5 Months After ACL Surgery – Mountain Biking after Surgery

This past week I have been on vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina enjoying some great hikes, mountain bikes and runs with my wife and dog. This has been the first week since my surgery Dec 8, 2010 that I have had an intensive week of activity and I was very nervous about how my knee would hold up.

Well…everything went great, I was there for 7 full days and usually did 2 activities each day either a 5-10 mile hike, 10-20mile mountain bike and a 3-5mile run. My knee did exceptionally well, I was expecting some soreness however there was almost none. The only activity the proved to be a little more troublesome than the others was the hiking. Specifically, the problem was when I was hiking with moderate weight (lunch and water) on uneven terrain going downhill.

Here is what I have learned in returning to these activities…

Hiking after ACL Surgery

Like I mentioned above, hiking on rough terrain with weight proved to be the most difficult activity for me. We went for hikes on the Appalachian Trail(AT) which runs from Georgia to Main along the Appalachian mountain range. The trail has many summits and we would pick some of the mountains around our cabin and hike up to a lookout, lunch and then hike back. The difficulty I felt was instability when descending. On smooth terrain there was no issue but any time I had to place my foot into a potentially unstable position I was somewhat nervous.

Tip for hiking after ACL surgery – Use a walking stick. I found that having an additional point of contact on the ground while I was hiking was incredibly helpful. Just using a stick to help provide support whenever I was jumping from rock to rock to cross a river or climbing over a fallen log gave me much more confidence. If you are unsure about hiking after your ACL surgery I recommend going with a walking stick.


View While Hiking 5 Months Post Op

Mountain Biking After ACL Surgery

Getting back out on my bike on some great trails was exceptional! Tsali in North Carolina has 40miles of fast singletrack trails with a good amount of elevation change. My knee through all of the biking was great and mountain biking with my wife and dog proved to be a highlight of the week.


Me mountain biking 5 months after ACL surgery

I have been doing a lot of biking after my surgery on paved flat roads around our house, however, getting on some steeper hills with my clip-less pedals(foot attached to the pedal) really made me use my hamstrings more. At the end of the week my leg feels the strongest it has since my knee surgery.

Trail Running After ACL Surgery

The other activity I did some of during the week was going for shorter trail runs around the cabin. The trails I was running on. Again going downhill proved to be a little troublesome…I found I had to control my speed more than I would normally have to keep my leg feeling stable.



And finally….relaxing after the days activities…





All in all the week was great both from a vacation stand point and from my ACL surgery recovery timeline.

My sympathy goes out to those in the area that have been affected by the tornados.

Also a great website regarding the trails in North Carolina is…http://www.mtbikewnc.com/

The Top 5 At Home Exercises
I did that helped get me walking 4 days after surgery

Click Here to see the exercises


  1. Jon Haver says:

    What did other people do for their first vacation after surgery?

  2. I will let you know! I am having surgery on May 26th. I have been reading your website and am very grateful for the support/information. Talk to you again soon!
    Thanks =)

    P.S. Congrats on your vacation and hope all is well with you.

    P.P.S. Random question: did you take an anti-inflammatory (i.e. naproxen, ibuprofen) after surgery?

  3. Jon Haver says:

    Good luck on your surgery on the 29th. Your welcome and I am glad you find the site useful. I took percocet right after the surgery for under a week and then extra strength Tylenol. I didn’t take ibuprofen. Here are some tips for keeping the pain down after surgery…http://www.aclsurgeryrecovery.net/12/7-tips-to-manage-pain-in-the-first-week-after-acl-surgery/

  4. As a precaution, I took Oxycotin for the first 2 days and naproxen for the first 5. I never felt any significant pain. However, I used the cryo cuff continually for the first few weeks.

    Good luck with your surgery Rena

  5. I went to Costa Rica at 4 months after surgery and was pretty lazy and only did long distance beach walks. It was a nice break after 4 months of daily rehab.

    Are you still planning on delaying your return to sports beyond 6 months?

    I have been doing a lot of plyometrics, biking, walking, and hitting the tennis ball around. 6 month Surgeon appointment June 7 then back to tennis matches and ball hockey. It been a long go without sports…

  6. Thank you SO much Jean and Jon for the support. The surgery went very well. I am currently taking Percocet (but have weaned down to 1/2 tablet every 4 hours). I also take Fish Oil and Naproxen…both are helping with inflammation/swelling. I agree that icing helps A LOT. I used the cryo cuff continuously for the first 3-4 days and now I use ice packs for about 30 minutes after my exercises (6 times per day). I use the CPM now at night (first 3 days nonstop except for bathroom and exercises).
    I left the house for about an hour or two Sunday to have dinner at my in-laws (car rides were uncomfortable). I left the house yesterday for about 6 hours for a family bbq (most of that time was spent on my brother-in-law’s couch with my legs elevated, car rides were VERY uncomfortable)…I was politely chewed out later by my dad for “leaving the house/bed way too soon after surgery” (he had the same surgery about 6 years ago). I hope I didn’t go out too soon…it was nice to get out and I was really careful.
    I have my first follow-up appointment with the physical therapist tomorrow morning. Anyway, I will keep you posted…so far things are going really well considering. Thanks again! =)

  7. Hi,

    Congrats on your journey back to enjoying the things you love. Seemed like you had a good time.

    How long did it take for you to walk after surgery? I am going into surgery early August.


  8. Jon Haver says:

    I was walking after surgery in the first week but not for long distances and with a limp, see this video of me walking in week 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8tdI-H992A. It was by the end of the first month when I was really able to move around well(walk quickly)