Pre-Op Preparation Process: 6 Things You Should Do To Rehab Better

Being a baika (injured person) wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be after all, and this was largely because of the many things I started doing before my operation. I tore my ACL since 28th July 2016, and because of insurance, school commitments, waiting time, cost, etc. I only went for an operation on 19th April 2017.


Right after I tore my ACL (I didn’t know at that time), I did physio and rehab until Jan 2017, and decided to go for an MRI Scan since I missed my last physio appointment in December, and my knee was still giving way at times. After I found that my ACL was torn, I then went on to schedule an operation date at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, under Dr. Timothy Teo.

If you’re on the waiting list to get your operation, here are some things you can do to buffer the effects of pain (both physically and emotionally)!

1. Work out your quads

On hindsight, I’m so grateful that I went to gym three times a week just to strengthen my quads/hamstrings. I would usually use the Tabata app to help me time the workout.

  • Warm Up: 20 minutes cycling (resistance ranging from 8 to 12)
    • This gets quite boring so you can watch shows/videos.
  •   Tabata Timer: 3 sets of 30 seconds, 10 seconds rest
    • Squats while holding a 7kg weight
    • Wall Sit
    • Lunges while holding a 7kg weight on both arms
  • Leg Press
    • 5 sets of 10 reps (single knee)
    • OR 5 sets of 10 reps (both knees)

It isn’t much, but I did this consistently over a period of 3 months, 3 times a week. This helped greatly because my left leg is strong enough to help me stand up with my crutches alone, without needing to place weight on my right leg. Hence, I can stand and sit with ease, on my own by Day 3 of post-op.

 2. Work out your Chest

I don’t usually gym and so I will be clueless when working on chest/arms but my sister would teach me some things, which I then continued to work on. For chest, I would usually do the following:

3 sets each:

  • 8kg Dumbbell Press x 10 reps
  • 8kg Inclined Dumbbell Press (45 degrees) x 10 reps
  • 8kg Dumbbell Flies x 8 reps (hate this the most LOL)

Of course, the weights and reps should be changed to suit your strength ya.

3. Work out your back 

3 sets each: 

  • 10kg Dumbbell Bendover Roll x 10 reps
  • 12.5kg Barbell Bendover Roll x 10 reps
  • 60kg Lat Pull Downs x 8 reps
  • Assisted Pull Ups x 8 reps

These exercises are good since it wouldn’t really involve your torn ACL at all, and you can strengthen other parts of your body. Now at the post-op stage, I realised it was super helpful as my arms could support my body weight while I’m standing up, and while I’m walking with the crutches. Hence, I didn’t need to rely on other items around me to get up, in case there isn’t any form of stable support around me.

As a girl, I can understand if you’re afraid of going to the gym because a lot of guys will be watching. I do get more self-conscious when there are a lot of guys around, so I would usually gym with a friend/my sis, or I’d wake up at 6am to hit the SMU gym by 7am / before the guys come.

4. Get used to Staying at Home 

I ended exams earlier than the rest, and this was also one week before I had to go for the op. Hence, I stayed at home for bulk of the time, watching shows (I actually finished 4 seasons of Game of Thrones…) and so now that I’m stuck at home, it doesn’t feel like a drastic change from my previous lifestyle.

But of course, if you rather party hard till operation date, go ahead and do so! 

5. Plan Things to Do 

Since you’re going to have all the time in the world, it’ll be good to also keep yourself pre-occupied when you aren’t feeling drowsy from the medicine. This is basically my list of shows to watch so far:

  • Game of Thrones Season 1 – 6 (10 episodes; 1 hour each)
    • Currently on Season 6!
  • 13 Reasons Why (13 episodes; ~ 1 hour each)
  • Kdrama: Reply 1988 (20 episodes; 1 hour each)

(hmu if you have more shows to recommend HAHA)

I’ll also keep writing about the rehab process since I like writing anyways, and continue doing my knee exercises:

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6. Knowing what to expect

I had the ‘luxury’ of listening to personal experiences since 5 people from SMU Ultimate tore their ligaments – Nair, Derek Koh, Jun Wei and me (all ACL tears) & Daniel with a PCL & LCL tear and fracture. I was last to get my operation done, so I would ask how it feels, how long it takes before being able to walk again, etc. Hence, I knew what the op was going to be like, and how it would be post-op, and what I should expect. This really helped me to stay calm, and not do anything stupid 😂 😂 😂 😂

          🌦  Hope all these help if you’re preparing for an🎈☀️ 
          🐳  🦁  ACL Reconstruction Operation too! ❤️


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