6 Torn ACLs

by Allie

I am 17 years old, and I have torn my ACLs 3 times in each knee. I now have my 5th and 6th torn ACLs, and I will not have a reconstructive surgery for either of them. I am a senior in high school, where I play volleyball, basketball, tennis, and I am a cheerleader. STICK WITH ME, I know its a lot to read, but the end is worth it.

First Go-Round: Snow Skiing (right knee 4/05)
At age 13 (8th grade) I tore my ACL, MCL, cartilage, and meniscus. I was snow skiing, (the first run down, of course!) it was icy, and I could not dig in to stop my skis. The ski clinic told me I was fine after doing X-rays that showed no broken bones. A week later I came home and saw an orthopedic surgeon. A month later (when I had full range of motion) I had surgery, the method was used where the doctor took part of my hamstring to act as the ligament*. After three-four months of P.T. I was doing good, I quit competition cheerleading & tumbling because my doctor said such activity (tumbling) was not good for my knees, and I also had to miss that year's tennis season.
Second: Basketball (left knee 8/06)
After 7 months and a full recovery I was a freshman in high school, and playing varsity basketball. I missed volleyball to ensure my knee was rehabilitated fully. That year I played basketball, cheered for my school (no tumbling anymore), and played tennis in the spring with no major problems. After tennis season ended I had an off-period during school & athletes typically used it to work on a sport(s). It was playing basketball that I slipped and tore the ACL in my left knee. I went back to my surgeon and he examined it and said nothing was wrong with it, maybe a sprain or something minor. I went all summer doing everything I would have normally done and I knew my knee was messed up. Every once in a while it would give out, and excruciating pain would pierce through my knee for 5-10 seconds…then I was fine again. At the end of July ‘06 I went up to my surgeon at church and told him about this, practically in tears so he would believe me, and he scheduled an MRI. A week later we got the results of the test, and my ACL was torn. I found this out and three days later had my second ACL reconstruction, this time I said I DID NOT want to use the hamstring again, so he used a cadaver (allograph). By the way, I started the 11th grade three days after this surgery, crutches, pain killers and all!
Third Round: Tennis/Volleyball (right knee 11/17/07)
June of ’07 I was having knee complications again, and I decided to go to a different doctor for a second opinion. The doctor determined that my ligament was torn again, this time shredded into many pieces. As you could probably imagine I was extremely upset by this news; I had been wearing my special brace while playing any sort of sport, and I had fulfilled the P.T. requirements on the first surgery to this knee. I told the new doctor that I would play volleyball anyways, and after that possibly have the surgery. He was against me playing, but allowed it as long as I wore the brace. I played that season, as the middle hitter on my team, on one torn ACL (or so I thought). I was in constant pain, it was worse when sitting still though, but I learned how to block out the pain. After volleyball season ended I knew I needed to have my knee fixed. On 11/17/08, a few

days before Thanksgiving, I had the surgery, using the new surgeon. The allograph method was used.
Fourth Time: Oops (left knee 12/18/07)
That’s right, a month nearly to the day after the third surgery. On the 1 week post op check up for the 3rd surgery my doctor discovered something was wrong with my other knee. Orthopedists normally compare the manipulated knee to the “good” knee, to see how much improvement is being made. My doctor asked me how “they” were feeling, and not to his surprise, I told him that my good leg hurt worse than my bad one. Yeah, probably because one of the screws that had been put in to secure the ligament was too long, and the sharp end was sticking out of my bone and piercing my calf and had caused the ligament to shred. Thank you, oh brilliant surgeon of my first two surgeries. Basically the longer I waited the more damage it would cause to my calf, so I decided to have the surgery as soon as possible. Being a student whose parents do not have to tell her to make good grades- I am disappointed with anything less than an ‘A’- I scheduled the surgery for the next time I would have a break from school, Christmas. (That is why I had the 3rd one over Thanksgiving, and the 2nd one right before school started). On December 18th I was scheduled for surgery. I was a complete wreck; sobbing and suffering from depression because I did not know what I had done to deserve this. Anyways, surgery went “great”, the ACL fixed and the screw removed. Christmas break was pretty miserable, as I was basically immobile.
Fifth & Sixth: I don’t really know
I recently discovered that the ACLs in each of my knees are torn yet again. I have no idea how or when this happened, my guess is gradually over time. I have decided not to have any more reconstructions; I kind of see them as pointless. I am a senior now, and could not play volleyball due to the pain in my right knee. I won’t play basketball either, because I see that sport as more of a danger than the others in terms of my knees. I am the captain of my school’s cheerleading squad this year, and I have slowly begun to start jumping again, unfortunately tumbling saw its end back in 2005. I will wear my hot pink knee brace on my right leg while cheering, and when I need to I will wear my lime green one on my left leg. (The right feels less stable than the left, though both are torn). I will start training for tennis in the fall, and will begin playing for school in the spring. I hope to win State this year, out of my two previous trips to State I haven’t placed 1st.
I guess the reason I wrote all of this was to encourage someone out there who is desperate for an answer to the question of why do they keep tearing, that for some people that is how your body is. I have learned to live with two bad knees; there is a great chance that I will have knee replacements by the time I’m in my 20’s. I am not reckless or uninformed about what living with torn ACLs can do, but after weighing the risks, I think a 5th and 6th surgery would only lead to a 7th and 8th…and so on. I’m not having a pity party, these are my facts. I just hope that someone else can be encouraged by them- because I do not live in self pity, I love my life (as cheesy as it sounds) and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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Oct 09, 2015
3 torn NEW
by: Anonymous

I am also 17 and have torn my acl in my left knee 3 times, I have thanked God that nothing has happened to my right knee and I cannot imagine doing that! It's not an easy thing to stay positive like that, especially after losing all of those sports you played. I am in my senior year and I'm almost cleared to play basketball, and I think going too. I haven't played since freshmen year but I don't wanna give up!

