College Athlete:18-years-old and 5 surgeries

by Amy
(New York)


I am 18 years old and will have my fifth knee surgery next month. When I was a freshman in high school I tore my ACL, LCL, and meniscus in my left knee on December 10th 2007, in a JV basketball game. I had surgery and used my hamstring for the new graft. I was finally released to play sports again my sophomore year only to need another surgery.

I tore my lateral and medial meniscus in a softball game and had my second surgery on June 2nd 2009. I did all of the rehab and was released to play softball and basketball again for my junior year. Everything went great, I played through the whole varsity basketball and softball seasons with no pain and finally thought that I was back to normal. However last year in the last week of my senior basketball season, I tore my ACL, lateral and medial meniscus but in my right knee this time.

Once again I was back in the operating room for my 3rd knee surgery. I had the hamstring graft again and physical therapy went great! I was even going to be released in time to play softball in college. However, my very first time live hitting after my last surgery I swung and got a sharp pain in my knee. It instantly swelled up and the trainer said she thought it was torn again. I got an MRI and it showed two big meniscus tears but my ACL was intact, just very loose. So, I had surgery November 23rd 2011 to repair my lateral and medial meniscus again and to do an ACL revision with a cadaver.

When my surgeon got in there he decided not to redo my ACL because it wasn't loose enough and had an end point. I went to physical therapy every day after surgery so I could get strong enough to play again. Once again all of my hard work was for nothing because I just found out today that I re-tore my right ACL and have to have a fifth knee surgery. This time I am using my patella tendon for the graft and don't really know what to expect. My doctor told me that it is going to be a more complicated surgery than all of the rest of them because of my history. He also said that I may not ever recover enough to play softball for my college team and even if I do there is a very high chance of my tearing my ACL again. I am completely devastated and know that this surgery is going to be the hardest one to mentally get through.

Thank you for reading my story and I'm sorry its so long but I would appreciate any advice from anyone who knows what I'm going through!

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My second ACL surgery!

by G
(Germany)

Well here I am again. This is the second time I have undergone ACL surgery and hopefully this time it was done correctly.
I have become an expert at self diagnosis having torn most of the ligaments, tendons, bones etc. in the human body.
My story starts at day 6 post op. That's today and I´ll attempt to write a journal entry every day.

Day 6- Cryocuff has helped a lot. Swelling is down so that I can actually see my knee cap. My knee extends completly and bends to about 40 degrees without discomfort. Very painful is in the muscle on the inside of the knee! Feels like it´s torn. My right leg where they took the graft from hurts too. Not so much the hamstring as on the outside of the shin. At first I thought it was the stitches pulling but this morning I realised it´s under the skin. It burn´s like hell! Anybody else had this? When I push on that leg to stand up from a bent position it feels like something is tearing away from the shin bone.

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Not one ACL rupture, but two! The journey begins...

by Philippa Helliwell
(Bristol, UK)

Hi,

I ruptured my ACL playing football on October 17th last year, it took 4 and a half months to go through the process of having MRIs and the waiting list for surgery on the NHS.

I had the ACL reconstruction done on 26th Feb using a hamstring graft. I'm four weeks into my rehab and seem to have almost a full range of movement already and have been working really hard on the exercises I've been given by the physio which seem to be making a real difference. One thing I am concerned about is the muscle wastage on my right quad - being non active for 4 and a half months had lead to major muscle wastage. How long does it take to come back? It's so weak I'm finding squats quite difficult to do.

To add to the drama I've also torn the ACL in my left knee, I did this two years ago but never got it seen to so haven't had surgery yet; it only came to light when I ruptured the right one in October when the docs did an MRI on both. The surgeon seems to want to operate but hasn't given any idea as to when it could be done. Has anyone had both knees operated on before? How soon after the first can the other knee be done? Bearing in mind the rehab is so important....

Thanks for any comments! ;)


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Two Timer

The "dreaded ACL" is not what it used to be. Up until the late 1970's, we didn't have a "proven" method of repairing the ACL. That is why it USED to be a dreaded injury. If you tore your ACL prior to that time, there was no way to repair it and your athletic career was basically finished.

