ACL Reconstruction: A Year in the Life

If you missed the story of how I tore my ACL, you can find it (here).

ONE YEAR, one patellar ACL reconstruction, two countries, two orthopedic surgeons, eleven physical therapists, one missed ski season, and countless tears later …


This past year – July 19th, 2017 to July 19th, 2018 – has been really, really difficult.

When I tore my ACL, I was under the impression that the injury wouldn’t be, “that bad”. After all, it’s a seemingly common injury (100k to 200k people per year in the US). If everyone’s doing it, I can do it – and be better at it! I’m a young, active, healthy person – should be a piece of cake. WRONG.

I did everything “right”. I ate well, got plenty of sleep, listened to my surgeon. And physical therapy. Oh physical therapy. I tried it all. Hydrotherapy, IFC, TENS, dry-needling, cupping, and LOTS of just plain ol’ fashioned exercises.


SL dead lifts with re-bounder and foam (left); elasticord with bosu (right).


Bosu with bodyblade (left); SL dead lifts with slider and cable machine (right).

Knee 5

SL step ups, eccentric lowers.


VMO torture methods: TENS (left) and intramuscular e-stim (right).

And I pushed myself. To the edge. Really – I know I’m blabbering on – but I spent hours, weeks, months, and now a year trying so hard to get back to baseline.

And I’m not even there. My bad leg is only at 70% of my good leg. Woof. And why?

I don’t have an answer to that question. I wish I did. Maybe it was all the anterior knee pain? Maybe I pushed too hard? Maybe I’m just genetically fated? Plenty of folks recover more quickly and are back to a better quality of life by now. I’m just … not.

It’s hard to put all your effort towards something, and still fail. It’s humbling. It sucks.

I’m still working towards how to adjust to my new normal: a new normal that is attributable to 0.5 seconds one year ago today.

I suppose I wanted to write about this for all the other folks out there dealing with loss, body dysmorphia, depression, injuries – you name it. Go us. We are stronger for it.

One year down.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s