I'm also curious as to what kind of graphs you had? And if you got a double graph?

Oct 09, 2015
3 torn NEW
by: Anonymous

I am also 17 and have torn my acl in my left knee 3 times, I have thanked God that nothing has happened to my right knee and I cannot imagine doing that! It's not an easy thing to stay positive like that, especially after losing all of those sports you played. I am in my senior year and I'm almost cleared to play basketball, and I think going too. I haven't played since freshmen year but I don't wanna give up!

I'm also curious as to what kind of graphs you had? And if you got a double graph?

Mar 27, 2014
Thank you so much! NEW
by: Hannah

I'm 17, a cheerleader and am having my second ACL recon/meniscus repair-removal on April 15, 2014. This gives me so inspired to get back to what I love. Thank you Allie. Your story is amazing.


Aug 20, 2013
Very Well Written
by: RJ

What a strong young woman you are!! I am 31 and recently tore my ACL for the fourth time. The first two were on my right knee in 9th and 10th grade (96',97'. I then had a torn meniscus in junior year of college and I had hoped I was finished. Unfortunately in 2010 many years later, I had a freakish accident where I tore it again (and fractured my tibia) and I was SO depressed afterwards. This was my left knee. I elected to have allograft (because I had used my patellas) and it never ended up feeling right. Well just recently, the graft tore (I thought it was a simple twist) and it was dreadful to hear the news once again. I will be getting surgery in a couple weeks and will most likely elect to use my hamstring. It is no fun because I had been into sports all my life and thought this was behind me. The positive is however that throughout this process, I developed an even greater passion for health and wellness, so much so that it is my current career. I supervise 9 wellness centers in fact where I work with people with even tougher challenges than we could imagine. The injuries have lead be to be able to connect with individuals going through their own challenges and I can honestly say that I would not trade the experiences Ive went through. Even this recent injury, I feel as I will be able to get through better than any I have before. Do not fear!! Even with your unfortunate injuries, you will be healthy for a loooong time and by the time knee replacements are in our future hopefully science will have caught up and be able to re-grow ligaments....I hear its coming ;). Stay healthy, take care of yourself and be positive. Thank you for your writing, because it has certainly inspired me to better get through my recent injury.

May 08, 2013
3rd time
by: Anonymous

I'm 16 and I play football I first tore my acl 9 th grade year then making a recovery tore it once more going into my sophomore and recently I just tore my acl again at the first day of doing practice .. I have now never played a single down of high school football ....

May 01, 2013
11 years old
by: Sarah

That is such an inspiring story! In february this year, i tore my left ACL at age 11 skiing without my parents there with me. I was sitting in -9 degree snow with more ice and wind blowing on me while alone. soon the ski patrol came and pulled me down the mountain. i was taken to the emergency room, wtc, etc...Then, on my birthday, i got my surgery. I'm just coming back to the reality of how serious and painful it was. Especially the way it has messed with my mind. But i believe that everything happens for a reason and that God has a plan for every single person. I hope i never have to go through what you have and i am praying for you!

Apr 15, 2013
5 ACL reconstructions, 1 bone graft
by: Anonymous

The best comment is that just some people have shotty knees. I have had 5 surgeries on my right knee alone, 4 ACL Reconstructions and 1 Bone Graft and I just tore my ACL again so this will be surgery 6. I am only 26... don't give up. Rehab and keep going.

Feb 28, 2013
I FEEL your pain
by: Anonymous

I was very pleased after reading this article! it filled me of high spirits! I play college football and am currently going through my 3rd, and hopefully last, ACL surgery to the right knee. I experienced the quick shakes and the 5-10 seconds of excrutiating pain in my knee after my 2nd surgery and knew something was wrong. Im finishing up my 3rd round of PT and hope to be on the field again soon! just wanted to say good for you, dont stop doing anything you love!

Feb 09, 2013
inspiring article
by: alex r

I am glad to find this article. I am also a 17 y o athlete who tore his acl. This happend in may of 2012. Iwas playing soccer when I heard something snap. I was in extreme pain and couldn't move my knee. I went to this orthopedic and he didn't help me. He said I had arthritis. I spent 9 month without playing soccer. I know im not a pro soccer player but that was how I spend my free time. Thats how I had fun and released stress. I missed out on my senior year soccer season. Also wanted to do track but nnot no more. Well I did get an second opinion and had my acl surgery on January. Its been 17 days since recovery and Im doing well. I had a hamstring graft. I do want to return to soccer but I think I will take my time. I recommend that all you young athletes take ya time and workout on your legs alot. Become even stronger than before. Dont try to rush to it again. I know its hell not doing the thing you most want but be happy that you are being healed. Take your time and don't rush back to sport. I want to come back stronger than I ever was before. Keep ya head up because I know this could damage you emotional.God bless all of you and I hope you can recover and have a normal life again

