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February 04, 2017


Dec 24, 2016 snowshoeing
It's been just over a year now since I tore my ACL & MCL ligaments in my knee during Winter training with my club, Feildians. If you've been following along, you know it's been a difficult and long process both mentally and physically. Well, this week was another huge step forward - I was fully discharged from the ortho clinic and told to live in the gym! A clean bill of health and belief from my surgeon that I was well on the way to a full recovery and return to sport!

Now before I get ahead of myself, I am far from 100% (in my opinion). I've continued running since the mid-Fall and upped my rehab and gym work as prescribed by my fantastic physiotherapist. We've spent tons of time on agility ladders, getting full range of motion (straightening and flexion), push/pull exercises, rebuilding the glute and quadricep muscles, extensive work with the kin-com isokinetic machine, hamstring strengthening, dynamic strengthening exercises, different forms of squats, forward and lateral jumping and gradually increasing cutting.

The kin-com machine really isolates certain movements and can give a clear picture of strength. We've used this for countless hours during the recovery process and it always gives me a great benchmark for how I am progressing. I've been told a general rule of thumb is to return to at least 80% of body weight force that can be applied both directions - we aim for higher have seen these results for a few months now. Here is a short video to give you an idea of how the machine works - it is old but only 3 are in Atlantic Canada and I for one can attest to how much this machine helped me through my injury. Ignore the full strap-down business but this video gives the general idea of what movements the machine helps with, specifically for ACL injuries.

At this point, the typical workout for me includes a run of a minimum of 15mins up to an hour (varying each day on distance and speed to stay fresh), leg extensions, step-ups, hamstring curls, dumb-bell squats (forward and backward), split squats, exercise ball squats (ball against lower back and wall), bosu ball single-leg squat and leg extensions, 2-footed lateral jumping (use 1-3 stacked bosu balls or a bench), lateral resistance walk with band around ankles/just above the knee, agility ladder and cutting drills as well as always working on flexion (getting the knee bent - heel to bum). I've never been one to carry my phone around in the gym so no photos of these exercises or the knee for now - sorry!

One of the positives I have taken from this latest injury is the opportunity to learn even more about the human body and how it works. I'm sure I've been a nuisance at Physio asking questions but I've been extremely lucky to have a therapist who really loves his job and wants to help everyone however he can. We've had some brilliant conversation over the last year and I've even been able to be a middle-man between him and my surgeon to try and figure out how they can better help future patients through short-term & long-term ACL/knee recoveries. As an athlete (admittedly not a great one!), returning to sports was always the main goal for me and thus Rob (physiotherapist) always passes along any new research he's reading that would apply to me and the ACL injury. One of the most interesting reads was from a Head Physiotherapist in Melbourne, Australia named Mick Hughes - he discussed how often young athletes re-injure the knee when returning to sport. I definitely recommend having a read here!

Anyway, as far as the recovery for me goes, I've been back at training (soccer) in a very limited capacity as the team's Winter training schedule just begins to get in full swing and am in no rush to find myself back in the OR. I've set a few goals for the knee and what I want to accomplish in 2017 but you'll have to check back for updates on those! 

Finally, I want to take the opportunity to thank my family, my incredible girlfriend, Rob and the team at Nova Physio, Dr. Rockwood and his staff and my teammates who have all been a huge help and support system throughout this process. I promise the next knee update will be a major one! 

Thanks for following along on my road to recovery and I will leave you with one of Alex's new favourite things to say, "Pitter patter, let's get at'er!"


- Kev

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