Monday, November 26, 2012

Post ACL Reconstruction: Nearly 5 Months

Back in the first week of July, I had my knee reconstructed.
Initially, according to the MRI I had a complete ACL tear, Meniscus tear, and fracted my leg as well.
By the time I had surgery 9 months later (having competed and won in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the meantime), the fracture and Meniscus tear had healed.
I had surgery on a Tuesday, and the following Saturday was the first time I left the house: to see Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen II.

That being said, I've been remiss about posting my post-op recovery timeline.

In short, at 3 months I was back working my escapes from knee mount, side control, basic movement, defending with  my back taken et cetera.

At 4 months I was beginning to work passing the guard partners with about 50% resistance or more. I can only pass to my left side and I would have to occasionally reset if my weaker leg gets put in half-guard, but did not feel comfortable taking the back nor mount.

At nearly 5 months, I can step into mount and take the back, but my weaker leg is just in position, applying no pressure and I'm often swept back to guard.

At 5 months, I still cannot lock my guard nor do I feel comfortable doing so, but with smart and same sized training partners I've done a surprising amount of Jiu-Jitsu over the past 2 months.

When I read online about all the horror stories regarding coming back from ACL reconstruction, I envisioned 6 months of no Jiu-Jitsu which was truly difficult to accept.

The truth, for me, was that at 3 months I began getting back on the mats in a very, very limited fashion. Now, at 5 months, by training smart, I'm getting about 20-30 min's of rolling in a day and working on positions I heretofore had not often address: namely Spiral or Reverse De La Riva guard.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Interestingly enough, my knee that had the surgery, overall feels better than my other knee.

If you've had a bad knee injury, or a nagging injury, you owe it to yourself and your long-term Jiu-Jitsu to get it looked at and diagnosed.

I went to several surgeons to find the one with the right experience, type of surgery, and bedside manner that best suited me.

I will be officially cleared for sport at the start of January. Based on how I'm feeling and my general recovery of strength and muscle in my leg, I think I will be back competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at about the 9 month mark. It will likely be a full year before I feel comfortable competing in Judo again.

Having read about other high level grapplers who came back to soon and had problems for years following, I am in no rush to compete again and take each day on the mats as a gift for which I am thankful.


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  2. glad it's helped someone out there.
    there's a lot of information about methods and types of grafts and studies, but not a whole lot from actual patients and their recovery timelines. if there's anything else i can help with so make more information available to others out there, let me know.