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Coming back after Injury

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

As much fun as skiing is, it really can cause lots of bumps and bruises or worse, broken bones and blown out knees. I unfortunately had the privilege of experiencing the latter last January. I was finally released from PT for my knee last week but two days later ended up back in the doctor's office with some serious low back pain. A problem that decided to present itself while losing my balance during some plyometric exercises. Turns out it was what the Chiropractor was calling a subluxation of the lumbar spine and a result of my body taking a beating after many years of skiing and 6 months of overcompensating on one side. I think this is the first time ever I want summer to last longer so I have more time before the season starts.


I was hoping to comeback strong and I have a feeling between my back and my knee it's going to be uncomfortable, sore and feel weird. However I still have hopes of skiing everyday possible and maybe even trying to do some big mountain comps. Both seem like impossible goals right now but as Warren Miller said “If you don't do it this year, you'll be one year older when you do.” 


I wanted ask the community if there was anything you wish you could have done better before your first season back after having ACL surgery or any other injury? Whether it was wishing you'd kept up with PT, herbal hippie remedies, a killer conditioning program that you did or doing an inhuman amount of squats and lunges. I'm open to any suggestions and would like to learn from your experiences. 


Thank you.

post #2 of 5

It's not something i wish i had done but something i did do, because my husband had before me when he was injured.


I tore my mcl and acl and had a tibial plateau hairline fracture and major bone bruise. I followed the PT to the letter. I did the astonishingly boring starionary bike every damn day for 30 to 45 minues. (books on tape!)


And yet still, when i went back on the hill, i was tentative and cautious. And skiing got --- boring! I never thought that such a mental game would happen to me, but thanks to the forum, learned it's not uncommon after an injury.


So, i did what my SO did after his back surgery. I took a private lesson. It was a tremendous boost to my confidence. I got pushed a bit, but since I wasn't deciding, it helped. it didn't take more than a week after that to get back to Yahoo! and was skiing all the crazy stuff I used to before the injury.


Good luck to you!


PS:  The back thing can become chronic; don't rely on just a chiro. Get an MRI and make sure nothing more serious is going on. (disclaimer: not a doctor in any way shape or form, so ask yours.)

post #3 of 5

The best investment I made during ACL injury rehab was to get a BOSU for home use.  The importance of improving proprioception by doing balance exercises as often as practical is supported by a fair amount of sports medicine research in the last couple decades.  I did a few basic exercises on the BOSU every day in the first 3-4 months, sometimes a couple times a day.


We already had a recumbent stationary bike at home.  That's a great way to keep the knee moving without impact.


As you've learned, getting back to a normal gait is important.  For a while I had to count in order to make my legs do the right thing instead of limping.  This was after I had more than enough ROM and healing done to walk normally.  I walked slower than usual for several weeks just to make sure the gait was correct before starting to speed up to my normal gait, which is on the fast side.

post #4 of 5

So I have rehabbed hundreds of folks back to action as a PT / CSCS & what I can say about Return To Sport (RTS) can boil down to 2 main areas of focus.  1) train eccentrically: most of sport is this way.  2) advance speed before force: plenty of folks comeback strong, yet lack the timing & speed to be successful.


Good Luck!

post #5 of 5

I've had a lot of injuries in the past 7 years:  3 dislocated shoulders, a torn MCL, a completely torn ACL (reconstructed last year), sprained neck, sprained back/shoulder, a bruised liver, etc.  I've had 5 trips down the mountain in a sled after never having been seriously injured in over 30 years of skiing.  Some might say I'm a risk taker.  I think it was largely bad luck.  Some of it was being out of shape, but for the past 4 years, that wouldn't be the case.  In fact, I was spending so much time at urgent care that I started calling them my primary physician.


I've always done my PT religiously.  And while my injuries didn't really alter my skiing that much, I have become a bit more aware of skiing within myself.  Part of it is the progression of my skiing -- I'm a much better and more experienced skier today than I was 5 years ago.  However, coming back from the ACL reconstruction last year, I was a bit more circumspect about my skiing.


What I found really helped (besides hitting my rehab incredibly hard -- I managed to ride 3,200 miles between my ACL reconstruction in March and the end of my cycling season in October) was a Berg brace.  My surgeon said I didn't really need it, but it would add to my confidence.  And it did.  I found it really useful in my fall hiking as well.  In rehabbing, I found I was always walking the line between too much activity, which would lead to swelling, and enough that would build my strength and endurance in the knee.  Hiking especially was difficult as the work on rocky trails led to a fair amount of swelling.  The brace just stabilized everything well enough that swelling was minimized and I could do big hikes (for me) like 3,000 feet of climbing/12 miles.  And it carried over to skiing.  The brace just keeps you from tweaking the knee and minimizes swelling.


So, even if your insurance won't pay for it, see if you can swing getting the brace.  After a year you won't really need it, but it can help with feeling confident and minimizing swelling.



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