Recovery dilemma after ACL
I've come to a bit of a dilemma, I guess I'm just wondering what others thoughts are on this. I'm almost recovered from an ACL recon, and meniscus repair. I tore it doing judo about a year ago during a tournament. It was basically a freak accident where my knee got blocked, we both went down and pop it tore.
I've had to relocate for school, and haven't attended any dojo's since the tournament. I have about 10 years of shotokan experience, and had been doing judo about 2.5 years before the injury. I will start training in shotokan again once I'm able.
The dilemma comes with whether I should return to Judo as well, or find an (at least slightly) safer grappling art? I love judo, but I'm afraid of turning into a 30 year old collection of injuries. My friends who have continued training have sustained concussions, AC separations, a multitude of knee tears, among other injuries. Do you guys have any suggestions of what I could do? Is BJJ a safer alternative? I've never been injured in newaza. Should I ease back and just avoid competition? I'm really hoping there's a compromise somewhere here.
*Spark Notes version: Did judo & shotokan. Had knee injury. Worried about re-injury.
Injuries seem to be more common in grappling arts with a strong throwing emphasis then ones with a greater emphasis on ground work. Makes sense really when throwing/avoiding throws there is a lot of funny bending and twisting going on which can leave knees in vulnerable positions, I'm currently nursing my own (less serious) knee injury.
In ground work if you get in a dangerous position you can always tap out before injury, not so much when your mid throw and something goes wrong.
All that being said I had partially torn one of my acls before I started judo and I have not had any issues with it, however I had about a year and half or 2 years between the injury and starting judo.
I can relate. I tore my ACL four months after I started doing judo, and four years later I'm still doing judo. I think a lot depends on how hard you play, and how much/seriously you compete. I am very firmly in the "recreational judoka" camp. I do compete at local tournaments (for a little longer--I'm 42 and will switch to refereeing in the next year or so) but I'm very much of the mindset that finishing the day uninjured is more important than winning any given match. I'm careful who I play with in class. Male white belts are right out. If my knee is feeling grumpy I coddle it.
You might be less likely to be injured doing BJJ--you don't have the repeated weight-bearing and impact of judo. OTOH I have a grumpy elbow right now because of an almost-armbar that was close enough that I should have tapped. More fool me. That could have happened in BJJ as easily as judo. It's all about your attitude. Good luck, whatever you end up doing.
Thanks for the responses guys.
Yeah Terrier, thats a good idea. If I did judo again I would need to be a lot more mindful of just avoiding injuries. I think a more recreational mindset would be in order. I really don't want to go through this ACL recovery more times than I have to. Props for doing judo in your 40's though.
JudoJeff, I guess BJJ would be safer. It's just so darn fun to throw people though! I'm so conflicted. I feel like going to BJJ would be like eating tofu, when you really are dying for a slab of T-bone.
Terrier, did you ever have second thoughts about going back to judo, or doing BJJ instead?
Thanks again guys,
I didn't really know anything about BJJ at the time I tore my ACL, but honestly I like throwing people too much to give up judo unless I absolutely HAD to. It's well worth having to take it easy sometimes. I wanna still be on the mat in my 70s like some of the guys locally. If I had to quit judo I'd probably go to BJJ, but only if I absolutely couldn't do judo. Judo makes everything better! ;-)
Just keep in mind that when you go back to judo to play around your knee, eventually the strength will come back but you might get some weird shifting around in your knee at the begening. Don't be afraid to take a round off if things start to feel to weird.
Originally Posted by kurisu42
Just take 'er easy, take things as they come.
Do you have an ACL brace? I had ACL reconstruction on 08/22/12 and they removed 2/3 of my maniscus. I've been back training for about 2 months now. I wear my ACL brace when I train, and my doctor advised me to keep doing that for at least a year minimum, but forever if I can.
I tore my ACL while gappling. I was on top in the half moun, and the guy on the bottom had me in the lock-down position. I was trying to pass the lock-down and pop. I've been stickfighting for 2 months now and have only done some minor grappling. But as long as I have the ACL brace on, I don't see it being an issue.
Good luck with your recovery. I also, don't want to go through it again!
Combatives training log.
Gezere: paraphrase from Bas Rutten, Never escalate the level of violence in fight you are losing. :D
kettlebell workouts give you “cardio
without the dishonour of aerobics”.
I tore my ACL back in 1983, had recon done in 1987. Recovery took about a year (physical) and another few months to get total confidence back. We didn't have the fancy braces back then available now.
I think it's feasible for you to return to Judo, especially if you get the go-ahead from your MD/physio, and you have truly rehabilitated the knee (rebuilt the muscle mass/strength around it). I was already a shodan for a few years when I had my knee done, and fairly experienced, so I was pretty good at protecting myself once I got back to judo.
At your age, you might want to avoid the all out randori with other "newbs". They have a lot less control and sense of what they are doing. Take it slow and gradually. Stay out of randori for a while, but do a lot of drills and throwing, and ne waza. Kata is a good option as well, if there is someone around who can teach you.
I've hurt my knee doing ne waza as well. If you go to BJJ, you will need to take it slow as well, same process of drilling working on positions.
Get that ACL brace and use it either way.
Falling for Judo since 1980
"You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS
So, I just got the clearance to return to sport gradually. I asked my ortho about a brace, but he said he only uses them with people who still have some knee instability (involved more unstable than uninvolved). I kind of wanted a brace, if for nothing else but my own psychology. Apparently my reconstructed leg is tighter than my healthy leg. He said I should progress to full intensity training by month 8. Hopefully that means I'll return like a white Adrian Peterson of Judo, lol.
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