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Author Topic: swimming following acl reconstruction  (Read 17338 times)

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Offline kate14cat

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swimming following acl reconstruction
« on: January 12, 2012, 05:47:39 PM »
HI My son tore his acl on 29th nov playing school rugby but he is a county breaststroker,and i am really wondering if there is anyone with any advice as to how good swimming is as a rehab, as he seems unkeen to do some of the exercises we have been given.  I am also wondering if there are any supplements people would suggest to aid with healing.  Surgery is next Wed and I think we are both starting to get very scared.  Its really hard being the mum!

Any advice would be gratefully received

Offline Snowy

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Re: swimming following acl reconstruction
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 06:43:32 PM »
Hi Kate,

So sorry to hear about your son's accident. Right now, while he's in prehab between injury and surgery, he can swim but only with a flutter kick. I was cautioned quite strongly against doing a frog or whip kick by both my physiotherapist and surgeon, as it puts stress on the ACL-deficient joint.

After surgery, he should be able to work swimming into his rehab under the guidance of a physiotherapist. I was back in the water ten days after my reconstruction, as soon as the incisions were healed and the staples came out, although I wasn't able to use my legs initially - I used a pull buoy to keep them still. Over time I was able to gradually start working a gentle flutter kick in, a couple of lengths at a time. It took about eight weeks to stop using the pull buoy, but it was a lot longer before I was allowed to try a whip or frog kick. My physiotherapist also had me doing lots of hydrotherapy while I was in the pool; initially just walking against the resistance of the water, then marching on the spot and other exercises.

I can't emphasize enough how important it is that you have experienced physiotherapist providing instruction on what your son can be doing in the water, and that he adheres to these instructions. In the early stages of rehab there are certain movements that he will have to avoid while the new graft heals in place and establishes a blood supply. Doing things too soon puts the graft at risk, so it's really important to stick to the protocol. It can get very frustrating, particularly in the early days when you can't do much, but focusing on what he can do rather than what he can't will help.

There's no question that it's a tough surgery and recovery, but just take it one day at a time and you'll both get through it. This forum is a fantastic resource if you have questions about what to expect and how to prepare. I'd definitely recommend reading through a few of the post-op diary threads on ACL reconstruction, and some of the threads down in the cruciate ligament section that talk about how to prepare for surgery. I found those so helpful when I was getting ready for my op. The recovery is a marathon rather than a sprint, and the first few weeks go very slowly, but it is worth it if your son is a keen athlete and wants to get back to the sports he loves. Do you know what kind of graft he's having?

Good luck to you both! Your son is lucky to have a mom who's looking out for him. :)
Mar 11: R Biceps femoris tear (skiing)
Jul 10: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Mar 10: L ACL rupture (skiing)
Feb 06: L partial ACL tear (kickboxing)
Dec 03: R bone edema (motorbike)
Jan 01: R patellar chip (motorbike)
May 93: R ACL sprain (hockey)
Ongoing: bilateral PFS and OA

Offline kate14cat

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Re: swimming following acl reconstruction
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 08:51:48 PM »
Hi Snowy,

Thanks for your reply. He is having a hamstring graft and I am confident in both the surgeon and the physio, but I know that the hard work will be supporting him every day while my other two children carry on training.  I am struggling to remain positive and feel like the mountain is going to be almost impossible to scale.  He also has aspergers so this makes him very black and white and not open to any negotiation so if he wont do an exercise he wont do it! He is swimming his usual 25 km a week at the moment without breast legs and so he will hopefully keep his cardio fitness up.  Tonight he is telling me that the knee feels like there is a space in there and it feels loose, which is the first time since the injury. He was diagnosed in A&E with a segond fracture and it took a month to achieve full extension.  Will the rehab follow a similar but slower pattern to the recovery after the initial injury?


I am not very computer literate so am struggling to find the cruciate section!
Thanks for your help. Where are you with your injury now?
Kate

Offline vickster

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Re: swimming following acl reconstruction
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 09:03:55 PM »
Hi Kate

For sure Snowy will be back (she is probably at work as is in Vancouver), but here is a link to the cruciate section  http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?board=17.0

Check out posts by 'MUMofpain' - her son had his ACL recon a while back, so I think she'll be a good sounding board :)  I think she's in the London area

http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?action=profile;u=30042;sa=showPosts

Good luck :)

« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 09:05:32 PM by Vickster »
Came off bike onto concrete 9/9/09 (lat meniscus, lat condyle defect)
LK scopes 8/2/10 & 16/12/10
RK scope 5/2/15 (menisectomy, Hoffa’s fat pad trim)
LK scope 10.1.19 medial meniscectomy, trochlea MFX
LK scope 19.4.21 MFX to both condyles & trochlea, patella cartilage shaved, viscoseal, depo-medrone

Offline Snowy

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Re: swimming following acl reconstruction
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2012, 09:16:45 PM »
Thanks, Vicks!

