17 year old Female AS-level PE student - torn left knee ACL

by Kathryn
(York, England)

My MRI scan - quite interesting! ACL completely torn

My MRI scan - quite interesting! ACL completely torn

Can I just say, wow! So many people have torn their ACLs and more! ACL tears kind of run in our family; my dad's done both of his and both of my brothers have done their left knees (one playing rugby and one mountain biking)... I also know about 5 of my very good friends who've done theirs either playing netball or Rugby.


I ruptured my ACL on March 13th 2009 when playing netball for our school 1st team against a very sporty school. 8 minutes before the end of the match I ran forward for the ball, jumped in the air and suddenly decided i wanted to go in the other direction... so my foot went one way and the rest of me kept on going straight (at quite some speed). My knee slipped right out of place and popped back in again. I was on the concrete floor screaming (a couple of my team-mates saw and said it looked 'disgusting'... lovely. I Went to A&E the next day and received and X-ray even though I had an inkling that I'd done exactly what most of my family have done, my ACL.

I was referred to a very good knee specialist surgeon who took one look at my MRI scan and said I had ruptured the whole ACL ligament. Even though I kinda knew I'd done it, I burst into tears from the shock of having to go under the knife as I couldn't picture life without sports.

I keep wishing I'd listened to my dad and bought these 'Rotasole' trainers invented in Australia which take some of the twist whilst playing in basketball/netball etc matches. But, the typical 'know-it-all' I am, I didn't listen and kept to what I still have - Asics Netball trainers. I usually play netball inside or on that squishy flooring designed to take in shock from landing, so playing on the concrete was a bit intimidating as I've had bad scars from the 'non-contact' game on that surface.

Anyhoo, my operation date is on 23rd June 2009 so just under a week to go. I'm trying to keep positive about the whole experience as my 23yr old rugby player brother I mentioned earlier has had two ACL reconstructions on his left knee and is playing for a rugby team in the Dubai 7's towards the end of this year which is promising. He's always telling me there's nothing to worry about and I'll be glad I've done the op so I think he's telling the truth as he's been through it more than enough times :P.

I'm having the Hamstring graft as opposed to the Patella one... What do people think of these two?? Is one better than the other?

The one upside of this is I get to miss the last week of A-level work! (Obviously have to catch up though :(.) At least it gives me something else to do when I?m temporarily unable to move rather than just physiotherapy.

Last question; is anyone else in the same or similar situation to me and doing/done their A-levels (or equivalent)? My PE teacher is recommending me NOT to do PE next year in case there are any complications, however I love the subject and it's mostly theory anyway until about April next year where we have our physical assessments (mines netball obviously :P).

I hope everyone who is having/had their knee operations make a full recovery and good luck! :)

Xx

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Nov 02, 2015
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Mar 25, 2011
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I understand COMPLETELY!
by: Aria Mckennon

Me being an American, and a victim of the same thing, I can understand completely. I had the same problem. It happened on November 29th, only three days before my very first basketball game versus a very infamous school rivalry team, a game that would help very much with my self esteem. That night during practice, I was running sixes like the rest of the team (means running and touching the last line in the basketball court back and forth six times without stopping and running full blast) when my knee popped in and out so loud that my team mates could hear it from the other side of the gym.

Now, I was also warned because I have TOO MUCH muscle on my legs that when they tighten up, my weak bones often time end up popping in and out of place. And being me...Well...I thought it'd never happen to me since I was fairly healthy then being a diabetic but a happy athlete.

When it did, I couldn't move my leg it was like caramel hardening as I tried to run back, but I was determined to finish my laps and did, limping as my shocked coach forced me to the bench where I laid on the ground crying in silent pain as I called my parents and our broken up car to come and get me.

Several dozen X-rays and several doctors all told me that there was nothing wrong with me, and that I was jusst imagining it; that there was nothing seriously wrong. But being me, again, I knew they were wrong. But bless the heart of one ER doctor!

He knew what was wrong after seeing how my stiffened joint could not open or bend right, where he recommended a bone doctor to help. For three long and painful months, I suffered until the surgery from a wheelchair in an American high school.

Never before was I so happy! But afterwards, I still felt the pain, the bone grinding! But this doctor refused to help, making me angry. Six months pasted my surgery in Febuary of 2010.