However, with advances in surgical techniques, the ACL can now be repaired as good as new (actually better in some cases) and even over and over and over... One of my doctors has repaired an ACL as many as EIGHT times on a (former) Olympic soccer player.

I myself have had six operations on my right knee to replace or repair complete tears of my ACL (two allografts), MCL twice, Medial Meniscus (three allografts and bone grafts), Patellar Tendon once (which when it tore, it tore a piece off my Patella which they had to drill through and pin back together and my quadriceps tore apart). At 51, I can no longer run marathons (I suggest only running on grass), but I snow ski, ice skate, play basketball, football, and box. I can assure you it is a much easier surgery, with much better results and less long-term problems than a bad meniscus tear. There are also fewer problems associated with arthritis with an ACL allograft. And, the "pop," and severe pain? Sometimes you don't notice either. The first time I tore my "terrible triad" I intercepted a pass and took a shot on the outside of my right knee that put it at a 90 degree angle sideways. That's when I tore my MCL, ACL, Meniscus, Patellar Tendon and Quadriceps. The second time, I was playing basketball. I was driving the lane and made a cut, when I just sort of stumbled. I played the rest of the game and another month before I went to see the doctor because of "instability."

Also, some players even make it to the bigs WITHOUT their ACL's. Back in the day (when I played) there weren't doctors and tissue banks and poorer families didn't have insurance to cover the surgery. Those guys (and girls, I remember a college basketball player who played all season after she tore her ACL)) played on after tearing their ACL's. I can't remember the player, but there's a kid that played for Pitt that's now in the NBA with no ACL's.

The absolute biggest factor, REHAB. I guarantee you most people don't take it seriously. I started before they had all the fancy stuff. I had "open surgeries" (I've also had 3 shoulder operations, a wrist surgery and a jaw surgery) before they had arthroscopic. I had "leather wrist and ankle straps" before they had pain killers (yeah, they could only give you so much morphine) and you would not believe what they did before MRI's. I started rehab with the football trainer at the Univ. of Va., because they didn't have physical therapists yet. But, I had a great surgeon there. You may have heard of Dr. James Andrews? He trained under Dr. McQue at UVa (who did one knee, one shoulder and my wrist). One more suggestion for the ACL... take a year off. You can rehab and get back out there in a year, but it's not completely finished healing. I injured my knee my junior year and came back and tore my knee up again in pre-season before my senior year. I didn't practice. I'd visit Dr. McQue or the ER and have it drained three or four nights a week, but I made it out there for seven games my senior year.

Would I recommend it? Don't have to. They won't let you nowadays. In the long run... I'd say take a year off. But you keep it in shape and it'll keep working.

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4 surgeries later...

by Anonymous
(Nevada)

I have been an athlete my whole life (well starting at age 4). Soccer and skiing were my main sports... and the most common for ACL injuries. My first ACL injury happened in 2005 during my senior year in high school. It was the state semi-final soccer championship game, and the day before I turned 18. Well, 15 minutes into the game I jumped for a ball and collided with another player which sent me spinning, and when I landed my leg stayed but my body kept spinning and I heard that awful "pop" sound that will haunt me forever. The feeling was unlike any other injury I have ever had (and I've had plenty). Not even 6 days later was I in surgery having my ACL reconstructed using a cadaver graft.

Jumping forward 5 years and I am recovering from my 4th surgery (stemming from the original injury in 2005). I was a stupid high schooler and 3 months after my original surgery I went skiing, the biggest mistake of my life because I fell and re-injured my knee. In 2007 I had my second surgery for a meniscus clean up and scar tissue removal. In 2009 I had the original screws removed and the tunnels filled with bone graft to prepare my leg for my second ACL which I just recently had in 2010. For this last ACL reconstruction I used my own hamstring instead of a donor graft. It is very painful, but worth it because i know it's my own tissue and it's strong.

First and foremost, if you are planning on getting an ACL reconstruction DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH!!! You are in control of your body, look at a bone-patellar-bone graft, hamstring graft, compared to donor grafts. Which one fits you and your level of activity. Talk with your doctor and see what s/he recommends. Get a second opinion if you want, this is your body and you MUST feel confident in yourself and your doctor. DO NOT SETTLE!! Secondly, once you decide the best route of reconstructing your ACL and are confident in your surgeon, take time to heal. Do not push it, otherwise you will be like me and have 4 surgeries to correct basically one injury. So allow your new knee to heal and rehab fully. Don't be like me and learn from my mistakes so you don't do the same.