Feb 09, 2013
14 years with no ACL
by: J P M

When i was 18 i completely blew out my right knee playing basketball. I was at a full sprint on a fast break when a poor pass in my direction caused me to plant my right foot to cut and the knee completely gave way. Being an 18 y o i just iced it and let it heal on its own. For 14 years it mostly worked, i only played basketball sparingly, but played pick up football games and baseball games very often. I also have a very active job in a UPS processing facility. About once a month however it would slip out of place and then back in again. Didn't hurt too much and i could always keep on going with whatever i was doing. Having the metabolism of a nutty buddy bar, i would also run 5 to 10 miles a week with out much pain, only frustrating irritations. Well it slipped out again about 2 months ago on the golf course walking down a hill and turning to get a view of the green. I got it checked out and my doctor tells me medial meniscus tear, lateral bucket handle meniscus tear, and my ACL was simply not present. Well just today i had an arthroscopy done to repair the tears, but my doctor refuses to fix the ACL. I would really like an ACL and don't know how to convince him. He says all the years of trouble have resulted in my right leg being mal aligned. I feel like having an ACL plus using a brace might be able to correct this. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Jan 21, 2013
8th surgery at x mas time.
by: Darragh

Hi, my name is Darragh from Ireland...recently I have had my 8th knee surgery. 3 ACL on the right knee. I picked up a serious infection from the first one and nearly lost my leg. It took another 2 operations to clear the infection from the first ACL operation.
That would lead to five.
After my first ACL and 2 washouts...I was back in january 2010. I play hurling and my first match back after 5 minutes I done the right ACL again.
I rehabed it once more and made it back playing..this time i played hurling and gaelic football for roughly 6 months and then last august i done it again.
The first 2 ACL the surgeon used hamstring graft..but this surgery (new surgeon ray moran) (3rd ACL) the surgeon took the patella tendon as a graft..they say it is the strongest graft..in between these surgeries I had 3 knee scopes (2 on the right and 1 on the left)
I considered giving up as I felt I could do nothing to help what was happening..but over x mas i decided that I am 22 (today) and I will try this last time..I have completely changed my eating habits which were healthy to being more strict..i eat alot of protein..I am trying to get in the best shape of my life this time so that I will have the best chance of a smooth recovery..all the best.

Jan 06, 2013
Multiple tears
by: Anonymous

I have torn my ACL 4 times in the left kne, along with my PCL and Posterolateral tendon as well. Had all the meniscus removed. I had my ACL in my right knee replaced once, 4 months after my left knee was done for the 4th time. Even being careful, things happen and they tend to tear again. I hope you have better luck with your knee replacement(s). I was told to expect to have it done by the time I hit 35, and I was 25 at the time. Most surgeons won't do it to someone in their 20's, so don't set yourself up for disappointment. But none the less, good luck and stay strong.

Dec 18, 2012
First torn ACL, no surgery
by: Darrian

I'm sorry about your injuries. I tore my ACl this year in early Feb during softball practice. I didnt go to the doctors because my mum said that I just dislocated it. But I knew something was wrong cause I couldnt do anything with it. A week later we went to the Drs and they sent us to get MRIs done, to my disappointment it was a torn ACL. They told me I couldnt do anything with it and I needed surgery. I never got the surgery but two months later I was dancing on it and playing softball and volleyball. Sometimes when I'm not being careful it gives out and hurts so bad. I'm so scared about the surgery I dont think I'm going to get it. I've recently started parkour and I havent hurt it again yet and I hope I don't. I miss being active but I dont know what to do??

Nov 10, 2012
Ruined my highschool years
by: Thomas

I've been reaching out, looking for articles on people who had multiple ACL tears like me. I've had 2 surgeries, one right before my Sophomore year and the other soon after the beginning of my junior year. Its ruined me, honestly. I used to be varsity sports and did it all year. The timing of the injuries was horrid. I missed my entire sophomore year of sports, missed my entire Junior year (injury happened during football). My family is predisposed to gaining weight and diabetes (the sports were the only things fending that off). Now, 3 years to the day of the first injury, I'm pretty sure the ACL is torn again for the third time (as well as my left ACL being torn), I've gained weight, can't exercise or do sports, and I just don't know what to do.
I'm glad I found this article. It's given me renewed hope that I can get out of this endless hell hole.

Oct 23, 2012
Very helpful story
by: Courtney

I am so sorry to hear about your injuries. I was a cheerleader myself and tore my acl by doing a full twist during competition , I have no idea how I finished that routine . I had my knee surgery in April 2009. My recovery went very well and I was tumbling again 6 months after the surgey, even throwing fills again with no problem . However recently I have been having terrible pains in my bad knee that literally last only 5-10 seconds long ( exactly like you described ) I did use the hamstring graft and I am quite nervous something is wrong with it . It swells up , but nothing terrible , I can still work out normally but these pain episodes are starting to get unbearable... I am nervous . What do you think ?

Oct 20, 2012
Good to know...
by: Kate

I am glad I found this page. Allie, I am a little older than you but I am starting to feel your pain. I did my right ACL/medial meniscus in 2006 playing softball. I did everything right, PT, knee brace, and got strong in both legs. 3 1/2 years later, I did the left one (same- ACL/medial meniscus) playing volleyball and I felt completely stupid, like who does this?? Luckily I have complete confidence in my surgeon, I think he's among the most reputable in Atlanta, so I'm hopeful that I do not continue to have problems. I am more concerned about the mental recovery: doing this twice, having both knees done before age 30, etc.

Reading your story helped me, as did the comments left, because apparently, I'm not the only one with multiple tears. I shouldn't feel stupid because it's more common than I thought. Thank you, and others, for this page.

