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


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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