19/Male torn ACL & MCL; Hamstring Graft

by Jeff
(Valencia, California )

I've been playing basketball most of my life, and it was my obsession until I tore my ACL. I was practically playing everyday in my school gym (UCI) for about 5 weeks straight. I landed on some guy's leg while trying to block a shot. The initial pain was dreadful, it was throbbing for about 3 minutes until it finally went away. They wrapped ice around my knee right away and I went to the doctor immediately.

After taking an X-Ray the doctor said it shouldn't be more than a sprain and that I should wear the brace they provided until I didn't feel anymore pain. He also scheduled me for an MRI the next week just to make sure. That week I felt pretty good that it wasn't anything more than a sprain.
Once I took the MRI and the doctor told me that I tore my ACL and MCL, I started to tear thinking that I wouldn't be touching a basketball for at least 6 months.
I started going to rehab 2 weeks after the injury. It was pretty painful since I didn't have any range of motion or put any pressure on it since the injury. I believe the bike was the best machine in getting my range of motion back. I iced as often as I could until I felt no more pain.
After researching many articles, I found that the hamstring graft was the best choice for me. I knew a couple of my friends that did allograft (cadaver) and they are still in pain when playing basketball even after one year post operation. Also with patella, I didn't like the idea of feeling pain when I knelt and that there's a higher risk of arthritis. My doctor also said that the hamstring graft is just as strong as the patella, it's just that the hamstring graft is soft tissue and it takes a little bit more time to strengthen.
What I'm afraid of is that if I'm going to loose my quickness and my hops! I'm 5'10 and I just started to dunk the ball before my injury. I was wondering will I ever get back to jumping that high again? And is 6 months the earliest I can get back in playing competitive basketball?

My surgery is June 26, 2009 (tomorrow) and I'm starting to get a little nervous. I'm having the surgery an hour away from my house and I'm hoping the anesthesia won't wear off before I get home. I'm pretty happy that my insurance is giving me an ice machine to take home because I heard that it works wonders! Are there any tips I should be doing the first week post op?
Thanks

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Apr 01, 2011
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knee ligaments
by: derek

hi guys just a we comment to say that a have done 3 ligaments in ma knee my lcl pcl acl just to se if eny one can give me sum info on what am gonny be like walkin wise n is my knee likly to dislcate again a alwas went campin n hill walkin before my accadent but dont no if al be able to do this again please give me sum info on this topic please thanks derek

Mar 25, 2011
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Hai All!! (reply to jazz)
by: Indra

Hai yall..

My name is indra bayu, 27 play basketball and recently tore my ACL and some of my meniscus (level 3 and 2). I know its been a long time since Jeff's post, i just want to ask anybody (specially jeff) if the one who take hamstring graft for his ACL reconstruction, able to be back to his basketball game? because my doctor is recommending me to use it. FYI my operation is in monday 28 march, and i got injured 4 weeks ago.

To jazz, how are you doing now? hope you are ok. I have read about your anatomically problem, and i do have some suggestion for you. See, an "X" or Too much "O" posture is a problem for knee's health. Whether its your anatomical or you just has muscle imbalance on your body. I have read a lot about this muscle imbalance, because turns out i just realize about 3 months ago that i have a very bad (i mean bad!) posture...from top of my head to the foot. To be short, if you are having this muscle imbalance in your body, you need to fix it fast before you want to go back to the game (any weight bearing high contact game). This effort, will make you muscular kinetically, move better and play the game better and most importantly will avoids you from getting injured again. If you want to read about it, the T-nation website has much of reading source in it (you can google it out). If you want my help on it, i have a list of paper and books so you might want to contact me at indrabayunafari@yahoo.co.id

I now hot it feels to have passion in sport, and i recommend you to try everything that possible before you hang it out!

cheers

Dec 03, 2010
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Acl surgery number 3
by: Jazz

Hi Everyone,
So I am at week four after having an ACL reconstruction on my left knee. I dislocated it in an Indoor Soccer game by a collision with the goalie. Unfortunately, with my dislocated knee came a fully torn Acl and Mcl. I am 24 and have played soccer all my life.. high school, odp, state, college, indoor semi pro, and really love the game. This is my 3rd Acl surgery and fourth surgery all together. My first Acl happened when I was 16 and again on the right knee when I was 18. I also had a torn meniscus and had surgery on my left knee when I was 19. I came back from that within two months and had no problems or long recovery.
Doctors say some people are just more prone, my gender gives me a disadvantage because of my anatomy, and it just simply happens in high contact sports. Am I crazy to think to play again? Should I just hang up my cleats and let go of the game no matter how passionate I am for it? I mean I am not going to go pro, but actively playing is a big part of my life. I just cannot believe it happened again, I was in good shape and felt strong. So confused and scared this time.

