Bryan's ACL Surgery

by Bryan Wilson
(Monument, CO)

I hurt my knee about a month and a half ago playing basketball. I chased down my own rebound heading out of bounds and jumped to save it threw it back and landed on my right leg. It hyperextended and popped and I crippled to the ground. I actually knew it was hurt, but thought it was okay and put on a knee brace from my car and tried shooting a free throw to see if I was okay and when I missed and took my first step I just knew instantly that I needed to give up on the night. I went to the doctor and got an x-ray and mri and found out a week later that I had a full thickness tear of my ACL.


I was pretty bummed out by the news, but I was getting around with a limp and figured I was still okay at least. I made sure to keep my leg strong by riding a stationary bike for about 30 minutes everyday as hard as I could. You'd be surprised that your knee seems normal, but just has a click to it or a feeling of instability on occasion. I was hiking around with some mild pain, but my doctor told me that as long as your safe with what you do you won't do much more damage to the knee that he won't notice during surgery.

I waited a month for surgery and just lived it up hanging out with people and just not pushing my knee to far and not playing any sports of course. I do recommend possibly buying a brace from a sporting good store and having crutches because it is very difficult to get around before surgery for maybe the first few weeks. By the second week after the initial injury I was pain free really and just walking around knowing I had a torn ACL and just waited for my surgery.

Finally the surgery day came and I had a nice early time to be at the doctor of 8:30am. This is a good time frame because I found myself last minute cramming on things I've been looking up online about ACL surgery and rehab. I knew that I want to attack this thing quick, but I also knew that the first few days were gonna be mainly resting up and icing. They took me back for surgery prep and began with the easy stuff like weighing and changing into your gown. I recommend wearing something very easy to put back on like shorts because you will be needing help to get back into them. The Anesthesiologist came back after they put the IV in my hand and began telling me about his way of administering the medicine. The pumped a few things into my hand IV and then shaved my knee for the surgery and finished with putting the nerve bloc in. They put a shot right above the quad near your waistline and towards your groin and they put one right in your butt. This basically just put my leg right to sleep and they carted me into the surgery room. I got in and was placed on the table and was asked to breathe in and count down from 10 and I don't even know if I hit 8 before I fell asleep.

Two Hours later and I was waking up and obviously just wanted to keep sleeping because I don't know anyone who does not love to sleep. I finally woke up and had a little bit of water and a couple graham crackers, but you'll find that you really just don't feel hungry. I was a little sick to my stomach from the anesthesia, but I expected that and had hoped they were gonna put the anti-nausea medicine in my drip, but I have no complaints. I sat around for about an hour getting educated on everything I needed to do and be aware of with my knee. They put a Painbuster ball which drips pain meds into the knee for 2 days in and I can only imagine what the pain would have been like without it. I rode in the backseat of my truck home just laying out. The real test came when I got home because I have 2 little step ups and your will realize that having a numb leg makes you very unsure about your footing. I made it inside got my leg propped up and began icing. I had someone pick up my painkillers. Percocet (generic type) was given to me and some Ibuprofen along with being told to take a 325mg advil for 6 weeks 1 a day to prevent blood clots. I slept on and off the rest of the day and did get slightly sick going from the couch to the bathroom, but it passed quickly.

1 Day post op and one warning before bed take the max painkillers and wake yourself up at the next painkiller interval and do it again otherwise you will be in agonizing pain. I took only 1 pill before bed and 1 in the middle of the night and that was not enough I was lucky to be in a empty house besides my dog because I was screaming out in pain, but I think that helped relieve the frustration that was building up. It is definitely very difficult to get around and I made sure that everything I needed was where it needed to be before I sat down. If someone is home use them to your full benefit because it is very taxing to be moving around a lot. Then again I'm a 275lb man trying to move around on crutches. I made sure to do my ankle pumps and ankle circles as often as I remembered and I even added in doing my ABC's with my ankle forward and backward. I felt like a challenge I guess.

