, but from my first surgery I see around 2 months it was still slightly there (http://acljourney.blogspot.com/2009/06/my-first-1-mile-run-2-months-post-op.html) . However the "bruising" is probably just a pocket of blood that hasn't broken up yet, not a sign of anything bad. Talk to your doctor and/or physical therapist, of course, but I think also that elevating your knee when possible and massaging the area surrounding the bruise would also help to "break it up" and help your body move it on. Plus, massaging all around your knee can help reduce swelling and break up scar tissue too, so it's win-win-win!

  3. Hi, I've been reading your blog and its been quite helpful. I'm having ACL reconstruction along with medial meniscus repair next thur. I'm having an allograft. I am terrified. Not so much about the surgery itself, but the first few PT appts. I'm a firefighter and did the damage fighting a car fire. I'm hoping that at exactly 2 weeks I will be doing ok. I live in Florida, and I'm traveling up to your neck of the woods on 9/12 for my cousins wedding. I know I will be on crutches still, but hoping the weekend won't be completely ruined. We are staying in Livonia. Coincidentally, the cousin that's getting married works at a surgi center for Beaumont hospital. Let me know if you think I will be ok making the trip. Wish me luck!

  4. Hi Debi, I hope the blog has given you more inspiration than fear! Allograft recovery is said to be easier than taking your own tendon (less trauma to your knee, naturally). However, my understanding is it may take slightly longer to actually reach full recovery, just because your body is accepting something "foreign". If PT is done properly, I think you can be 100% no matter which graft you have.

    As far as your travels/a wedding... Make sure you take an ice pack (think old timey ad for toothaches) that you can keep with you on the plane / at the wedding without schlepping around a big compression machine. Elevate as often as possible and I would spring for the extra few bucks for a seat with more legroom on your flights!

    I don't think you'll be cutting it up on the dance floor, but you can still have fun at the wedding! :) You'll tell your story about 100 times as people ask about the crutches (which, maybe you'll be off at the time?!) and at least it's a good excuse to have people wait on you a little!

    Good luck! And I'm sure in your times training as a firefighter you've been physically challenged quite a bit - so take the same mentality as you get your range of motion back. No pain, no gain - literally! But it's worth it! :)

  5. Hi there! Reading your blog has made me feel a lot more confident going in to my acl reconstruction + meniscus repair surgery scheduled for January. As a mom of one child with a husband who will be traveling most likely during my recovery, I would love some good tips for prepping my home and family for all of this! Make meals ahead? Hire help? Any suggestions would be appreciated! As moms we don't get many off days so this surgery will be shaking things up a bit and as a planner id like to be somewhat prepared! Thanks!!

    1. Hi Jessica! Glad the blog has been useful. How old is your child? If s/he is somewhat self-sufficient (I don't know when that happens, as mine is 2 years old!) you may not need much help. But if you feel that your lack of mobility in the beginning could be dangerous for the little one, of course call on family and friends to help out at home.

      As far as prepping the home... You'll be laid up, but not completely out of sorts. Plus, getting up once in a while will be good for you to put some weight on your surgical leg as well as make sure you're getting circulation going! So I would say for pre-surgery to just have a clean house, stocked fridge and some books, snacks, and BIG water bottle near wherever you'll be camping out. For me, that was a living room couch, with my head at whichever end allowed me to put my surgical leg elevated on the back of the couch.

      I think you'll be surprised how quickly you can at least get up and do the basic things after a few bits of rehab. It won't be fluid, but you'll be moving! In the meantime just call in some favors in the first few weeks so you can focus on your rehab, icing/compressing and resting when possible.

      Hope that helps! Good luck!!

  6. jus had acl surgery on 11/22/13 my knee feels so weak im scared to try an take a step. knee still feels stiff. any time table when i should be able to put weight on it

    1. Hi Jon, First I'll say that you should follow directions of your doctor / physical therapist! Every surgery is different, but if you were in decent physical condition and the only damage was to your ACL, then I would be surprised if your health care professionals didn't have you at least trying to put weight on it soon. The knee WILL feel weak and you should not try too much too soon, however even when you are sitting on the couch you can put your leg straight in front of you and just try to fire your quad muscles. Stretching your calf and your hamstrings will hep for when you start PT as well. Sorry I don't have a more definite answer, but in my case they had me going to PT just days after surgery and that may not be the case for you. Good Luck!

  7. Great experience posted on ACL tear. Thanks for sharing.