Sep 29, 2012
2 ACL tears
by: Glen

I couldn't believe I tore my other ACL within a year of tearing the left one. I was 9 months rehab after surgery from tearing the ACL in my left knee last October 14 during a football game. Now during my senior football season as a captain, I tore the right one as well as my meniscus on September 21. I might have lost possible scholarship opportunities for football in college and am worried if I do play, will I possibly tear it again? After reading your story, I am afraid that I will re-tear one of these knees. I am having surgery October 10 and I had Patellar surgery on the first one and am getting the same for the second. Although your story about tearing your ACL's 6 times freak me out, I am inspired by your story and you should be proud to have gone through so much and still kept your head up high.

Aug 22, 2012
brand new knees
by: Ashlyn

this site has been a life saver knowing that there are people out there that have torn it more than once. I tore my right one during my senior season of basketball and i had to miss out on playing in the state title game. I missed track and had to walk down at graduation with a waddle because of my leg in a brace still. I had completely tore my medial meniscus also. I hit rehab hard and got ready to play college basketball and run track. Then this summer I was volunteering at a volleyball camp and I played in a pickup game and landed wrong and tore my left acl. I was ticked because I was finally feeling normal and the emotional toll was almost gone. I am only two weeks out of my surgery once again they used a hamstring graft. emotionally i am having a hard time but rehab is going rather well. i thought tearing both my acls was the worst thing in the entire world but i have read that a lot of people have tore theirs 3 or even more. I pray that all your knees are healing and that you are stronger emotionally and physically.

Aug 10, 2012
I thought mine was bad
by: illest-Jones

Dam I thought i had it really bad! I tore my Acl an meniscus my senior year during football. I went through rehab 3months later got mobility back in my knee an went back to play basketball jus in time for season the problem was I had mobility but no strength so around June of this year I was playin basketball again an came down wrong an I heard what sounded to be a tear. Every since I had been feeling lik there is nothing left on my knee an I took an X-ray an MRI an no signs of any damage but I still can't do a full sprint or do anything that involvesy legs. I hav no clue how to fix this

Aug 05, 2012
3 Tears, 4 Surgeries
by: YOLO

I'm glad I came across this page as well, it makes me feel a little bit better. I've torn my ACL three times within a span of 4 years. Just had another surgery because my latest tear hadn't completely healed. I'm a week post-op now and still recovering. I just want to play sports again, it's the only thing that keeps me sane... :(

Aug 02, 2012
You aren't alone...
by: Elle

I know that I haven't had 6 ACL reconstructions, but I have had 4, and I suffer the same as you. I just turned 17..i'm starting my senior year in a school with 20 kids in my class. EVERYONE plays sports, but I'm not allowed to. I suffered major depression and still am having issues, but I decided to see a sports pyshologist (my smartest move ever) it is helping so much. I was really hesitant and didn't want to admit that I just couldn't cope anymore. i am like you in only wanted A's but i just started skipping school because i wanted to be home alone to just cry. I got sick of pitying myself because i know people have it much worse. if you ever need someone to talk to that understands don't hesitate to email me : wood.elle@hotmail.com

Jul 01, 2012
4 ACL's for me in 6 year.
by: Rich

Just tore my left ACL Hamstring graft. I will be having it replaced in a couple weeks. This means I have torn the righ and the left twice each. I had no issues until I was 32, then 4 ACL tears and 6 operations in the last 6 years. It's a bummer.

Jun 14, 2012
by: seb

i have torned my acl 10 times oon my right knee when i was 14 then i eventually got the surgery however after a year from the surgery i torned it about 10 times again since the end of surgery till iam 17. i torn my acl sometimes just from standing up or walking is there anyway possible for me to do parkour and rugby again? or a way to help my acl heal.

Jan 16, 2012
Some things that can go wrong
by: Anonymous

My neighbor had his ACL replaced 3 times.
Things that can go wrong. If the graft is not screwed into where the original ACL was it won't take. It needs to be within 2 millimetres. The doctor has to check the graft and make sure it is strong enough. If it is weak it will tear.
So you may think your tearing it like your original ligament but it really hasn't taken and it comes apart. Each time you have the surgery the less the chance of success. If it is screwed in the wrong place and the second one goes where the first one went, it won't work. You have to strength test the graft. Most like time to tear the graft is at 4 weeks, and that is when to where the knee brace again. If you put in the weak graft it will not get any stronger over time.

Dec 16, 2011
by: Paul daly

Not as bad as yourself tore my acl playing 3 times irish sport called hurling in my left knee

Aug 21, 2011
6 is a lot of times !!!
by: Anonymous

I was trying to search stories for re-tear and came across this. I feel good reading that I am not the only one though I really dont know if I have re-torn it yet. Mine was in 2010 winter while playing Soccer. And then the hamstring reconstruction was done in 2011 Jan. While playing soccer I took a free kick and made hard kick. I felt a little pull in my knee! Since then I feel a little discomfort and rigidness in my knee. I have to see my doc on 23rd August. Fingers crossed I hope its not a re-tear. Any experts reading this can email me rzkshah@gmail.com And Thank you so much for this story !!! Gives you hope ...