2 Days post op and I finally took off the dressings like I was told to and the brace that they have me in. I also was instructed to take out the Painbuster ball. It was a slow and easy process. I'd say to have some scissors and a trashcan and bandaids and a wet paper towel. Their is some cleanup to do and for the most part the wounds are all dry, but when I took out the Painbuster ball I needed to cover the little whole with a bandaid. I found a way to move around on 1 crutch most of the time although I don't recommend it. I found it easier to maneuver because I am large and take up a lot of space and having a free arm helps with moving things around, but you can definitely fall over if your not careful. Other than that I took my pain meds fairly regularly and tried not to take max dosages because it rocked my world to do so.

3 Days Post Op and I finally decided to take my first shower! Make sure to have a chair or some sort of stool to sit on because it is just far safer to shower in comfort than to try and balance on your off leg. Especially because your not wearing the brace in the shower and it is definitely a little scary at first when that leg is out of the brace. Be prepared to use your arms alot to move this leg around. I actually had a friend take me to a local video game store to pre-order a new console. I had to ride in the back seat with the passenger seat all the way up and down and that was still a bit uncomfortable, but if you have a larger vehicle the front seat might work still. It's just tough because your leg is still at full extension till the doctor says otherwise. I got around fairly well and have already realized that I'm getting along and will only get better. I still am taking painkillers, but mainly because I didn't want to be stuck somewhere and realize I'm in killer pain, but it is minimal usage.

4 Days Post Op and I woke up and got ready for my first Physical Therapy session. This was quite a morning. I took a painkiller beforehand to make sure I could at least get through the session and I was surprised by the pain I was in by the end of it, but my leg already was feeling better. I was able to get 75 degrees flexion and my leg can already almost fully straighten. My knee is still swollen about 2 times more than it should be, but that is still expected. I was able to do all the excersises and some and was told that by the end of the week that I should have 90 degree flexion. They did the towel excercise of pulling your leg inward till you can't and already my leg bends to 95 degrees so the therapist was very happy with my progress so far. I actually met a lady in the waiting room that had surgery for a Torn ACL same day as me, but was far behind me in results. She hadn't even taken off any of her dressings and seemed to be babying her leg a lot still. I can't stress enough that as much as you don't want to use the leg and would like to play it safe that is not the right way of going about it because the leg will heal that way then and it will only make rehab that much more difficult.

I hope to continue updating my status, but to tell you the truth from this point on it is just a matter of getting back to normal now. I know their is still pain on occassion, but they give you plenty of medicine to deal with that and if you take it maxed out for the first few days you'll feel much better and then ween yourself off it slowly is the best. You don't want to try and tough it out because it will break your spirit, but also understand that you can't live on the percocet forever.

Expect to miss about 6 weeks of work if you work in a high demand job. I work for a grocery store and am expected to stock and bend and do a lot of standing and the doctor told me that without restrictions will be a 5-7 week return date.

Just a note about sleeping. I found that sleeping on your back with your knee elevated comfortably is your best bet, but after the first night of tossing and turning my best way of sleeping is actually resting my brace on the other leg in a comfortable position and sleeping on my side or even my stomach a bit if I could. Taking pain meds is a must for sleeping if you don't want to just have a terrible night.

Well Good Luck with your recovery and thanks for reading. I'll try to keep up on this, but I have a long road to recovery to focus on too!

Comments for Bryan's ACL Surgery

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Oct 02, 2015
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Education NEW
by: Anonymous

Students should keep record in diary of their daily activities. They should write down their daily research paper writing service schedule of whole day. They must learn to manage their time to perform all activities effectively.

Dec 25, 2010
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Wrist and knee
by: Bryan

That's unfortunate that you hurt yourself in both areas! I'd say it may be very tough to do both. You can wait on the knee. A lot of people have to wait for swelling to go down from the initial tear anyway. I'd probably do one first not at the same time. You will be surprised how much you need to lift yourself around and avoid the knee for a few days. But if your strong willed then I would do both and be happy to get them behind yourself.

