An injured year

Hey everyone and welcome to my Blog!

I thought I’d start with the long and and fraught story of my original injury and a bit of a snapshot of the past year or so and what got me to this point and my blog. I hope that over the coming weeks and months I can help accurately portray what life is like recovering from an ACL injury, and put out some useful information.

July 2015
I landed the hurdle and my left foot planted firmly, unfortunately the rest of my body decided to carry on and I landed whilst twisting my knee. Having been fortunate enough to not sustain any previous sporting injuries, its safe to say this was probably the most painful thing I had ever encountered. My knee quickly quadrupled in size, though I could walk slowly and very painfully.

Being stubborn (and in denial), I diagnosed myself with a ‘twisted knee’ and decided some rest would be enough. The swelling didn’t go down for 5-6 weeks, after which I gently got back into climbing and running.

November 2015
Although I still had some soreness, I was sort of getting back into things. My climbing was as good as ever (even deep rockovers, heel-toes etc), so obviously it was time to get out on the fell for my first proper run back. Having forgotten my fell shoes I went up in a normal pair or trainers, this would prove a mistake. Since I felt good, I decided to pick things up on the last downhill. One slip later and I was rolling around on the floor screaming. Thankfully I could limp back down to the car.

Fast forward 3-4 weeks and my knee was still sore so I was sticking to indoor bouldering, how dangerous could it be, right? One dodgy fall and my knee made an audible ‘pop’ which may have been more painful than the original injury. Back to limping around.

December 2015- September 2016
After being unable to do anything with me knee, I thought a visit to the physio was in order. He suspected a torn meniscus, so it was off to the GP. In the meantime, I threw myself into training whatever I could. I got into a bodyweight fitness routine, which I ran 3 days a week in my garage for about 6 months and I dropped 8kg to try and take some of the strain of my knee. I even got back to bouldering at a decent level managing a 7A+ at Brimham 3 days before my first surgery. However some symptoms still persisted, my knee would sometimes pop out of place/lock if I twisted it the wrong was and was only put right with a twist and a loud crack. I couldn’t do rockovers any more and running was completely out of the question.

September 2016- Current
Now, the various people I saw all mentioned ACL injuries but having performed the tests decided I had a stable knee. It wasn’t until I saw the surgeon that he thought there may be a problem with it after all. During my first surgery, which was to repair the meniscus which I had likely torn on my two falls, he found my ACL completely ruptured. Needless to say I was absolutely devastated. Those of you who know me will realise the implications this had on my job, let alone my hobbies. Being able to climb and fellrun are a huge part of who I am and with the news of a ruptured ACL I was worried if I’d ever do them again, let alone to my previous level. The good news is that the nature of the meniscus tear meant that it could be repaired, rather than a piece removed. This means a better long-term outcome for my knee health, although it did mean 4 weeks of immobilisation. Every cloud, eh? As for the ACL, I’ve opted to have a reconstruction using a hamstring graft. Although it is possible to get by without an ACL, I’ve decided that I want a future where I can fellrun and climb to a high level.

img_4536
Immediately post surgery. The leg needs to be immobilised to protect the stitches holding the meniscus together whilst it heals.

I’ll gloss over the rest, but basically most of my rehab is recovering from the time spent immobilised. It started with very basic exercises to keep the leg mobile, then onto machines such as leg extensions and curls, and balance work too. A great moment for me was when I started squatting and doing ladder drills, it really felt like I was making progress. Fast forward to now and I’m currently working on the strength and stability of my lower body. My ACL reconstruction is set for the 8th March, that gives me 7 weeks to get as strong as possible to secure the best outcome for the surgery.

In the future I’m going to write a bit more on my thoughts and feeling about things, as well as document the more practical side of my progress. As usual, I’d be grateful for anyone’s input on what you’d like to read about and I’d love to hear any questions anyone might have.

Liam

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