Apr 13, 2011
Understanding...knee replacement? both knees with torn ACL's
by: Donna

I'm 36 and have a long history of knee problems, starting back in 1995 at age 21. I tore my ACL left knee playing touch football. Arthroscopic surgery, only a partial tear. Then full tear and complete ACL using my own graph, then scar tissue surgery and multiple other scopes. Torn again, somehow, so cadaver graph surgery. Total 6 surgeries on my left knee, including 2 ACL reconstructive surgeries. Now, ACL is completely gone again. Then around Christmas time I tore the ACL in my "good" right knee. Now no ACL in either knee. To top it all off I have 4 boys, 7 months, 2 years, 7 years and 8 years old. I have been told that I need a full left knee replacement, no where to screw in for another ACL repair, I would need to have all the hardware removed, then bone graph, then start all over. That being said, the arthritis is so bad along with a bone spurs and other issues. Just not sure what to do next. I also have (sacroiliac, SI) back problems, arthritis and lots of pain. My biggest issue is not necessarily the pain in my knees, it's the instability. Both of my knees go out all the time, not even doing anything strenuous, just pivot wrong and down I go. I use my braces when I am active, but not constantly. I'm in physical therapy and always strengthening. Considering the "chicken shot", but have heard not great things. And again, it's the instability. Allie, you are an inspiration. Good for you.It's going to be a long, painful road for us.

Mar 23, 2011
multiple cartilage tears
by: Anonymous

That sounds horrible. I have a similar surgery history, and am wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience.

94 - L knee meniscal tear with arthroscopic surgery to remove torn area
97 - L knee ACL rupture with meniscal tear, MCL and PCL sprain - ACL reconstruction
02- L knee meniscal tear with arthroscopic surgery
08- R great toe arthrotomy for severe bone bruise that wouldnt heal...had microfracture done to area
09 - R hip labral tear
10 - L knee meniscal tear, found out also that I have an OCD lesion - they wanted to do surgery but I opted out
11 - started having R knee medial pain, then cysts appeared. Found out I have a significant medial meniscal tear (no specific injury or swelling ever!!)

Anyone been through this with soooo many cartilagenous tears. I am wondering if I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome....but I just dont know. I dont know why I keep tearing things, and I dont even know that I tear them sometimes!! My body appears to not react normally with swelling and significant pain. Hmmmm.....

Mar 17, 2011
by: janet

my daughter plays soccer and is on her 3rd acl I thought is was just her, she does not want to have surgery again, another summer down the drain. Thanks for the stories!!

Jan 17, 2011
hopefully just 2 for me
by: Anonymous

i played varsity basketball as a freshman and was averaging a little over 18 points a game. about 3 quarters way through the season i went down after hearing a pop in my left knee. an mri and doctor consultation later i found out that i had a complete acl tear and needed surgery to play again. i had surgery 2/25.
i worked sooo hard to come back, and by the time the season started i was the strongest i've ever been. through the first 2 games i averaged 25 points per game, and feeling great.
but then at a tournament, just 6 games in, i went down again with intense pain in my left knee again. two days later i found out my sophomore season was done with another acl tear. my season was over before it even began. i just had my 2nd acl surgery 2 weeks ago.
and i am going to work my absolute hardest to come back and be the best i've ever been.

Jan 07, 2011
by: skinfan

I have coached my sons basketball team since he was in 1st grade. He is now 14. He improved more and more each year. The big goal was to make his high school team. (this year) I knew that if he did make it my coaching days were over. "AND THAT WAS GREAT WITH ME! "He makes the team" Finally a chance to just sit, watch and enjoy. But two days before the first game he completely tears his ACL. Now I go and watch him sit on the bench with a shirt and tie and a leg brace. He will be getting surgery using a cadaver next month. The team is not doing very well which makes it even more difficult. He and I are both nearly driven to tears everytime there is a game. We feel so helpless and frustrated. Hopefully he can recover fully and try again next season.

Jan 07, 2011
by: skinfan

Jan 07, 2011
I'm 17 and in same boat
by: Dalton

I tore my acl,mcl,cartialge,and lateral and remidial mesiscus and had a reconstructive hamstring. then two months after surgery i tore it again and had a cadavar. now 16 after a year of healing i tore it for a 3rd time and they say i need a knee replacement what should i do?

Jul 26, 2010
thank you
by: Gina

I had my first in 08 and now tore the graph in the left knee again, 2 weeks ago. I am going on my 2nd ACL surgery (date set: in the neext month) and 3rd knee surgery. Both ACL tairs are from soccer. I have finaly relised i can no longer play. It was hard but i am ajusting. Thank you for your story. Best of luck!!

Jul 19, 2010
6 torn acls
by: Never ends

Allie your story is truely inspiring as well as the others who have commented. I am 22 yrs old and have just tore my right acl for the 4th time playing hockey (happened yesterday currently icing at the moment lol). I don't know what to do, I switched surgeons after my second and really liked the new doc. I want to be able to play w my children and lead an active lifestyle. I really thought I was the only
one this has happened to, it's comforting to know that you guys battle through these tough times. It gives me faith. Always keep your head up guys!

Jul 18, 2010
Discouraged by what I'm reading with repeat ACL tears
by: Jill

My daughter is 13 and tore her left ACL on march 6th of this year playing competitive soccer. Surgery on April 27th and now in physical therapy. All is going well and hoping to return to soccer and other sports in the fall. From most people I have heard encouraging stories however after these stories, not much left in a positive outlook. Dr used her hamstring for reconstructive graft. He advised he would never use an allograft on someone my daughter's age. he expects a full recovery and a long future in playing sports.....My daughter is an athlete and has played soccer and other sports since she was 4. We were devastated when she tore her ACL and I know if she tore it again.....well, not sure if she would have the surgery. Post surgery was hard and the pain intense.....It's been a long summer so far and hard for her to watch all her teammates have an active summer with team camps. But she has a goal for herself and that is to return to the field. My heart goes out to all the young athletes with these injuries. It's been an eye opener for my daughter and I hope and pray she has continued success with her "new" ACL. Her dad and I love to watch her in action!!