Good luck to everyone beginning the journey of ACL reconstruction. And if you're reading this as a healthy athlete, then take care of your body and may this injury (or any other) never burden you. Peace out!

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Female Soccer Player ACL #2

by Steph
(Duluth, Ga)

I wrote a story about 6 months ago about being cleared to play for my senior year of soccer after tearing my ACL in April of 2008. I am captain and leading scorer on my high school team. I was so happy to be out on the field again after being out for so long last year. I had a great start to the season. Everything was great until the day of March 6th.

About 3 weeks ago on March 6th, I was playing one of my high school games. i was on a breakaway and my foot got caught in one of the holes there and i fell to the ground in pain. The field conditions were simply to blame because another girl on my team tore up her knee that same night.

I found out a week later that I tore my right ACL less than a year after tearing the left one. I am having surgery on April 1st. This puts my college soccer career on hold because i had plans on walking on the team of the college i am attending.

Its a low blow with the fact that i have to sit out the rest of my senior season, and have to have surgery less than one year later. My team is going to state playoffs for the first time in school history and i have to sit out. As an athlete, i want nothing more than to get back on that field. My love for the game has only become stronger.

As much as this sucks right now, I know that i can fully recover from this. i will continue to have the mentality from the book Mind Gym. My teammates and coach have been an incredible support system. i am continuing to be as positive as i can. if i can recover from two, then you can definately recover from one. the physical therapy is key! good luck to everyone!

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2 ACL Surgeries, 2 Very Different Results (different types of ACL surgery)


(Canada)

I thought this might help people who are trying to decide between ACL reconstruction using a donation either from their hamstring or their quad muscle.

I had ACL reconstruction about 8 years ago. My surgeon used a little slice of my hamstring to reconstruct the ACL. I thought this would be great, since it was said to be less invasive and indeed the scar from the surgery was much smaller than what I was expecting having seen my husband's nasty ACL surgery scar.

My husband has had both of his ACLs reconstructed (by a different surgeon than me) using a little piece of his quad muscle. The first one was about 16 years ago and the second one was about 3 or 4 years ago.

From my experience here is a little comparison of the two surgeries:

Scar
Hamstring - scar about 2 inches long and not very thick just below the knee. Almost unnoticeable
Quad - scar thicker redder and about 5 or 6 inches long going over the entire knee

Surgery
Hamstring - day surgery leaving the hospital in an immobilizer and with crutches
Quad - same

Initial Recovery
The amount of pain and swelling my husband experienced in the days after the surgery seemed to be about the same. We both used a cryocuff so the swelling wasn't that bad. We were both encouraged to start moving the knee the day after the surgery. However, my husband was encouraged to use a lot further range of motion than I. This could have been due to the different surgeons but I have heard that the initial recovery is a bit more timid with the hamstring surgery. Not sure why.

Medium-term Recovery
Quad - My husband made very steady progress what seemed like fairly quickly. He did not experience a lot of pain or swelling during recovery and very quickly built his quad muscle back to normal (by quickly I mean within about 8 weeks)
Hamstring - It took me months of constant physio to regain full range of motion without a lot of pain. I worked very hard in physio to increase the muscle in my hamstring and around my knee, but it was a slow process. I also experienced quite a bit of pain and a LOT of swelling in the knee joint for months. I later discovered this was due to a staple that had partially come out and I had to get it removed. This may have been a factor in my recovery, but I don't see how it could have had a huge impact on the ability to regain muscle.

Long-term recovery
Quad - my husband has been very happy with both of his ACL surgeries. He genetically inherited bad knees and has to have scopes every so often for cartilage issues, but his reconstructed ACLs have held up nicely and he has not had to work too hard to maintain muscle around his knees. I should mention that he is a very good patient - stays in shape, eats healthily, always wears his knee braces when participating in high-risk sports. keener...
Hamstring - I have not been as happy with my surgery. Aside from the expected fear of instability and twinges every now and then, the biggest problem for me has been the inability to regain the muscle I lost in my hamstring. I am extremely active and fairly fit, but I still get a cramp in my right hamstring everytime I lift my foot back to put my shoe on! After about 2 years of weight training to try to regain the muscle I finally gave up and now I just try to stay active and play as many sports as I can while compensating for my knee / hamstring where necessary. I have heard this inability to fully regain the strength in the hamstring is a somewhat common complaint with the hamstring surgery.


