Severe pain and swelling months after ACL replacement and partial Meniscus tear surgery

by Tanya Douglas
(Matthews, NC)

Swelling of right knee

Swelling of right knee

My son suffered an ACL and partial Meniscus tear (right knee) in December 2007 at a basketball tournament. He underwent the Hamstring Replacement Graft surgery for the ACL and had the torn part of his Meniscus removed in February 2008.

He completed his rehabilitation in October 2008, he has been diligent in continuing the requested amount of exercise and has been disciplined in remaining active. He is now in college and has begun to practice.

For the past several weeks he has been complaining about severe pain in his knee area and the occasional feeling of it "locking-up". My son has since taken an MRI and the results showed no re-injury to his ACL. I am very concerned because his trainers have mentioned that the ligments feel sturdy and strong, there is no looseness or abnormal movement in his knee.

He has been applying ice and elevating it, he has taken Aleve and Motrin and he still seems to have no significant relief. Could this be tendonitis, might there be some scar tissue that is forming or are there other possibilities that could be causing this degree of pain?

Please let me know your thoughts and if you have had this sort of inquiry in the past.

I am anxious to find out what the possibilities might be. Thanks in advance for your time, expertise and response.

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Oct 21, 2008
Follow Up
by: Mike H. ATC


The MRI would have shown any tears of the meniscus and/or ligaments in the knee. His athletic trainers and physicians at the school should be able to give him a new diagnosis. If the structures in the knee aren't involved, you should look at the structures outside the knee capsule, the patella for instance. Severe case of patella femoral syndrome can mimic meniscus tears (swelling, locking up, giving out). Once again you should have him ask his athletic trainers to follow up with the physician that ordered the MRI and see if they can't come up with a differential diagnosis.

Oct 22, 2008
knee swelling
by: Bart - SII

Mike is correct - an MRI should show any damage to the internal structures of the knee. It appears, from the picture you posted, that he may have a joint effusion, or swelling inside the joint - thats just a guess from the photo though.

If the ligaments are stable, I would lean more towards a patella femoral problem - irritation caused by either mobility restrictions or muscle weakness (often at the hips) that is over stressing the knee.

Rest and ice and continuing with the exercises, and also having his AT's look at his hip strength and flexibility/mobility in the hips and lumbar spine.


Mar 20, 2009
Pain after ACL replacement
by: Kym

I had my ACL replaced w/hamstring 3 years ago. I have been experiencing muscle pain from my hip down thru the hamstring, ACL, into my lower leg. I'm wondering if there is a connection w/the pain and this type of surgery? I've been told it's bursiti, but can't help wonder if it has something to do w/the ACL repair.

Apr 08, 2009
MRI doesn't always show meniscus tear
by: Anonymous

My son has had to ACL reconstruction surgeries. He has also had two MRI's that didn't show a torn meniscus, and that is exactly what he has now. The MRI doesn't show it, but the cyst protruding from his knee lets the doctor know that the meniscus never completely healed or he tore it again. Get a second opinion.

May 17, 2009
Reply to All Having Pain After Replacement with Hamstring Tissue
by: Annie Oakley

To make a very long story short, I still suffer from daily, agonizing pain 8 years after a PCL replacement that was done by taking the tissue from my hamstring. No internal problems have ever showed up on the numerous MRI's I've had done, and I've gone the route of both traditional Western and alternative medicine to try to find a solution for my problem.

Finally, after I just wouldn't accept there was no answer or reason as to why I'll be spending the rest of my life on a daily regimen of prescription medication (including narcotics), I hired a lawyer to look into the possibility that some kind of malpractice was to blame for my ongoing pain, pain I didn't have at all before undergoing the surgery.

While I can't get into any specific details since I am pursuing legal action in my case, my advice to anyone still suffering from post-operative pain and not getting any answers or relief from doctors is to get a lawyer immediately. Lawyers who specialize in malpractice cases will have doctors and other experts on-hand that can review all of your medical records, including surgical reports, and you might be surprised at the answers they can find for you that other practicing doctors may be unwilling or reluctant to give.

Knowing what I know now, I wish I'd have trusted myself and what my body and pain was telling me, as I could've saved a whole lot of time, money, and grief. I was always very skeptical of lawyers and lawsuits and that whole business myself, but if you know something is wrong and you're not getting any relief or answers from your doctors, sometimes you really don't have any other choice.

May 17, 2009
To Kym (Pain After ACL Replacement)
by: Annie Oakley

Sorry I forgot to mention - I'll check back on the board if you'd like anymore information or if there's anything I can help you with or refer you to.

Jun 27, 2009
Pain after acl treatment
by: Uraju

I had undergone acl reconstruction 7 months ago & i get sudden pain in my knee even when there is not too much strain put on the leg... It just happens sometimes at some angle.... I feel it was better before the reconstruction... Or can i wish it would be better in some more time?

