ACL Recovery time

JayproJaypro Posts: 95 Baller
Hey ballers, I am going to have an ACL Reconstruction November 9th. I was wondering if anyone of you have had the acl graft and how long before you were on water again?


  • FSSPCatFSSPCat Posts: 53 Baller
    I haven't had a reconstruction but had 2 patellar dislocations. My wife had a total reconstruction. It is really different for everyone, but I would say pay really close attention to your nutritional intake, and your physiotherapy. Make sure that you don't go overboard too soon, and really stick to a strict PT program. I believe typical recovery is usually around 6-8 months, but could be sooner.
  • bigskieridahobigskieridaho Posts: 570 Crazy Baller
    Tore my ACL, MCL, and Meniscus and it took 4-6 months to recover. Just hit the PT hard and you will be good.
  • ricorico Posts: 29 Baller
    @Jaypro I had ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair 10 years ago. Recovery time depends on your level of fitness and age, however I would say less than 6 month before water time could mean risk.
    The ACL repair came a long way they place the graft is less vertical improving knee stability.
    2 Key things from my experience is getting as much movement before surgery. If you can't bend your knee fully before surgery, it is unlikely you will have full movement after if ever.
    The second is PT. Don't wait. The day after surgery as much as possible will make a massive difference. There are plenty of PT exercices that you can do including stationary bike...
    Finally get a brace for when going back to the water. this is not for support but for preventing knee rotation to the point of re-injury. It is also great for confidence. Common brands are DonJoy, Breg, CTi.
    Eric Francois - Studio City, CA - 2018 Vapor Pro Build - Reflex Super /R Style
  • FraserFraser Posts: 8 Baller
    Very interesting topic. I am in Canada and our system is more passive than other countries when it comes to this type of surgery. Currently I am 40 and have what I recently found out is a torn ACL for likely the last 2 years. I have skied and been very active over this time frame, running, water skiing, working out and playing hockey. I know my physical condition has allowed me to do this. I am also dealing with a meniscus tear too which is more of a hindrance at this time. Everyone is different but I fortunately have very good stability --considering.

    Recovery from what I have learned is about 9-12 months for the ACL surgery (spoke with 3 surgeons). Athletes can get it done sooner (7 months or so), but for the average person it can be almost a year to full recovery depending on age.

    At this point I am focused on PT and staying active. My long term plan is to treat either the pain or instability, and currently I am good in both areas. That said I am not naïve to think I will not need some form of surgery down the road or even a knee replacement. Yes I am currently getting a DonJoy brace fitted as a few other non ACLers are using them for skiing both on the water and downhill.

    Keep us posted on your progress and I am happy to share mine should anyone feel it would help their decisions or strategy for dealing with such a common injury.

  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 79 Baller
    I've never had an ACL surgery but have been through two foot surgeries and will have another in the next year or so. In my experience it's best to follow whatever your doc and PT say. It only takes one fall to undo what your surgeon fixed so take it slow and remember that one year off is worth all the time and money saved not having a second ACL surgery.
  • ZmanZman Posts: 955 Crazy Baller
    edited October 11
    Had ACL reconstruction at age 61. With excellent PT guided by a sports therapist, I was back in the course at 6 months and 1 week. I solidly passed Biodex leg strength testing first. And, like a previous post mentioned, I wore a Donjoy brace for about 5 months. Do use a sports therapist because you can do too little, or too much, or simply do things that are bad for your graft.
    You still have several weeks and should do as much leg strength and ROM work that you can get in before surgery. Especially focus on the same exercises you will do in post surgery rehab. Work hard on quad strength and full knee extension.
    Do you know which graft you are going with? Patella tendon, or hamstring? I went with the two hamstring graft, and very glad I did.
    Blood type IPA
  • JayproJaypro Posts: 95 Baller
    @Zman I haven't decided on the graft, hamstring or cadaver. I am focused on quad strength and ROM. 6 months gets me to June. So probably missing most of early summer just getting back on the ski I bet.
  • AdamCordAdamCord Posts: 461 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    edited October 11
    I had an ACL reconstruction via patellar graft 2 years ago. With a lot of work I was skiing 3 months after surgery and was "fully" recovered by 8 months. I use quotations because I'm not sure you can ever truly fully recover from something like this, but I have no issues running and skiing
  • JayproJaypro Posts: 95 Baller
    @AdamCord , as I live in Vermont, we won't be skiing before may. That gives me 6 months. I will hit the PT hard and hopefully ready to go for May 1.
  • JWebSkiJWebSki Posts: 86 Baller
    I tore my ACL and MCL in a jump crash last summer. I had ACL surgery with patellar graft. It was 6 months before I started to slalom and trick and 10 months before I started to jump again. I cannot agree more with just how important the PT is to your recovery
  • JayproJaypro Posts: 95 Baller
    Did any of you switch to a releasable binding?
  • MSMS Posts: 4,285 Mega Baller
    @Jaypro I tore mine on Jan 10th when I was age 42. I had it replaced with a cadaver on Jan 23rd and skied nationals in Aug. I was on the water skiing 22/28 off in June. The cadaver route is less invasive and recovery time is quicker. You will feel very good in a few weeks if you follow a good PT program but from 3-6 months out the ACL is very weak due to cell regeneration. At that point it is very porous and your own cells have not yet taken over. You need to be very careful to not re-injure it at this point. The hardest part of recovering from the patellar or hamstring graft is healing the place where they remove them from.

