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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    New York City
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    Coming Off ACL Reconstruction - Return to Skiing Fitness Plan & Tests?

    Howdy Folks,

    I (27, M, advanced skier) am currently plotting my comeback from a complete ACL tear on 1/18/20 and a repair with the Patella tendon on 2/18/20. I am planning on abstaining from skiing until 1/18/21 - 11 months post-op. Then slowly easing back into it and putting most of my big trips in the later months of the ski season (March, April, and even May).

    In terms of where I am at physically, my routine is probably the best gauge:
    • Running 1-1.5 miles 2x per week
    • Biking 30 miles x1 per week
    • Walking 1 mile 3x per week
    • Hiking 3-6 miles 3x a month


    I am no longer seeing a physical therapist. Stopped about two months ago. I felt I was not seeing much growth/gain and doing the same 10 exercises in his gym to the tune of $50 per session after insurance. Plus I absolutely loathe going to the gym but will do outdoor activities to no end. After stopping the PT and picking up more outdoor activities my surgeon stated that the amount of physical activity I was doing was as good as any PT training that could be done.

    As the first snowfalls of the year have come at Utah and CO, the stoke is real with this guy. I've picked up some Moment PB&J's and Atomic Bentchetler 120's in the offseason as a means to help keep a positive outlook and I am pumped to try em out.

    I am looking for return-to-ski fitness activities, plans, tests, exercises, etc. to help ensure I will be as ready as possible come MLK weekend this winter. Does anyone have anything they can recommend that they are either currently using to help them recover or used in the past for a successful recovery?

    Thanks for y'alls input!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Last Best City in the Last Best Place
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    Most people start skiing sooner than 11 months. I started at 8 months. My suggestion is keep hiking hills for now, and get a good pair of groomer skis so you can spend 6-8 weeks skiing blue runs before MLK and the heart of the season. Good luck mang.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    New York City
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    I am located in NYC so really MLK weekend is the first weekend with a good volume of snow anyway, so I have no problem holding off until then.

    How did you feel overall the first season back? Do you feel like you made a full recovery by the 1yr mark?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    西 雅 圖
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    Quote Originally Posted by topher23 View Post
    How did you feel overall the first season back? Do you feel like you made a full recovery by the 1yr mark?
    I followed pretty much the same PT routine, minus the running and with more biking.

    I started skiing last December 30th @ 7.5 months. Took it very easily, just skiing groomers for the first month and shooting for 0% chance of falling. Everything went well, and I gradually worked up to skiing most everything at the ski area confidently by the COVID closure in March. Certain things still hurt by spring - chattery ice, tracked up knee deep, landing jumps, and uphill kickturns while touring. The knee felt plenty strong by 1 year, but not 100% in terms of mobility, I'd say it was functionally nearly as good as new by 15 months, just a few more clicks and some swelling around the patella when I overdo it.

    Not sure if trying to do it all faster is realistic. I suppose it might work if I were younger, a full-time pro athlete doing 3x PT sessions daily with an ice machine (I did have one), compression and electro-stim, but some things just take time and this may be one.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by topher23 View Post
    How did you feel overall the first season back? Do you feel like you made a full recovery by the 1yr mark?
    First season back I felt grateful as hell to be skiing anything at all, just to be on the mountain. First run was a mindfuck. I took the magic carpet and did the flattest green run on the mountain. But after 3 turns I was like, oh yeah, I remember how to do this. From then on my progression was similar to GregL. Groomers for weeks and eventually was skiing all mountain at Big Sky. Chattery conditions made it ache. Also, heavier skis made it ache. I bought a pair of lightweight Solomon groomer skis, Q90's, I think, and they were great. Every time I took my 105s or larger out I could really feel it in the knee. But eventually I got used to the heavier skis again. It probably took me two years before I felt fully back to normal, but that doesn't mean I couldn't ski pretty hard. I wore a brace for a couple years too. Not everybody does. Eventually I weaned myself off that. Just listen to your body. Don't do anything stupid, there's no rush. Enjoy being back on the mountain. Beware of flat light and shitfuck icy conditions. Hitting an unseen dip or mogul in flat light can really set you back. I remember my PT always said to me, when I would ask her if I could hike or go hunting or whatever, "Sure, but don't step in a gopher hole!" Hyperextending like that is dangerous during your first year.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Denver, CO
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    556
    I skied 5 months post op and took it easy for the 1st few runs but quickly gained my confidence in the knee by end of the day. I was single in those days and spent an absurd amount of time in the gym, particularly on the bike and doing leg presses. When watching TV Iíd either be stretching or manipulating the kneecap to reduce scaring.

