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The snowHeads ACL rehab club !

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@Harry Flashman, Christ, that must've been a scary one. Glad it's no serious damage eh. I mean, a good solid warning like that where lessons get learned without any lasting damage is a valuable thing.
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ACL update, 7 and a half months...

Went on the Birthday Bash and the Warm up Week - 2 weeks of Dolomites boarding. Survived, and ended up being very glad I went. Despite some very challenging times and wanting to cancel the second week after day 3, in the second week I managed 2 full days of 95% fun on snow, and a bunch of other days varying success!

It was an interesting one. I was very lucky to have a friend there who had almost the exact same experience first week back after very similar knee damage (the week after I did mine, but didn't have the op). It was a lot of help knowing that my first week was just like hers, almost down to the minute. K, if you're reading this, thanks again.

First day back was a shock. My reference point for leg strength went from the weeks after the op (I'm a goddam superman) to where I was a year ago on the exact same slopes (not a superman AT ALL). An hour or two of feeling like a beginner, realising that no amount of squats, cycling, lunges, balance board, etc etc etc can properly prepare all the muscles used in boarding... Much less the mind, which it turned out was far far more important than the legs. The days after that varied from 5-10 runs with an 80% fun rate to wanting to cancel my second week and go home (thanks admin for giving me a chill few hours on the hill to come to my senses there). A physio I very much trust on the trip made a bit of an "ohhh, hmmmm" face when I told him 7 months post op and said "That's early. Take it easy. DON'T CRASH." I took note of that. Eventually Monday and Tuesday on the second week came around. Perfect soft smooth pistes, great light, conditions I loved even before the ACL. I had two full days on snow, albeit with lots of coffee stops and long lunches, having a great time. Confidant yet careful, respecting every turn yet enjoying every moment. Those two days I found my boarding self again, enjoying it, two days being worth the whole two week trip and all the mindfeckery leadign up to them.

A few varied days after that, some fun and some merely average, a rest day, and I caught a nasty cold, banked the trip after a mild fall which I easily survived but took as a warning. Spent the last day resting with some other injured fools who partake in this frankly ridiculous and dangerous passtime.

After the snow bit a hard day walking around Venice shellshocked from the ridiculousness of the place turned out to be the most intense leg exercise of the trip. My calves ached like a sonofabitch afterwards, but in a good way.

This season is done for me. I got what I needed from it, and it's in the bank. Next year is going to be awesome. Strong legs, a fully time-healed graft, and I'll get my powder board out of the bag to go back to all the soft stuff I didn't dare risk this year. Can't wait:D
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@jjams82, that's what I call a great result. Point being, you got back on the horse, survived the ride, and even managed to enjoy yourself. Yes, there were some bumps along the way, and some days that were worse than others, but I think that's entirely to be expected at just 7 months post op. Very wise too to recognise when your body said "no more" and call it a day before it had to teach you a lesson the hard way. Now that the first time back is out of the way - surely the hardest part - things are looking very very good for your for next year. Congratulations!!
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@jjams82, Agree, that sounds like a result! Well done, so soon after the op. No way I could have done that 7 months after my op, which means you will be strong and sorted next season...just take the rehab seriously, unlike this idiot.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Harry Flashman, how’s the knee feeling now?
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Better, but I have not been pushing it anything like as hard. I have been doing proper warm-ups, and exercises before skiing and on rest days.

I have deliberately stayed away from sludgy moguls, doing only piste, easy off-piste and hard or fluffy bumps. Also, I took a day off every other day last week whilst in Utah. I have restricted airtime to small pops off bumps and an easy kicker or two with no rotations, rather than any tricks or anything with a landing that could give a twist. I have just skiied three days straight back here in France, but half days only.

