After-Hours Urgent Ortho Care is now available in Wilton, Monday to Friday from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Saturdays from 12:00 to 4:00 pm. Walk-ins welcome.

An ACL Recovery Story: Using Physical Therapy and Mini-Milestones

One day while doing laundry, Becca fell down the stairs and felt a pop. While she was able to stand back up, her left knee immediately began to swell. She made an appointment to see Katherine B. Vadasdi, MD, ONS sports medicine specialist and Director of the ONS Women’s Sports Medicine Center.

Following the visit, Dr. Vadasdi called Becca with the MRI results which showed a full rupture of her ACL. “I was completely in shock,” recalled Becca. “I assumed it was a small meniscus tear and that surgery wouldn’t be needed.”

After initially telling Dr. Vadasdi that she wanted to delay surgery as she wasn’t feeling any pain, Becca ultimately decided to move forward with the ACL reconstruction.

“One thing that makes ONS exceptional is how they took care of the insurance aspect. All I had to worry about was my own health,” said Becca. “The last thing you want to be doing is paperwork when you have a health concern.”

Becca decided to do aggressive pre-operative physical therapy (3 times a week for a month) to get as strong and even as possible. “As an engineer by nature, I wanted to have the metrics of where my leg and range of motion were to help me during my recovery,” said Becca who describes herself as a goal-oriented person.

While feeling apprehensive on her surgical day, Becca explained that “Dr. Vadasdi was patient, kind, and answered all my questions. I didn’t feel like an insurance number or click on the schedule. We both knew my goals before the surgery even occurred; I knew someone was truly looking out for me.”

Becca advises others to find the medical team that feels right for them: “Do your own diligence and interview multiple doctors.”

As a technical person, Becca appreciated that Dr. Vadasdi acknowledged that and even shared the video of her surgery with her: “I loved learning the science of what was happening to my own body and am grateful that Dr. Vadasdi valued my interest.”

Becca experienced a smooth recovery while continuing with physical therapy three times a week at Elevate Physical Therapy. “I felt like both Dr. Vadasdi and my physical therapists understood me as a person and knew how to incentivize me. They were such a strong team.” She took her first step four days after surgery.

“I adapted the mentality that I would create a long series of mini-accomplishments instead of just wondering when I would feel completely like myself again,” said Becca. Her milestones included walking, walking without crutches, driving, walking around the block, fostering a dog and lastly, hiking. “I set about 2-4 weeks between each milestone – they were manageable and overall great for my mental health.”

For Becca, the little victories helped the mental aspect of her recovery immensely. “I had no expectations to get back what I used to do until 9 months post-surgery; I wanted to give my leg a chance at full recovery. Instead, I took up new hobbies in the meantime.”

A lifelong dog lover, Becca started making blankets and once she was cleared to drive, she was able to deliver the blankets she had made to local dog shelters. Gradually, she began hitting all her milestones, including fostering three dogs (while adopting the last one!).