    Everyone is different...I feel pretty fortunate that I had a clean break with no meniscus damage. I even bought a snowboard setup thinking skiing would be too risky but quickly got bored. Even though it was over 15 years ago, Iím still very wary about crowded resorts...donít want some gaper side-swiping me.

    Good luck.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Swiss alps
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    598
    Train your hamstrings, heavy eccentrics are the best in protecting your acl.
    There is a strong correlation between quad/hamstring imbalance and acl tears iíve been told.
    I strength trained the shit out of my legs after my acl repair and felt great back on snow after 8 months

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    643
    i did my PCL, no surgery. I skied groomers about 4 months out. I took it easy but it felt fine. 6 months out, I was skiing deep pow on steeps. it was mentally scary (in terms of possibly re-injuring my knee) but physically felt fine. pandemic cut the season so I didn't find out how it felt later. wasn't in the mood for backcountry last season. I'm a year out now, daily life and hiking and biking it feels normal.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    137
    Did mine later than you so can't give advice but "PT Approved" plan at the moment, 1 month out from being able to start pliometric stuff is to smash that as much as I can in October November.

    When/If the season starts I plan to do a lot of skinning up over December, January, February with a lot of piste skiing so I can hopefully ski "properly" in March April (which would be months 11 & 12 Post Op, cos Corona).

    I'm with UK Physio though at the moment and plan on seeing a French/Swiss Physio for guidance as I get back. 1 session a month works for me, he just gives me a month long program. (But yeah, i get way more out of the cycling/walking and keep the running/physio to after work evenings)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
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    22,244
    Surgery on tuesday , so I'm curious what getting around in the first month will look like in terms of mobility, crutches I assume, i got a cryocuff and I think I got all the getting ready for winter things done
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  11. #11
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    Sep 2005
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    Wasatch Back: 7000'
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    From now until mid-January, I would hike up as many "mountains" or hills that upstate NY has to offer. Maybe weekends in the Presidentials. Stretch...a lot. Do whatever you can to increase thigh and especially quad strength. Wall squats are great. Balancing exercises always help. Stay on groomers for a few weeks. Skiing crud and ski deflection can stop you in your tracks.
    ďA society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.Ē
    ― Milton Friedman

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    137
    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    Surgery on tuesday , so I'm curious what getting around in the first month will look like in terms of mobility, crutches I assume, i got a cryocuff and I think I got all the getting ready for winter things done
    They'll have you up on crutches as soon as the drains are out (if you have them). First 2 weeks is 20% body weight bearing on the bad leg working on more and more.

    Crutches should be done with after 2. That's the swiss way, at least. Do what your guys tell you tho.

    Everything will be slow and tender for the first week. Find something to watch on netflix. Ice is as much as you can. Do the physio as much as you can - start getting into the habit of doing that as much as possible. After 2 weeks you'll be able to limp round and "function" as normal

    best tip I got from the boys here was kick the Oxycontin ASAP

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
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    yeah thanx for that ^^ info

    I got cut this morning at 8am and its not feeling so bad, ACL reconstruction with the tendon graft & clean up the meniscus, the surgeon said it went well

    I didnt even bother with the heavy duty shit until 3pm, I haven't bothered with the cryo cuff, its actulay way less painful than the original injury which wasn't that bad either ... I think this is gona be OK.


