Thursday, February 14, 2008

Trying Not to Think

I think too much. It has always been my nature. I am one of those people who over-analyze. I am definitely a planner and like to discuss options. This character trait may be hurting my ACL recovery. I think about my knee way too much. My knee has become its own entity and it has to stop.

Just the other day, I ran up a flight of steps. When I reached the top, I realized what I did. This is a big deal for anyone recovering from ACL reconstruction. Stairs are a pain for a long time after surgery. The point is that I did not think about it ... I just did it (and thought about it later).

Last night in class, I tried something different. I used a different knee brace. I did not ask my doctor or my PT so I did not have any official medical advice. I have read so many different theories regarding bracing after ACL surgery. Some doctors are for it and some doctors are against it. My doctor wants me to wear a functional brace until August. I have been diligently wearing the brace during every karate class. When I first returned to karate after surgery, I really needed the functional brace. It provided so much security and helped with pivoting. Now at 9 months post-op it feels restricting. I feel like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz. I am waiting for someone to bring an oil can to class.

The brace I wore in class last night was my second knee brace. I have had four since my injury last April: immobilizer, soft ACL brace, post-operative brace and the functional brace. This soft ACL brace is a Breg Short Runner. The down side is that it did not provide as much security as the functional brace. I know this because my leg muscles are a little sore today. The plus side is that I could move so much better. I am going to try this brace again tonight and I am not going to think about my knee.

Please note: I am not dispensing medical advice. This is only my personal experience regarding ACL recovery.


Bob M said...

Hi, Michele,

I know where you're coming from about wanting not to think about your knee while in martial arts.

For what it's worth, my doctor suggested I get a brace, but said that certainly some of the benefit was psychological. It feels to me like the brace would protect me from a blow to the knee--but it probably wouldn't help of I planted my knee an wrenched it myself.

I'm just starting to try to do non-contact classes without my brace. I hope it goes well for you!

Hack Shaft said...

I was approved just over a week ago to tackle stairs without "vaulting"--keeping the operative knee straight going up or down.

I'm sans-brace since losing the immobilizer 10 days post-op, and just this week I've noticed how much I don't over-think my knee.

Yes, it's a bit sore and feels odd, but I'm not at all concerned for having to hang on the handrails!

Your last post talks about finding your Cat Stance again. I suggest the difficulty is internal to the operative knee, that it just plain senses things differently than before. That being said, perhaps the solution lies in re-training how you feel the stance in that knee.

Michele said...


I agree that there is a psychological benefit to the brace. My new ACL (right leg) actually tested stronger than the ACL in my left leg.

I am impressed that you are taking classes without a brace. I cannot wait for the day that I will train brace free!

Hack Shaft,

It is good to hear from you! I think your progress is amazing. I am always interested to hear about your brace protocol. I feel that my leg wants to be fully bent or fully straight. It is the in between positions that I have a harder time holding (such as the cat stance). I was in full extension for 6 weeks in the post-operative brace. Sometimes I think the use of a brace has increased my recovery time.