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Month 3-5: progression!

Long time no see. Welcome back to my acl journey. First things first: In March, I had a second knee surgery. In my last blog, I told you about difficulties with extension. My doctor had suggested a treatment with cortisone. That helped a little bit but it didn’t make a big change. The second surgery removed scar tissue inside my knee. A so-called cyclops had been the reason why I wasn’t able to fully extend my knee. Long story short: surgery had been successfully.

Changing physiotherapy a second time: The best decision

In February, a few weeks before the surgery, I had an appointment with another physio. At that point of time, I only knew pain. One of the worst things: it affected my sleep enormously. I had an appointment for 30 minutes and the treatment was so different to every treatment before. It was painful, yes – but afterwards I felt that my whole body reacted positively. The treatment wasn’t only focused on the knee (like it was with the first 2 physiotherapists I’ve been to) and I believe that this is a game changer. Afterwards extension and flexion was a little bit better, my sleep improved for the very first time after the first surgery (which had been in November!). I was so grateful – and I thought: If 30 minutes are able to reduce pain so effectively, then this is the place where I need to be. It was the easiest decision ever. I changed physio a second time. And now – almost 5 months afterwards – I can say that it wasn’t only the easiest decision but also the best.

ACL exercises

Walking without crutches and gaining back confidence

Four days after surgery I made the first steps without crutches. Seven days after surgery I
walked without them. Extension and flexion improved day by day. The fact that things didn’t go according to plan after the first operation haunted me for a while. I was afraid that scar tissue would form in my knee again. This fear stayed with me for a few weeks. I needed to learn to trust the process. And, thanks to my physio and to my coaches, I gained back confidence. The progress that was made every time I had an appointment and every time we trained meant a lot to me. Flexion and extension got better and better every day.

ACL footwork drills

AlterG and strength tests

Around two weeks after surgery I started walking in AlterG. This is an anti-gravity-treadmill with the possibility to adjust body weight. We started off with walking with 20% body weight and increased it over time. In the middle of May I started running in AlterG. Five months after surgery I’m running with 80% body weight.
Also in May I had the first strength test which showed a big strength difference between right and left quadriceps. We worked a lot on that. Single leg squats, squats, lunges, Bulgarian split squats and so on and so on. At the beginning I almost only did the exercises with my own body weight, over time we added weights and I was able to improve a lot here as well. In July I had another strength test, the third one will follow in the middle of September.

Coordination ladder, skill court and football

Since the start of August, the coordination ladder is part of my training again. What a feeling! Besides that, I also train on a so-called skill court. Touching a football, keeping it up and passing it feels really incredible as well. The exercises I do are getting more and more dynamic. Little jumps from one leg to the other are one of my latest achievements.

Conclusion after 5 months

Small steps add up. I’m super happy with the progress after my second surgery. I know that strength-wise there’s still a difference between left and right but keeping in mind that I had two surgeries instead of one I believe that finally I’m on the right track. There’s progress every single week. Training is exhausting, but I’m learning to love to lift weights. Running is such a privilege. I can’t wait to run outside and I can’t wait to join training with my team. Never the less there’s no hurry. I’m taking the time my knee needs. Sometimes there’s still a little bit of pain. And still there are some percentages of flexion are missing but that’ll come with time. I just keep working. And I’m incredibly grateful for having an amazing physio and amazing coaches. I know: I will be back better, that’s the main aim – and I’m convinced now that this is possible.

See you soon.

Will be continued.