M.A.'s story - ACL/LCL/PCL, IT band, popliteus tendon, femur fracture


(Pennsylvania)

Here is my brief story - now that I am 1 month post-op and on the mend, I feel I am able to share my progress so far.


I'm a physician, played soccer in high school and college and in leagues ever since. Have been very athletic my whole life and prior to my injury had very fit legs. 5 weeks ago while playing with my hospital's soccer team, I chased after a loose ball, reaching for it with my left leg fully extended. My cleats planted in the turf while running full speed and at that exact moment an opposing player ran into me head on knocking me backwards while my lower leg stay stuck in the grass. My left knee hyperextended severely and felt like it literally exploded. It wasn't so much a series of pops and cracks but rather more of a collective BANG and the whole thing was destroyed. I had never experienced pain like this ever before.

The MRI the next day revealed the damage - total ACL and LCL, grade 2 PCL, complete rupture of popliteus tendon, complete rupture of IT band, and a distal femur avulsion fracture. Miraculously, both of my meniscus' were fine. My orthopedist said soccer in the future is possible, but unlikely at the competitive level. I had never felt so helpless and depressed in my life until that moment. I also kick field goals as a hobby (was able to knock through 50+ yarders prior to my injury), and that is up in the air since my planting leg is affected.

Following a 5 hour surgery involving several cadaver grafts, I am doing well. I am full weight bearing with my brace on, and going to PT 2-3 times a week. My flexion is at about 110 degress and I can achieve full extension to 0 degrees without assistance. The swelling is better but because the lateral compartment was so severely damaged there is still a considerable amount of fluid build up and disfigurement in that area.

The biggest issues I'm having at the moment is SEVERE atrophy of my calf and quads. Also, because my IT band had to be re-attached surgically, it is extremely tight and I have a lot of trouble stretching my quads - this is also limiting flexion at the knee. But my orthopedist says the only reason he had me full weight bearing after 4 weeks is because I was doing so well. I may even get into a functional knee brace 6 weeks post-op if my quads get strong enough.

There is hope out there people. Every day is a bit better. Even in near worst-case scenarios like mine, things will get better.

I will update my progress as it goes along.

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But my orthopedist says the only reason he had me full weight bearing after 4 weeks is because I was doing so well. I may even get into a functional knee brace 6 weeks post-op if my quads get strong enough.
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Similar injury NEW
by: Tash

MA I haven't done my knee as bad but I've ruptured my PCL, LCL & Popliteus Tendon, and partially tore my ACL. I have a bakers cyst & bone bruising as well. I did mine in a rugby league game. I went in for a tackle & as I was pulling the girl dwn my shoes dug into the grass & twisted my lower leg & her full weight landed on top of it. I heard the crack & the pain was excutiating. I have yet to get my op & am bit worried! But ur story has given me hope it's possible.

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Re: Bart
by: Anonymous

Hi Bart, thanks for the comments and kind wishes :) My orthopod used cadaver grafts to replace the ACL and LCL, then did a repair of the PCL since it was still partially intact. He also sutured my ruptured IT band to its original insertion site on the tibia. He said I wouldn't miss the ruptured popliteus tendon and left that alone.

Hoping to get into a functional brace next week! Will keep you updated, thanks

Oct 25, 2011
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Wow!
by: Bart - SII

Thanks for sharing. That is quite a severe sports injury. I'm assuming that they reconstructed the ACL, but how did they treat the LCL and PCL? Repair, grafts, or a combination?

You are doing great given all that your knee went through. Sounds like your surgeon isn't afraid to be aggressive with regaining your ROM - that will help out in the long run. The biggest problem I have seen with patients who have multiple ligament surgeries is slow progression early on which leads to significant scar formation and loss of motion due to adhesions and contractures.

As for the atrophy, that is part of it, and will likely continue until you are able to do functional type strengthening. Could be 6-9 months or longer before you start to see equal circumference compared to the contralateral side.

Best of luck with your recovery - keep us posted!

Bart

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