When can I ride a road bike after ACL surgery?

by Clay
(Boone, NC)


I know it all depends on your therapy and your doctor but I am trying to figure out when I can start doing stuff again.

I tore my ACL mountain biking a few days ago and am told I need surgery. I am getting it in May, right at the beginning of the summer. I had a job lined up as a raft guide, and a summer full of kayaking, mountain biking, and skateboarding lined up but I guess it looks like none of that is happening. I am looking onto other job options but i am just going back home with my parents for the summer now...

So I guess I have a few questions:

1) when would I be able to work? I think I can get a job in the local bike shop again, as a mechanic and in sales. I would be standing up and walking around all day.

2) when can I do ANYTHING active? I have been riding a road bike, when can I do this after surgery? I am told its low impact on your ACL.

3) when can I mountain bike again? I usually do a lot of downhill freeride kind of stuff, its how I injured it in the first place.

4) kayaking. I do a lot of whitewater kayaking, more than anything else. When do you expect me to be back doing this???? I run class V creeks a lot, with 30+ ft waterfalls and slides and such. It can be violent. I dont want to hurt it doing this but I want to be back as soon as possible!

I cant stand not doing stuff, I'm not one to sit around and watch tv or play video games...

thanks for your help!

- Clay

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Oct 09, 2013
ACL NEW
by: madman

I just had my third acl surgery. It all depends on what kind of graph was used. Hamstring, patella, or allegraph (sp). I had the allegraph, and I am one and a half months out, and 43 years old. My range of motion is ahead of schedule, and I am riding a spin bike already. Even though they say allegraph is the slowest to heal from because it has to re-vasculate. Main thing is to work on your flexion, and strengthening!

Oct 09, 2013
ACL NEW
by: madman

I just had my third acl surgery. It all depends on what kind of graph was used. Hamstring, patella, or allegraph (sp). I had the allegraph, and I am one and a half months out, and 43 years old. My range of motion is ahead of schedule, and I am riding a spin bike already. Even though they say allegraph is the slowest to heal from because it has to re-vasculate. Main thing is to work on your flexion, and strengthening!

Feb 01, 2013
Ouch NEW
by: Anonymous

I must say I wish I tore my ACL but was not that lucky after a bad crash that left me with a functional dislocated knee. I have had graphs from my hamstrings to reconstruct ACL,PCL,MCL and ACL and besides not being able to bend my knee more than 100 degrees you would never know I had nothing holding my leg together. I want to ride a bicycle but I also had foot drop and a open book pelvis along with many other injuries but I will never give up as I may not be able to ever run but on a bike the pedals control my legs a lot.

Feb 07, 2012
May 13th surgery NEW
by: Anonymous

David,

This is somewhat ironic, but I ALSO had an ACL replacement on May 13th but in 2010 at the age of 43! The person who wrote be patient is SOOO right. Just focus on taking things one SMALL step at a time. I was very frustrated with what seemed like excruciatingly slow progress, but that's just how it goes. Expect some setbacks along the way, too, and don't get too down about them. Just take care of your body, listen to your PT, and you'll be fine. I think I pushed things too hard in the beginning which actually slowed my overall recovery. It's been 20 months for me now. I still have some stiffness, but not like before. I am now able to do everything I could do before the surgery. I thought that the flexibility I had after a year is what I would be stuck with, but I continue to make progress in that area, too - mostly in flexion.

I wish you the best. Hang in there and be PATIENT and KIND with your body.





Feb 06, 2012
acl recovery NEW
by: kiki

So I am now I am 16 days post op and I can finally do a full rotation on a exercise bike. My knee was a complete train wreck and I had a full acl reconstruction , a meniscus tear, joint damage and arthritis. I am just now starting to walk. Put all your heart into getting better. And having faith in your self and anything is possible.

May 13, 2011
to David
by: Anonymous

David,

I was 43 when I had my ACL reconstruction a year ago today (just realized that it was one year ago exactly!). BE PATIENT with yourself. Work diligently on flexibility in the beginning. Just listen to your PT. My knee STILL feels stiff sometimes - regularly, actually, but I think it's normal. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just take one day at a time, and try to be patient. I learned how to swim and did a lot of cycling over the last year.

Best wishes!


May 13, 2011
Advice
by: David

I had acl reconstruction and meniscus repair surgery 1 month ago and am starting to feel somewhat frustrated with the lack of progress. Being 43 and going thru this surgery (which was my first surgery of any type), I thought that I would have more ability at this point. My flexion is around 120+ and I can straighten the knee completely after stretching and pushing it straight. My PT wants 130% by end of this week. Every morning my legs feels stiff and I am walking with a big limp. Would appreciate some thoughts from others that have gone thru and continue to go thru this difficult rehab. Thank You!!

May 02, 2011
to the person having surgery in one week
by: Anonymous

Mother of Two,

My surgery was almost exactly one year before yours. My advice to you (especially with two children!) is to have at least one person who can do pretty much everything for you the first 2-3 days, and help you after that for a week or so. I was surprised at how helpless I felt at first. I'm used to taking care of myself and not good at asking for help. Just try to be patient, take one day at a time, and celebrate the small steps forward! There IS a light at the end of the tunnel! Hang in there. The fact that you've been doing months of prehab will be beneficial, I'm sure.

Best wishes...

