Wednesday

My Final Decision on ACL Reconstructive Surgery

It's been almost 11 weeks since my knee injury.  Since getting the MRI results of an ACL rupture, I decided to see a different Orthopedic doctor for a second opinion.  He just so happens to be an avid snowboarder, which is right up my alley.   In fact this Dr. works with mainly athletes from basketball players, rock climbers, martial artists, to skiers.  Just the person I needed for this.

Today he tested the laxity in both of my knees for the second time with an Arthrometer.  Apparently the torn ACL does have a slightly higher degree in laxity, however, not a huge difference compared to the typical tear.  He attributes this to the kettlebell training I continued to do throughout the whole process.

I showed him a few kettlebell exercises I was doing along with the full range of motion squats I've been working on.  He was impressed that I was able to do as much as I could and encouraged me to keep doing it.  We discussed how important it is for me to be able to snowboard and safely start Krav Maga again.  After some deep discussion of all the possibilities, we made an educated decision together that concludes with no surgery at this point in my life.  This doesn't mean I can go out and do anything I want, since I still have a tear.  No pistols for quite some time. If I had the surgery, no pistols for at least 6-12 months anyway.   Kettlebell training, body weight/ stability exercises, and the TRX has been my savior.  I have also had some help along the way with my friend Elise who specializes in M.A.T. (Muscle Activation Technique).  This has been such an amazing combination for rehabilitation. 

Time will only tell of what the future may hold.  For now I'm just enjoying all the things my body is slowly allowing me to do.  I want to make you fully aware that I never did any exercise or workout that caused me pain or could potentially make it worse.  I only focused on exercises that felt good during and after.  If something felt wrong or I felt a little twinge of pain, immediately I stopped and found something that felt good.  I don't believe in working through pain.  Your body is giving you a signal that something is wrong.

Naturally I am very excited to know that I am not facing surgery right now.  I'm even more excited because I have been given the green light to snowboard this season!  I have come to terms that I need to be more careful, however, I really do feel lucky right now.  I feel the need to celebrate!

(To read about how the injury happened here is the post)

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wondering how you tore your ACL? Was it training with the kettlebells, TRX or enjoying some other activity? Was it a weird accident or worn over time due to your training?

Anonymous said...

Wondering how you tore your ACL? Was it training with the kettlebells, TRX or enjoying some other activity? Was it a weird accident or worn over time due to your training?

Lauren said...

I tore it doing a round house kick. You can read all about it in a few posts below.

Rapid Results Fitness - Betsy Collie said...

Lauren, I am happy to hear your news! I think what is most important for readers to read here is that you listened to your body... Working through pain is not only harmful to your body but it is complete sabotage of anything you were intentionally trying to do training in the first place. Our society and the fitness industry does not talk enough about working through pain it's effects and the difference between working toward effort not to be confused with pain. Some folks don't know the difference. We at times will all have a limitation physically, a setback if you will. But if we pay attention and act accordingly we can speed up the healing process. You are a very smart lady and have alot to teach others through your own experience. Glad to hear your outcome friend!

Mindy said...

Congratulations! That's excellent news and I'm glad for you. :)

Lauren said...

Betsy,

Thank you so much. Yes I do feel listening to the body is the key ingredient for safety and recovery. No tear is the same and no body is the same. I appreciate you pointing that out and your enthusiasm about the outcome. I look forward to gradually rehabilitating myself and hopefully get the strength back in my legs I once had. ;-)

Anonymous said...

My DH tore his ACL doing Judo, his grounded leg got caught in the mat....Although he could walk and his leg seemed decent they decided on surgery. The recovery process was huge, he even had to learn how to walk all over again, he was helpless and crippled. In total it took him 12 months to become active again. For him the goal was to have a leg that was as close to perfect and normal as possible as he will alway be an active person. The inner and outer strength he gained through the recovery process was life changing. After going through a period where he had no use of his leg and having to retrain those muscles to walk...he injured leg was literally half the size of his normal leg...After recovering he was able to become nationally ranked in Brazilian Jujits, Join the Army, become a Green Beret, halo jump, compeat in a triathlon, get his RKC cert, and many other accomplishments all in a four year period he recovered, and despite having pins in his knee. All this because of the lessons and determination he gained through that arduous recovery process. I know ever case is different but don't be afraid of not the surgery but from starting from zero you are the type of person like my DH that would use it to motivate you and thrust yourself in to even greater physical and mental accomplishments. That said good luck and God bless.

