Hack a good plan for pre and post ACL reconstruction surgery?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 25, 2012 at 8:33 PM

In March 2012 I was injured during a soccer game and initially the doctor did not think I tore anything (no MRI done based on post injury assessment). I did some rehab for 2 months and I was about 85% but my knee still felt unstable. Therefore, I requested an MRI and low and behold I actually tore my ACL. I decided on surgery based on the fact that I am a very active 32 year old male and want to get back to Jiu Jitsu, soccer, and other sporting activities.

I have schedule the surgery for August 16 and want to do everything I can with diet and training to recover quickly and maintain the my current conditioning, strength, and body composition. Currently I feel no pain in my knee and can do all weight training and conditioning movements as long as I am not cutting or rotating in an explosive way.

Do you guys have any experience with BOTH pre and post surgery diet and training that will help me with my goals? I am scheduled to begin physical therapy 3 days after surgery, but for the first few weeks I will be confined to a sedentary lifestyle.



on June 25, 2012
at 11:22 PM

As for training, I would suggest getting the rehab protocol before surgery and speaking with the PTs so that they can customize your program. If they don't provide the type of rehab you want/need, ask your doctor for another PT. Keep in mind, there are generalists and specialists, holistic and focused. Rehab will be similar across all types for the first few week as you aim to regain ROM. The difference really comes when you begin (body) weight bearing exercises. I know the Oregon and Utah sports med scenes relatively well, so if you're in either area, let me know. Best of luck with recovery!



on June 25, 2012
at 08:47 PM

Check out what I wrote here in regards to important nutrients pre/post surgery: http://paleohacks.com/questions/88621/hack-my-friends-post-surgery-recovery-plan/88629#88629



on June 25, 2012
at 08:38 PM

If the mods on here were consistent or fair, they would should close this as "too localized"

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3 Answers



on June 25, 2012
at 10:33 PM

Was it a complete or partially torn? If i could do it over on my partially torn ACL I would have never had it operated on. I reviewed a study recently that showed that in the long run (5-10 years post op) people with who had surgery were no better off than people who did not. Pro athletes need to get back on 'the field' in order to feed themselves. Most people do not, and the act of rehabilitating the knee itself become perfectly acceptable form of working out.

Just know the knee that gets operated on will never be the same after an ACL reconstruction. Youll always know it too.



on June 25, 2012
at 09:44 PM

I've had ACL reconstruction on both knees. I've also known plenty of other athletes who've had reconstruction. It seems everyone's body heals differently at different paces. If you use a bench and keep your knee supported and immobile, you should be able to do upper body weight training such as bench press and military press within a day or two of the surgery. After that, listen to your physical therapist. His job is to push you as far as possible to gain strength and mobility back in your knee (and hips and legs), while protecting the joint as it heals. Tell them you want to push yourself hard, but you don't want to hurt the knee. They should be able to give you exercises and suggestions that will keep help you keep as much strength in the legs as possible without hurting your knee. A friend of mine who also injured his knee at the same time I did doing competitive tae kwon do, didn't listen to his therapist and started throwing kicks and training in the dojo again way too soon and he stretched the newly constructed "ligament" out so much, he might as well not have had the surgery. It's counter productive to do too much too soon!

But take heart. Weight training is something you can do (although some free weight exercises will have to be modified or put on hold for awhile). And you'll be chugging out miles on the exercise bike within 3-7 days after the surgery.



on June 26, 2012
at 03:31 AM

Here's some info on Vitamin D and knee surgery.
Text taken from the bottom of the page here: http://blog.vitamindcouncil.org/2012/05/09/metabolic-clearance-of-vitamin-d-after-heart-attack/

"...They measured 25(OH)D before and after a knee replacement on 33 subjects and found 25(OH)D reduced by 40% from before to 2 days after the surgery. Even at three months, 25(OH)D was still 20% lower than preoperative levels indicating, perhaps, the healing knee was “using up” or metabolically clearing the vitamin D. Again, since we don’t know what the 25(OH)D levels were before the MIs in Dr. Barth’s paper, we don’t know if acute MI’s metabolically clear any vitamin D. I suspect they do, although nothing like a knee replacement, which involves major damage to a large joint.

While we only definitively know about the effects of knee replacement surgery on 25(OH)D, I think in the meantime it’s important to be sufficient in vitamin D for lots of reasons when going to the hospital. The take home message is that if you are going into the hospital for any reason, especially surgery, make sure you have plenty of vitamin D reserves by having your 25(OH)D at around 50 ng/ml before admission..."

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