Jun 23, 2010
by: Anonymous

You should try to see this doctor, he is very good with his job.

Hope this helps. And thanks for sharing. Very much appreciated.

take care.

May 12, 2010
by: Joe Nasser

i have to add that i think your truly incredible and its insane that this happened to you. I really thought i was one of (except for athletes) very few out there who have torn it more than twice i really hope this is the last time and I truly hope for you a good recovery somehow, I would advise you to go to famous doctors for football players there are a lot and trust me a top class surgeon and more importantly physiotherapist is everything, though I kind of feel stupid giving you advice when you've torn it 6 times. take care good luck

May 12, 2010
by: Joe Nasser

Wow, thats crazy. A part of me finds that so hard to believe it kind of feels like your joking. Six times is crazy. I breath the game of football (soccer to you Americans) and I tore my first knee ligament (right leg) playing handball at P.E in school when I was 15, waited to get surgery till i was 16 because I didn't want crutches and all for summer time, and due to bad rehab I guess (after a year of waiting) I tore it again at the first training of football of the new season while going up and heading the ball. Got surgery again after a month, and basically was out for the whole year, I played in my senior year of football my only year of Varsity football, in what I thought I would get 3 or 4 years of Varsity. 2 months before my initial injury I began playing in a local team in Europe where I was for the 3rd division, it was a start and I was determined to go far, I loved the sport. I tore my ligament again two months ago I'm turning 21 in a couple of weeks. I was devastated and angry, and thought I was one of the few out there that had torn the ligament more than twice. You have amazing mental attributes and trust me that is very difficult to obtain and is probably the most crucial with these injuries, as had I not been a lazy slob and more determined I would have probably not torn my ligament again (2nd time) my physiotherapist was horrible too. I guess there's a bright light in every situation and to me right now when i get my surgery done in 3 weeks I see it not only has a physical rebuilding but as a mental one too, coming out as a new person. Determination, effort and patience is the key to anything in life, especially these situations.

Apr 26, 2010
had my first..
by: alex08

I tore it (left knee) last February 7th while playing basketball a sudden stop and then 'pop'. I had the MRI results last month and it was confirmed that i have completely ruptured my ACL and have some tears on the medial and lateral meniscus.. I'm just 22 years old. I've decided to treat it conservatively and to wait and see(if it locked up on me, then I've no choice but to have surgery).I've been doing some strengthening exercises and it feels great, just have some minor pains at times. I'm willing to give up my sports (though it's really hard). Basically I've limited myself to just walking but I'm managing it very well, no instabilities whatsoever. I'm scared to make a move on my own right now and thinking that what if having surgery will end up making my knee worse in terms of pain, etc. And after reading your stories, I'm just scared what if my first surgery will lead to another and another and another due to psychologically thinking that your knee is already strong as before and just end up re-tearing the ACL and making more damage to the already damaged knee.

Apr 18, 2010
Don't know what to do...
by: Crystal

Your story was so sad. I am glad i found it though becauase i feel like i'm so alone and life is just going horribly right now...

I'm 16 (sophomore in highschool) and I tore my acl for the third (once in 8th grade on the right, now twice on my left) time this spring playing competitive soccer two months after coming back from my other left tear. I really want to know how you went through the seven that you tore? Like i feel like i should just give up on sports even though i really wanna keep going on with soccer. i've played since i was three.

now that next year (junior year) is my recruiting season for soccer, i am not sure if i should get a surgery and rehab it for spring 2011, or try playing without surgery? or just quit sports?

soccer is my lifestyle and basically i just want some advice on what to do please.

you are so strong and i look up to how you coped with all of this. i wish i could do the same :/

Mar 04, 2010
by: Anonymous

Great story! I can't imagine having 6 torn ACL's! I am a sophomore varsity girl's basketball player, i played varsity as a freshman, and last year i tore my Left ACL, had reconstruction, and came back to play this season with my functional brace. I tore my Right ACL at the end of January, didn't know it. Was told it was just a sprain, i continued to play on it for the next month. It would give out on me, and i knew there was something wrong, but they thought meniscus was the worse. I continued to play, had an MRI last Wednesday, and my ACL is gone. I'm hoping 2 will be it!!! But, your story was an encouragement to me! Thanks for sharing!

Mar 04, 2010
by: Anonymous

Great story! I can't imagine having 6 torn ACL's! I am a sophomore varsity girl's basketball player, i played varsity as a freshman, and last year i tore my Left ACL, had reconstruction, and came back to play this season with my functional brace. I tore my Right ACL at the end of January, didn't know it. Was told it was just a sprain, i continued to play on it for the next month. It would give out on me, and i knew there was something wrong, but they thought meniscus was the worse. I continued to play, had an MRI last Wednesday, and my ACL is gone. I'm hoping 2 will be it!!! But, your story was an encouragement to me! Thanks for sharing!

Mar 04, 2010
Anxiously awaiting the am Dr. appt
by: E

For everyone who has commented on this page, whether you've torn/re-torn your ACL's 3,4,5,6 times (Allie, Oh my gosh) you all know how completely discouraging and disheartening it can be. Going through one surgery and the months of rehab is a lot for anyone to endure.

