Read my knee injury story here: When Life Screams: Stop Travelling
Then I suffered some injuries on the road to recovery and scrambled about to find some solutions. I ended up writing a bit more, about things I would have done differently during my recovery. And then I wrote another post to give a handy list of all the tried and tested products I’ve used along the way.
It was after that stop-start-recovery-injury-recovery yo-yoing that I wroteabout what I’d learned and what I would have done differently.
I’ve added a couple of yearly updates too. Don’t be horrified. Remember, I’m a perfectionist and therefore, I’m constantly striving to have my knee back to 100% even though every physio I’ve ever met has told me that’s not realistic.
What’s in this post
It was a sickening moment.
Hence, this post – my real life guide to ACL surgery and recovery. From here you can access all of my other guides, tricks and tips and experiences from having my ACL repaired. Feel free to bookmark this page and check back along the various stages of your ACL journey.
Of course, the BVIs are renowned for their rich clientele (sadly, I’m not one of them – I was on a shared catamaran, bunking with strangers to be able to afford the trip). But amongst the affluent visitors was a good number of doctors and surgeons. It didn’t take long to get an informal ‘probably a ruptured ACL’ diagnosis.
Before surgery I was a runner. Nothing intense, maximum 10km (about 6 miles) but more commonly half that. I was also an avid yogi, hitting my yoga mat at least a few times a week. Both of these activities at some point during my recovery, caused me problems. In fact, I ended up with bursitis, which sent me on a journey of private physiotherapy. It was another almost year off the knee. But it taught me a lot.
A Real Life Guide To ACL Surgery & Recovery
Injuring my knee – my story
If you’re reading this, you already know the moment – the moment when you heard a pop and your life, or at least the life of your knee, changed forever.
Read about it here: ACL Surgery Recovery – 15 Things I Would Have Done Differently
My ACL surgery wasn’t my first time under the knife – I’d had a deviated septum repaired back in 2010. Yes, I know that’s commonly code for having had a nose job, but this was legit. It WAS! Anyway, I digress.
Then, finally, in September 2016, after 9 months of waiting, it was my turn.
It was time to split it all up and make it more manageable for you all to digest – you’re already having to digest the idea of ACL surgery. The last thing I want to do is make your life more difficult by dumping all my tips and experiences into one very long post.
I had my surgery in late 2016. I wrote a short post about it at the time, giving details of what my ACL surgery was like (there were a few surprises). Then I added to it, updating the post with regular diary entries, charting the timeline of my ACL recovery. That post started a conversation, with hundreds of comments from other, regular people, asking questions, sharing suggestions and generally supporting each other in our collective recovery,
ACL surgery – 15 things they don’t tell you
In those first few weeks I wrote about the first few hours in hospital, the first 24 hours, the first few days, the first week, 10 days, 2 weeks and 3 weeks. In those detailed posts, I catalogued my pain and medication, use of crutches, physio, swelling, range of motion, sleeping, bathing and, for the gore seekers, I included pictures of my incision site and the staples (not stitches).
I then added further updates after 6 months, 8 months and 12 months.
So I decided to write about that too.
My ACL recovery timeline
Those quick look diagnoses from those half-cut experts were subsequently confirmed by MRI, back in the UK.
What started as one post has sprawled to pages of tips and advice on getting ACL surgery and how best to recover after an ACL repair.
When I got my dad to finally peel off the dressing after the first day of surgery (yes, I was 40 years old and yes I made my dad do it), I was horrified at the size of the cut. And that wasn’t the only surprise about my ACL surgery. That’s why I ended up writing about the 15 surprises of ACL surgery.
I’ve put all of these updates into one handy post and of all my posts, I’ll keep it updated most. Also, check out the comments – there are hundreds of them from wonderful people like you. Sharing and caring.
Read about it here: ACL Repair – Timeline of My Recovery (With Pictures)
And if you want some technical, medical info on ACL repair surgery, check out these posts: From the NHS and Physiopedia
You might be interested to know that at the time of injury I was 39 years old, active but not the fittest I’ve been in my life (too many stops at the street food stand). I’m also a perfectionist but, sadly, a bit of a pain wimp.
15 things I would have done differently to recover
Don’t worry, you don’t need to buy any fancy products to recover from ACL surgery, just follow the physio. However, if you have friends and family who want to help you out with a recovery gift, and you want to swerve the temptation of lots of chocolate at a time when you’re pretty immobile, wave this list under their nose.
Read about it here: Products That Helped My ACL Recovery
After those first few weeks, I updated my recovery timeline after weeks 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16.
Hello, I’m Jo and I ruptured my ACL. That’s not all I did – I added a grade II tear to my MCL and ripped my meniscus all in the same moment.
Gadgets I found useful for my ACL recovery
But the thing is, we can’t go back. We can’t change things. So, I’ve written this guide instead. A real life guide to ACL surgery and recovery, from a regular person who ruptured her ACL; not a guide from a doctor or a physio or surgeon who is hungry to wield a scalpel.
What took much longer, was the wait for my surgery – it’s wonderful that the UK’s National Health Service covers the cost of ACL surgery, but I was at the bottom of a very long list. So, I sat down, leg up to wait…
What’s the saying? In hindsight you have 20:20 vision, or something like that? Well, I got a lot of hindsight over the last few years of my recovery. I did have some bumps along the way, my recovery wasn’t easy or straightforward.
And last but by no means least, the tools that have helped me along the way. I confess, I’m a fan of gadgets and gizzmos and, frankly, if there was a product out there that even hinted at improving or speeding up my recovery, I tried it. I’m not talking about expensive things. Some of them I got for free from my physio. Many cost me under £15/. All of them were under £75/0.
So, that’s it – my posts that form my guide to ACL Surgery and Recovery. I don’t have new knees to hand out or a time machine to march back to the time before you heard the pop but I do hope you find find some useful tips from my ACL experience. If there is anything missing or if you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.
Read about it here: 15 Surprises From My ACL Repair Surgery – What They Don’t Tell You