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Knee: ACL Reconstruction


I am 16 weeks out from an ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair. I hurt my knee in March 2009 and had surgery in August. While I have managed to be patient, there are times when I get discouraged. I am pretty certain my surgeon doesn’t understand bouldering. When will it be safe to boulder? I have been toproping without any problems.

Robyn Tesauro | RI Forum

Unless your surgeon has landed from 15 feet up and missed the crash pad, she doesn’t understand bouldering. But I would bet my last dollar she gets it enough to know it’s not cool for you to start again too soon.

Toproping is fine, but avoid difficult high steps and deep drop knees. You can lead in another month or two. You could lead now on easy, gently overhanging cliffs, but only if you are very comfortable letting go if you even vaguely feel like your knee is being compromised.

Bouldering is fine as long as it’s in your dreams. At 20 weeks, your knee will hopefully be strong enough to handle it, but don’t bet on it. If you have pain-free motion, no swelling, can run and hop in all directions, have a great tan, and it doesn’t bother you while you’re working, playing or shagging, then you are certainly in the starting blocks. Try a gym with salubrious padding and spotters the size of Vikings. Landing on harder surfaces, like your typical crash pad, is not in the cards until your knee has its 40th birthday.

Relax. You are on the way to finding the Nirvana equivalent of patience. Well done, and hang in there. Damaging your ACL is not like splitting your tip—“Oh, gosh darn. Now I’ll have to take a rest day.”

No. More like a rest year.

Take your time, rehabilitate thoroughly, and follow the advice of your P.T. There are definitive milestones that will tell you how your knee is doing. Eventually you will forget which one was injured.

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