He still never helped, and I continued to have bone popping. So we went to another doctor, but this one was greater. He knew my pain spot on my hip, (you know where the spot is when your knee sometimes locks up and you can't move it, that's where) But I was shocked! I had seen over a dozen doctors, and not one knew, but this one knew EXACTLY what was wrong!

And yesterday we returned to his office after a recent MRI was done to find out that I had another tear. This time, I burst in to tears. I didn't want to suffer like the last surgery, I couldn't imagine my life without riding horses or playing sports or running around ever again. It was a painful and scary thought.

So now, My story ends and a new chapter begins! :D

Nov 12, 2009
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netballer :)
by: Kathryn

Hey, well now it's almost 5 months post op for me and i've gradually started jogging in the last couple of weeks and my physiotherapist's pleased :). I had no complications after my operation and was applying small amounts of pressure with crutches almost as soon as i left the hospital (what my physio told me to do)

I'm sure you're going to be fine as long as you follow your physio's instructions :).

Sep 29, 2009
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15 year old GCSE student- torn/partically torn ACL in right knee
by:

After reading your story, i realised that my injury is much like yours; i also injuried mine whilst playing netball at a high level and now am awaiting surgery.
Im guessing you've now had your surgery and are hopefully well on your way to recovery, im wondering whether you had any complications? and how soon you could do the normal things such as walking? and whether your able to play netball yet?
Similar to yourself i cant imagine a future without sport, especially netball i know having the surgery means i'll be out of play for at least a season or two, but am hoping its going to be worth it for i cant compete to my best.
Next year i was hoping to take PE as one of my A-levels but now am unsure on whether i would be able to do it to start with, and whether my grade would suffer? please comment?

Jun 26, 2009
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University Choice
by: Simone

Hey!! Theres not much you can say about uni's people always ask wheres the be st to go, and theres no right answer, what i did was look in the independant, and they have a uni listing for different degrees.
My mum did physiotherapy at Bradford, bradford is known for its medical stuff
Sports wise you have, Leeds Met (im biased), Liverpool John Moores, Bath, UCLAN, Brunel, Loughborough. There the ones i looked at. But it also depends what you wanna do within sport.
I was doing teaching n the best 4 were LJMU, LMU, L'boro n Bath. (also the best for Sports Sciences)

the best thing i can do, is really look at the courses what they offer, the uni, its rating. you'll know when its the right place
I fell in love with Leeds Met when i went for my interview and its safe to now say Leeds Met Till I Die ha ha!!

Hope your operation went well!!! let me know about how it went and the rehab!!
Simone x

Jun 21, 2009
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not long now...
by: Kathryn

Simone, I'm starting to look at Unis to do a sports/physiotherapy course for 2010, went to Brunel yesterday... the day was even better as it was nice and sunny :) are there any Unis that you’d recommend? :)

Good luck in your op tomorrow Kim :) let us know how it goes.

Xx

Jun 19, 2009
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Good luck!
by: Kim

Good luck! My surgery is the day before yours - the 22nd! It'll be fine :-)

Jun 19, 2009
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I've done exactly the same!!
by: Simone

Hi chick, reading your story made me think of myself, Im 19 at Uni doing PE teaching, playing netball for uni against a hard team, jumped got the interception landed, felt my knee pop out and back in, and fell to the floor screaming.
That was in October, the diagnosed me as dislocated patella, after months of complaining to my Physio that i was still feeling a movement, now only 2 weeks ago have I been found to have a torn ACL in my Left knee, and now the process has been set in motion for my op!

I am so scared about the surgery, cause im goin into my last year of uni and dont want to not be able to complete it!!

will be interesting to hear how your doing and what processes you go through to make me calm down a little about the surgery!! like you I have friends that have done it, but i still don't feel at ease lol!!

