Hurt But Not Disabled: How To Navigate Injuries and Improve

In May of 2019 I completely tore my ACL while wrestling. Within 10 seconds I continued grappling (from the ground only) for about an hour. Next day the swelling and pain let me know something was wrong (I had not confirmed the tear via MRI at that point). I started rehabilitating the knee and cautiously grappled. Within a month I worsened the injury while grappling. Unfortunately, the next day, I was scheduled to run the Tough Mudder at Whistler in British Columbia. I taped my leg up like a mummy and ran the 16 K trek up and down the world famous ski resort. About one and a half months after this, while grappling, I dislocated the medial meniscus and it shot out the back of the knee joint. Not having x-ray vision, I did not exactly know this at the time, but a later MRI revealed it. Finally, at that point I stopped grappling completely and turned simply to rehabilitation while I await surgery.

Now, I am a cautionary tale of both what to do and what not to do.


What I did right.
It was right for me to cautiously grapple while rehabilitating the knee. This keeps the body as close to normal while you repair.


What I did wrong.
I never got my imaging done until the knee injury reach critical levels. Had I gone into the ER the day of the initial injury, I would have known that my ACL was gone. This would have placed me on track for surgery much quicker and I would probably be post surgical by now. Further, it would have given me an absolute parameter in how hard I grappled. I would have been wearing a metal-spined knee brace and would never have gotten carried away. I would have been much more careful and probably would not have dislocated the meniscus.

At this point I am rehabilitating 6 days per week. This includes flexibility work and a lot of lower body lifting. Careful deadlifts, squats, lunges and straight legged deadlifts to keep the musculature around the knee extremely strong. Stronger, in fact, then prior to the injury. This is called prehab. It allows a patient to go into surgery with firm, flexible, strong and oxygen/blood rich soft tissues. Atrophy and inflexibility will hamper recovery after a surgery.

I am also incorporating many stability exercises. Here are some examples (all video shot AFTER the injury, showing that although the knee injury is serious, I am quite able bodied).

Be smart when you’re injured. Do not cowboy like I did. But also, don’t go all the way the other direction and become sedentary. Courage AND smarts. If you are anyone is injured and needs direction. Please send them our way.

God Bless,

Dr Parenteau



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