The Grind


“It is often the small victories that define the big moments.” – Chris Burkmenn

My 4 day oxycontin experiment was over.

I was a week out of ACL surgery.

My surgeon cleared me to drive.

After a few attempts, I found a way to get into the driver’s seat of my car with a fully locked knee brace. 

No small feat.

I drove to Whole Foods and walked with a heavy limp down the takeout aisle.

An elderly woman pushing a walker approached me.

“Looks like someone got the best of you!”  The woman says as she shakes her head and walks away.

Nothing like a confidence builder.

Success is Not Linear.  

The ACL rehab process is a grind.

There are good days and tough days.

Your road back to FULL SPEED has more plot twists than the Usual Suspects.

The excitement of being able to bend your knee again is subdued 5 minutes later by almost tumbling down a flight of stairs struggling with your crutches.

(If I fell, I would have blamed Keyser Soze.)

Consistency is Your Secret Weapon.

Rehab progress is charted by a calendar, not a stop watch.

There are no grand battles that produce major victories.

There are 2 components of ACL reconstruction:

  1. The Surgery
  2. Physical Therapy (PT)

One can NOT succeed without the other.

Going through ACL surgery gives you the OPPORTUNITY for a full recovery.

PT is the key that unlocks that opportunity.

You have to bring your energy, persistence & tenacity to each session.

PT is all about building 3 things:

  • Range of motion
  • Strength
  • Confidence

The road is long.

Scar tissue & inflammation, your body’s natural healing process, do their best to hold you back.

  • Your knee pops.
  • Your knee locks.
  • Your knee swells.

Keep going.

Being inactive is the worst thing you can do.

Trust the Process.  

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel (or even the BOSU).

You just have to have confidence to execute the game plan you & your PT created. 

You also have to know when it’s time to hold back and respect where you are in the process. 

After you push through the initial discomfort & uncertainty, your rehab starts to build momentum.   

Finding the right PT is so important.

Small Victories 

The biggest victories sometime come at unexpected moments.

90 days out of surgery I was cleared to jog.

I jogged for the 1st time in over 6 months on the PT treadmill.

Definitely a cool moment.

But my favorite MOMENT came later that week while hustling my 2 boys to practice.

We walked up to the entrance to our high school and realized we were late.

We all started running down a long hallway in route to the gym.

My 11 year old looks over at me running next to him and yells, “Dad, you’re back!”

Sometimes the smallest victories are the biggest.

-Joe Ciccarone

About Joe Ciccarone

Host of the “Built Not Born” podcast, Blogger ( & BJJ Black Belt. "Escape Average, Be Remarkable."
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