But the knee takes a solid 6 weeks of rehab on your own and with a trainer minimum everyday. The trainer is only 3 times a week. I'd try and put the wrist surgery ahead if it can heal fast enough.

Dec 19, 2010
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Acl
by: Jillian

I tore my acl playing soccer, but to make it worse a couple of months before i broke a bone in my wrist. The bone I broke in my wrist is one of the worst bone's to break and it's not healing because the blood supply isn't getting to it. I don't know what to do considering I'm getting surgery for my acl dec. 28th but I'm also getting a screw put in my wrist then, will this make things even harder for me?

Dec 07, 2010
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oh my
by: tianna

well my surgery for my acl is tomorrow im kinda nervis and im 13

Sep 27, 2010
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post op 6weeks
by: luke

done my acl playing soccer,very painful never felt anything like it before,had mri scans taken and found out complete tear of the acl and a tiny tear of the meniscus,had acl reco using my hamstring graft,1 week is tough plenty of rest and ice and you have lots of pain in the knee also around the hamstring 2week is the same 3week you start to feel some progress using 1 cruch gradually threw the week you start to walk without 4week start cycling squats leg press and working on getting full motion in the knee, but always ice after every exercise and never slack off home exercise but dont push it incase of streching the graft 4week onwords no pain in the knee or hamstring knee feels stronger hydro pool exercise's helps heaps and also cycling

Sep 26, 2010
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Walking
by: Bryan

It took a good 2 weeks to be walking around without crutches but your still not able to walk long distances really maybe around a store for about 10-15 minutes. I'd say I'm walking finally at around the 8 week mark without really needing to rest.

Sep 26, 2010
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Hi..
by: Mau5y

How long does it take for you to walk again? I came to Mexico to get the surgery for my knee, but I was planning to do some rehab here then do the rest back home in the US. But I was wondering how long till I can walk, I was planning to go back home on vehicle but I it's possible I might go back on plane but I highly doubt that. Anyways good job on getting better man. I hope you feel at your 100% soon.

Sep 21, 2010
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@larodney
by: lizzie

yea i would say it is best to stay on the drugs given to you.but only for about the first couple of weeks and try and ween off them.its best to not feel the pain and try to get full range of motion without the pain.you may want to ask about a pain pump with a cathader. it numbs the pain for the first couple of days. have you had the surgery or when is it scheduled for?

Sep 14, 2010
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Football injury
by: Bryan

That's unfortunate you tore it playing a sport you love. What's funny though is that I haven't checked in on this in a long time and I am actually going to the doctor tomorrow for my last visit and I am officially 13 weeks post op and feeling great. The only thing I can stress is that those first 6 weeks are tough, but just do the physical therapy and follow all of their instructions and you'll be feeling fine in no time. I'm still working on getting all my strength back in my leg, but I can now start jogging and basically doing everything except play a sport.

Surgery is tough though afterwards. Those first 2-4 weeks you are definitely a different person. You get upset and just constantly feel like your in pain, but if you use the meds and just know that each day is one day closer to getting better then you will have no problem. Since you're already in sports you're probably in pretty good shape so you'll probably bounce back quick. If you want someone to follow or look at New England's WR Wes Welker tore his back in December and already is playing on it again in September which is incredible. The only downside to this having happened is that you just have to wait for them to clear you before doing anything that will hurt it. At this point the only way I remember it even happened is because of the scars and just a little soreness when I do things all day or workout on it.

Good Luck man and if you got any questions shoot them to me on here anytime. Just don't spend everyday looking up ACL stuff like I did because it tends to make you upset or worried. Those first 4 weeks will be a brutal grind teaching your leg how to work again, but by week 5 and 6 your moving towards getting back to playing sports.

