Joey's ACL Surgery & Post Op Pain Questions

by Joe
(Whitehall, MI)

In a fateful day in late July, I was rounding the corner playing flag football when suddenly my wonderfully spry knee decided it had had enough, and buckled underneath me. Since then, I have been dealing with a very unstable joint, and forced to work retail even though the knee didn't like it all that well. Happily though, my wife was able to secure a teaching job, and that means teacher's insurance! i wen to the doctor, and after a few appointments, an MRI confirmed that I had indeed torn my ACL, along with my medial meniscus.


Surgery happened on the 18th of december (friday). I went in at 6 am, to be surgered at 7:30. Nurses were friendly, and I tried to not let myself be worked up. I'm not the biggest fan of needles. I got through the IV well, and then was thrilled to learn that i would then have to go through a femoral block, which involved placing a needle with electrical impulses into my femoral artery. I dealt with it well, however, and after that, there was really no feeling in my leg. I get pretty sick due to anesthesia, so my doc opted for a spinal. Another scary needle, but this one i didn't have to experience while awake. When I woke up, 3 hours later, i was in recovery, and feeling pretty darn good. Leg was numb due to the block, and I went to my room quickly and was discharged by 1:30 pm.

Went home, and the pain slowly started to trickle in. I think my biggest problem with this surgery has been that I haven't been able to sleep all that much. I am not a back sleeper, and it's pretty much all you can due when in this brace (it is locked from 0-90 degrees) partial weight bearing. I suffered though a few nights of aweful lower back pain, but i've come up with somewhat of a solution. Everything I get up to go to the bathroom, which is a lot due to the pain meds, I stretch my lower back. I sleep in my recliner now, and I have a sheet folding up and placed behind the small of my back. I also use the heating pad a lot on my back, and this helps lessen the discomfort.

I started PT two days ago, and it's going well. They have been gentle to this point, only 4 days out of surgery, but I am already seeing extension/flexion i didn't think that I had. I am a little discourage at this point, however, and thus the reason for my story. I would like some input from anyone who's had this surgery. today is day 5 post surgery, and pain is somewhat manageable. It is just a deep throbbing pain in the knee. HOWEVER, now I have much more pain in my shin, as opposed to my knee. I have a decent bit of swelling in my shin area, and this throbs much worse than my knee. I am beginning to dread getting up out of the chair to use the bathroom or simply move around a bit, as when I stand up, a flood of fire-like pain shoots down my leg, specifically my shin. Has anyone else experienced pain like this, and if so, any suggestions? Also, what pain meds were prescribed initially, and did you eventually graduate to something weaker? I am taking Norco right now and not thrilled about taking something that strong all the time!

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

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