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  1. #1
    AOF
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    Do I have to stop SSing? (ACL reconstruction)

    I have been SSing for about 5 years, and this fall I tore my ACL playing football.

    I had the surgery about 3 weeks ago, and I have been thinking that when I get the green light to mountain bike again this spring (hopefully) that I will have to convert my bike to geared.

    My PT thinks this would put too much stress on my knee.

    Any SS mountain biking orthos out there that can offer an opinion?

    -Dan
    Southern NH NEMBA & My LBS & My Blog & Single Speed Alliance

    Take advantage of every opportunity to ride your bicycle!

  2. #2
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    Came off a different surgery from a bad minisucal tear, and was told that smooth, consistent spinning would be best for PT. I stayed off the mtn bike entirely for a few months and just rode the road bike. Worked well, I recovered quickly with no setbacks. IMHO it's not worth it to risk slowing or inhibiting your recovery. Don't push it.
    If you're intent on riding the SS, take it easy and stick to the flats for a while.

    I'm not a doc, just sharing my experience and .02

  3. #3
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    I have done my ACL not once but twice. I don't think that I need to tell you that you will not be on the SS for quite a while. You will need to start with gears and work your way back up to SS fitness.
    I would say it takes a good 7-8 months before I would get back on the SS and probably a year before you can say you feel "normal".

    My doc and PT both are good blokes who understand that the level of fitness I had pre surgery helped a ton in the recovery process. They both said I could push it as hard as I wanted, there was no more damage I could do by riding. You may be different if you have meniscus issues as well. I have been banned by both of them from any sport that isn't cycling.

    Get ready for a state of not-quite-pain but at least uncomfortable for some time to come.

    Stretch often.

    I am 4yrs post surgery and I will still wake up with pain occasionally, it goes away but it is never really gone. Walking long distances is much harder than riding and I think that the SS has been a big part of keeping the joint strong and stable which is the most important thing.

    Tell your PT to stick it, most of their protocols are written for the lowest common denominator-- geriatrics and couch potatoes.

    Good luck, BTW cadaver or your own parts?

  4. #4
    balance_fit
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    The type of graft used to repair your knee is an element of consideration, as well as the ROM, quadricep strength and muscle balance between all muscles acting on the knee, to be able to progress onto functional activities such as walking, stairs and squatting. Stationary biking can be introduced into rehab as you progress, alternating standing and seating, revving up and even trying higher gears.
    Please continue following your pt's recommendations until you're done with rehab.
    Once all of the above are in place, take your ss, using a light gear on a flat trail, similar in perceived effort to what you did in the pt room on the stationary bike. Progress slowly, ice your knee after riding and...enjoy your ss !
    Please don't head to the hills just yet...
    Be well !
    Last edited by balance_fit; 12-16-2011 at 11:39 AM.
    Simple, not easy.

  5. #5
    web-footed pedaler
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    I'm not a doctor by any means but I did have an ACL reconstruction done in my mid-20s. It'll be several months before you're up to cycling at all. I worked with my PT on getting my range of motion back to where I could ride my road bike on a trainer indoors. Six months after my surgery I was racing stronger than I was the summer before. The atrophy of my leg was frightening - it took more than a year for the muscle mass to come back. Just work with your dr. and PT about what your goals are.

  6. #6
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    Ripped my right ACL completely in half landing funny on a ski jump. I was back to 100% after about a year. Been SS with no problems. PT is key. Stay active and keep up with the recommended exercises.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ant-Eater View Post
    I'm not a doctor by any means but I did have an ACL reconstruction done in my mid-20s. It'll be several months before you're up to cycling at all. I worked with my PT on getting my range of motion back to where I could ride my road bike on a trainer indoors. Six months after my surgery I was racing stronger than I was the summer before. The atrophy of my leg was frightening - it took more than a year for the muscle mass to come back. Just work with your dr. and PT about what your goals are.
    +1 , I also destroyed my ACL in my 20's racing motorcycles. I also had a fair amount of miniscus damage. For me it was dilligent PT and slowly getting back into sports. it was about a year before I raced MC and got back on a bike with gears from that point I did whatever I wanted with a little pain from time to time. I'm 46 now and have been SS for about 2 years with no real issues but recovery does take time. Its real let down when you push yourself to hard to fast. Take care and good luck.

    Mark

  8. #8
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    I had my ACL reconstructed (allograft) on March 30th of this year.

    It was months before I even felt like riding a bike, even though I would ride the stationary bike in PT. When my therapist and I felt like I was ready, I started riding with gears on fire roads. I did this for a few rides building my confidence and then switched to some easier single track. Within a few weeks, I was back riding all the places I loved.

