This is more than likely all placebo-effect stuff and I run the risk of trying to pass myself off as a DIY homeopath here, but when my husband was recovering from ACL reconstruction I remember looking into foods and supplements that are supposedly ‘ligament-friendly’, or at least helpful for someone recovering from injury/surgery. His injury was not the same as an ATR (and this is not the advice of a qualified doctor or nutritionist!!) so you can take it or leave it, but here’s my list for those who are interested.
Cautionary note: Any supplements can interact with other medications so if you are taking pain killers, antibiotics, heart meds, etc. make sure to consult a physician before adding to your regimen. Also, many are not FDA regulated so I personally stick to real food as much as possible, and only use reputable supplement brands.
- Bromelain - taken on an empty stomach acts as a proteolytic enzyme/anti-inflammatory (or just eat a ton of pineapple)
- Tumeric - anti-inflammatory, promotes soft tissue repair (and my friend Rashmi’s curries are awesome!)
- Vitamin C - helpful for producing collagen among many other benefits (pick your food)
- Berries - for the vitamins and anti-oxidants and b/c they’re yummy (we make lots of homemade smoothies or treat ourselves to Happy Planet/Bolthouse, $$$ but worth it)
- Soup Broth - the real kind, where you boil the bones for hours - (possibly one of the few natural sources for chondroitin and glucosamine?)
- Red wine - thins the blood to help avoid clotting. (I’ll take a glass of red over aspirin/ibuprofen any day!)
We’ve also both avoided pain meds as much as possible, and as soon as possible after surgery/injury, since these can cause indigestion, constipation, react with other supplements and interfere with the body’s ability to make most efficient use of nutrients. Also, mixing alcohol and acetaminophen is a definite NO so again, I’d personally opt for that occasional glass of vino with dinner, a balanced diet including some of the great foods above, rest, ice and elevation.
I have a serious weakness for a decent Americano in the morning, but coffee (and other types of caffeine) can interfere with vitamin absorption so I’m trying to be more careful about the timing of these (i.e. no point in washing down that multivitamin with coffee. Just makes for some very expensive pee!). I’m also trying to drink more water to make up for my little addiction. Not a chance I’m giving coffee up for good though
There’s likely tons of others out there that I’ve yet to come across, but after reading some other Achillesbloggers’ posts about similar topics, I may even start eating jello!! Eeew. (check out Ryan’s post).
Btw, if my husband had to choose one sport of choice it would be skiing, and he was prepared to forego all other ‘knee-taxing’ sports (i.e. the beer league men’s soccer team he was part of when he tore the ACL!) to once again ski as hard and fast as he wanted without ‘mentally’ holding back. His ACL recovered beautifully. In fact, his surgeon called him a phenomenon! (Something he annoyingly likes to remind me of whenever the opportunity arises :) He was very diligent about rehab and physio, and definitely followed his own version of an early movement/weight-bearing protocol, but we also tried to focus on some of these things nutritionally because it seemed like it just couldn’t hurt. My two cents…