T Nation

Tore ACL - Need Help!

Hey guys - some sad news, I just got back on campus and the first night back on the bball courts, I managed to tear my meniscus, MCL, and ACL all in one motion.

Putting aside the fact that I busted my ass all summer to try and make the JV bball team here, and the fact that I had never been stronger and faster in my life - I need some help going forward.

I’ve been doing pushups and things like that to keep me busy, but I was wondering if you guys have any experience in this, and could help me craft an upper body program that isn’t too hardcore (could potentially make me tweak my knee), but will still keep me satisfied / strong.

Also, should I significantly change my diet? Before, I was eating every 2 hours or so, but I was staying huge and cut because of how active I was. Now, not so much … how should I adjust?

Sorry if I’m rambling, I just got the final word from the doctor a few hours ago, so I’m kinda going nuts right now.

ps. Surgery is 9/12.

Thanks in advance.

Been there, done that. I know it sucks but you gotta go forward, right?

I would do chins, lat pulls, seated shoulder work and bis/tris.

You should be able to maintain most of your stregth with those work outs.

Get the surgery done ASAP so you can start rehabbing ASAP. The bike will be your best friend for the next 6- 9 months following the surgery.

Since you are young, you will heal quikcly especailly if you follow the protocol.

After being injured I got in really good shape based on the motivation I got from sitting on the sidelines not being able to do much.

Get the surgery and bust your ass in every possible to be better than you were preinjury.

Good Luck.

Preciate that man, thanks for the help…

Maybe like a few months post-opm i can start doing light chest work? Maybe even if its just dumbbells?

I guess I’ll have to ask my doctor and physical therapist after surgery what the best plan of attack is.

Like I said surgery is 9/12, (as soon as possible in their opinion), so I guess we’ll have to go from there.

any other advice is welcomed. Thanks for the encouragement…

JGerman nailed it. I tore the same ligaments doing the same thing as you Carpe. Get surgery soon and be aggressive in your rehab: physical therapy is your friend.

Be active and walk around as much as you can when it is appropriate with your recovery schedule. The more you walk, the faster you will regain flexibility.

Wish you a safe surgery and speedy recovery youngblood.

A friend of mine recently tore his ACL playing basketball. He also tore the meniscus and had a partial tear of the MCL He had surgery about two weeks ago. It was the same procedure as Tigers Woods where they replace the ACL with two tendons from your hamstring. They also repaired his meniscus. They left the MCL alone because it was only a partial and it heals on its own. His doctor had him working on range of motion before the surgery.

Post surgery the primary objective has been regaining range of motion. He was told that the first month is the hardest. After that you start wanting to do more than you should. As for diet I am no expert but I would think you would want to eat things that help reduce inflammation like fish oil. Reducing inflammation should help with range of motion.

bpeck

Machine train for upper body if you have access. Much easier than loading a bar, moving dumbbells into position etc.

Tell your doctor you want an aggressive rehab program. Push yourself but don’t be dumb about it.

Watch your diet, you will be burning far less calories than you are used to.

Good luck and heal fast.

Thanks for the help guys - I’m gonna speak with my PT guy and see what I can get going.

I’m pissed b/c I feel as though I’m gonna lose 4-6 months work of hard hours in the gym, but what can you do . gotta keep pushing I guess.

I’m definitely gonna have to cut back on calories - I’ma try and not lose my abs, but if I do, I guess I’ll have an excuse haha

I’ll post here as I go along. Tomorrow is my first PT session pre-op, to try and get a full ROM before I go under the knife.

Post-op, if I am dedicated (which I am), am I looking at 4 months? 6 months? 8 months? When do you think I can heavily train in the gym again? (not necessarily play full court basketball, just get under the bar to bench again…)

Thanks again…

how recent was the injury?

I tore my ACL whilst playing rugby but was lucky and suffered only a grade 1 tear. However throughout that period I spent alot of time doing back work. Benct Over Rows lieing facedown on a bench and lifting the par up towards you, lat pulldowns, pull ups, press ups not a bad idea as you stated either.

I did it one week and one day ago. (Last Wednesday evening).

Surgery is 9.12

I only tore my ACl but a ligament takes longer to heal than a cartilage injury.

Again the bike will be your best friend plus the PT exercises. You really need to do extra work on you own at the casa or gym. Doing PT only when you are at the PT office won’t cut it.

It took me about 4 months until I was getting around pretty well and lifting normal (at least with the upper body but I can’t emphasize the bike enough and shooting free throws with some dribbling and cutting drills. I was on the bike daily 40 - 60 mins. Then I got to where I was playing basketball (not my main sport) at 80% at month 5. I went snow skiing 6 months out and was playing FB 9 months after surgery without any braces etc.

I like to think I healed fast becasue I worked at it. This may not be the same for you but hell it may be quicker.

Don’t dwell on the negative.

Alright well that won’t be a problem. I’m a gym rat, so if it means I have to be a “at home stretching” rat, then so be it. Whatever gets me back sooner.