To summarize, if I had to do it again I would take a nasty looking scar on my knee any day for the better long-term recovery with ACL construction using quad muscle.

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2 of 3 Father

I have three daughters that all play soccer year around from high school soccer to indoor and then select. The oldest tore her ACL her 10th grade year playing high school soccer. Two months after surgery she slipped on ice and shattered her patella. The oldest made it back to soccer her senior year but after 4 knee surgeries her heart just was not in it.

Daughter number tore her ACL this past April playing in a Cincinnati soccer tournament. First tournament, first game and first 10 minutes, she was going to the goal with the ball and stepped wrong. Learned two day later after MRI it was the ACL. That was in March. Rehab went well and she started back playing in July. She finished the high school season as one of the leaders in goals scored. A winter team was put together to keep everyone in shape. On the next to the last game with a few minutes to go in a 6 – 1 win she did a step over but the foot did not rotate with the body. Same leg same ACL but Doctor says the meniscus is also tore. She started counting the months and days when she can play again after we goat the report.

My question, when is it enough?

Number three daughter is coming on strong and injury free so far.

2 of 3 Father

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Lauren's Double ACL Tragedy

by Lauren Mirabelli
(New Jersey)

I'm 17 years old. So all my life, sports was pretty much all I cared about. Mostly, soccer and throwing the javelin. I made the Varsity teams since my freshman year and progressed very strongly. I won a county award for javelin and started on the field for soccer. During my state cup game for soccer, I made one small cut and heard the infamous pop. I immediately went down and knew something was wrong. However, I got back in the game and continued to play, only to go up for a head ball and come falling right back down. A few weeks later, I received the treacherous news from my doctor, and I basically broke down completely. I practically went through a depression for weeks. After my surgery in June, I was told I had a microfracture meaning I would be on crutches for 2 months of my summer. As I progressed, I was finally able to start running after 5 months. That made me ecstatic. Finally, I started training with my soccer trainer and progressed even more. I began going to the gym 3 days a week and my leg was looking stronger than ever. My doctor then gave me the clear to get a functional test at Velocity Sports Center, in which they told me I was 100% back and able to start playing soccer again. I was then cleared March 1st, and March 2nd, while throwing the javelin, I tore it again. My mom took me to about six new doctors in which they all pretty much said the same thing, your ACL is tore again, you'll miss your senior year of soccer, and your junior year or track. Finally, we decided with the doctor who wanted to also operate on my LCL because he believed it was loose. This extra operation would leave me on crutches for 2 months yet again. Also, he was the only doctor who believed if I didn't have it operated on, I would tear it again, so my parents jumped on that new idea. It has been 3 weeks since my operation and crutches are more annoying then ever, but I only have 4 weeks left on them into my summer. We shall see how the rest of my recovery progresses.

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Double Time

by Stephani
(June, CA)

I have now had two ACL surgeries. It was the closing weekend of Dodge Ridge I was working at June Mountain for the season. Was stoked to be able to ride Mammoth until July 4th and I went to Dodge Ridge to ride with old friends. I overshot a jump and tore my front leg ACL (my left one, I'm a snowboarder) and went to the hospital. When I finally got back to Mammoth and scheduled an MRI they told me I had 2 weeks to get the swelling down in my knee and get it moving before I went into surgery on May 10th, 2010. I was in PT and riding my bike (which if you have one is the BEST thing to do) and in November Mammoth opened and I got the okay to go snowboard. I, being as stubborn as I am, decided that I was sick of just riding groomers, which is the only thing they said I could ride, and decided to go for some powder runs because it was dumping. I hit a large rock that was completely covered with powder and went cartwheeling. I heard my knee pop and I knew it was over again. They were so busy with surgeries at this time so they scheduled me for January 24th, 2011 and told me I could snowboard groomers for 2 weeks until surgery. If I could give any advice to people it would be to NOT go skiing or snowboarding or wakeboarding only 6 months out of surgery. You feel so strong and so ready when your knees in all actuality is only half way to being 100% healed. Go to your physical therapy appointments do the exercises more than they say at home and get your muscles around your knee really built up. I'm only 2 months out of surgery and I feel like I can do a lot of things and I know I can't. This time around I'm taking it extra slow and extra careful because in the end it is only a year off of whatever it is you love doing and It's not worth getting injured multiple times and NEVER being able to do them again.