    Good luck with your recovery
    Shut up and ski
  • WaterSkier12WaterSkier12 Posts: 101 Baller
    Depends on a lot of things as already stated
    Graft selection is a big decision for you. If you and your surgeon elect hamstring, patellar tendon or quad tendon autograft, initial recovery will be a bit longer but graft incorporation will be much quicker than a cadaver allograft.
    PM me if you would like
    And yes, I do all types depending on the patient
    Good luck with your surgery!
  • ZmanZman Posts: 955 Crazy Baller
    edited October 17
    Only other advice I have is to not think so much of the activities you might be missing out on as you recover. Focus on rehab as your new passion. Small strides at first, but then as you progress you will find a lot of satisfaction in how much more you can do, more ROM, and more strength you gain each time you do your therapy and workouts.
    Getting back on the water is your end game, and your motivation.
    Best of luck to you @Jaypro
    Give us an update after your upcoming surgery.
    Blood type IPA
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 79 Baller
    Listen to @Zman

    PT can be painful but even worse is the mental game. Keep yourself positive and you will get better faster. Keep things in perspective, 50 years ago you would be sidelined. Do what you have to now so you have years of fun in the water. Good luck!
  • JayproJaypro Posts: 95 Baller
    thanks @Zman and @vtmecheng. I am motivated to get on the water for June!!! The water is cold until the middle of May here in Northern Vermont, I would just be missing wetsuit ski days....
  • epnaultepnault Posts: 125 Baller
    I had ACL surgeries in the 90s. Back then the preferred path was the patella graph and I have to say my knees are very strong. I would strongly consider the patella graph as I have heard the other graphs are weaker over time. There seemed to be a trend to not use the patella for a while because the recovery was harder and longer. Back then I was playing college football and had trainers that got me back on the field in 4 to 5 months. The key is to have a focused trainer that is focused on getting your range of motion back as soon as possible. This is a painful process and takes hard work. This is where most fail to get back to before injury form. So like most stated rehab is so critical not only in the time of recovery but your performance after. I wish you the best on your recovery.
  • customskicustomski Posts: 37 Baller
    I had ACL reconstruction at 37 years old, Pt very important, I used the stationary bike a lot and was back at work fairly quickly (one month) but i wished I had stretched and got a better range of motion earlier. Its still limited ten years later.
    I had a slalom at 3 months, but that didnt feel right and is a vulnerable time, at 4 months though with a Cti brace I was back on the ski and going to tournaments. Six months should be plenty of time. I also enjoyed the recovery period and have trained better/more consistently ever since.
  • customskicustomski Posts: 37 Baller
    I switched from rtp to double boots shortly after getting back on the ski and being my back knee i found the back boot more supportive and less load/swelling from the knee as a result.
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 433 Baller
    edited October 19
    @customski Good point. After recent injury (half torn ACL and brocken tib) I also decided to move from RTP to rear boot (Vector w/o or loose upper laces). I think that this setup may reduce chances for flat rotation of front knee.
  • cragginshredcragginshred Posts: 639 Crazy Baller
    edited October 19
    From my clinical PT experience late spring skiing would be realistic. Generally one year is the timeline for 'most' people. Skiers are generally way more fit so spring would be fully doable. Adam is a rare exception!
    Vapor pro 2017
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,145 Crazy Baller
    @cragginshred - have you worked much with full knee replacement patients? Planning on getting my rt. knee done around Feb 1. Realistic to be back on the water by ? May? June? 2019? I will work hard at PT.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • cragginshredcragginshred Posts: 639 Crazy Baller
    edited October 19
    @jimbrake yes on a daily basis. Have they discussed the 'uni' or partial knee option? Way faster rehab time, but there is a lifespan to them. Either way you will be skiing by May or June 2018 for sure!
    Vapor pro 2017
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,145 Crazy Baller
    @cragginshred - yeah, the partial seems to not be a good option for me. I'm hoping I get a good 20 years on this one and by then that I can just get a new one from Amazon and then my doc can install it with his smart phone.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
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