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ACL Recovery - Can’t pedal out of the saddle

riekorieko Posts: 121
I recently had a detached acl replaced in my right knee with a hamstring graft, as well as my cartilage repaired. Luckily cycling is a major part of the rehabilitation and 6 weeks after surgery I was able to get back on a bike (at least on my turbo) and start riding again.

Fast forward 3 weeks and my fitness is starting to come back a bit and my knee is turning the pedals with little discomfort. However; I cannot pedal at all while standing. It’s literally impossible and for some reason I can’t move my foot forward on the downstroke when I’m out of the saddle.

I’m desperate to get off the turbo and back out onto the road but don’t really want to, until I can ride my bike out of the saddle. Has anyone had the same op and had a similar experience or is this something I should be concerned about?
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  • redvisionredvision Posts: 2,615
    I suffered a torn ACL years ago when playing football (in the late 90's). It took a good two years before i was able to train properly again, although with the medical improvements made over the last decade now it should be a year or less.

    The rehab is absolutely vital. During the program they set for me i was having physio 3 times a week for the first 3 months, and then once a month for the next 12 months. My strengthening program revolved around swimming and if i recall correctly it wasn't until the 3rd or 4th month that i was put on a static bike.

    My advice is don't try and rush your recovery. The ACL will heal fine following your surgery provided its given time and the correct strengthening program. I would suggest getting as much physio as you can. Get in the swimming pool (will help build strength in the knee as well as fitness) and if you do want to get on the bike stay seated and wear a knee support. Fight the temptation to get out of the saddle.

    Unfortunately the road to recovery will be long and i know how frustrating it is. But get things right and be patient and it will go fine. If you try to rush it you may suffer setbacks.

    Best of luck
  • riekorieko Posts: 121
    @redvision thanks for reply mate. It's definitely going to be a long road to recovery. I'm 2 1/2 months on from the Op and currently get Physio once every week. The advice I've had is I should make a full recovery in 12 months.

    As for rehab, I'm not a strong swimmer at all and I mostly just thrash about in the water unfortunately. Both the Physio and Surgeon suggested I start to use the bike for 20 mins a day 6 weeks after the Op, which I have been doing. Like you said though, its hard to fight the temptation to go for it. Over the last 3 weeks I've found my self doing 1 hour sessions so perhaps I am pushing it a bit.

    Having said that, I don't get any pain when I'm in the saddle, hence the reason I just carry on pedaling, and if I do get pain, I just get off immediately. That's has only happened a couple of times though. I've got a physio session tomorrow so I'll see what they say.

    It's censored when everyone else is out on their bike and your'e stuck indoors! lol
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  • A chap down my road had his ACL repaired early last year and has been back out on the road for several months now and has clocked up a few thousand kms. However, he is unable to ride out of the saddle either - basically says it just doesn't feel strong/stable enough. He did manage a 100mile sportive on the weekend though at a reasonable pace ~25km/h so its not holding him back too much
  • TashmanTashman Posts: 2,744
    I had mine replaced with a patella tendon graft 2years last February. I didn't cycle much before so can't compare like for like, but I still find it difficult to sustain any time out of the saddle. It is getting better the more I ride though and I'm finding that it's strong enough to be comfortable jogging on now too. best of luck with the recovery
  • riekorieko Posts: 121
    Before my operation I was very much an 'out of the saddle' cyclist. Even when cycling for the last two years with a ruptured ACL (unbeknownst to me).

    Hopefully in time the ability to climb hills unseated will return.
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  • davidw007davidw007 Posts: 37
    rieko wrote:
    I recently had a detached acl replaced in my right knee with a hamstring graft, as well as my cartilage repaired. Luckily cycling is a major part of the rehabilitation and 6 weeks after surgery I was able to get back on a bike (at least on my turbo) and start riding again.

    Fast forward 3 weeks and my fitness is starting to come back a bit and my knee is turning the pedals with little discomfort. However; I cannot pedal at all while standing. It’s literally impossible and for some reason I can’t move my foot forward on the downstroke when I’m out of the saddle.

    I’m desperate to get off the turbo and back out onto the road but don’t really want to, until I can ride my bike out of the saddle. Has anyone had the same op and had a similar experience or is this something I should be concerned about?

    I did mine in 2012 followed by 6 months of extensive rehab including hydrotherapy. It still took another 6 months after this before I was riding comfortably and probably another 12 months before I was back to where I was before the op and not feeling like my kneecap could fall off at any moment!

    Like others have said, keep with it but don't overdo it.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    If it was between staying in or riding in the sun but having to stay in the saddle I'd go for the latter.

    Find flat routes or gear down and spin up ?
  • izzaizza Posts: 1,561
    I’ve had both ACL repaired with patella grafts.

    Out of the saddle indoors is a much different motion than out on the road as you can’t lean the bike. Took me many months to be able to do an indoor sprint. Take it easy. I was told by my surgeon that the less I do i the first few weeks the more I could do during latter stages of rehab. 10 weeks after op I cycled London to Paris.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 20,377
    Sorry for the mildly epic thread resurrection...

    Did mine during the ski season and had it put back together 9 weeks ago (hamstring graft).

    Is the constant paranoia that you've re-torn the repair common or it is it just me? 😳

    (Had a doozy of a lock up just walking around the supermarket today just after my physio session so it's playing on my mind again)
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • CargobikeCargobike Posts: 347
    edited 22 June
    I had a complete rupture 4/5 years ago and decided not to bother with having corrective surgery. The first 2 years after the rupture I totally neglected both my knee and myself generally, but having found a new physio who was far more focused on my specific needs and who I work with regularly on specific strengthening exercises she reckons my knee joint is as stable as it's ever likely to be.

    I still worry about unclipping from my pedals, but have devised a method that works for me and the injury.

    I too get paranoid that I'm going to do further damage down the line, but ultimately that's all it is, self worry. As long as you follow the correct guidance on strengthening the muscles around your knee and don't try to progress too quick you'll be fine.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 20,377
    Cos I ski, I kinda need it though

    The medical professionals I see are curiously vague about it but as far as I can see from...ahem...Google and such it's scar tissue tearing which is ultimately a good thing.

    The trouble is is that it can then feel much free-er which makes one paranoid that it's more "unstable"

    It doesn't help that you can't "feel" ligaments either so you're just left with the weird sensation and a mind overly pre-occupied with scary thoughts.
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
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