Apr 30, 2010
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acl part 2 :-)
by: Brian

Recovery is going well. I am about 10 days out. I stopped taking my Percocet in about 4 days. Occasionally, I will take one before bed if PT abused me ļ Pain after surgery was on my shin and hamstring. Shin pain is because this is where the hamstring tendon attaches, or did. The only pain I have now is in my upper medial calf. My first thought was blood clot, but with stretching and heat (things you should not do if you do have a clot, but it was not red or warm) the pain subsides for a little. PT attributes this to overuse of the muscles as my others are not as strong post op. My thigh is about 2-3 inches in diameter smaller than the other which is normal, please do conditioning rehab prior to surgery. First PT 7 days out I reached my goal of 100 degrees with moderate almost sever pain. By the end of therapy, the same day, I could reach the same degree, pain free. Next week I need to be at 120 degrees. I have a CPM I use about 4 hours a day which has been very helpful. I am faithfully following the home rehab instructions.
I am a RN and will hopefully be back to work in 4-6 weeks. Initially he said I could go back to work in a week. Sure¡Kmaybe if I sat at a desk all day. They say I can lose the brace after about 6 weeks. I only use my crutches if I am going to the store just to get out the house. My brace is still locked when I sleep or am up. I have read about 4 books and am now getting cabin fever. Rehab is going to be a long road but I am determined to make the best of it.
Not sure if this more helpful than it was long ļ. Good luck with all of you and feel free to ask any questions.

Apr 30, 2010
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ACL with HSG
by: Brian

Hello,
Hope everyone is recovering well or have found the answers they need with determining surgery. My name is Brian, I am 34 years old and live in Colorado Springs. I tore my ACL and suffered a full thickness tear (1cmx0.5cm) to my lateral femoral condoyle. I did it playing soccer…they sad thing was no one was around me when I gracefully landed after an attempted header, then POP, POP, ground. I can’t say that it hurt more so than it “tingled” throughout my knee. The pain was in full force as I attempted to hobble off the soccer field. I could put no weight on it. 15 min later I could put enough weight, with slight pain, to walk to my car. My PCP said it could be a sprain but time will tell (or an MRI). Sent me for an XRAY and Physical therapy. X-ray showed nothing acute. PT noticed a possible cartilage defect just form manipulating my leg. They suggested on MRI, called my PCP for the MRI, had the MRI….then scheduled an appointment with Dr Weinstein after I received the disappointed news of “Acute ACL disruption”.
I had my surgery April 20, 2010 to repair my ACL with (my vs. cadaver) hamstring graph. He said the cartilage defect was in a non-weight bearing area and need not be repaired . Options for that are microfracture surgery. I had a femoral and sciatic block, which I highly recommend. I regained feeling and movement about 30hrs later. Surgery was a snap! They said ok we are now giving you some medication, and then I woke up the “next second” in recover with very little pain just above my knee. The surgery itself was about 45 min. I have two small incision right below my knee cap for the scope and an inch incision just medially of my tibia about 5 inches down from my knee for the hamstring tendon. Also have two puncture sites laterally about 3mm in diameter, and have no idea what they used them for. (to be cont)

Apr 09, 2010
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Need to make graft decision for my 14 yr old son.
by: Anonymous

Our 14 yr old son's ACL is completely torn and the Dr. says he is ready to have his surgery. We think that we have decided on the hamstring graft not the allograft/cadavor since he is very athletic. He's plays basketball year round, football and track. Is this the best choice? He is scared to death of this whole surgery, thinks it's going to be very painful. Would love any kind of advice - Thanks.

Mar 29, 2010
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Reply to Ryan
by: Anonymous

Hey Ryan,
Seems like your recovering very well. My advice would be try bending your knee more and more. I believe the goal is to touch your butt by the 6th week. But don't excel too fast because you don't want to stretch your graft, especially since its a hamstring graft. You want to stretch often because it removes the scar tissue that is caused from the surgery.

Mar 29, 2010
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ACL
by: Ryan

I am 19 and a freshman in college where I play baseball. My injury happened in September playing basketball where this guy took out my knee. But I went many months of continuing to play on until I finally deciding to go to a specialist in March where they determined my ACL was tore, and I decided on hamstring graft as well. When I had surgery they said my ACL was mush and I had injured my meniscus as well so they trimmed that. I am on day 6 after surgery and there is not much pain nor swelling which I owe a great part to starting rehab the day after surgery and icing it as much as possible. My question is if any has any extra tips maybe some exercise they did to help them speed up the process and what they believe helped them the most in the process to recovery.