    Unfortunately, my knee started to develop issues. If this was due to the cycling or not, we are not sure. I had to stop riding completely, and drastically dial back the intensity of my PT.

    Finally, two weeks ago and after 2 years of waiting, I finished my SS build. I hadn't ridden since I was forced off the bike almost 2 months ago. Naturally, I was eager to hit the trails. I've been out on 5 SS rides on the new bike. . .always on easier trails. So far so good, but I would not have started SS'ing when I first got back on my bike.

    Good luck in your recovery. It's a long road, but if you are diligent in your PT you'll be surprised at how things progress. Don't push things beyond what your surgeon and PT are comfortable with. There are times where you will feel great, but your knee is not up to handling anything beyond a bike path pedal.

    Heal fast, and heal strong.
    "It's easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat; but the man worth while, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat.'"

    -- Judge Smails

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut View Post
    Ripped my right ACL completely in half landing funny on a ski jump. I was back to 100% after about a year. Been SS with no problems. PT is key. Stay active and keep up with the recommended exercises.

    Once you're done w/ PT program (12wks), do you stop doing them or are you still doing it as a daily workout routine? Thanks

    I'm 5 days out of ACT reconstruction (allograft) and already walking w/o crutches. Haven't been to PT yet due to "can't drive" and wife is working. Also be traveling out of town for two weeks. I won't be seen PT after new year. Hope it won't hinder my recovery.
    12' Sir9 Rigid
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  10. #10
    balance_fit
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    Quote Originally Posted by snellvilleGAbiker View Post
    Once you're done w/ PT program (12wks), do you stop doing them or are you still doing it as a daily workout routine? Thanks

    I'm 5 days out of ACT reconstruction (allograft) and already walking w/o crutches. Haven't been to PT yet due to "can't drive" and wife is working. Also be traveling out of town for two weeks. I won't be seen PT after new year. Hope it won't hinder my recovery.
    Even though you're walking w/o crutches PT is crucial for your long term functionality. Range of motion, strength, walking, stairs, and other advanced functions like biking could be hindered or delayed if not properly rehabbed.
    Try to go for the PT evaluation and/or get a home program laid out.
    Be well
    Simple, not easy.

  11. #11
    AOF
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    Today was my +6 week mark!
    I got rid of the brace finally, I am feeling pretty good, feel stronger everyday and have to constantly tell myself not to push it too much. I do the exercises at home that my PT has told me to do and have about 99% of my ROM. My leg strength is coming back slowly, but damn that atrophy is no joke, I can tell a difference in my calf mostly, the wife says I am being uber critical.

    My biggest pain at about the 2 to 3 weeks mark was with my patella tendon, from being straight so long, in the locked brace. It tightened right up and all those bending exercises hurt.

    I have been doing the stationary bike, but am really looking forward to getting out on the road, then trails. I think I am going to setup one of my MTB as a 1x9 for a while, then once I feel comfortable enough will switch back to SS.

    For the record I had an allograft for my ACL, and I had a radial tear on the meniscus repaired ( 2 stitches).

    -Dan
    Southern NH NEMBA & My LBS & My Blog & Single Speed Alliance

    Take advantage of every opportunity to ride your bicycle!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by snellvilleGAbiker View Post
    Once you're done w/ PT program (12wks), do you stop doing them or are you still doing it as a daily workout routine? Thanks

    I'm 5 days out of ACT reconstruction (allograft) and already walking w/o crutches. Haven't been to PT yet due to "can't drive" and wife is working. Also be traveling out of town for two weeks. I won't be seen PT after new year. Hope it won't hinder my recovery.
    Sorry, didn't see this until today. I'd either keep doing the exercises or do other activities that will keep strengthening your legs. Take it easy, though. I was doing some cone hops at PT, got a bit over-zealous and ramped up the reps too quick. On one hop, I felt like my hamstring tendon tore in half (where they took the donor tendon from for my acl). I think I partially tore that tendon and it was sore for a while.

    Other big thing is, keep up with the stretches. Do not skimp on those.

  13. #13
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    me too

    Thanks for sharing Dan. My allograft ACL and meniscus clean out was exactly 3 weeks from today. Yesterday was the first time i been to PT since it was the holiday and i was out of town for two weeks. Anyway, spend 2 hrs at PT doing all the different exercises. I don't know why but my Dr. didn't put me in a brace. All i had post-up was an ACE wrap and crutches. At day 3, i came to see him and he took off the ACE wrap and allow me to partial weight bearing. By day 4th, i chucked the crutches. I'm on the trainer 2xday and continue doing exercises at home. Yeah, my calf muscle is atrophy for sure. I didn't have much pain at all. The worst pain was a 5/10. I guess i am lucky. good luck w/ recovery
    12' Sir9 Rigid
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