So far so good...but I will give it a few weeks before pushing it at all. Have had the odd very slight twinge, but nothing worse And I am wearing the brace for absolutely everything ski related and indeed on long walks with the baby in the sling.
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@Harry Flashman, all sounds very sensible. But still fun!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
OK, I can't be sensible for long, it seems as I get bored. Half-term crowds here in the PDS meant that we went for a walk yesterday. The physio said that walking/touring sensibly would be good rehab. I took Sarah at her word...snowshoes really help with this stuff for when you need to be out of the touring bindings, as you provide a more stable platform for stepping.

This was yesterday. Legs feel strong, no pain but I am resting today. I was able to carry a friend's panicking 5 year old down the mountain on my skis yesterday morning, so some strength is definitely back!

Good luck all.

IMG-20190218-WA0008 by baconrashers, on Flickr

IMG-20190218-WA0010~2 by baconrashers, on Flickr
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@Harry Flashman, snowHead
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Hashtag jealous Laughing
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Wowzers! Is that you scaling those rocks so nimbly, @Harry Flashman? Rehab clearly paying off Very Happy
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Climbing up is the rehab! (Well, my legs would think so). Skiing down is the scary bit (well, my head would say so!). Well done Sir! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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@Grizzler, my legs sure would as well!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
More updates - muscles on the operated leg are now the same size as the good leg, although stability when balancing on one foot is still worse: noticed when doing single leg exercises.

I had a fall and no binding release on Tuesday, which twinged the knee. However this time, a bit of swelling, and a day off, and all right as rain. So things are getting stronger, so chin up, all - it gets better. I am continuing to wear the brace.

Powder is fine now, as is variable off-piste terrain and small bumps 'n' jumps, although I have not dropped off anything bigger than about 1.5 metres yet. Now that the powder has arrived, I feel safer trying some bigger drops. Hope this makes all recoverees feel better about the future! So far, so good - let's hope it continues this way!


http://youtube.com/v/Lliy-QiYsD8


http://youtube.com/v/U925MrDQmOU
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Harry Flashman, good news, fingers crossed - and still blinking jealous Laughing
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Excellent work there Harry:D
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Great stuff!!! Congratulations.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
How is everyone else doing? Season is over now and my "bad" knee feels exactly as the other one does (knackered and sore Smile). I found that rest days were really important, and that mixing the type of skiing up helped no end - a gentle piste day after a touring day, rather than heading into the bumps etc.

And I still use the brace. It may be psychological now, but it does help. And I'm no longer afraid of a walk or two.

2019-02-13_07-31-37 by baconrashers, on Flickr

I think I will never go back to doing difficult tricks (how I hurt myself). So I'll finish the season with a vid of my buddy doing a double backflip in Chatel. My head means that I will never want to risk landing backwards, or being upside down again. But hell, just being back on the mountain was not something I took for granted, and getting 80% back to where I was is better than nothing, by a long way. Best of luck, all.

VID-20190214-WA0004 by baconrashers, on Flickr


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 24-04-19 20:01; edited 1 time in total
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You have to make some sacrifices to be back on the mountain. Yes, may not be tricks anymore but you can still have a ton of fun on the slopes. Jumping is something I'm not going to do anytime soon but its worth it to be able to ski.

My "bad" knee is indeed about on par with my better one... skiing was just fine in mid-March and the brace was probably as much for my head as for my knee. Feeling really good by my second run down (Plattjen run at Saas-Fee). After the trip, I ordered a pair of skis/bindings and shortly afterwards booked a trip for late season skiing in Colorado.

It can be done. I mean, good God, Flashman... the touring pictures!?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Congratulations! That sounds like you are back on form, and I know from experience that we can't take that for granted!

The touring has been physically the toughest, if honest - it's total exercise, and when bootpacking or kick turning, the knee did twinge.

But I found it a lot easier than getting back into the park. I have spent the last couple of weeks doing kickers, over and over, and basic airborne tricks (nothing silly, just tail grabs etc, no spins). I have not been able to get back onto a rail - I am still too scared of the consequences (how I did the injury). No physicall consequences of park stuff at all, but my brain won't let go like it used to.