Sep 12, 2009
Just Advice from my life
by: Anonymous

I had my ACL replaced like three years ago, I was not picked up on the MRI because my leg was straight, and when the leg was bent is when my ACL was apart. Know since I have my ACL replacement It is hard to take an MRI of the knee do to he screw in the graft. it will make the MRI deserted. If your Son had a true ACL replacement throw a graft, thier is a posaability he straned it. Whitch wouldnt turn up on film. If that is the case sadly the only fix is another replacement surgery.

Dec 30, 2009
ACL/PCL replacement with severe pain and swelling 2 years later
by: Judy

I had an ACL/PCL replacement in May of o4. I also had the miniscus tear. I know when that is flaring up just by the pain, and catch my knee gets. Two years after the replacement I started getting knots, swelling, fluid, and sever pain. I dealt with that for 3 years, going to different orthos because the one that orignally done the repair no longer accepted my insurance. I underwent excrutiating pain,. several missed weeks of work, and other exploritory proceures and surguries to aid with the pain. Finally the original Dr agreed to see me. I was in surgery again the next week with no pain or pain killers since. The diagnosis was one of the 'dissolveable screws' from the ACL/PCL procedure never dissolved and had worked its way to the surface causing severe infection.

Jun 02, 2010
This is too much of a common problem
by: Anonymous

I have two surgeries on my ACL. The first was a repair and the second a replacement. The pain is worse I have pantella fermerol pain sydrom and i also have numbness and sensitivity to touch and sever constant pain in my foot (like a have a nail in the bottom of my foot) The doctors has told me that I have to live with it with no medication and it is only getting worse. I do not understand if so many people have the same problem after surgery why these Drs are not more concerened with this problem. If they went to fix the original tear because of the pain and problems it has caused why allow the paitent to have more problems with it?

Jun 28, 2010
ACL? Meniscus? Back/Hip Problem???
by: Anonymous

My son is a Hockey Player and had two ACL repairs (both knees) 1 year apart. Both surgeries they harvested his hamstring to do the repair. The first surgery did not require a meniscus repair as the tear was small, so the Dr. opted to leave it alone to repair itself. The second surgery did require snipping the injured meniscus for repair.
It has been six months since the latest surgery and he was cleared by his Dr. and P.T. to return to the ice for training. Two weeks ago he got off the ice and was experiencing pain and swelling.He took two weeks off of training saw his Dr. and he told him it was because his Hamstrings and Quads were "super tight" and that was causing the interior knee pain. His P.T. said that it was because his Hip and Back were not working properly and that was what was causing the pain. He has continued with his exercises and got back on the ice this weekend to resume training.
He got off the ice yesterday after "trying" to complete his training and was in severe pain with a lot of swelling.
We are at a loss at this point! We are trying to schedule an MRI to take a look inside the knee, but can't do that without the Dr.'s orders and unfortunately the Dr. or (PA) have not returned our call yet. He is running out of time as he has to report back to his team mid August for tryouts and contract signing...we're totally bummed

Jul 22, 2010
ACL replacement
by: Anonymous

It have been a year and a half since I had my ACL replaced. My knee hurts especially if I do alot of walking. I always have some kind of light pain. I would of thought by now that I wouldn't of even knew I had surgery. When I feel around my knee it is still somewhat tender. Does anyone have any answer to why this is happening.
Thank you

Dec 28, 2010
4 weeks out and severe pain from Hip to Lateral knee
by: Shannon

I recently had ACL reconstruction with medial posterior horn meniscectomy. I've been working REALLY hard daily with PT, and light duty at work as I am a nurse and I am not fully functional at 4 weeks. I was really busy on my feet baking and walking for Christmas for 4-5 days probably 8 hours a day. On Christmas day I noticed my ankle was really swollen and so I sat to elevate it during preparation for Christmas dinner. I literally was NOT able to get up. The spasm type pain started in my hip, and radiated to my lateral knee so much that I could not bear any weight at all on it. I took a pain pill, iced it, and rested the rest of the night, but know it is very sore with a lot of movement within the patella. Any guess's?? I am hoping that the graft is taking and I didn't over-do.... Aloha, Shannon

Jan 05, 2011
ACL pain after 8 years
by: Anonymous

I too still have knee pain that compromise my life. it sucks one acl replacement then another surgery to clean things up no change!

Jun 02, 2014
by: Anonymous

I had a ACL repair 14 months ago with the hamstring graft. Im trying to return to high impact sport after working hard with all the rehab and my knee keeps swelling and getting sore, not sure what to so now. Really frustrating

Oct 12, 2015
comments NEW
by: javed

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Oct 12, 2015
comments NEW
by: dilber

Incidents like these set an example in front of us that we can not neglect stated facts of women murdered in name of nothing, we call it democracy but it is a hypocrisy today. Though i am an essay writer by profession but believe me i never liked politics and it has never been my favorite part of subject in University due to poor management and vision to rule the whole world.

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