Kate - that is going to be a tough situation. It may be helpful for you to talk to Knee Geeks member Clarkey - he also has asperger's and may be able to give you some useful advice on how it's been for him managing his knee problems. Here's a link to his profile:

http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?action=profile;u=2828

Having a good physiotherapist who understands both the physical and psychological issues is going to be even more important given the aspergers. For your son to get back to all of his activities, he needs to regain full strength in his leg once the graft heals. If there are some exercises he won't do, the physio will need to come up with alternatives that work the same muscles that he will do. It's great that he's keeping his fitness up right now; that will stand him in really good stead when the time comes.

Rehab after surgery is like a longer, slower version of rehab after injury, with some extra precautions in the early stages to keep the graft safe while it revascularizes and gains strength. With the hamstring graft, it's very important that your son doesn't resume any activities ahead of the rehab protocol as it takes a long time for the bone to completely fill in the tunnels around the graft. In the early days after surgery, regaining extension is the most important thing as full extension is needed for a normal walking gait.

I'm 18 months out of surgery now, and doing great. My knee feels very solid, I'm back doing all my activities including bike marathons and backcountry skiing, and I definitely don't regret having the surgery. I would say that it took a full year for the leg to really feel normal, but I was released to full activity at 8 months post-surgery. It's a long haul, but worth it.

Mar 11: R Biceps femoris tear (skiing)
Jul 10: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Mar 10: L ACL rupture (skiing)
Feb 06: L partial ACL tear (kickboxing)
Dec 03: R bone edema (motorbike)
Jan 01: R patellar chip (motorbike)
May 93: R ACL sprain (hockey)
Ongoing: bilateral PFS and OA

Offline kate14cat

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Re: swimming following acl reconstruction
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2012, 09:20:30 PM »
Hi Thanks for all of that. I am so glad you are back doing the things you love. I struggle watching my son miss out on swimming as it really helps with the aspergers and calming him.  I will post more after the op. I am so frightened about the day of the surgery and being with him while he is in pain. I just want to help him as best as I can.

I will make sure he gets working on the exercises to give him the extension............

have a good weekend

Kate

Offline kate14cat

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Re: swimming following acl reconstruction
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 08:43:32 PM »

we have survived the day! Harry had hamstring acl reconstruction. He was in the recovery room for an hour before we could go and see him cos they were struggling to control his pain and there was a concern about compartment syndrome as his calf swelled alot. The surgeon saw him four times in the hour before we got in. He has been very sleepy for most of the day but his pain is now only 2 out of ten and the cpm is on every other hour set 60 flexion and 10 extension.  We are hoping he will be ok to go home tomorrow and my next fear is what the leg will look like when the compression bandage comes off................  we are glad there is no meniscal damage and the knee looks good apart from that.Harry originally got diagnosed with a segond fracture and I have read this means that there is 50 % chance of mensical damage so we are counting our blessings tonight! I will post more tomorrow. Good luck to anyone having any operation ............... today has not been as bad as i had anticipated.

Kate

Offline Snowy

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Re: swimming following acl reconstruction
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2012, 09:04:16 PM »
That's great news! I hope that all continues to go well for Harry during his recovery. It's a long haul and inevitably there will be good days and bad days along the way, but just take each one as it comes and you'll get through it together. Best of luck to you both, and don't hesitate to check in here if you have questions.
Mar 11: R Biceps femoris tear (skiing)
Jul 10: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Mar 10: L ACL rupture (skiing)
Feb 06: L partial ACL tear (kickboxing)
Dec 03: R bone edema (motorbike)
Jan 01: R patellar chip (motorbike)
May 93: R ACL sprain (hockey)
Ongoing: bilateral PFS and OA

Offline kate14cat

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Re: swimming following acl reconstruction
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2012, 05:38:24 PM »
Hi

9 days post op and harry has seen the OS who is very pleased with his progress, he is 2-3 degrees off full extension and has good flexion. The stitches have been removed ........my only gripe is that he has asked harry not to do any real exercise til after the 6 week period ...... i know the physio wants him to get back into the water ...............I am having a hard time convincing my husband and my son that he should listen to the phyiso not the OS ........we have one more appt with him in 6 weeks and then he says he will discharge us to the care of the phyiso who he works with all the time .........how can the advice be so different. Harry is off all pain killers and we have been told the knee looks like there  will be no complications ............should we be celebrating?

Kate