Kindly keep in mind I am no doctor. What I say isn’t medical advice, nor is it intended to be anything more than some ideas shared with you with the intention that you do the sleuth work yourself, which you will, and talk to the folks who fit your needs best. I hate having to write that, but here we are.
Here’s what I think, for what it’s worth, Betty.
First and foremost, I would avoid ibuprofen. Please see http://time.com/4746319/ibuprofen-painkillers-risks/. As with Tylenol, risks always exist. I am using CBD oil, some of which varieties are legal in all 50 states. May be worth researching, looking into. Not cheap. However would I rather take half a dropper of $75 CBD oil or take OTC or prescription drugs that I know good and well will ruin my health, costing me vastly more in the long run?
Second, I came to yoga later in life. For what it’s worth given your penchant for horse back riding and hiking like I do, my commitment to regular yoga has done wonders for flexibility and health. Few things are easier to learn, easier to practice and do more for us. They help prevent AND heal injuries. I’ve had some vicious, evil, nearly life-ending injuries. Repeatedly. I credit both yoga and weight work with not only ensuring my survival, but also my ability bounce right back, remount and take off at the gallop.
On hiking: most of us train to climb. Knees and thighs get hurt because we don’t train to descend. It’s not just having hiking poles and good shoes. It’s practicing having our bodies deal with the very different physics of descending, which is a whole other ball game. Here from REI is a great set of exercise suggestions to prep you for the up and down https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/14er-mountain-climb-goal-training.html.
When I train and when I hike or ride, I often will use one or two knee braces. My favorite is Mueller Hg80 Knee Brace, Medium, Black. I’ve tried a few kinds and this one provides just the right combination of support without too much restriction. I forget I have them on, they’re washable, and I use them regularly both for protection and if my knees bark at me.
Finally, if you’re tearing your ACL, this begs a question that only you can answer. Sometimes we’re pushing ourselves beyond what the body can do because of training, or it may be an accident, or both, or the accident happens because of the push. I’ve no idea. What I do know is that when we injure like this, sometimes the body is having a focused conversation with us. In this, Betty, I can only speak for myself.
This past early October as I was, and still am, training to climb Mt. Kenya in Africa, my left knee began to get pretty angry. I was hiking 2400–3600 steps with a 25-lb backpack. A close friend, who trains as hard as I do, said simply, back off. That’s the beginning of an overuse injury. He’s right. So I did. Now I jog those steps or just hike them without weight. No more knee pain. I have already hiked more than 70,000 steps for that adventure. God knows I’m ready. This way my body is properly rested, I am still training, but not to injury.
I have no idea if any of this is useful for you. I work with both a sports chiropractor as well as a Thai masseuse, both of whom advise and keep me in alignment. Those investments in my health go a long way towards keeping me in the game as I age.
In some ways I have slowed down, and now make slightly different decision about how far and how hard I push. Comparatively that still means that in my age group I am an out-of-the-park outlier. Compared to someone half or a third my age, I’ve pulled back a bit. The reason for that is simple: seriously bad injuries have taught me caution, and they have also reminded me that I am indeed mortal. Too many of them and my last years won’t be any fun if indeed I get there at all. So now I ride with a (VERY annoying, VERY hot) thick protective vest. Such concessions are minor, and they don’t take away from my experience. I’ll still skydive, but only tandem these days. I’ll still bungee jump and fly. No change. It depends on you.
What defines future decades of the kinds of experiences you and I both love has a great deal to do with learning your unique body, those tendencies and idiosyncrasies that uniquely define us. Finding the foods that support your energy, growth, and muscle development. Finding the moves that grow muscle and support systems for your knees. Building flexbility that best ensures that when you and I tumble, and we by god will if we insist on riding, we fall like a microwaved Gumby doll.
Then we get right back up, right back on, and keep right on going.
For decades and decades more.
My helmet is off to you, Betty, write any time.Then you and I can have a good chuckle at where the young lady’s reins are in the photo, above.