Anonymous said...

My DH tore his ACL doing Judo, his grounded leg got caught in the mat....Although he could walk and his leg seemed decent they decided on surgery. The recovery process was huge, he even had to learn how to walk all over again, he was helpless and crippled. In total it took him 12 months to become active again. For him the goal was to have a leg that was as close to perfect and normal as possible as he will alway be an active person. The inner and outer strength he gained through the recovery process was life changing. After going through a period where he had no use of his leg and having to retrain those muscles to walk...he injured leg was literally half the size of his normal leg...After recovering he was able to become nationally ranked in Brazilian Jujits, Join the Army, become a Green Beret, halo jump, compeat in a triathlon, get his RKC cert, and many other accomplishments all in a four year period he recovered, and despite having pins in his knee. All this because of the lessons and determination he gained through that arduous recovery process. I know ever case is different but don't be afraid of not the surgery but from starting from zero you are the type of person like my DH that would use it to motivate you and thrust yourself in to even greater physical and mental accomplishments. That said good luck and God bless.

Deanmc said...

Best of luck in your recovery.. I stumbled upon this blog, I'm having knee problems myself but nothing as serious as yours!

Anonymous said...

Lauren, I was wondering what you had decided to do...
I tore my ACL several years ago, had reconstructive surgery and it was a difficult recovery but I was determined to get myself back to my starting point. I do think those of us who already see fitness as a huge priority have an easier time.
I ran a 5k 3 months after surgery just to prove to myself I could. I haven't lloked beck since!
I wish you the best!

Jo said...

So so so happy for you! In 1999, I had a lateral release on my left knee and, while I have worked my way back to full strength, I really wish I would have sought a second opinion (Preferably from someone who didn't immediately suggest surgery).


KB's and the TRX are my heroes as well.

Happy Sunday!

Jen said...

You are so inspiring, Lauren! For you to still be in such great shape despite an injury is just amazing. Best of luck to you and I'm happy to hear you don't have to have surgery. Hopefully you won't ever have to have it :).

Anonymous said...

Hi Lauren,

So glad to hear you are doing well. I've had knee issues myself the last six months but no where as bad as your injury. No rush but I wanted to ask what you had decided to do about volume 3? The holidays will be here before long. Just wanted to know if I needed to put it on my wishlist!

Lauren said...

Thanks again everyone for your kind words!

Yes I did decide to go through with the filming of Volume 3. If all goes to plan it should be out before Christmas. ;-)

We are in the final editing stages, but still have quite a bit more work to do.

Pensguys said...

YEA for no surgery and YEA for a new KB video!!! I bought video #2 and have been incorporating it into my running routine. I've noticed SO much core stability now when I run...MUCH more than before. My legs are stronger too. It has REALLY helped my running times and endurance (ran a 22 miler this weekend). I've made quite a few diet changes too and all 3 together have shown me HUGE benefits.

MrOG37 said...

Lauren,
So sorry to hear about the torn ACL, but glad to hear of your progress and that you are comfortable with your current course of action.

I'm 6 weeks post-op for my own ACL reconstruction (I tore the meniscus too). In the end, I decided to have the surgery for two reasons: 1) so I could return to lacrosse, Crossfit, heavy lifting, etc. without having to think about the knee or wear a brace, and 2) so I could stave off arthritic changes in the knee when the ACL is missing and the meniscus is forced to take more of the load in stabilizing the knee.

I have seen your blog before and your training materials and advice are awesome. Question for you - what KB exercises have you been doing/are you allowed to do with the torn ACL? I had started doing some swings again the last couple of weeks, but my physical therapist recommended against them as he thought they might place too much stress on the ACL graft. Besides seated presses, what else are you able to do?

Thanks and Best of Luck with your continued recovery.

Anonymous said...

I am 2.5 months post ACL (cadaver, two meniscus tears, patella back cleaned up, and cartilage reconstruct). First month was brutal, but past that hump it gets better. Wish you would consider putting together a workout specific to those of use rehabbing. I have your (green cover) DVD and am itching to start back up. But after a while PT get monotonous and looking for a way to add zip back in the workout without being destructive to the ACL work.

Josette