6 month post ACL-Where should I be?

by Grace

Hi. I am 22 years old. Last September I tore my ACL while playing soccer. I had the ACL reconstructed using my patellar tendon on October 21, 08. So I am almost 6 months post surgery. I've become a little concerned because I have seen little to no improvement in my knee in the past few months. There is still pain, swelling, and stiffness. My knee also laterally feels loose/unstable and there is some side to side play in it. I guess my question is, is it too early for concern? My Dr doesn't seem to be concerned about anything, and I am looking into getting a second Dr opinion. Anyone have any thoughts? What is normal for 6 months post ACL recon? What are some of the indicators that an ACL revision surgery is needed? Thanks a bunch! This is a cool site!

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Apr 08, 2009
Recommendations I recieved...
by: Grace

Thanks for you reply, Stephen. I read your post, too. And I'd say that I think I know exactly where you are coming from. It's nice not to be the only one. All that you described is pretty much what I am experiencing with my knee.

I have just been to see a second doctor. He agreed with my previous doctor that everything looked good with the new ACL. The graft was solid and the X-rays looked fine. My previous doctor had told me that the extra motion and "looseness" in my knee was just due to all the muscle atrophy in my leg. My quads and other thigh muscles are still quite visibly smaller and weaker than they are on my good leg. (I have been discharged from physical therapy since the beginning of January) This could be part of the reason for instability. The new doctor I saw also told me it's possible I could have pulled some of the other ligaments at the time of injury. Those are much harder to diagnose and see on MRI's.

In my case, my new physician recommended that I get back into physical therapy, get an ACL derotation brace to wear everyday (which should help the other ligaments heal and tighten up), and take an anti-inflammatory, like Aleve, for the considerable amount of swelling I still have. My knee was drained a month ago by my previous physician, and the new doctor I saw said it looked like it need to be done again. (My old doctor also gave me a Cortisone shot when my knee was drained. The shot made it feel wonderful, better than it ever had since surgery, but relief was very short lived.) I've been told that swelling can also give the feeling of instability.

So that's my story. I am going to go with the new physician and his recommendations and see how this ol'knee progresses. I feel kind of bad for switching doctors. I do trust my first physician and know that he did a great job on the surgery. It's seems to me though, that different doctors have differing approaches to rehabilitation. Some really push the therapy and others take a more passive approach.

So I hope this is insightful to some people. I've sure learned a lot about knees since my injury in September. I hope you get the answer for your knee's condition, Stephen. I'll be praying for you. The Lord Jesus Christ knows what we need before we even know to ask. Keep posted how things turn out for you.

Apr 06, 2009
Stephens Problems after Surgery
by: Stephen

I am going to be watching your post with interest, I have suffered all similar problems as you albiet my graft was taken from the hamstring tendons. You can read about my personal troubles on the post - Stephens problems after surgery.
I am also at a cross road not knowing if I should get a second opinion, although i will see my surgeon in 3 days, and hope to have restored confidence in him helping me.

I do feel that my graft has failed, as much as i would like to be wrong I am hoping that the consultant will start again and re-operate.

The last 6 months my surgeon has suggested it could improve, although physically I am doing a lot, the joint is still unstable and painfull and in my opinion not improved at all.

I hope you can find the answers and help you need, and would reccomend working well on the physio side even if you are uncertain of what direction recovery is going, I feel that despite the amount of pain physio causes at the time, the long term benefit has made the problems and pain more bearable for me personally.

look forward to hearing more about your case. Thank you.

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