After suffering a full-on rupture in Nov 2009, I finally had my patella tendon autograft last August. Even though (mainly due to a busy home/work life) I've always been a bit behind schedule with the rehab, I have done my best to do the daily PT exercises and haven't had too much trouble resuming jogging/running (although I've always felt I was carrying the bad leg a little bit). The leg was quite painful also after the op so after a slow-ish start, the PTs eventually seemed pleased enough with how I was getting on.
So during my last PT session in the gym, I was pleased to be told that I was OK to resume football training with the team I used to play for, provided I didn't do any tackling or contact exercises (just the running/drills/ball work).
I went to one last week and took it pretty easy, but found I was struggling to kick the ball a bit, particularly with any force (my leg felt very weak). It was also uncomfortable to kick with the other leg since this involves planting your weight on your bad leg and twisting, however I thought this was probably to be expected given it was the first time I'd kicked a ball in over 18 months.
So I went to the second training session this morning, hoping the week in between would see it being a little easier. It wasn't! I'm still not feeling very confident in the knee and a couple of times found it extremely painful to control a ball moving at speed if stretching or on the end of my boot.
I'm hoping that this is just the atrophy of the muscles around my leg and that hopefully these will strengthen up again in time. However it's been a bit of a setback really, as I'm clearly not as close to getting back to playing as I thought I was a few weeks ago. There isn't too much pain after training, but I really felt like the leg was still not my own this morning and still don't have enough confidence in it to step up. I'm hoping this isn't a sign that the graft hasn't been successful.
I'd be interested to hear of other people's experiences of returning to soccer and how long it takes, as well as if there's anything I should/shouldn't be doing to speed up the process! TIA