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My Top Tips for Pre- and Post Surgery Recovery

I injured my right knee tearing my ACL in a skiing accident in my early 20's.

The doctors never properly fixed it and it was time to take care of it. I tore my left ACL surfing and had it fixed so I understand the pain and lengthy rehabilitation required, which is why I have put it off for so long. I am now 46 years old so it is now or never.

I will not be able to surf for a year which is big for me, surfing is my sanctuary, next to my Pilates practice and my studio.

Preparation is everything

Before surgery I focused on keeping and building as much strength in my right leg as possible because things atrophy so fast when you do not use them.

Also very important is the whole body integration. I trained my whole body on all planes of motion so that after the surgery my standing leg and torso were ready to support me on one leg.

I focused on eating foods that decrease inflammation before and after surgery like:

  • Taking turmeric in capsules

  • Cutting down on wine and coffee

  • Eating cooling foods such as: coconut water, lots of cilantro, rice, cucumber, mint teas

  • Increasing hydration

The day before the operation I did a gentle cleanse to clean out my colon. I used tea, ate soup, and drank bone broth throughout the day.

Why would I want to do that when the operation was on my knee? The anesthesia during and the pain medication after surgery do a number on the colon. Things slow down and elimination is not moving at its normal rate. I want to feel clean and not toxic after surgery, so my healing can be focused on my knee.

It WORKED!!!!! I had little inflammation, which allowed me to move better. My insides felt clean and I felt great, not groggy, not ill, etc.

After surgery

After surgery I worked directly with a Physical Therapist and kept doing as much upper body integration as possible as well as taking care of my left leg that will be doing all of the work.

Lots of full body movement with a focus on strength and stretch everywhere, not just the knee I had the operation on. I can not express how important the focus needs to be on the entire body. Everything is connected, thus everything is affected.

I have done Physical Therapy a dozen times in the last weeks and also do my routine to balance out the pain I have in my low back and other legs due to walking with crutches and fully weight bearing on my operated knee.

Mental Challenges

Shortly after surgery I went to my studio and did a group class with my fellow students and teachers. Even though I modified a lot, feeling community and moving and breathing with everyone is insanely helpful. Being with friends, family and uplifting a community is so important.

Your Support System

Get clear on who you can lean on, who will be helping you after surgery. Make appointments with a physical therapist.

Thank god I have an incredible support system! My amazing team at Pilates Nosara, my fellow teachers and physical therapist and my community is keeping me motivated.

I honestly want to pretend my knee is fine and ignore it by laying in bed watching Netflix. I have to set appointments for Physical Therapy and my regular workouts so I am accountable and pushed. I really see so much value in group classes, private classes, and community to help keep me motivated.

See the Silver Lining

Although injuries suck I am a much better compassionate and aware teacher now then I was when I first started. My body teaches me daily.

When I first started teaching I was young, had just quit dancing, and could move beautifully without injury. That is good for me but not necessarily my client. I didn’t understand why they could not do certain things. I didn’t understand back, knee or neck pain etc.

So although injuries suck I am always a better teacher for it. I teach hours a day for years motivating people to move, breathe, recover from injury, etc etc. All I can say is that being held accountable is HUGE.


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