Lisa's ACL Surgery

by Lisa M
(Minster, OH)

I tore my right ACL playing basketball the summer going into my junior year.

I was sprinting after a player on a fast break and then I suddenly had to change direction. So I stopped, planted my foot, and was pushed in the back by another player.

I felt a popping sensation in my knee. My coach was sure that I had torn my ACL so I went to the chiropractor who told me that he didn't think that I had.

I went to the chiropractor for a few weeks and did strengthening exercises. After a few weeks my knee was almost back to normal but I just couldn't get it rehabbed completely, so I decided to get an MRI, and sure enough, I'd torn it.

I went to Dr. Kremcheck out of Cincinnati(Beacon Orthopedics) and had it repaired using a hamstring graft.

I had surgery and rehabbed my knee and i was back playing basketball within 4 months. Its been 2 1/2 years and I have had no problems with that knee. The only problem I experienced was some numbness along the outside of my leg but it doesn't bother me hardly at all.

A year after my first injury I tore my left ACL playing AAU basketball. I jumped for the ball and landed wrong. This injury was definitely worse than the first.

I immediately got an MRI and went back to my surgeon. He said I'd torn my ACL and injured/sprained my MCL. He told me my MCL wouldn't need any repair, just rehab.

He went into surgery planning on preforming a hamstring reconstruction but my hamstrings were too brittle so he decided it would be better to use the patellar tendon.

This graft was a lot harder to rehab than the hamstring graft. I was still back to playing basketball around 4 1/2 months after surgery but it was a rough start.

At the beginning I had a very difficult time regaining my range of motion. I also had a lot of pain. Its been 1 1/2 years since that surgery and I still experience pain in the front of my knee. Its getting better but if i had to choose which graft is better, there'd be no contest.

I love my knee that was reconstructed with the hamstring graft. My surgeon was also AMAZING!!! and I owe a lot of the success of my surgery to him!

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Nov 06, 2015
Education NEW
by: Anonymous

An educated person can gain knowledge through different sources. A well educated person can attain information through hearing, watching and observing the individuals around him. He can gain useful information through reading books.

Oct 25, 2010
by: Anonymous

Hi Lisa,
Your story is inspiring.
I'm on my 10th day after the surgery.Right ACL using hamstring graft.
I injured my knee while playing basketball and want to come back playing soon.

Thank you so much for sharing , now im excited to do my physio


Aug 22, 2008
returning to sports
by: Lisa

i tore my first acl when i was a junior and just as i was getting back into the groove of things i tore my other acl on the other knee. the second one was right before my senior year of high school. because i tore both acl's i decided not to play college basketball. i occassionally play but not on a regular basis, therefore it is hard for me to say whether or not i'm back to my previous level. i feel that i could have gotten pretty close if i would have stuck with it and kept on playing but i guess i'll never know. i did play basketball half of my senior year and i was a little nervous at first but after awhile i wasn't as scared. if your knees are as strong as they should be you should be confident when you play. However, don't come back and play before your ready. tearing an acl once is hard enough but tearing it twice would be extremely tough to deal with and you most likely would never return to the level you were at previously. when returning to your sport make sure it's strong and enough and maintain that strenght. keep doing your excercises and keep lifting weight. keeping your muscles strong is the best way to stay injury free. good luck!

Aug 20, 2008
right and left
by: Freya

wow, someone else who has torn both ACL's from playing basketball.

I tore my right one in 2006 from rebounding and my left in 2008 rebounding again.. i had a hamstring graft on my right, and it went fine an is still ok now. I am 2 weeks post op on my left ... i also had the hamstring graft and was really worried about starting up basketball again. Im scared ill tear one of the grafts.. Did you feel like this when you was returing to basketball for the second time, and are you playing to the same standard as u were before?

I need some encouagement :)

Jul 31, 2008
pain with hamstring graft
by: Anonymous

in regards to the comment on still having numbness in your lower leg after having acl surgery using a hamstring.... i do not have trouble with my foot but i do have some discomfort with my leg... i don't notice it very often but when i touch the outside of my lower leg or put pressure on it i do experience some discomfort. it feels like you described only not as painful. it's been three years since the surgery and i still have some numbness and a sort of prickly feeling. it does kind of feel like needles but it's not really painful. i would say it's just uncomfortable at times.

Jul 28, 2008
Hamstring Graft vs Patellar
by: Anonymous

I’ve heard that hamstring grafts are easier to recover from; however the people that I’ve polled that have incidents of re-injury to a restructured ACL have almost exclusively been hamstring grafts.

Also, I wonder if the difficulty in rehabbing from the second surgery had to do with additional damage to an already repaired knee.

In any event, I give you major kudos – as I know recover from a patellar graft is not easy. And I agree w/ the person who said, while your surgeon put your knee back together, the rest of the work was done only by you. Congrats.

Apr 16, 2008
Tingling Feeling
by: markg

Hi, I am 3 weeks post op on a Hamstring ACL replacement. Feeling pretty good, walking around the house without the brace and going for some flat walks outside, walked 1/2 mile today. Having one problem though and trying to see how common it is. When I lay on my back to sleep, my leg from the knee to the top of my foot lights up like someone is sticking needles in all over the place. Also my foot on top is still quite numb, this makes sleeping quite an issue, I am not wearing the brace to sleep now so I am able to move some but to get comfortable on my side and sleeping ALL nite is a problem, mucho twisting and turning. Have tried sleeping pills and pain killers, but don’t like how I feel the next day. Has anyone else experienced this and how long before it went away?

Mar 12, 2008
Thanks for sharing!
by: Bart - SII

Lisa thanks for sharing your story. Your experiences, having two different surgeries on both knees is a great one for people to hear, especially if they are facing ACL surgery.

It sounds like you are walking proof that a hamstring graft may be a better choice for some people.

I know you said you owe a lot of your success to your surgeon, but don't forget how hard you had to work to get yourself back into sports...You are just as responsible for your success!

Thanks again for sharing your ACL surgery story.

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