Mar 19, 2010
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Torn ACL, Medial Meniscus, Microfracture
by: Kyle

Hey there I tore my ACL, medial meniscus and had a microfracture done. I was playing basketball as well. The same thing happened to me as I came down after trying to block a shot and felt my knee pop out. It hurt real bad after a couple minutes and I couldnt walk the next day. I opted for the hamstring graft too. I just had surgery and am 2 weeks post-op. I had 112 degrees ROM on tues w/o help and 118 with help. Still on crutches for another 2 weeks hopefully 1, but hamstring is still sore and i feel a lil tug in my knee whenever i bend it too far.

Mar 03, 2010
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acl
by: Brett

Doug do the hamstring graft for sure , my doctor told before i got my surgery that the normal acl can with stand 1700 newtons of pressure, the petellar tendon can with stand 2300 newtons and the hamstring if healed properly and done by a good surgeon can be 4000. im 7 days post op, i felt alot of pain the 2nd day when the femoral nerve block wore off, but its been getting better everyday.i feel basically no pain other then where my incisions were because it feels like their pulling sometimes. and basically no hamstring pain. i am also a basketball player and cant wait to get back

Mar 02, 2010
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Before Surgery
by: Doug

Hello Jeff,

I appreciate you answering my questions

1) Is the physical therapy only done in Orange? I do want to go to one specifically for ACL injuries and sports related.

2) Do you have to set up appointments for physical therapy before your surgery or is that done automatically?

3) How long did you have to wait before physical therapy?

Dr. Csintalan actually recommended the patellar graft for me since I play basketball, which one did he recommended to you initially?

Thanks...

Mar 01, 2010
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Reply
by: Jeff

Hey Doug,

Dr. Csintialan is a very good surgeon, he knows what he is doing. I chose the hamstring graft because I didn't like the chance of having kneeling pains if I chose the patella. And I feel like most people are doing hamstring graft now a days, like tiger woods. The hamstring graft is a softer tissue than the patella, so you must be very careful the first 6 weeks.

Yes I did all my rehabs at the Kaiser in Orange. My payments were cut down to half of my usual payments. They really put you to work there, so if you go when your suppose to and do all your home exercises then you should be back in no time.

The temptation of not playing basketball is tough, just try to find other hobbies to do. I wasn't suppose to play till my 6 month post op, but I felt I was ready to play lightly at my 4.5 month, but I was really careful. So just work on your rehab and go to all your appointments.

Let me know if you have other questions, I'll be glad to give you any more advice.

Mar 01, 2010
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Reply
by: Jeff

Hey Doug,

Dr. Csintialan is a very good surgeon, he knows what he is doing. I chose the hamstring graft because I didn't like the chance of having kneeling pains if I chose the patella. And I feel like most people are doing hamstring graft now a days, like tiger woods. The hamstring graft is a softer tissue than the patella, so you must be very careful the first 6 weeks.

Yes I did all my rehabs at the Kaiser in Orange. My payments were cut down to half of my usual payments. They really put you to work there, so if you go when your suppose to and do all your home exercises then you should be back in no time.

The temptation of not playing basketball is tough, just try to find other hobbies to do. I wasn't suppose to play till my 6 month post op, but I felt I was ready to play lightly at my 4.5 month, but I was really careful. So just work on your rehab and go to all your appointments.

Let me know if you have other questions, I'll be glad to give you any more advice.

Feb 28, 2010
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You gotta be kidding
by: Doug

Jeff,

He's the one that's going to operate on me next month. What a small world... So you would totally recommend him? You're the perfect person to talk to as I am in the same field as you (playing basketball). My friend's employer recommended him too!

I have a torn medial meniscus and partially torn ACL. I have to pick my tendon soon and I still don't know which one to go with (patella or hamstring).

Jeff, is it true that if you go though ACL surgery, you get physical therapy for half off? That's what I heard through the Kaiser Pre-op class. Is there any additional info you can provide me that might help? I'm so nervous as I've never had any surgery before.

Feb 28, 2010
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Response
by: Jeff

Hey so it's been 7 months now since my surgery and I feel great. I've been playing basketball now almost everyday now. I actually started to play on my 4.5 month mark, but I was very careful. I found out that an athletic sleeve was very helpful when I played.

My insurance was through Kaiser and my surgeon was Dr. Csintalaln. He treated me very well and was very helpful. Rehab is the most important to recovery, especially the first 6 weeks.