When I tore my ACL in 2000 I was a high school athlete playing 3 sports, and had a lot of potential to continue into college. As a teenager I was crushed and thought the injury was the end of the world, but in retrospect it turned out just to be a small glitch in the road. I did go on to have a very successful college soccer career. Unfortunately, I couldn't leave the game behind and tore the other ACL in a women's league in grad school (09). Knowing what I was about to face in the coming months was the worse part of the second injury. It made me sick to my stomach to imagine the crutches, the therapy, the complete lack of independence in the beginning weeks...

Currently, I'm almost 4 months post op and things were looking good, a metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel. This past weekend however, I was in a car accident and the sudden stopping motion is mechanistically an ACL tear waiting to happen. At the time of the accident I had major swelling but I thought it was due to the impact against the front seat. However, after further examination by my PT, I have been advised to see the Dr ASAP for an MRI- words that are all too familiar to each of us.

I'm crossing my fingers but I'm finding it difficult to stay optimistic at this point!I found this article because I googled, "Can I really tear my ACL a third time". What do you tell yourself after number 2..3..4..5???

Feb 11, 2010
4 Torn ACL
by: Todd S

I guess I am a member of this cursed club of multile ACL injuries/surgeries as well. First of all I am now 38 and have had 3 ACL reconstructions on my left knee and now am trying to decide if to try the surgery one last time to fix yet another torn ACL in my left knee!

Age 23 - Left Knee Torn ACL playing football. Patella graft. Lasted for 5 years. I think surgon was not so good.

Age 27 - Left Knee Torn ACL Volleyball. Donor graft. Lasted for 9 years. Different doc who was surgon for Boise State Football team.

Age 36 - Left Knee Torn ACL playing Volleyball (more of a gradual tear and degeneration of ACL) with no defining failure event.

Age 38 - Left Knee Torn ACL playing Volleball??? Not sure of source but most likely the vball. Play a lot of 2-man grass and sand ball. Knee felt like it was "slipping". Went to doc and he tested it and said it was ok. I was pleasantly surprised but happy. Followed up with an MRI and it showed no ACL (I guess I was right).

So now want to know if it is worth the time and rehab to try this one last time or just continue with knee as is and a brace. Have pretty sever arthrites and joint deteriation (bone-bone) contact as meniscus and cartilage are pretty much gone now. Absolutely love to play sports and am extremely competitive but may be time to quite playing vball and other cutting/jumping sports. Have 3 young boys and want to be able to teach them how to play sports, snowboarding, skiing etc. If I try again I think I will definetely go with my own tissue (probably hamstring) as I don't want' to mess with my good right knee. Doc says I will defintely need a knee replacement but to hold off as long as possible. I am waiting for a medical breakthrough which produces an knee replacement for us athletes.

I really appreciate all the above stories and comments. I am still very competitive but maybe not quite as quick as I used to be. My advice is to stay active as long as possible.

Jan 05, 2010
Brave kids!
by: Anonymous

Thanks everyone for sharing your stories. My 17 year old son tore his ACL at age 14 in his first high school soccer game. He retore it a year later to the day in the first soccer game of his sophomore year. He is currently a junior and took off this soccer season in hopes of playing as a senior. He was in Disney last month and his knee swelled terribly and he was in pain. We took him to another doctor and although his ACL doesn't appear to be retorn, it is stretched out and he is having arthritis pains already. Your stories made this heartbroken mom feel better because prior to reading them, I haven't heard of anyone going through what my son is and hearing your brave stories made me feel not so alone. My son, along with all of you, have demonstrated courage beyond your years and your determination to not let this get in the way of living your life is an inspiration. We used allografts for both surgeries because that is what our doctor seemed to prefer, boy do I wish I knew then what I know now. I never would have used allografts! So next year's soccer season is still undecided but my son and I agree, no more surgeries.

Dec 12, 2009
Don't give up
by: Anonymous

You're surgeon should have not used allografts. They are commonly rejected or absorbed by people under 40. I know the hamstring didn't work out but it sounds like your surgeon was horrible. I've ruptured both my acl's, 13 years apart and the hamstring graft has worked well. My new graft is mg patella tendon. Anyways, u r young and it sounds like your surgeries have been all wrong. Don't give up. Contact the offices of Kerlan/ Jobe in Los Angeles. They service the Lakers and really dk what's right. Good luck!

Dec 09, 2009
by: Chris

Your story is really inspiring, yet it makes me a pansy... after hearing about all you guys tearing it multiple times, i'm afraid to do anything active.. I tore it in February, got surgery on 4/21, and now i'm basically back to normal..

I was training to parkour again, but i'm a little hesitant now...
Also now that snowboarding season is here, i'm afraid to board too. I tore my ACL the first time from a snowboard jump

Im curious to know why you guys tore it so many times =/

Sep 29, 2009
3 times
by: Abby

Wow, that's ridiculous. I am 17 and just tore my right knee ACL for the third time. I tore it in soccer during the spring then had the surgery. I then tried to play volleyball that following fall and tore it again. I had the second surgery and sat out of sports for a year. I just tore it the third time playing volleyball. I was wearing one of those fancy, hard-core braces... but it still tore. We can't possibly afford another surgery or take the time for all that rehab and stuff, so I am just going to continue to play volleyball with the torn ACL. I am really upset, and I don't understand how it could possibly have happened a third time. But I guess you had it even worse. Thanks for your story...

Sep 27, 2009
4th time here
by: Nick

I just turned 20, and tore my acl for the fourth time this weekend. It started happening to me when I was 14 but I've refused to let it get in the way of my life. I just really enjoyed reading your last couple of sentences because I feel the exact same way. My life's too good to let something as small as a couple of wobbly knees get in the way of having a good time. So to you and all the other people that commented with similar problems, good luck and hopefully all our first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth acl reconstructions are our last.

