Justin's ACL Surgery

by Justin
(Johnstown, NY)

This is one week after ACL surgery

This is one week after ACL surgery

Well, it was bound to happen after twenty years of skiing. I'm a freestyle skier, which means I spend most of my day at the mountain hitting jumps and rails. While at my local mountain for a half day session, I was messing around on this small jump doing 360s and 540s, just playing around. At about 11:30am, I spun a 360 and landed slightly right and had to correct so I didn't hit the trees, and when I did this, my left knee kicked out and twisted, and I heard 3 loud pops then my ski released. I have never felt a pain so intense in my life (and I have separated my shoulder and shattered my ankle). After about 2 minutes screaming alone , someone who saw me fall came over and got some people to get ski patrol. Thankfully I knew the patroller and they joked with me a bit, and got me to the bottom (on the "dead sled", which was slightly embarrassing). I was hoping for a broken leg, but 3 of the patrollers had the same injury and could tell that my ACL was torn. I went to the ER and they found that my ACL, MCL and a patella ligament were torn.


I decided to go with the hamstring tendon graft from my left leg for reconstruction. I had my surgery on March 24th and found that the first week wasn't too bad and I had a lot of gains that week. But since that week, I have had difficulties sleeping and cannot completely extend my leg, so I walk with a pretty severe limp. I am able to walk around short distances without crutches and can bend my knee to past 90 degrees.

I am starting physical therapy on April 14th, but until then I have been doing the towel roll, quad sets and leg lifts to strengthen my knee.

The worst part about this surgery is keeping the leg elevated, which is pretty impossible unless you enjoy basically being almost upside down all the time, and doing the extension exercises (my knee shouldn't bend that far backwards, especially for 20 minutes every 4 hours).

I have found this website useful because its pretty in depth and gives me ideas about what to expect in coming months, and has actually helped me more than the information given to me by my orthopedic. I figured I would share my story with others because this surgery is a pretty big deal and I am hoping to be ready for next season!

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Apr 02, 2011
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Hey man
by: David

Hey, sorry to hear about your Acl, i just recently (3/15/11) Tore my Acl, anterior cruiciate ligament, and my miniscus. Believe me i feel your pain, hope you heal up good. :)

Jul 10, 2009
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I feel ya
by: Tripp

Hey justin,
I tore my ACL in February while snowboarding. I came up short on a landing and hit hard on the flat. I tore only my acl and everything else was undamaged. I rehabed the torn knee and was back riding in 3 weeks until the end of the season (June where I live) I decided to get surgeryand I am now 4 weeks post op. I saw huge gains in the first 2 weeks and not much in the last 2. I still have a lot of swelling and moderate pain. I too just want to get back to riding next season.

Apr 30, 2009
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good luck--it does get better
by: Anonymous

tore mine doing Judo in january, surgey on 3/2. also had a meniscus repair which made me non-weight bearing for 4 weeks---that sucked. now 8 weeks out and it is getting better, particularly the last week. i am 36 and very much want to get back into judo, but know that i cannot and should not until fall. you will all of a sudden notice that it is just "better" and your limp has improved. hang in there.

Apr 16, 2009
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Thats Me
by: Justin

Thats me above, and no Anonymous is not my sweet nickname. =)

Apr 16, 2009
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Good Luck Melanie
by: Anonymous

Hey Melanie,

I actually did not have any sort of pre-op PT, other than R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate). They basically knew that I needed surgery from the get go.

As far as the brace, I have a knee immobilizer (same one that I got after going to the ER). I hate it because it forces you to walk funny and you want to walk that way even when you dont have it on! My physical therapist recommends that I only use it for another week when I am doing a lot of movement and when I am at work. PT feels really good after sitting around and just doing the exercises in my bed.

I wish you luck in your surgery, its not too bad the first day, but as long as you get some good drugs, the next week will go fast. Just listen to your doc and do EXACTLY what they tell you. Let me know how you do!



Apr 14, 2009
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I hear you
by: Trish

Justin,
I had my surgery April 3, and my first PT visit April 6, I also tore my ACL, MCL and meniscus. All I can say is thank god for vicoden. Oh yeah did I tell you that I am a physical therapist myself, so I know exactly what they are going to do to me. I think ignorance may be bliss. Hope you heal quickly and can ski next season.
Tricia

Apr 11, 2009
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response to my fellow skiier
by: Melanie

Hey Justin-

So sorry to hear about your injury. I recently tore my ACL while skiing around some moguls. I'm choosing the hamstring graft also. My surgery isn't until April 30.

I've read that it's very important for you to do your leg extensions to prevent flexion. Granted, I haven't had the surgery yet, so I don't know how HARD that must be....

Did you do pre-op PT? That's what I'm doing right now, and my PT has told me to ice and elevate often, except at night when I'm sleeping. She said that I should sleep without a pillow under my legs to prevent flexion. How hard is that with the heavy brace on your legs??

I hope that you are doing better, and that PT goes well for you this week. :)

Melanie

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