Feb 27, 2010
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Which Doctor?
by: Doug

Hello Jeff,

I live in Orange County too. May I ask which doctor you went to? My surgery is next month and I still don't know which graft to select (Patella or Hamstring)?

Feb 25, 2010
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question
by: Anonymous

Hey my names taylor. I tore my ACL November 1st and had surgery on Nov 25th (2010). Its been exactly three months and I am feeling great. Rehab is going really good and my knee feels really strong. Im 21 years old and a firefighter and i see my doctor in 2 days and i wanna ask him if i can go back to work. I know its soon but my knee feels great. Any opinions?

Sep 06, 2009
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20/Male torn ACL & MCL; Hamstring Graft
by: Ian

Hey Jeff

lol it seems i have the same injury as you Jeff at the same age. Snow skiing accident last weekend, im 2nd year at the University of Melbourne in Australia and seeing the surgeon monday.

I train muay thai kickboxing 3 days a week. Well used to, does anyone know that once ive made a full recovery is it advised to return to the sport as its so demanding on your joints and impact orientated?


Aug 31, 2009
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Torn ACL Survivor
by: Anonymous

Ya'll will be just fine. I was in my late 30's playing soccer the day I tore my ACL and meniscus. You'd think I'd hang up the towl to my passion? Heck no! I had ACL surgery used my petella tendon and was back on the soccer field in 8 months. Keep up with your home physical therapy and your rehabilitation therapy. I had the best KneeSurgeon, the best Therapist (ARCH) and the best attitude to pull through 100% in record time for someone my age. Hang in there and you will be back in no time feeling normal and ready to kick butt.

Aug 21, 2009
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FF needs help!
by: Anonymous

I hurt my knee a month ago, and thought it was a mild strain. After my visit with my ortho today I found out I tore my ACL. I don't know what to do! I am a FF,and have been working since my injury. I feel little pain, and am confused as to whether or not to move forward with the surgery. Being out for six months seems outrageous! Is disability an option? Do you really fully recover? Since I am able to do almost everything now, can I just strengthen my muscles and try to not have surgery? Possibly I am in great denial...Oh, I am 34 years old, petite female. Very athletic, signed up for an ultramarathon in December, love to climb, ski, hike, etc. Also a new mom...Please help!

Jul 22, 2009
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My reconstruction blog...
by: Chad

Jeff,

I recently had ACL reconstruction using hamstring graft on May 18, 2009. I created this blog to help others along the way of recovery. Hope it helps you and if you have any questions, email me at csabatka1@hotmail.com.

http://csabatka1.blogspot.com/

Jul 02, 2009
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Hamstring pain
by: Jeff

Hey guys, it's been one week since my operation. I feel like the past week, I've been feeling pain in different spots. The first few days I was feeling pain solely on my knee, but recently I've been getting severe pain in my hamstring graft ( right below the knee) also my hamstrings from my thigh to upper thigh. I don't know if i pulled it or if I'm suppose to feel pain all throughout my hamstrings since that's where they took the graft from. Also I have been getting back pains, is it because when I get in and out of bed I use my back to lift my braced leg up?

Other than pains, I went to physical therapy yesterday and they said my extension was good and I had a 95 degree bend which they told me i was suppose to accomplish by week one. They also said I had to be out of my crutches which I came in without until now since I've been getting this throbbing pain in my hamstring graft every time i get up.

Jun 26, 2009
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ACL advice
by: Anonymous

Hello Jeff. I just want to wish you the best of luck with surgery today. I had my ACL reconstucted from my patellar tendon 10 weeks ago after injuring myself during an obstacle course competition. I am 44 years old, a firefighter, and an athlete that enjoys mtn. biking, running and weight-lifting along with many other activities. My advice to you is to be patient and to not do too much too soon. An ACL reconstruction takes time to repair fully and strengthen. My fear is that since you love basketball so much that you'll try to come back too soon and reinjure yourself. Believe me, it is extremely depressing to sit around with rehab as your only activity but, listen to your therapists and you'll be back to normal as soon as possible. Also, don't be afraid to accept help from others especially with getting in and out of the shower right after surgery. One small slip can send you back to the surgeon.
Unfortunately, although my surgery and rehab went well, I've developed a lot of scar tissue around my knee. I still have pain and limitations 10 weeks later. My doctor and I have decided to do another surgery to release the scar tissue on July 7th. I'm hoping that I'll be able to continue progressing in my therapy after that. Don't worry that you'll have that problem... it happens to women more than men and to fairer people than darker people. Also, you're much younger. That's a big advantage.
Good luck, Jeff. If you have any other questions feel free to write back.
Allison
Plantation, Florida

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