J

May 02, 2011
to the person having surgery in one week
by: Anonymous

Mother of Two,

My surgery was almost exactly one year before yours. My advice to you (especially with two children!) is to have at least one person who can do pretty much everything for you the first 2-3 days, and help you after that for a week or so. I was surprised at how helpless I felt at first. I'm used to taking care of myself and not good at asking for help. Just try to be patient, take one day at a time, and celebrate the small steps forward! There IS a light at the end of the tunnel! Hang in there. The fact that you've been doing months of prehab will be beneficial, I'm sure.

Best wishes...

J

May 02, 2011
acl
by: Anonymous

Hey Guys Thanks for all the comments and uplifting words. Good to know im not the only one out there for sure!

As far as the surgery goes, it went really well. By the end of the summer, (3 months post op) I was whitewater kayaking just as hard as I was before. I was riding a road bike within 2 months, hiking after 2 months. I was able to work after about a week. Surgery was in may of last year, I was able to ski towards the end of this season, in march. My doc said 9 months till skiing and that seemed about right. Now after a year, the knee feels really strong, I can do everything just as well as before.
Thanks again!

- Clay

May 02, 2011
ACL Reconcstruction
by: Anonymous

I'm having ACL surgery one week from today. I tore my ACL Dec 22 2010 as a result of Martial Arts and high impact aerobics. As an extremely active mother of 2 I'm really nervous about the surgery and the recovery. I'm not used to sitting idle and my life is so demanding. I'm not sure what to expect right after surgery, a day later, a week later etc. I've been doing prehab for a few months now and I'm pretty healthy but I'm terrified and need some words of wisdom.

Feb 23, 2011
earlier entry
by: Anonymous

I just realized that you had your surgery LAST May - right around the time that I did. How is it going so far?

Feb 23, 2011
you're not alone!
by: Anonymous

Hi Clay,

It looks like many of us have the same story. I am a ski patroller/mountain guide and tore my ACL mid-April and had surgery in mid-May. I was due to go on a trip to Alaska, guiding all summer, blah blah blah. Things change quickly, don't they! I am so sorry for your injury, but you will get through it. I did a lot of things earlier than my doctor recommended (cycling outside, for example). I listened more to my physical therapist, and even pushed that a bit. I started swimming as soon as my sutures were closed up (no kicking for a while, though, I swam with a pull-buoy). I started on an exercise bike about 1 week after surgery (barely peddling). I had a hamstring graft, so couldn't really ride outside until about 6 weeks. Then I hit it hard - maybe too hard. I've been riding ever since, though. Now I'm training for a triathlon. I did go sea kayaking about 6 weeks after surgery, but that's pretty mellow. I think a lot of it boils down to how much risk are you willing to accept? My doctor recommended I not ski at all this season, and I'm skiing again, but cautiously. I do NOT want to re-do the last 9 months, but I'm not going to tip-toe through life, either. It's all about risk management.

I'm 9 months and one week post-surgery now. I have some degree of stiffness and varying degrees of pain, but I'm able to do most of the things I could do before, and feel confident that I'll be 100% recovered in a couple more months. I think you said you just tore your ACL and haven't had the surgery yet? If that's the case, do a lot of "prehab" exercises leading up to your surgery so you'll go in strong. Find a really good physical therapist that deals with sports injuries.

I wish you all the best! Hang in there.


Feb 23, 2011
ACL
by: monisha

I had complete tear of ACL during a kabbadi match,underwent Arthroscopic reconstruction a week ago.My sutures are still on. when will i be normal, as in to play kabbadi again.

Jan 04, 2011
So how's it going now?
by: ACL tear too

Clay, I just tore my ACL 2 days after Christmas. Same story - had a summer of activities lined up. How soon did you get back to riding - did you have any setbacks to the recovery period? How are things going now?

Hope you are all healed now and looking forward to a great summer 2011.

Julia

Jul 03, 2010
Feel your pain
by: Anonymous

Hi. I hope your surgery went well. You are not alone! I am a ski patroller/mountain guide, and this injury has drastically altered my life for the next several months. I had my surgery 7 weeks ago and have been riding a road bike outside since about week 5. A few days ago I rode about 28 miles round-trip with 2000' elevation gain on the outbound leg. I'm mostly swimming, cycling and doing strengthening exercises. How are things going for you so far?

Jun 23, 2010
Be patient
by: Rosalind

Hi Bart,

So sorry to read your story. I have a similar experience. I was due to travel to New Zealand at the beginning of June to Ski instruct, but tore my ACL two months before playing netball.
I can totally understand your frustration, but with ACL reconstruction, you need to let the grafting knit. I'm now 4 weeks post op and can bend the knee 120 degrees and fully flex the leg. I'm just starting to ride a bike indoors (Boring, I know), and hope to be riding on the road within 3 months. Hopefully, with dedication, the injury will be OK for me to instruct Canada 2011. All I can suggest is listen to your body and be patient. If you are really intent on carrying out your plans, they can wait. There's no point rushing everything, only to not be able to enjoy your activities properly.

Apr 08, 2010
questions
by: Bart - SII

Work of any type other than a desk type job is probably 3-6 weeks away. If it involves heavy lifting, add a couple more weeks onto that - will depend on your doctor.

Activities - normal daily things like stairs and walking are usually back by 4-6 weeks, with more strenuous things like hiking and cycling around 3-4 months - again, depends on your physician

Rafting - if you were my patient, I would say not until at least 6-9 months and you were cleared for full participation in everything. I have been rafting a couple of times, and it can be violent. The chance for injury would be greater than sitting in a fishing boat, and, if you were re-injured, then it becomes a dangerous situation. But, talk to your doctor, as they will know your situation best.

Bart

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