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Sam's Second ACL Tear

by Sam
(New York)

I tore my right ACL in high school had a hamstring graft. In college at West Point, I tore my left ACL same graft. I passed an APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) 4 months after surgery. My therapist says I am one of the fastest recoveries she has seen. The hardest part is patience. You won't be back overnight, and it takes hard work. But don't listen to anyone who says "you'll never be the same." You won't, but that is because you will be better. I know that sounds cliche but coming from someone who had surgery on both knees, I can tell you it is true. Don't look at the injury as something bad, look at it as an opportunity, like your rebuilding a car engine or something. You actually get to rebuild your knee. And it makes you appreciate simple things like walking and jogging that much more. So if you just tore your knee, hang in there, you'll be fine.

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acl twice what went wrong?

by jamie
(usa)

hey
i tore my acl twice,the first time was during a soccer summer league game for my school. the last game of the summer league season, right before pre-season started. it was horrible, i got a cadaver graph the first time. my doc said every thing went the way he wanted it to go. i got to swim that year which helped my knee. i started soccer season bac up after 9-10 months. i did every thing my doc said to do. i played 1 tournament and was fine and ready to get back in the game. throughout summer i didnt really play but the last week in july i went to a camp and hurt my knee. i saw there trainer and he said i might hav strain my mcl. the day i got bac from the camp i saw my pt and he was like u should see ur doc but i think its just becuz ur knee isnt strong enough yet. i went to another camp and my knee buckled again and there trainer said it was just scar tissue popping. i played my whole soccer season with my knee buckling a couple times and then soccer was finally over. i started swim and i had my best season, then i played an indoor soccer game torward the end of the swim season. my knee buckled again, i went to the doc and he said it was becuz my knee was weak. my dad asked 4 an mri, when the mri came bac it showed that i had torn my acl and meniscus. i had surgery and used part of my hamstring.the recoveries were and are very long but this one is going good so far. this is my story.

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Third Time's the Charm..?

by Sara
(San Diego, CA, USA)

Hey all. My name is Sara. I am 19 and on my third ACL tear (same knee) in three years.
First time I tore my Left ACL was in PE in my Junior year in High School.
I have never played team contact sports but was very active. I participated in Dance Team, Equestrian Team(horses), and tried a year of Track. Going from being super active to being bed-ridden and stuck on crutches was very hard for me. I suffered a little bit of depression, but got through it. I am generally a very happy and positive person so depression was weird for me. I used a hamstring graft from the same leg. I had also damaged my meniscus and they removed about 30% of my total meniscus. The graft was never as tight as my good ACL but I did my physical therapy and everything seemed fine.
About 7 months later I tore it again at the state meet for my Equestrian Team. We all decided to do an end of the year squirt gun fight and of course right in the middle of everything I came down wrong and POP! I knew right away what I had done and was really disappointed. The second surgery was done using a donor tendon. That time the graft was much tighter. Physical therapy always sucks but I got through it again and was fairly happy with my new ACL. My knee tended to slip out occasionally because of my meniscus but I was careful enough.
About 2 weeks ago, (a year and three months since my last ACL surgery) I was riding a clients horse at work and he decided that he wanted me OFF! So he started bronc-bucking and down I went. Of course I landed directly on my bad knee and had to climb out of the pen to avoid getting stepped on. My knee hurt pretty badly and swelled up immediately. I could bear weight on it so I figured I had just bruised everything up pretty good. Decided to get x-rays and an MRI just to make sure. MRI shows a torn meniscus and ACL. Bummer.
I had my first two ACL reconstructions done by a really great surgeon up in Portland Oregon and I now live in San Diego California and dont know any good Orthopedic Surgeons down here. I just want to find someone who can fix it so I wont tear it AGAIN. I will get my surgery probably mid-late december so I dont have to lug my bags around on crutches at school. Still have to decide on what graft to get.
Its always a bummer to go through injuries with long recovery times.
This time I am going to attack my physical therapy with as much enthusiasm as I can muster! I am determined to make this graft work! Even if I have to make my leg muscles so huge I have to buy bigger pants haha.
Good luck to everyone else with knee problems, I feel your pain!

