Monday April 23, 2012 14:14
There are various types of ACL reconstruction, the method I had in my knee included having a graft from the hamstring to rebuild the ligament. To be honest before I went in to the hospital I didn’t really know that there were different methods of reconstruction and what they each mean in terms of pain and recovery.
This is the process whereby the surgeons take a portion of your hamstring (the hamstring is the muscle at the back top of your leg, under the thigh) and rebuild it into a material that can be put into the knee joint. Usually if you rupture your ACL (which is what I did) then it doesn’t repair by itself as there is so little blood flow in that particular ligament – so they have to use your hamstring to put the knee back together. I found this video below which is very detailed and shows the complete procedure, don’t watch if you’re sqweemish!
I’ve been told that the hamstring is a strong muscle and can repair itself after such a procedure and eventually get back to 100% strength – I guess that’s why this operation works. I’d say however, that for me my hamstrings (both sides) have been the part of my legs which have stopped me doing so much cardio in my own recovery. A number of times now I have been using the exercise bike at my gym (12k in 20-30 mins) and if I do more than this twice a week I will get terrible pains in both my hamstrings which makes walking/sitting and sleeping hard to do! My physiotherapist has told me to do more theraband exercises and start using the cross trainer – building more strength in my hamstrings will allow more cardio which in turn should help the recovery of my ACL.