Why You Should Embrace Your Unique Journey
Every athletes favorite question after ACL surgery...
“How long until I’m back on the field?”
This is a question that can’t be answered with certainty. And if a provider is giving you an exact date, then you need to find a different provider. Plain and simple!
Working with and rehabbing hundreds of athletes following ACL injury, I know for certain that every single case is different. This is why no specific date on return can be given. Your ACL journey is a long one, which will most definitely come with ups and downs.
The minute you start to compare yourself to your teammates and your peers with similar injuries is the minute you lose. Your focus should be directed on you and you alone, and improving each day. My advice to you, set small, challenging yet ATTAINABLE goals, and CONQUER them. Start small, and build momentum.
To give you an example. Early on in the rehab process your range of motion will be restricted. A mistake frequently made is to push aggressively early on. Yes, getting the range back early is paramount, especially that extension motion. However, if you push too fast too soon, you can end up causing irritation, pain, and increased swelling. Thus taking a step back in your journey. Instead, set a goal each day to improve 2-5 degrees of motion each day. This is attainable and will help you not only physically progress, but will improve your mindset, confidence, and overall moral when it comes to your journey.
During this rehab process, its great to have a vision and to focus on the end goal. However, don't forget to embrace the pursuit. Celebrate each small victory, build your confidence daily. This will better prepare you on the not so good days, and bumps in the road. You can then embrace and accept the setbacks, work through them better, and then move on from them.
Not comparing yourself to your peers will keep you in check, and hold you accountable to you and your progress alone. At the same time, this doesn’t mean shut your self out from teammates and friends that may be going through a similar process. Accept each other, push each other, lean on one another in your individual pursuits. This will build camaraderie, without the resentment of comparing your situations would bring on.
Kaan Celebi PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS