My recovery journey
The Power of Training and Supplements
Greetings, dear readers!

Almost a year ago, I faced one of the most significant challenges of my life - a knee injury that left me uncertain about my dancing career and daily mobility. However, through tailored training and supportive supplements, I discovered the transformative power of a holistic approach to healing.

Today, let's uncover the incredible potential of weight training and supplements in reclaiming our strength and embracing the path to wellness.

Let's dive in!
The Role of Cardio Exercises in Rehab

Low-impact cardiovascular exercises are essential to knee rehabilitation, offering numerous benefits for a successful recovery. Especially in the first phase of rehab, activities like walking, cycling, and swimming can improve blood circulation, release endorphins and enhance joint lubrication. These exercises also increase muscle tone and range of motion, as well as improve cardiovascular health all while being gentle on the body (compared to jogging, which one should start only in the later phases of rehab).

Remember to work closely with your healthcare professionals to create a safe and effective exercise plan tailored to your unique needs and goals. With dedication and proper guidance, you can achieve a successful and sustainable recovery from your injury.

Tailored Training

I am very thankful to have met highly skilled rehabilitation coaches in my city (Frankfurt, Germany). With their guidance, I found a clear path after my relapse in February and gained knowledge, strength, and confidence in my injured leg again. My training program was based on the Melbourne ACL Recovery Guide. There are many phases in the guide, but my rehab is currently based on 3 phases:

1. Gain balance and control: single-leg squats and foot balances. The phase ended with a passed Y-Balance Test.

2. Jumps and hops: by training with heavier weights I moved on to start Jumping onto both legs and later single-leg jumps. Here there are 2 test factors - shape and stability, and then how far you can jump (should be not less than 90% of your healthy leg results to pass).

3. Lateral jumps: currently I am in this phase and am learning to trust myself and gain speed in single-leg lateral hops. To pass this phase I need to jump at least 60 times in 30 sec. over a 40 cm square. As well as train jumps that turn - but this has been very easy for me, as my dance training helps me with great body control.

After I will complete the program, I have to continue training in order to keep my knee strong and prevent future injuries. So this is just a beginning of a lifelong journey.

The Impact of Strength Training on Knee Recovery

Strength training with weight played a crucial role in my recovery and rehabilitation. To stabilize the knee, you have to focus on strengthening the different muscles around the knee joint including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. When all muscles surrounding the knee are strong, this will help you prevent future injuries, improve stability and control, enhance range of motion, as well as contribute to increase joint strength, flexibility, and bone density. When the muscles are well-developed, they can better absorb impact and shocks during movement, protecting the knee from excessive stress.

In my training at the gym, after warming up for 5 min on the bicycle, I focus on different exercises with my own body weight and with added weight on the machines, as well as different moves on the Fitness and Bosu-ball.

With additional weights, I do leg presses, squats, Bulgarian split squats, leg extensions (when you straighten the knee), leg curls, standing scale, single-leg calf raises In standing and sitting, and hip thrusts. It is recommended to do 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions, so that's a way to help you find the correct weight. Start out with low or no weight, and then build up slowly. My physio coach said that building up to Leg Press 1.5 times my body weight with my injured leg is a good goal to prevent injuries and have stability.

With my own weight, I do tibial raises, different lunges, and variations of glute bridges on the floor as well as on the Fitness Ball (to feel the burn even more :) ). On the Bosu Ball I play around with different exercises like standing scale (playing with speed), single leg raises, and Ronds (for ballet).
I also jump without added weight: in the second rehabilitation phase, I trained jumping forward with both legs, then single legs. This was followed by side (lateral) jumps in the third phase of my program.

My build-up hasn't been linear, but I keep a score of how much weight and reps I do, so I can track and see where I'm at. Make sure to adjust to life events, and be cautious when you come back after a few weeks off. From my experience, it's always better to pace yourself and aim for the long run.

Listen to your body and learn to slowly trust your knee and yourself again.
North Sea, Germany
Exploring Supportive Supplements for Healing

In my pursuit of a comprehensive approach to knee injury recovery, I discovered the important role of supportive supplements. These supplements provided my body with essential nutrients and compounds to support tissue repair, reduce inflammation, and promote overall joint health. As always, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen. Here are some key supplements that have been beneficial in my journey:

1. Collagen and Biosil (alternatively): Collagen is a critical component of connective tissues, including tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, making it essential for the healing process. I incorporate collagen supplements or Biosil, which stimulates collagen production, into my daily routine to support the repair of damaged tissues.

2. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are renowned for their joint-supporting properties. These supplements help maintain the health of cartilage and lubricate the joints, reducing discomfort and enhancing mobility. I take 1500mg of both glucosamine and chondroitin daily to support my knee's recovery.

3. Vitamin C: As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C plays a crucial role in collagen synthesis, essential for repairing damaged connective tissues in the knee. Make sure to consume up to 1000mg of vitamin C in the first few months to aid in the healing process.

4. Omega 3-6-9: Omega fatty acids are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Incorporating omega 3-6-9 supplements into my diet helps reduce inflammation and promote joint health, contributing to a smoother recovery.

5. Lecithin: Lecithin is a source of phospholipids, which support the health of cell membranes. This supplement aids in the absorption of other nutrients and may contribute to overall joint health. I take 1200mg of lecithin daily as part of my supplement regimen.

6. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane): MSM is a sulfur compound that is believed to support joint health and reduce inflammation. I find that incorporating MSM into my daily routine helps alleviate discomfort and supports my knee's healing process.

7. B50 Complex: B vitamins are essential for overall health, including nerve function and energy production. I follow a cycle of taking B50 supplements for one month, followed by a break, and then repeating the cycle three times. This approach ensures that I receive adequate B vitamin support without overwhelming my system.
Photo by Freepik
Additional Supplements:

A) Turmeric (Curcumin) contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound that may help alleviate knee pain and swelling. Consider incorporating turmeric supplements or adding turmeric to your diet for additional joint support.

B) Boswellia is an herbal extract known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This supplement may complement your existing regimen by further reducing inflammation in the knee.

C) Vitamin D plays a role in bone health and may have potential benefits for joint health. Consult with your healthcare professional to assess whether you need to supplement your vitamin D levels.

D) Ginger is another natural anti-inflammatory agent that may aid in knee pain relief. Consider adding ginger to your diet or exploring ginger supplements for added support.

It's essential to remember that every individual's body is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Be sure to discuss your supplement choices with a healthcare professional who can tailor a regimen that addresses your specific needs and complements your overall treatment plan.
Final Thoughts
As I continue on my knee injury recovery journey, I have learned that a comprehensive approach is key to making progress. Alongside tailored training, the right supplements have played a significant role in aiding my body's natural healing process.

However, it's crucial to remember that supplements are not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek guidance from healthcare experts to ensure the most effective and safe recovery path for your unique situation.

The journey of healing from an ACL injury and cartilage damage can be challenging, but with determination, the right training plan, and supportive supplements, it is possible to reclaim strength and mobility. Remember, every step forward, no matter how small, is a victory on the road to recovery. Keep pushing forward and trust in your body's ability to heal.

Wishing you all the best on your path to recovery and a healthier, stronger future!