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Amy's 3rd Knee surgery

My freshman year when I was 14, I tore my ACL, LCL and my Meniscus in my left knee half way through my JV basketball season. The ball was going out of bounds so I dove to save it and collided with two girls from the other team. I Instantly started screaming and crying with pain and the trainer carried me off the court. He looked at my knee and told me it didn't look good. When I found out that I had to have surgery and I couldn't finish the season or play softball I was devastated. Every time I saw the softball team I would just burst into tears because I couldn't believe that after playing softball since I was 5 years old and working so hard to get to where I was, I had to miss the whole season and the summer with my travel team. However, after a long year of dedication and hard work I was released to play softball and basketball again! I made it through my sophomore basketball season with little pain and couldn't wait to play softball again. In the very first game of the JV softball season I was catching and when I popped up to get the ball I got a sharp pain in my knee, so i sat the rest of the game out but came back to play the next game. I struggled throughout the rest of the season and missed many games because my knee kept giving out and caused a lot of pain. I went back to my doctor and he said that I had to have another surgery to remove scar tissue and repair the ligaments. I was then released again after 5 months of rehab. I played through both my Varsity basketball and softball seasons of my junior year with only a few problems. Now I am a senior and was ecstatic to finally have a healthy knee and that all of my hard work payed off. I was a starter on the Varsity basketball team and was playing the best I have ever played. However, my world was turned upside down a month ago when I hurt my right knee within 30 seconds of my basketball game. I was on a fast break and went to stop quickly to pass the ball up to my teammate and my knee gave out. I heard a pop and felt it tear. As soon as it happened I knew that I tore something because it felt just like the first time I hurt my other knee. Turns out I blew out my whole knee and have to have surgery. I missed the last 2 weeks of my basketball season, including senior night. I had been looking forward to senior night ever since I started playing basketball and now I couldn't play. I sat in my room and just cried, it was like Micheal Jordan's quote "My body could stand the crutches but my mind couldn't stand the sidelines." But, I was lucky enough to have the team and the coach I had because they arranged it so that on my senior night i got to shoot 2 foul shots during the game! After tearing the ligaments in both of my knees I kept thinking of how unfair it was and kept asking "why me??" I finally had a chance at playing college softball, which is what I have dreamed about and worked towards my whole life, and within a minute it was all take away from me. But, now I am just more determined than ever to come back and play sports! I have decided to stay positive and not get upset because my older brother tore his ACL 3 months ago and although I know how upset he is to not be able to play baseball at college this year, he has not once complained or felt sorry for himself. Now when I think about how I am going to miss my senior year of softball I think of the quote, "Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever” by, Lance Armstrong because if he can beat cancer and come back to win the Tour de France, I can come back after 3 knee surgeries to play softball and basketball!!

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Kent's ACL injury, it's de ja vu (all over again)!

by Kent
(Florida)

May 2010- playing basketball and BAM, BING, POP, my knee begin to swell and a rush of pain caused by a hyperextenstive knee when attempting to rebound a pass, hit laterally while my foot was planted and OUCH! I was carried over to play the injury off, like any other guy, but had to go home and ice it and of course prepare myself for surgery, since I did this before and knew the mechanism of injury and the symptoms of acl injury! Went to ERM the next day (pain got worse), got acute care treatment and made referral to orthopedic surgeon.

May 2010- Surgeon said, yep you did it again, schedule pre-surgical physical therapy and surgery date in about 8 weeks.

July 19, 2010- Surgery day. All went well. Outpatient surgery and at home care with weekly physical therapy and surgeon follow ups.

Dec 2010- Last physical therapy session, milestone!

Dec 2010 thru May 2011- Continued to heal, self physical conditioning (limited). I first begin walking alot, riding bikes until eventually running during this period.