The leg has been actually less of a problem than my head. Which is odd, really.
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So, I've never been one for tricks... I tend to get lost when spinning (which direction am I facing? Is this up or down???) but every time I see a rail, I think, yeah, I should try that. The better of me tells me not to do it. So, I'm happy with what I can get... getting more comfortable on bumps and still enjoy the steeps. Next month's visit to Arapahoe Basin will help me figure out how much I will want to push myself, particularly as there won't be someone skiing with me. All will be in-bounds but A-Basin offers plenty of in-bounds challenges.

You nailed it, though. We can go to the gym and work out and get the leg ready but the biggest muscle that needs work is the one between our ears.
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Harry Flashman wrote:
The leg has been actually less of a problem than my head. Which is odd, really.


When I came back I convinced myself that I was OK head wise, but in truth it took 2 or 3 seasons to get fully back.

I'm lazier than I used to be and if conditions are 'meh' I'm happy to chill. However, it is a double edged sword and sometimes its safer to attack even when the mind is unconvinced, and effort can bring reward Smile
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@AndAnotherThing.., I have literally forced myself onto the mountain almost every day this season, just to make myself "conquer" things. It felt very like my attitude when I was an intermediate trying to ramp up my ability, but this time I had fear as well as ambition. Weird feeling. I have been very lucky to have had a whole season to do this. I can honestly say that my technical skiing (spins and rails aside) are better now than they were at point of injury. But I now definitely have the fear, which I never used to. i can see myself easing off now, in a way I never have done before.

But I am also 41 and a new father, so this may not be a bad thing.
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Harry Flashman wrote:
But I now definitely have the fear, which I never used to. i can see myself easing off now, in a way I never have done before.

Yep, even when you know that you're strong and technically competent (and I'm nowhere near your level, tricks and all), that head still wants its input... I like to think of it less as fear (well, most of the time) and more of exercising a little additional care and caution. With age and experience (and buggered knees) comes wisdom. Honest...
Still, sounds like you've had an amazing and successful season. Here's to many more (for all of us) Very Happy
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Would it be appropriate to say I hate all of you for living closer to ski slopes when I have to live in Texas? Crying or Very sad

I've mostly written off skiing in Colorado anyway... this trip next month is the first in 14/15 years. Tend to go over the your side of the pond now... I like it much better and, when the laziness you mentioned kicks in, I'd rather do it in an Italian or French apres-ski bar.
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@ItaloSkier, the nearest that I live is a 3.5-4.5 hour drive to Scotland (if and when, and not exactly the Alpine Riviera) or a day's drive, flight and drive to somewhere in mainland Europe. That's got to be about the same as you flying to US or Canadian resorts?
I hate these season doers and foreign dwellers too, believe me. Lucky burgers... wink
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
"3.5-4.5 hour drive to Scotland"

uh... if only. My drive to the closest resort would be about 12 hours. From our house to the New Mexico border, its 9 hours. 9 hours of driving without leaving the state!?
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ItaloSkier wrote:
9 hours of driving without leaving the state!?


Well, you lot in the States do like everything big, don't you? Laughing
Still, 12 hours of driving wouldn't get me anywhere near any 'proper' resort either (sorry Scotland) - so we can both feel jealous together.
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You know it makes sense.
Grizzler wrote:
ItaloSkier wrote:
9 hours of driving without leaving the state!?


Well, you lot in the States do like everything big, don't you? Laughing
Still, 12 hours of driving wouldn't get me anywhere near any 'proper' resort either (sorry Scotland) - so we can both feel jealous together.


Quick update - took a flight to Denver and went skiing for two days last weekend. Fantastic snow. Knees felt good, even on bump runs. Good God I can't stay away.

One quick edit... I wasn't sure how my knees would hold up on legitimate moguls (see below) but they were fine. Jumps? I think I'm all done with jumps.