Glad to hear I’ll be on the bike a lot. That should help with the decreased cardio activity. I hate cutting my diet back a ton (I have a hard time putting on weight), so once I can get on a bike, hopefully I can still eat and not get like “fat”.

Also glad to hear I’ll be lifting upper body normal within 3-4 months. That’ll help keep me sane!

Thats encouraging that you were doing football without a brace by month 9. I cannot stand wearing braces, and I was worried that I’d forever be wearing a brace when playing bball now, but I guess that isn’t the case. Good news!!

Thanks guys…

oh btw, how are the scars? badass looking? thats a positive thing haha

I tore my ACL and Meniscus as well 4 years ago while wakeboarding. You will be fine. I took alot of glutamine and didnt really lose that much size or strength. The reason I PMd you is because I wanted to make sure that you have explored all your options. My doctor insisted that I do a Hamstring graph and honestly that was the worst advice ever. I have recovered and am back doing everything again. (took a year off of snowboarding skiing and wakeboarding) but have been fine since.

I will say that the problem with the Hamstring graph is that it creates two injuries out of one. The hamstring was too painful to sit on for weeks and it never quite healed. I have a part of my hamstring that is concave (slightly) and my calf never grew back on the inside. The main point is that if you have insurance, make sure you talk to a couple of doctors and ask about a cadaver graft.

Its your decision, but I would never do it any other way. My freind had her exact same surgery a week before me and was back squatting and running a month or so ahead of me. She also had no hamstring injury to deal with. I cant emphasize this enough because the doctor will try to sell you on the hamstring becasue the insurance companies dont want to pay for the cadaver graft and the surgeon makes more money.

I made the wrong decision becasue i didnt want to delay surgery but it cost me in months of extra reehab and recovery. I wouldnt have wasted my time telling a stranger all this if i didnt feel that strongly about it. I will not tell you what to do beyond suggesting that you talk to at least 3 doctors and finding out about the cadaver-Achilies graft. Good luck and remember this is a big deal and its your knee for life.

Dont worry about pissing off the doctor or the insurance company just explore your options and if he does not explain the drawbacks and benifits and if he tries to tell you that recovery is the same for both procedures then I would find another doctor ASAP.

Good point about the source. My sister in law did the cadaver ligament and bounced back incredibly fast but she tore it again about 5 years later and did another cadaver graft.

I did a patellar tendon. Slow healing but better long ramge success. Talk to your doctor about all the options.

I sent you back a PM, but basically my doctor wants to do the patellar tendon, like Zap had mentioned.

Also, in case any of you guys were interested, I wrote up an article about the whole incident on my blog: http://www.latehitz.com/hitzsquad/writers/msileck/articles/080828_collegelife_acl.html

Thanks for the encouragement as always…

[quote]CarpeD1em500 wrote:

Post-op, if I am dedicated (which I am), am I looking at 4 months? 6 months? 8 months? When do you think I can heavily train in the gym again? (not necessarily play full court basketball, just get under the bar to bench again…)

[/quote]

No one will know that answer except you and how you recover. Some recover faster than others. Mine took 2.5 years before I could squat an empty barbell without my knee brace. Just be good in your rehab and you’ll be fine.

[quote]tmoney1 wrote:
No one will know that answer except you and how you recover. Some recover faster than others. Mine took 2.5 years before I could squat an empty barbell without my knee brace. Just be good in your rehab and you’ll be fine.[/quote]

Whoa 2.5 years? Thats scary…

Alright I’ll keep stretching like my life depended on it…haha

[quote]CarpeD1em500 wrote:
tmoney1 wrote:
No one will know that answer except you and how you recover. Some recover faster than others. Mine took 2.5 years before I could squat an empty barbell without my knee brace. Just be good in your rehab and you’ll be fine.

Whoa 2.5 years? Thats scary…

Alright I’ll keep stretching like my life depended on it…haha[/quote]

I took over two years before I could do much either. =OInly in the last couple years have I felt like an athlete again. I played rugby with a guy that bounced back in 7 months. Everytone is different.

On the rehab note. I was back in the gym (with my full leg brace on) as soon as I started the PT for my knee (3 weeks). Just stick to machines at first for safety. The most dangerous thing is trying to walk around with dumbbells etc. You will see what you are comfortable with and just do it. Its a great time to try random machines and exercises that you didn�??t do before. Its more for maintenance and sanity at this point. You will be back to training hard in no time. Good luck. Ill give you the same advice about the PT though. It makes sense to interview a couple of people (before your surgery trust me) to get a sense of what their plan is and how they handle the rehab. My first guy sucked and they second guy really got me moving. Ill see if I can find a link to a really cool icing machine that will literally get you in the rehab room 50% faster.

Alright sounds good - thats generally what my PT guy was telling me, a few weeks for the incisions to heal, then back to work as hard as I can reasonably go (and for my sanity, haha)…

How long before you were back to training without any restrictions (upper body and lower body)?

Thanks for the continued help guys.

Random question, how long before I might be able to hit around a heavy bag? Sooner than basketball I’d imagine, right?