Sep 14, 2010
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i torn my acl playing football
by: LaRodney Brown

hey man i just got done reading your status and it kind of took some of the nerveness i had about surgery away.Im only 15 and a sophmore in school and ive already have torn my acl im really scared about the sugery because i love football with a passion and just want to get back to it as soon as possible.But ummm am i suppose to stay doped up on pain medicine.

gotta go may GOD bless you bye


Jul 24, 2010
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6 weeks almost!
by: Bryan

Thanks for the support!

Its the 5 week mark and some days I don't really keep as close of track anymore. I have 1 more week of physical therapy before my home program is all I do. I'm excited I've been doing 1 legged squats on a total gym and ball squats against a wall. My leg is almost completely back as far as where I'm expected to be. I had a very hard time last week with some pain because I was breaking through on some new motion. I even balance on the leg and have the medecine ball thrown in different directions and I catch it.

It's been difficult and will continue to be in order to get back to softball, basketball, and mountain biking. Even just hiking mountains and what not. I missed an entire summer to knock out some hikes, but I'll be 100% by next summer!!

Jul 24, 2010
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good luck
by: Lizzie

Hi Bryan i just wanted to tell you good luck with all of your therapy cause it gets really hard and you need to make your self stick with it. that last degree on extension is such a hassle. I am now 10 weeks post op and i finally got that last degree about last week. you may think its not that big of a deal but if your doc has you doing the heel hangs you must do them. I slacked off a bit and thats why it took me so long to get straight.so dont cheat on those heel hangs this is probably the best advice for you right now. and maybe try bumping up yoru weights for your ankle weights. also you may want to ice while doing the heel hangs, it make the pain of doing them go away. hope this helps you out some.

Jul 15, 2010
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Updated again!
by: Bryan

Well its officially the 4 week mark and I have a doctors appointment in the morning. Its been a rough recovery but I do feel closer everyday to being normal. I am out of the brace now and trying to eliminate my limp. They want it gone by now usually but thats my only downfall. I'm exceeding expectations in everything else and my weight might be causing the limp.

I'll let everyone know how my doctors appointment goes. I'm exected back to work in 2-3 weeks and I'm hoping to come through on that goal. My hamstring felt tweaked today from my physical therapy and it hurt all day. I know it will be like that till I'm done, but its hard to remind yourself of that. I had a buddy tell me that you may think your doing something wrong because your leg hurts or feels weird, but keep it up because that is what it will be like.

I started using my bowflex again I just only do upper body exercises. I'm allowed to bike 10 minute intervals on low resistance anytime I choose to do so. And I started alot more exercises. I'm at 120 flexion and 1 degree extension. That knee is being difficult with that last degree.
Well good luck with recovery and I'll hop on and update when I get a chance.

Jul 05, 2010
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More updates!
by: Bryan

Well its been 17 days (2weeks3days) and I'm definitely doing far better! I'm still about 4 weeks from returning to work without restrictions, but I'm very close to being better. I've only been off pain killers for a few days, but tend to have one when I'm doing something difficult. It was the 4th of July today and I tried to walk around for awhile, but I definitely had to take it easy. The worse part is that it feels like your leg is better, but you still have a hitch in your step and you haven't gained all your motion back. I drove around for awhile today in my truck that is an automatic and was excited to realize I can probably drive myself to all my appointments now without needing to worry about rides. I don't think I'll drive too much though because I cant slam my brakes if needed yet without worrying about it hurting me or my leg twisting.

I'm excited that I'm getting better, but don't fool yourself stick to the program and wait to get a little better. I'm still in a brace but my doctor believes in bracing for a month post op.

Good luck!

Jun 29, 2010
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Update!
by: Bryan

I am now post op day 12 and my knee brace is fully unlocked and I actually went to a concert last night and again tonight at the same venue to see TOOL. The venue is Red Rock Ampitheater which has quite the hike and stairs to tackle and I did very well going up. Coming down was a difficult process because your knee doesn't bend enough to take stairs lightly. But I made it and just took some pain killers for bed and I'm fine. I'm off crutches, but I'm bringing them tonight because people cant tell your recovering otherwise.

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