    basement tennat took me to hospitol & is bringing up dinner in 1/2 and hr ... I think this is gona be OK
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Last Best City in the Last Best Place
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    My first couple days were pretty miserable, once the anesthesia wore off. Be prepared for that tonight. If you need pain pills for a week or so, make sure you take Colace at the same time. Trust me... being plugged up can really compound your unhappiness. Good luck man. Read some good books.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Down on Electric Avenue
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    2,290
    My first few days were better than expected. Take the oxys for the prescribed time, def do some BM assist and use the cuff for inflammation or not.
    And just chill out.
    Give it a rest, you'll benefit from that. I got the same surg on a friday and had my 1st PT sesh on weds. after. Then get into some rehab sessions/program and regain full range of movement before strengthening.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    northern BC
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    yesturday was pretty ok it hurts more today than yesturday, on the meds, cranked up the cuff

    mtn biking was good for the knee this spring, Im thinking of buying a fat bike to ride this winter for PT & rehab and something to quit going crazy
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    Down on Electric Avenue
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    I was advised by mags to not get behind the curve with the oxys. take them immediately and diligently. Maybe if you didn't get them in ya correctly yesterday, yer paying a little today?

    I'm not a pill guy per se, so getting hooked was not even an idea for me.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    northern BC
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    maybe a bit, the pain isnt really bad not any worse than the original injury

    I got hydro morphine ( AKA the Cadillac ride ) tramadol, low does aspirin, pure cbd and many cases of wine ... doing fine
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    137
    Ha ha, it's funny how different countires deal with the same thing.

    In CH you get kept in for a few days (makes the insurance you've paid feel less painful) so I can imagine that getting home and not having all the random crap the nurses have to make it comfortable results in a lot more pain.

    I also had no meniscus damage so I could get going ASAP. that's a big difference between us.

    First outside run tonight. It hasn't helped me not hate running...

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
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    The surgeon is actualy from the big town 4 hrs east so he was here to knock off 5 procedures,

    I was 1st up at 7am, home by 2pm someone does have to sign you out and promise to stay with you but once yer out yer out, my Tenant is bringing up meals

    Of course we pay for universal HC with our taxes but so far this has not cost me any out of pocket $$$$

    Pain wise the day of surgery was fine I assume becuz of whatever residual drugs they pumped into me but day 2 and 3 were not SO I would have to say get on the morphine/Tramadol even if it doesnt hurt cuz it will, i think i got enough morphine in me now
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    137
    The ridiculous thing is that becasue it was an accident, the 'illness insurance' that I pay monthly didn't cover it. It was all covered under Accident Insurance which is paid for by your employer...???

    On the NHS in GB, you're in and out in the same day. I can imagine you need some hardcore pills to put you to sleep then. I guess I'd still have to pay for a Physio though.

    Anyway, the next thing you'll get is the constant paranoia that you've re-torn the graft again. Enjoy!

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
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    we just give the admitting clerk a health ID # they ask your date of birth and you got service,

    They are talking 6-8 months rehab which means I might get some skiing but I am just going to stop skiing till next year do some good rehab on the bikes and I got the new fat bike for that

    we do pay for physio up here but my health plan will cover it and the drugs

    the surgeon is a biker and just blew his ACL so he knows whats up
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    the gach
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    For me after the first couple days it wasnít the pain that was bothering me it was just discomfort. Fucking miserable. My pops brought me a vape pen and a heavy indica cartridge and that was better than the oxy.

    I had surgery on the 23 of feb this year and was killing it on PT until my summer job started then i just didnít have time or energy to do it. Was actually really good then I tore my calf on good leg and started going downhill after that. Got my calf healed then went on a moose hunt and that really fucked the knee back up. Was weeks ago and Iím still hobbling around.

    Been spinning at no resistance on the bike and doing my basic exercises again but Iím super worried I wonít be able to ski. If this El NiŮo works out it should be a good season finally. Gotta get a short light pair of skis to cruise on.
    But Ellen kicks ass - if she had a beard it would be much more haggard. -Jer

  24. #24
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    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
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    I guess YMMV cuz I found it painful without the morphine, I'm almost out so then its on to the tramadol

    better have another shot of laxitive
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    137
    Yer, more than a week to get over the constipation wasn't great...

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