KT's Long ACL Surgery and Frustrating Rehab

by KT Long
(Jackson WY)

I blew out my left knee for the first time when I was 15. The surgery went very smooth and re-hab was tough, but it went pretty fast. I was full weight baring within 2.5 weeks. I blew my left knee out again on December 19th, 2009 while skiing. I had surgery on January 30th, 2009. The doc told my husband it would be about an hour and half surgery. Well it didn't go well. The doc couldn't get the first set of screws out and after about an hour and a half of wrenching and wrenching he moved to plan B. He cut my leg all the way open. The incision is about 10 inches with 5 portals all around it. The doc wanted to make sure he got a really good hold with the femur screw this time and really wrenched it in and then he heard a pop. He thought that he had broken the top of the screw off so he anchored my ACL in using a different stronger method. He finally stapled me back up 4.5 hours later and coincedently it took 45 staples to sew me back up. I was admitted to the hospital for pain control, which the pain was tolerable. At some point during the day, the doc came in to check on me and touched my leg and I couldn't feel it. I couldn't feel anything from the tummy down. Completely numb. The scariest thing I have ever gone through. The doc was sure he hit a nerve and scheduled and MRI for the next morning. The MRI was excrusiating. 45 staples in your leg and having to sit in a magnetic machine for 45 minutes is not fun at all. It turns out that when he heard the pop and thought that he broke the head off the screw, he actully poped the screw all the way through my femur and lodged the screw in the back of my knee. So I have a screw floating around the back of my knee and an extra hole in my femur. My leg was numb from the turnicate he had to put on a couple times through out surgery. I spent 3 days in the hospital and was sent home with a walker and crutches and a lot of pain meds. The pain was manageable. I was released on New years day, 2010 and was off the pain meds by Monday. I started PT in a SwimEX pool on that Wednesday. It was nice to move around and start working on ROM.

I am now 1 month post op and doing pretty well. I do PT for 2 hours 3 times a week. My flexion is at 96, but I cannot fully straigten the leg. I am also still on crutches which is extremely frustrating. I do my exercises everyday and my quad just does not seem to be getting stronger. I am also still extremely swollen. I work on my platella mobilization everyday too, but the swelling is still there. My knee looks like what other people's look like the day after surgery and it has been a month. Needless to say my mood and attitude is starting to suffer. Any suggestions on how to stay positive? How to strengthen the quad more?

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