Monday August 6, 2012 13:39

Muscle Atrophy

Posted by admin

Just to give a bit more background on my experience of this – firstly I wasn’t the most sensible person when I injured myself, to start with I just thought I had a small tear in my knee and that it would heal in a week or so (which it did not). To cut a long story short I waited a week before seeing a doctor in hospital and then unfortunately the unreliable NHS lost my details which meant I had to wait 6 weeks before I even had surgery – during this time I couldn’t walk, at all. My leg was stuck at an angle of about 20 degrees due to the bucket tear on my cartilage, for this period I was mostly horizontal or sitting down with my leg raised. So before I even had surgery my muscle mass was significantly reduced in my left leg, mainly in the quad region but was noticeable all the way down to my ankle.

After surgery it was up to 5-6 weeks before I could start properly walking again (or at least putting some pressure on my leg) that’s when I suffered the a lot of muscle atrophy. Don’t worry if you don’t know what “Muscle Atrophy” means, I didn’t too until I started researching about muscle loss post surgery. Essentially your muscle mass starts reducing in size due to inactivity, this can be caused for a number of reasons but in my case it was because I hadn’t walked in about 3 months.

When I started working with my physiotherapist there was a huge difference in both my legs, although slightly concerning I was told that eventually my leg will return to the same size, although it would mean a lot of training. What’s important to remember here is that as well as the size being visually smaller your leg will be physically weaker too i.e. the simplest movement or stretch was incredibly hard to carry out.

So anyway I’m now at 13 months post op and you can see there is still a difference in size (although considerably better than it was) in my left leg.


It’s mainly the quads which still need to be worked on for me, this means lots of cycling and squatting – but hopefully in the next 6 months I can build more muscle mass and increase the strength in my leg.

Update ** May 2013 – nearly 2 years after my ACL surgery the muscle definition in my left leg is still significantly less than my right. The leg strength is much better than it use to be but its hard to rebuild what was lost in terms of appearance. I cycle about 60km a week and use protein powders – which seem to be helping my healthy leg but not the smaller one! Will keep everyone updated on further developments

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