Disclaimer: I am not a medical or health care provider of any kind. These articles are written from the perspective of a patient. Please follow the instructions of your health care provider.
So it happened to you. The infamous “knee blowout” they talk about in sports or dance movies but never show in detail. You felt the pop in your leg and were on the ground before you knew what happened.
You have a torn ACL. Now what?
Congratulations! You’ve now joined the elite club of ACL Warriors.
Apparently I am cursed. Since tearing my right ACL in July 2020, three people I know have torn theirs (one from taekwondo, one from gymnastics, the most recent from basketball). The latest victim is my partner, who was by my side during both my knee surgeries and long recovery. Now it’s my turn to be the caregiver (although I hope to God for both our sakes he still feels like cooking). It’s official – I’m contagious.
If you’re reading this and both your knees are intact, don’t be surprised if I crawl out of your TV screen Samara-style and make your ACL snap.
I can’t put your knee back together, but I can help you feel less alone. An ACL tear and subsequent treatment can lead to isolation, loneliness, and lots of frustration. I documented my jour-knee over the last three years on my blog and in articles on the website Martial Journal.
If you need something to read while you’re convalescing, here’s a comprehensive list of blog posts and articles discussing how my injury happened, adventures with health insurance, physical therapy, progress, setbacks, getting back into taekwondo, and all the feelings that go along with it. For a shortcut, select “Injury and Recovery” from the Categories drop-down, or pick and choose from the list below.
Read as many or as few as you wish, whatever seems interesting or relevant for you. I’ve been in it, through it, and am on the other side of it, and it does get better.
2020 – The injury, surgery #1, physical therapy, beginning the long road of recovery
POP! Goes My ACL (7/18/20) – All about the incident, fun in an MRI machine, and the aftermath.
Knee Surgery: Pre-Op Jokes and Dr. Pepper (7/28/20) – Day one was fine. Day three SUCKED.
Is My Injury Bad for My Image (7/29/20) – Weird guilt and self-consciousness set in.
The Hard Truth of Getting Back Into Shape–Before and After (8/4/20) – I begin physical therapy.
Slow to Go Fast (8/11/20) – My PT shares words of wisdom.
Using Martial Arts Basics to Recover From an Injury (8/13/20) – I do forms. It’s weird.
Celebrate Small Wins (8/19/20) – Y’all, that first post-op rotation on a stationary bike…
When Do You Feel Like an Athlete Again? (9/1/20) – This is a trick question.
The Surprisingly Therapeutic Aspects of Watching the “Cobra Kai” Series (9/4/20) – I teared up reading the end of this post. You’ll see why.
The Road to Hell is Paved with Health Insurance Claims (10/11/20) – Seriously.
Find Your Sense of Normalcy (10/24/20) – You’ll get there faster than you think. Or at least a new normal.
Taking Life One Step at a Time (12/27/20) – Taking one step can seem so daunting.
#1 Recovery Tip from One ACL Warrior to Another (12/30/20) – Comfort from someone who’s been there.
2021 – Getting my strength back, mental health challenges
Jumping (Cautiously) Into 2021: Staying Focused on What Matters (1/24/21) – First jumps are terrifying.
First Post-Surgery Yoga Class: a Revelation (3/25/21) – What a wonderful feeling, inside and out.
First Post-Surgery Swim (3/27/20) – I reconnect with my first sports love, and boy are my arms tired.
First Post-Surgery Jump Kicks (4/17/21) – But no 360 kicks, ha ha HA.
First Post-Surgery Pilates Class (5/16/21) – Who knew lifting my leg would be so difficult?
My Post-Pandemic Body is Different. And That’s Okay. (6/16/21) – So is yours. And that’s okay too.
Letting Go of What No Longer Serves You: Marie Kondo, My Knee, and Me (6/20/21) – Time for surgery #2.
Therapy Every Damn Day (7/11/21) – Working on my body AND my mind. Fighting scar tissue and demons.
How to Feel Unstuck When There’s No End in Sight (7/26/21) – Recovery is frustrating and I hate my job.
Four Things Injured and Recovering Athletes Want You To Know (10/4/21) – Seriously, listen to us.
2022 – Returning to my sport, mental health recovery
The Weirdness and Joy of Returning to Training After an Injury (3/3/22) – I start private TKD lessons.
In Recovery, Focus on Gain Over Loss (3/17/22) – Coming to terms with the new normal.
From Therapy Every Damn Day to Making It on My Own (6/20/22) – I don’t need a third surgery!!
Planning Your Post-Injury Return to Martial Arts (8/3/22) – Tips for getting back into the game.
I’m Glad I Got Injured and Gained Weight (10/19/22) – No really, I am.
2023 – I’M BACK!!
A Year of Private Lessons: My TKD Comeback Tour (2/6/23) – What I learned from a year of private training.
Back to School! (3/25/23) – I’m back to regular taekwondo classes! It’s fun and felt kinda weird at first.
The Other Side of Knee Surgery (a Caregiver’s Tale) (9/10/23) – My partner finally had his own ACL reconstruction surgery. Here’s what the experience was like from a caregiver’s and knee surgery veteran’s perspective.