Allison's arthrofibrosis problem post ACL surgery
by Allison Fontana
This is my third post. I need help. I'm a 44 year old firefighter/athlete that wants my life back. I tore my ACL on March 28th, 2009, had reconsruction on April 14th using my patellar tendon, then had surgery to manipulate and remove scar tissue on July 7th. I am still having pain and tightness in my knee and range of motion problems. Lack of full extension is bothering me the most. Also when I stand from a seated position I have to move my knee all around to get it to snap into a comfortable position. Before the snap (that comes from different places in the knee) my knee is painful and feels out of place. The snap itself is not painful at all. I recently had another MRI that showed more scar tissue. I have a great therapist who has done everything under the sun to help me and I do not shy away from hard work.
Since I've been an athlete my whole life, I know my body and I know something is wrong with my knee. My doctor wants to try a wait and see approach over the next few months as he believes the scar tissue will soften over time. Is this possible? It's been almost 8 months since my first surgery and 4 months since my 2nd. I don't know if I trust him anymore because although I told him something is wrong with my knee, he kept saying that I was progressing. It was obvious that I was at a stand-still so I insisted on an MRI both times. Both showed excessive scar tissue.
I've since done a lot of research and I don't believe that my case was handled as well as it could have been. First of all, I had no therapy between the injury and the ACL surgery. Secondly, I think the doctor waited too long to take my complaints seriously and order the MRI (I had to be on Vicadin until my 2nd surgery just to get through the day and I'm not a pill person). Lastly, I wasn't given a real plan to discourage more scar tissue growth after the 2nd surgery... just prednisone and 3 days per week therapy. I think I should have been given a CPM machine and daily therapy sessions.
Right now my knee feels very stable and my quads and hamstrings continue to get stronger. The pain, although pretty low in scale, is getting to me because it's keeping me from jogging or even walking for long periods of time. I can ride my bike for hours with no problems. Having to consciously align my knee to walk or to get comfortable is also getting old.
Have you ever heard of scar tissue relaxing over time? Do you have any suggestions? I would like to get a second opinion but I want to go to someone with a lot experience in handling arthrofibritic patients. How can I locate such doctors? I live in southeast Florida but I'm willing to travel to see an experienced doctor. Please help...