WEEK THREE!! post ACL Surgery

Ok… here we go… week three. Over the past two weeks I did a great job babying my knee. No weight for two weeks kept the swelling down to a minimum. I Managed to get around pretty good on crutches over the past few weeks…. but now it was time to say goodbye to the helpful sticks under my arms. I hit up thereapy at the great Howard Head physical therapy center at the beginning of week three. My two therapists Kristen and Barb, basically slapped me upside the head and asked me why I was still using cruthes with NO weight on my bum leg. Hmmmmph…. Apparently I was allowed to put 50% of weight on “Rolley” (Rolley is my knee, I named it). Did not know that I had the OK to put weight on my knee around mid way through the 2nd week. So skip the 50% weight bearing stage and let’s just jump into 100% weight on Rolley, and heck why don’t you try walking. Kind of scary…. but after the muslces remembered their role I was limping around the PT clinic.
My instructions for the next few days where to use one crutch opposite of the bum leg and work on full extension while I step out. Tough task ahead me I came to realize quite quickly as my kinked leg liked it current position.
The goals for week 3-
1. To obtain 0 degrees while sitting on the floor. (basically to have full leg extension completly straight while at a resting sitting position on the floor.
2. To get my range of motion to approx 120 degrees.
3. Reduce the swelling.
4. Walking without a limp.
The problem- Very quickly I became mobile with 1 crutch and 3 days into week three no crutches…..but with the mobililty I gained, also brought a ton of swelling. Huge problem. With the swelling I was unable to progress with my range of motion and full leg extension. I actually degressed within just a few days of being 100% on my leg. Kind of bummed me to be honest. Quickly I tackled the swelling, tons of ice and basically stayed off it for two straight days. Tons of PT, ICE and Rest put me right on schedule as far as my progress goes. (Oh, I also did a ton of massaging to my own knee cap to break up the scar tissue, very helpful)
Happy to be where I am at right now but I did learn the hard way from my AMAZING therapist, Kristen, who quickly put in my place once I lost control of my swelling and my range of motion degressed. I will be sure to stay on top of it this week and hopefully the weeks to come.

WEEK TWO-After ACL Surgery

The second week after ACL surgery was basically all about Physical Therapy. A typical day consists of: Morning PT for about 45 minutes, which consisted of massaging my knee cap (which breaks up scar tissue), quad raises, the dreaded wall slides (working on extension and range of motion) and finally some light squats. After I finish my exercises, ICE!! Then I usually wait 30 mins and ICE again. I have come to the conclusion that ICE and elevation are extremely essential to my recovery. I notice a huge difference with my swelling level when I skip an ice session. I repeat these steps approx 3 to 4 times a day. When it’s time to hop in bed….I hook up the CPM machine (Continuous Passive Movement) and rock it through the night. The CPM machine, a component that you strap your whole leg in… and it moves your leg from a straight position to a bent position. Back and forth, and back and forth. There are different speed and flex settings that you can adjust the machine too. Not my favorite part of the day.
Towards the end of the week I had a visit my therapist. NOT GOOD! My therapist took one look at my knee/leg and I knew I was in trouble. Yup!! She whooped me into shape pretty quickly. Apparently I was not pushing it hard enough in my PT at home. My range of motion was only about 90 degrees where it should be 110 degrees by the second week. Also I was not able to extend my leg into a straight position (0 degrees). I was not happy. Especially since I have been doing PT 3-4 times a day!! What the…Two main reasons why I was not at 110 degrees and not able to have a straight leg: I was not pushing through the pain in my personal PT, and second, I become much more mobile the second week and was on my feet which resulted in swelling in the knee. I walked out of PT and was pissed. I took the next two days off from being on my feet and basically PTed around the clock. No worries….125 degrees in 36 hours. Back on track and hopped on a bike today.
Words of advice- You will not hurt yourself, PUSH yourself in the PT!! And ice, ice and ice!!

WEEK ONE after ACL Surgery

The first week after ACL surgery was quite the roller coaster. Having NO idea what to expect, all considering it went ok…. not good but rather just ok. Bam…. next day I was off to rehab. I had a thousand questions for the therapist and surprisingly left there feeling good. OF COURSE I felt good, it was the fact that I had a nerve block tapped into my femoral artery that distracted me from what my body should really feel. The nerve block’s purpose is basically to limit the amount of feeling from the groin down. Leaving the hospital with a little fannie pack filled with anesthesia that was on a drip to my femoral artery was unexpected…. in hindsight…. a gift from heaven. BUT.. beware future ACL surgerical repaired paitents, once your fannie pack of anesthesia is gone, typically 3 days after surgery, your’re in for a rude awakening. I took a look at my little anesthesia ball only to find it was empty which meant it was time to remove the IV from your femoral artery. Seems scary and a little bit unnerving, but not a big deal. The IV is a little bigger then your floss you use at home and it simply just slides right out and you feeling nothing. Once my nerve block was removed, pain, pain and more pain. Time to up the pain meds. I am not a huge fan of the heavy pain realivers, but became one for a few days.
I was told to keep up on my pain meds religiously. If you skip a dose or are late even by a half hour…. plan on pain. I learned real quick to keep up on my pain meds the first few days. Once the nerve block runs out, expect more pain. I actually ended up giving my doc a shout on the phone and he gave me the OK to up my pain killer dose.
OK!! As much as I loved the pain meds… ON day 5 the pain disappeared and in came the nausea. To my knowledge the pain meds made me sick to my stomach. Ahhhh it was awful. Day 6 was the last day I took a pain pill.
I want to throw out a thank you to my 2 sisters and brother in law. The first week I was completly laid out and not able to do anything on my own. It is pretty crazy that your once powerful leg turns complety into just a slab of meat. Literally my awesome sister’s and bro had to physically pick up my leg and move it every time I had to move. There was no way the first week that I could use my own leg muscles to move my leg. Thank you fam. If you are going to have ACL surgery or already had it and have questions, post a comment and I would love to get back to you.
Tommy Gogolen

US Team Member Tommy Gogolen suffers knee injury

While playing soccer a couple of weeks ago, Tommy had a freak hit from a fellow competitor which tore his ACL. Fortunately he was refered to Dr. Tom Hackett in Vail who has performed surgery on a number of professional athletes. Tommy is already rehabing and hopes to be on a stationary bike this week, which would be ahead of schedule. He hopes to return in February, giving him a goal for rehab of 6 months. Injury and rehab are not a new situation for Tommy and he is looking to return stronger and more motivated than ever.