Dominique's ACL Surgery

by Dominique
(Colorado)

Hello. I am 40 years young :>) and recently May 23rd) tore my ACL in a martial arts kicking excercise. During the middle of it, I felt something against my leg and suddenly I was on the floor stunned, wondering what happened. It was bizarre. No popping sound. I had to ask how I got there! Still not sure how it happened- and despite the initial sharp pain that accompanied the fall, I managed to finish the class which was almost over not realizing the extent of the injury.


I went to the ER later that day as I was in a lot of pain. Surprisingly, I had very little swelling and the Dr. ordered only an x-ray. No broken bones. I was sent home with an ACE knee brace, Vicodin (one upside :>) ) and told to ice. At that point, it was treated and diagnosed as a "sprain".

After the injury, there were a few times I would land on my foot wrong and felt that same initial sharp pain I experienced when I first injured my knee. Pain that would make my eyes water and then slowly it would go away.

After 7 weeks of trying to have my leg adjusted by a chiropractor and just "dealing" thinking it was a sprain and I just needed time, my Chiropractor suggested I have it looked at by an Sports Injury clinic. I ended up at Steadman Hawkins Clinic as they treat many professional athletes and had a very good reputation. The Dr. examined my knee and in only a few minutes, indicated he was certain I tore my ACL. I was stunned. An MRI a few days later confirmed the Dr's thoughts.

I am scheduled for surgery tommorrow morning and am pretty bummed. I am a very active person and my goal this year after turning 40, was to get in the best shape of my life. I wanted to try a triathalon this fall and had just signed up for martial arts which I have wanted to do for years!

I had complications from an abdomen surgery 3-4 years ago that turned into a really bad deal. I was on intravenous antiobitics at home 2x a day for 6 weeks and hospitalized several times over a period of 2 years. The burden of my absence fell upon my husband and mother- we have 4 kids. All were under 8 at the time- one 9 months old. It was a tough year and kept me out of any kind of sports for a long, long time. I feel like I'm back there again and guilty because of it. It also sucks that I feel like had I been in my 30's- this would not have happened. I have yet to embrace my age as everyone says will happen at 40. Whatever!

I would love to hear from anyone that does martial arts to see how long it took to get back to it after surgery. I can't even imagine feeling confident enough to even throw a kick at a bag and wonder if I'll gain that back and when. I am always on my feet with keeping up with my family and in general, my personality is one that does not allow me much "down time". It is going to be a challenge for me to slow down enough to not trip over the dishwasher daily, not have the compulsive need to clean my house and cook my family the meals they are used to having.


After much research on the net, I understand the importance of rehab and following instructions to the T! I really am going to do everything I can to bounce back stronger than ever but still fear my knee will never be the same.

After 12 years so far of raising kids- the first half of that as a single mom, I was really looking forward to joining a tennis or volleyball league or something else to do for myself for a change.

Everyone heals at a different pace I know, but I can't help asking how long I will really be "down" from this. Despite my Doc's reputation, I found that I had to do all the research on my own to discover just how big this surgery would be and how long the recovery is. I was never really given a play by play on what to expect first few days, weeks, months, etc.

I am in pretty decent shape- I weight train 4 times a week and up until this incident, did a variety of cardio in addition to martial arts. Amazing how long it takes to build muscle and how little time it takes to lose it after an injury. I hope that my lower body strength will help with my recovery.

I am going to try and document my own recovery as reading all your stories has really helped prepare my for my own situation. I hope to be able to do the same.


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Nov 04, 2015
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Sep 28, 2015
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Aug 24, 2015
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by: Anonymous

Every sportsman must have gone through some kind of physical pressure or injuries. These injuries leave a huge mark on their career as well as on their souls that they can't even forget their whole life about the incident. Some take it as a inspiration and stand up again and some go in the shadows of disappointment and they just need a good hope.

May 12, 2015
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by: Denny

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Feb 18, 2015
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5 year follow up NEW
by: Anonymous

I just discovered this site and am 2 weeks away from an ACL reconstruction. I blew it out between martial arts (partial tear) followed by a car accident last year which tore it the rest of the way. Despite that I kept on trucking on until this past fall when other aches started showing up and martial arts became impossible even with a functional ACL brace.

I am intrigued Dominique to hear how you are doing now, over 5 years later. I wonder if you will see this. :). Did you get back into martial arts? What type? I have a 1st degree ATA black belt, had hoped to go for my 4th degree before I turn 50 years old but this will end that goal. I'll be happy with what I can do, though, considering I'm completely out of it at the moment :(

I am 45, strong and healthy, but overweight. My concern is what will happen post surgery with my strength and weight and figuring out what I can do to both be prepared and have the best possible outcome. I've been weight training and interval training for over a year (with the functional brace). I will really freak out if there is a 30 lb gain.... I'm desperate to hear this is not always true and what can be done to avoid it!!!!

Jul 21, 2009
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re
by: Anonymous

if you want to check out my story. It is something like 14 year old ACL injury, story, reconstruction, and recovery.

