Ari's ACL Surgery

by Arianne
(Lakewood, CA, Los Angeles)

My Pretty Knee 2 Days After Surgery

My Pretty Knee 2 Days After Surgery

My name is Ari. I am a 15 year-old female who tore my ACL during soccer practice in late February. I wasn’t doing anything major – not like I would in a game. I just twisted the wrong way and went down. My mother knew immediately that it was my ACL since both she and my older sister had torn their ACL in the past (all in our right knee).


My surgery was April 4th and after a lot of research, my family opted to go with the patellar tendon graft. My mother warned me that I would be in a lot of pain. She wasn’t kidding! I don’t like to take pain pills, but by the end of the second day, I was asking for them. After a few days I got tired of pain pills and of being in bed and decided to get up. Even though I was afraid, I felt much better afterward.

I started physical therapy 3 times per week about a week after my surgery. The hardest part was getting my range of motion back. I now go to therapy about once per week, but continue all that I’ve learned at home or in the gym.

I am up to jogging about 3 miles about 4 times per week and work plyometrics almost daily. Now the hardest part is feeling like I am 100%, but knowing that I am still healing inside. I really want to get back to my game.

My doctor is old-school and doesn’t want me to play again for at least a year from my surgery date. However, my physical therapist says that if I keep to my therapy plan and work hard, 5 to 6 months is a reasonable time frame. I’ve talked to many people who have come back after 4 to 5 months. That is frustrating because I would like to believe my physical therapist, but my mother wants to believe my doctor. This means that I will miss my freshman year of soccer.

I’ve learned a lot of things that I could have done to help prevent this type of injury and I will be incorporating these things into my warm-ups in the future.


Update From Ari - November 2008
Well ? it?s been almost 8 months since my surgery.

I was finally given the OK to pretty much do anything soccer related but without full contact. This means no games, but I do get to scrimmage and do the drills that will get my feet back under me 100%. At this point, I am probably only about 60% of my original game. Even so, I am being recruited by quite a few teams and clubs.

Do you have any idea how good that feels - especially when just a few months ago I wondered if I'd ever play soccer again?

I am working hard still at the exercises given to me during my last session of physical therapy. However, I am spending more time working on my non-surgical let than the other way around. I've heard many stories of people resuming sports only to blow out their other knee. I am determined that it is not going to happen to me.

My knee does feel different. My mother says it will probably always feel that way. But, it does feel strong. Every once in a while I notice a mild clicking but there is no pain involved with it. I am going to ask my doctor about that, but have been told that is normal.

I am really grateful for this forum and only wish I would have found it prior to surgery. I hope my story encourages somebody to realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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Oct 06, 2015
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Education NEW
by: Anonymous

Assignment and essay writing are very prosperous and productive means for the success and australian essay writing service perpetual success. It is used and employed for the substantial success and triumph. The skills and abilities are applied and utilized for the better and sound living.

Dec 12, 2010
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Scar
by: Anonymous

Hi Ari- I recently tore my ACL, i am wondering what the scar looks like.... and was it only your ACL that was torn?

Nov 29, 2010
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No Regrets
by: Ari

Hey Dougie:

I have no regrets. The kneeling part was rough for about a year after the surgery. After that, I stopped noticing it and now I am fine. I have to say that almost every girl I know that had the hamstring graph recovered much more quickly, but has since suffered re-injury. Yet, I am back to playing both high-level club soccer as well as varsity high school soccer and have no issues at all.

My parents insisted that I not play for a full year after surgery, but do physical therapy three times per week instead. They also insisted that I continue that therapy once per week for about six months after I began playing again. So ... that could have played a role as well.

Mar 02, 2010
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Any Regrets?
by: Dougie

Hello Ari,

Just wondering if you had any sort of regrets going with the patellar graft over hamstring. Do you feel any pain while kneeling? I am still in the process of deciding which graft to use. I am leaning towards patella.

Thanks...

Aug 22, 2008
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Way to Go!
by: Bart - SII

It is exciting to be able to kick a ball again! Keep up with your exercises, don't try to go too fast, and you will be back to playing full out in no time.

Bart

Aug 21, 2008
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Update on Recovery Progress
by: Ari

Thx – it is encouraging to read success stories.

It’s been 4 and a half months since my surgery, and my doctor finally gave the ok for me to start open-chair weight lifting to build the muscles I need to play soccer. That is exciting because it is something new in addition to all that I have been doing. Also, I’ve been given the OK to begin soccer-related drills – just no pivoting or cutting yet. It will be good to start kicking the ball around though.

My physical therapist is focusing on teaching me the correct way to move when I pivot or cut so that I take the stress of my joints and ligaments. It’s like learning to walk all over again. These are all positive things and I am trying to focus only on the positive. I have to tell you, it is nice to see my quad muscle again … finally!!

Jul 31, 2008
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thanks for sharing
by: Anonymous

hey ari,
I too tore my acl and missed my freshman year of soccer. The waiting is hard, but you'll get throuh it!! The timeing of my injury was unfortunate, a week before trouts, so i missed high school soccer. But I'm gratefull it gave me about a good 8 months to seriously recover and condition my body before coming back to club the following spring. I took alot of time strengthening my hamstrings. anyways.. I'm doing well going into my sophmore year on varsity and my knees doing great. keep up the amazing work and attitude. I'd love to hear back from you to see how your doing when you start playing again. thanks for sharing


Jul 29, 2008
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I would agree
by: Bart - SII

I would absolutely agree that the hardest part about the whole thing is the waiting - everything else you can do something about - you can work to get stronger, you can work to get your motion back, you can ice to decrease pain and swelling - all of those things you control to a certain extent - but the waiting - you can't control that...so, it gets very frustrating...especially when your knee feels pretty good.

Hang in there!

Bart

Jul 29, 2008
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Thx for the Comments
by: Ari

Thank you for the encouragement.

I wanted to say that I wish I would have found this page before my surgery. I was very scared and did not know what to expect. I found a lot of information about the surgery and the recovery process but not first-hand information, and I think that makes a huge difference.

It is a difficult process because I really do feel capable of doing everything now. I think 6 months would be easier to accept than a full year. It's funny because this has been a difficult and painful experience, but I think the hardest part is the waiting.

Thx again.

Jul 28, 2008
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What a great story...and picture!
by: Bart - SII

Ari, you are doing great! I love to hear stories about people who are making it through their rehab and doing well!

Don't get too frustrated with your quick return. In my experiences with the hundreds of ACL patients I have seen, the ones that try to get back too fast end up hurting their knees again - anything less than 6 months is too early in my opinion.

You have 3 more years after your freshman year, so don't fret too much about missing your season. Better to get all the way better than to risk re-injury going back too soon.

Thanks so much for sharing your story and your picture!

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