Good luck with your op =) keep me update chick

Jun 18, 2009
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re
by: Anonymous

I definately agree with the stifness. i'm 9-10 weeks out and thats what bothers me the most. i sometimes go crazy to do things as well. I never had to much pain with the surgery but i never dislocated mine more than the 1 time. Hope it goes great! :)

Jun 17, 2009
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some advice
by: Anonymous

i'm 5 months post op with hamstring graft. the only thing about it is stiffness behind the knee when bent for long periods of time (bent farther than sitting). Other than that i can't complain much as of now. All I can tell you is be prepared for a long road for recovery. It'll get tedious and after a while you just cant wait for everything to be fixed, but keep at it. I actually didn't find the actual tear too painful. My leg gave out like 12 times before i went to the dr and i started to get used to the pain so i found the surgery way more painful than the tear. Just be prepared for the swelling thats the worst and the 2nd day after surgery cuz thats when the surgery meds wear out.

*helpful hint
if you get a large brace for the car ride home hold it in place with both hands. it helps stabilize and you have better control, otherwise bumps are awful.

Jun 17, 2009
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Re: Kathryn
by: Anonymous

When do you have your surgery? I have to wear a brace, and i want to so i don't reinjure it, that would be the worse thing to re do it.

I also took for granted being able to run, play sports, and basically doing anything active. i've had minor injuries but nothing to keep me from playng, but this was the worse. i never thought i would be excited about doing a stair stepper, or riding a bike, and counting down the weeks till i can run or play sports because i've always tooken it for granted. i can guarentee you that when you can start doing things again you will be more excited and appreciate them more than ever. I know when i get back on the court again, i am going to be loving and appreciating every minute i can!

Good Luck! And you'll do great! :)

I just have two suggestion for you. sometimes people have a lot of pain, but if you are like me you may not have a lot, so i suggest taking the pain pills the first 48 hours even if you dont have pain because you will be starting PT soon, but i hope you are blessed and dont have any! And when you can start doing things again dont be over confident and do thing you aren't suppose to but if they say you can do it TRUST your knee, and you will do great!

Jun 17, 2009
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good luck
by: PAUL

i got my acl reconstructed 8 weeks ago and its coming on good its nothing to worry about really,i didnt find it sore one bit,the 1st few sessions of physio will be hard but after that its just about getting strenght back into your quads,good luck with everything

Jun 17, 2009
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good luck
by: PAUL

i got my acl reconstructed 8 weeks ago and its coming on good its nothing to worry about really,i didnt find it sore one bit,the 1st few sessions of physio will be hard but after that its just about getting strenght back into your quads,good luck with everything

Jun 14, 2009
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do I have to wear a knee brace when playing sports after my op?
by: Kathryn

I'm guessing I have to wear a brace for a while for sports as I don't want to risk anymore avoidable injuries. I've got the pre-op assessment on Tuesday and I’ll ask when I go there and let you know. :)

I took being able to play sports for granted, with a few minor injuries here and there. But now I’ve done the big old ACL, I’m sure like many people, once I’m back on form after the recovery I’m going to love playing sports more than ever and appreciate every minute of it! :)

Yeah, I think I’m leaning towards the hammy graft too... That’s the one my knee doc recommended as there is a higher success rate as opposed to the patella graft in this area of the world. The hammy exercises are already difficult to do at the moment.. definitely not looking forward to doing those after the op!

It sounds like you’re doing well so far.. keep it up!

xx

Jun 13, 2009
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Re
by: Anonymous

I'm going into my sophmore year of high school, and i tore my Left ACL & Lateral Meniscus back in February at the end of my freshman bball season...i know exactly how you feel...i was going to start training to prevent an ACL injury this summer.....i had my ACL surgery 9 weeks ago on Monday. I had the hamstring graft....so far so great for me....it is a little challenging to do things that involve your hamstring for the first few weeks, but then it gets better, and i definitely reccomend the hamstring graft. I'm back to long bike rides & swimming....and i can run in 3 weeks! Its a hard thing to go through, but you can do it, and everyone tells me that we are going to come back better than ever! Good luck on your recovery! Do you have to wear a Brace for sports after your surgery??

Jun 12, 2009
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you'll come back better
by: lloyd

I'm 2 weeks post op, don't be to down by this setback. Although it's a pain not been as mobile as I'd like, I'm going to take my time out from rugby to strengthen my weakness'. As long as you stay positive and do all your rehab I'm sure you will return a better player.

Jun 12, 2009
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good luck
by: Bart - SII

Kathryn, thanks for a great MRI picture! Good luck with your upcoming surgery. Be sure to come back and post an update on this page to let us know how it goes.

Bart

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