Jul 21, 2009
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by: Anonymous

Sounds like you are doing well. PT is very important, and it does get easier. It gets kind of boring after a while, but you just have to keep working. did u do PT before surgery?? Did you loose a lot of muscle mass?? I never got one of those ice things. I wish i did, i just used a ice bag that didn't completely freeze that they gave me the recipee for at PT.

Oh my goodness!!! Almost 2 weeks after my surgery, our school had a play and i did costumes, and was on my leg like all day, and when i went home that night my ankle was huge!!!! It feaked me out, i guess all the swelling had went to my foot. i can completely understand.

Umm, to be honest, i didn't have a lot of pain. it was worse when i hurt my knee. Did you have to stay the night at the hospital?? I took the pain pills a lot at the hospital, but i only took look 4 once i got home and only took motrin. i guess i got lucky with the pain. It still swells some, and gets stiff.

I bet you hate the socks, i didn't have to wear them, thank goodness!!! Are they to prevent blood clots??

Are you in a locked brace? I dont know, if you will be out of your brace by then. Esp. if you're at the beach. Do you have a functional ACL brace (sports brace) yet?? Because i wore the big brace for about a month, and it fell off my foot but i didn't have my own ACL brace, so i wore my dad's. I had to wear the big brace for about a month, then the function brace another 8 weeks, when not around the house, but every doctor is different.

Yea, i had the hamstring graft. it may be our hips. My Dr. preferred it. i am still trying to strengthen my hamstring back up!

It does stink being so young, but it seems like lots of teens esp. girls my age are doing it.

Good luck! and keep us posted with your recovery! :)

Jul 21, 2009
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ooops
by: Anonymous

Forgot to mention, that I had the hamstring graft. They favor this for active woman as many woman tend to experience persistent knee pain with the patella graft. Perhaps because we have wider hips?

Jul 21, 2009
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Thanks for your email
by: Anonymous

It's been 8 days now since ACL surgery. Thanks for checking on me. I'm doing pretty good. I'm religious about doing the PT at home despite pain :>). I go in for it 1x week but will start to do two next week. I am bearing weight on it- past two days and walking a little throughout the day with out crutches- resting it still quite a bit and luckily, I was given the cryo-cuff for icing which I LOVE! I use it whenever my knee throbs or aches after being on it or PT.
I freaked out the other day though. I was in the bathroom and caught a glimpse of my thigh (on my bum leg) in the mirror- it was HUGE! I thought I had already started to gain the 30+ lbs I've heard of after this surgery. I quickly glanced at my left thigh and thank god, same size as usual. I had just swelled up that much.
I am taking more Ibuprofin than pain pills but still take them in early evening at days end and at bedtime. How soon did you stop taking meds after surgery?
I'm tired of these freakin pippie long stocking socks (compression socks):>)Its like in the 90's here! :>)
I'm going to SC at the end of next month to stay with some girlfriends at a beachouse we rented and am hoping I will not have to wear my full brace by then?? That would really not compliment my kickin bikini :>)
It's good to hear your doing so well so soon. It is a drag that this happened to you so young. It sounds as if you'll come back strong though. So much is mental- just like everything else.
Again, thanks for checking in on me! Best wishes.



Jul 20, 2009
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by: Anonymous

how are you doing now?? Just do the PT, and you'll do great! Did you have the hamstring or patella graft?? You will have the confidence. I'm going into my Sophomore year in high school, and never thought i would have confidence in my knee again. To be honest, i am starting to get more confidence in my injured one, than the good leg. It does take a lot of time and patience. I find myself doing things that i would never have done or thought i would do when i had my knee surgery, and it has been 3 and 1/2 months, and it seems like each week i gain a little more confidence. It may help you get more confidence, if you get a functional ACL brace, i have one for running and it gives me so much more confidence. I go back to playing basketball and all other sports on October 12 and plan on wearing the brace for my varsity bball season, and my dad has plans of me wearing it for the rest of high school. October 12 is 6 months! Good luck and keep us posted on your recovery.

Jul 14, 2009
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Thanks Bart
by: Anonymous

Bart-

Thanks a lot for your response and encouragement.

Home from surgery- pain somewhat manageable- I had the never block in my leg which I don't think has worn off completely yet so not sure what to expect.

All in all, not too bad over here. Thanks again!!
Dominique

Jul 13, 2009
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motivation is the key
by: Bart - SII

Dominique, just from reading your post I can tell that you are motivated to be successful with this surgery. The fact that you have researched the surgery, the recovery, and understand the weight of the situation means that you know how important it is to do things right as you go forward. That in and of itself is a huge step in the right direction, and one that many people don't make with an ACL reconstruction.

It is going to take time to get back to all of the activities you desire - I have had several martial arts patients with ACL reconstructions - one was an MMA fighter who took about 9 months to get back to live fighting (different from martial arts classes I know, but a little similar). Another one did Jiu Jitsu and he took about 8 months to get back to full grappling.

The key to your recovery will be to make sure you take time to recover - don't go too fast and give your body time to heal - that can be difficult when you have a ton of stuff going on with your everyday life - chasing kids, running the family, etc.

The Steadman Hawkins clinic is a great place for orthopedics - just make sure that you follow up the surgery with the rehab and try to keep positive and motivated and you should do well. 40 isn't too old for an ACL reconstruction! Good luck!

Bart

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