ACL Recovery Day 15

Today was my 3rd day of physical therapy and the physio said that my progress on track for a good recovery. My flexion is at 97 degrees and she said I should have no problem getting to 110 degrees by next week. 110 degrees appears to be a benchmark for good flexion for those coming back from ACL reconstruction.

I have “graduated” from many of the exercises mentioned from Day 12 since some of those exercises don’t provide the muscle stimulus that I need to build back the quad strength. It’s great because now I am able to do “normal” strength exercises like squats (only quarter-squats) and step ups.


Here are a few benchmarks I was able to clear since Day 12:

  • Bike – At my 2nd PT session, I was on the stationary bike at a level 27 (the highest the seat goes) and I couldn’t get a full revolution without pain. Today, I was at level 24 and able to do the full revolution with little discomfort and keep a regular pace. At the bike in my building, I was able to decrease the seat from a height of 11 to 9.
  • Flexion – Probably the most visible form of progress, started PT at 58 degrees last week and got to 97 degrees today.
  • Strength – A big milestone today was being able to to a step up onto a block 6″ off the ground and balance on my injured leg for 30 seconds. This shows good (not great) proprioception since my knee is still wobbly. I then tried doing a step up on my left leg, and it’s actually pretty hard even on a healthy leg!
  • Patellar Mobilization – Physio said that I’m getting better movement in my patella which is critical to being able to walk and doing anything related to bending the knee.

New Exercises

  • Clam Shell – Supposed help me get to doing a single-leg half squat, by strengthening the abductors. You tie a Thera band between your knees, lie on your side, bend both legs, and lift your injured leg towards the sky.
  • Stairs – I am able to alternate steps going up the stairs but not down yet. Most important thing is keeping the alignment of knee over foot.
  • Step Ups – Definitely a new and difficult exercise that helps with strength and proprioception.
  • Wall Squats – Was supposed to do this last week but found it pretty difficult. Changed my form a little bit today and now focusing on straightening the leg as if you’re doing a quad pump, but pushing up instead. It’s not the same form as a regular squat which is why it’s been weird getting used to this exercise.

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