May 21, 2009
3 Torn ACLS
by: Rody

I Just Tore My ACL for a Third Time In My Right Knee...I Feel Your Pain...Im Considering Getting Surgery..I Dont See A Point If It Just Keeps Tearing

May 04, 2009
3rd time the charm?
by: Melinda

Well- I have just torn my right ACL for the 3rd time and don't know what to do. I feel like I am too young for a knee replacement. So I am faced with reconstruction or trying to rehab it to the point of more stability. How I am going to do that with active children escapes me.

Apr 17, 2009
i heard bicycling is good for people with acl problems
by: Anonymous

Have you tried bicycling to strengthen the knee?

Jan 31, 2009
I hear ya girl!
by: My ACL Sucks

I know exactly how you feel... except that I've only had my ACL reconstructed 3 times and now have torn it again...
I'm 24 and have had my right ACL reconstructed 3 times since 1998. First time, had the patellar tendon graft, second time went with the cadaver allograft and this last time, I had the contralateral patellar tendon graft (they take it from the other knee)
I have once again for whatever unknown reason torn my ACL... and I'm in the same boat as you- I refuse to have surgery again. It seems pointless to me as well. The first time I tore it was from cheerleading- was partner stunting- heel stretch and fell. After that, there was no trauma or injury that would've caused the new ligaments to tear... and yet tear they did- three more times.
I can't even imagine how it must be for you to be suffering from this with BOTH knees! I get arthritic pain in my left knee from the contralateral graft but other than that, it's good.
It's really discouraging to feel like it's just going to keep recurring so I'm just not going to go through the pain of surgery and rehab anymore. I cut out sports involving lateral movement long ago. Now I just run because that's basically all I feel I can safely do, (I don't like biking) but due to all the cartilage damage from this business it hurts and my knee constantly swells. I get the surging pain you were talking about- usually at really inopportune moments and then it's gone and I'm just left with the achy, annoying pain from the torn cartilage and swelling, or it'll kind of get "stuck" and it takes a few days for that to resolve- not sure if cartilage is floating into the joint or what but that's pretty irritating and weird when it happens - 5 or 6 times a month...
Keep me posted if you happen upon any exciting research for those of us with this pesky problem! And good luck to you- I seriously cannot believe you've had to endure this so many times!

Jan 26, 2009
by: Nicole

After tearing your acl multiples times, weren't you scared after surgery to go back to sports?

Oct 14, 2008
Wow! This makes me feel like crap
by: David Y.

I thought I had it bad. I tore my ACL in my right leg 4 years ago playing in my intramural basketball quarterfinal game.
I had surgery a month later and phyical therapy went really well. I was back playing basketball 5 months later! After playing for a couple months, my knee gave out on me a few times. It would hurt real bad initially, but I would be able to walk it off. It was nothing like the first time when I heard a huge pop and laid on the ground screaming.
Four years later, after more knee problems where my knee would lock up on me and give out sometimes, I go to a new doctor and find out my ACL is completely gone and I had a pretty big tear in my lsteral meniscus. He had no idea how long my ACL was torn, but he figured it was at least a couple years! I felt horrible to know I had to go through this again, plus he wanted to do a little microfracture. To avoid going through all the rehab again, I decided to just do a meniscus repair and get some loose cartilage removed. I had the surgery last week and its feeling good, but knowing that at some point again in the next year or two, I am going to want to get my ACL reconstructed to avoid serious problems down the road. ACL tears are no fun and I wanted people to feel bad for me because I re-tore mine. Reading her story, I know I can't feel bad for myself and I am going to have to realize it happens and I have to deal with it. I am going to see how I do without an ACL for a while, but eventually I want it done and I just pray that when I do, I can put it all behind me.

Sep 11, 2008
thank you,
by: Allie

Michelle & Bart,
I appreciate your kindness more than you could know! There are so many people that tear their ACL and don't know their options and what is best for them, Bart- this is a great thing you are doing by operating this website, keep up the good work.
And Michelle, thank you for taking the time to read "my story". It has been very difficult, but if it weren't for my experience I wouldn't know that I want to be a surgeon, and I certainly wouldn't have a 4.0 GPA is it wasn't for all the time I was immoble or out of sports! I hope this is your first and last surgery as well! Don't hesitate to ask me ANYthing, any questions you have- I want to be able to help someone. Good luck & God bless, Allie.

Sep 11, 2008
Thank you for sharing!
by: Michelle

Your story made me cry, but I am so glad you told it. You sound like a brave woman, and I hope I can be as brave for my first (and hopefully last) surgery.

Sep 09, 2008
by: Bart - SII

You have had a rough go - yet as I read your story, I can sense the underlying motivation, determination, and peace. You have had rotten luck...to tear your ACL at 13 - make the recovery, and then tear the other one...that is something that can alter a person's outlook on life significantly. To survive 3 and 4, that takes sheer will and gut determination.

I am sure that in your research you have found that a second reconstruction is much more likely to fail than the first. The bone tunnels become widened, and the graft doesn't have a good place to attach. I would guess that is why you now have ACL deficient knees even...and I agree with your decision to forego surgeries number 6 and 7.

Your story is a hard one to tell I am sure, but I do know that many many people who read this will find comfort in knowing that they are not alone when it comes to re-injury.

Thanks so much for sharing...


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