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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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@ItaloSkier, and hashtag jealous again Laughing (and good news for you).
My ability to get down that kind of thing, though, is sadly lacking at the moment. Lost a lot of fast muscle (and hence feet/leg) reactions after my knee trashing exercise, and still not got it back. More practice needed, I guess; suspect that it might train up.
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Grizzler wrote:
@ItaloSkier, and hashtag jealous again Laughing (and good news for you).
My ability to get down that kind of thing, though, is sadly lacking at the moment. Lost a lot of fast muscle (and hence feet/leg) reactions after my knee trashing exercise, and still not got it back. More practice needed, I guess; suspect that it might train up.


Well, the run was not intentional but once we realized what we had to work with, we just went with it. The good news is that summer is upon us so you'll have time to get ready. I've found a lot of plyo work has helped me out. Specifically something like this:

https://www.backcountry.com/explore/train-eccentric-leg-strength-for-alpine-skiing

BTW, here is someone else's perspective on the run. The part where he says "it doesn't look steep" (or something like that) does a good job of showing when the ledge sneaks up on you. You see people standing there as they realize they have a bit of a challenge ahead of them. His video then includes the section I photographed.

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2dldaz
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Er, yeah, that vid looks about like my version of getting down something like that at the moment Embarassed
I know that standing people thing all too well; everywhere.

Can't use your back country link - won't let one access it if outside US. Never mind, I'll work something out.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Not to mention that the run is at about 10,500 - 11,000 feet or so.

Let me look for another link
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Try this link... https://sawback.com/articles/leg-blasters/
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Cheers, that works
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Thought I'd update my progress about 10 months in now... I've been a bit quiet here lately which is a very good sign:D

Well, I got moved on to the "advanced" lower limb physio classes, did them for a couple months, and got fairly miffed with them. Just a light miff, but enough that I replaced them with trying to do as much alternative (fun) exercise instead.

The original class was great, a physio who was equally good at directing exercises specific to ones needs, dishing out knowledge, and holding your hand telling you everything is gonna be fine and *insert current terror/drama here* is perfectly normal, not half as bad as one thinks.

The advanced class however, it's just pure exercise... Pretty hard and constant exercise, good stuff, but nothing more. Haven't had a single conversation with similar injured folk there, learned anything, or even mentioned the phrase "acl" to the physio to takes the class. Every week my legs ache like a Fitzwilliam afterwards, but no more than if I go do something actually fun like a good solid scramble up tryfan.

So, I cut myself loose and am out in the wild now. And having a lot of fun lately too. The Tryfan trip I mentioned for example, last weekend, was a real knee confidence inspiring job. Taking the fun way up the north ridge, seeking out appropriately taxing lines all the way, and never once feeling like one knee was any worse than the other. I can definately handle long days out scrambling up rocks. I was exhausted by the time I got back to the car, but I always was even with a "good" knee! A few days of aching muscles (both legs equally) confirmed it was damned good exercise, and a crap load more fun than doing circles in a gym.

In day to day life, though it doesn't stop me doing anything, it's still noticeable... Still some pain, still can't quiiiiiite bend it all the way, but flexibility wise, I can now sit cross legged again without causing pain when I stand up again which is fantastic (is there really any other way to sit?). I had a minor fall off a MTB at reasonable speed a month or so back, no twisting but a solid whack on the bad knee and I just stood up and got back going, another good little confidence builder.

It's amazing what the surgery can do eh, despite the massive trauma it causes the knee. Now most of that is gone, even with the pain that remains and all the other damage I did at the same time as the ACL, I absolutely feel like I have a ligament in there stopping it flopping over etc.

Praise the NHS, and many thanks to Dr Stamer and Physio Simon.

I do hope I get to see Dr Stamer himself when I go back for my 1 year post op appointment to thank him in person.
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@jjams82, Pleased you are doing well. Probably best to refer to your surgeon as Mr Stamer. wink
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@cad99uk, Is that a correct surgeon title thing? I'm terrible with formalities.
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@jjams82, consultants are Mr
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@jjams82, Surgeons are always Mr. Great that you are doing so well keep up the good work. Very Happy
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