March thru April 2011- Shot basketball alot to get leg conditioning and get my shot back - FUN!! But still not ready.

May 2011 (late)- played first half-court game. The outcome, WE WON!! Got a bit sweaty, a good run and workout and it was really good to get back on the court. Note of caution, walk into your workouts gradually. Take it like life, firts you crawl, then you walk, then skip and finally you can run. I will continue to work out until I can build my endurance and stamina and of course my confidence.

Do rush it and listen to your doctor and your body! I believe a year is a good time until your back, but two years until your mind follows suit and you regain mind and body cohesiveness.

I've had two ACL rebuilds (each knee) and one scope just for meniscus repair,so I can tell you something about this. You must be PATIENT and you must be DISCIPLINE in your conditioning. Don't be afraid to get back to what you were doing before and enjoying sports again!

I had the surgery to play ball again, it its something I enjoy and that is QOL (quality of life), if not then I should'nt have had the surgery in the first place. I also believe when done right you knee is better than your original knee (ACL).

I don't believe in wearing a brace when your ready to get back into sports. I believe they don't work and studies prove this and some prove otherwise, but the logic to me is if you depend on a brace, your dependency will eventually bit you! I believe brace (some) can give you too much support and hinder you, while some can not allow your own body anatomy to build up to give you proper tendon and muscle support by relying on the brace/support or wrap.

Look, it is okay to play senisble and smart, but if you have to be so cautious you take the fun and exercise out of the equation, then why bother, right?

I thank the greatest Surgeon of all time, God. He healed me greatly and gave me a wonderful mind and body and for that I give Him all the thanks!

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Twice in a Year

by Em

Hey all. This past year I ended up tearing my left ACL twice and having to get surgery twice.
Last summer, before my senior year of high school I played basketball, volleyball, and soccer for my school and for club. Basketball was my favorite and I wanted to play in college. I was at a basketball college exposure tournament in July when the first one happened. I went out for a block and jumped. I couldn't get it and as I landed I turned to go rebound. The toe of my shoe got caught on the floor and my entire lower leg shifted out of place. I tried to play the next day but it was no good. I had surgery at the end of July, a hamstring graft with a very small piece of medial meniscus removed.
I was very upset at first, with having to miss volleyball season that fall. But I rehabbed hard and got back my strength, and at three months was cleared by my surgeon and physical therapist to play basketball, just in time for the season. Right around that time I also signed with a D1 program to play basketball.
Everything was going well, my knee felt good and getting into the rhythm of the game came back quickly to me. Then the second one happened. It was our last game in December before break. I was driving to the basket, and right as I was out on my left leg, two defenders hit into me from the inside and from behind. I immediately went down with much more intense pain on the outside of my knee.
I went to my surgeon the next day, but he didn't do an MRI. He diagnosed it as an LCL sprain and on I went. A week later in practice during a drill my knee buckled. It was a horrible, thunking feeling. I went back to the surgeon, he blamed it on the swelling, gave me a cortisone shot and sat me out for two weeks.
I ended up playing two more months on it, for the rest of the season. I had two more episodes, one was a minor wobble during practice, the other was a more major buckle during the last game. I had to sit out and watch the rest.
I requested an MRI and discovered that I had torn the ACL graft, had a complex torn lateral meniscus, and a possibly torn medial meniscus. I needed surgery again, and had it at the beginning of April.
I practically went into denial this time. I felt numb up until surgery. I had a patella graft, a complete lateral meniscectomy, and another very small piece of medial meniscus removed.
This second surgery was a lot harder on me mentally and physically. I woke up in instant pain, much much worse than the first time. A couple of days after surgery I also started having anxiety attacks and mood swings. The anxiety gradually went away, but the mood swings settled into depression. I had to put everything on a sort of hold, as I went back to school in less than a week. I finished out the last two months and was very close to being burnt out from the depression and stress.
Having the summer off has helped a lot. The depression has lifted and physical therapy is going well. Now, however, I am worried about my D1 college basketball future. The soonest I will be cleared is four months, and six months is when practice starts, which is when my coaches want me to wait until. I want to play so bad, and to be good. Hopefully my knee issues will lessen, so I can get back to playing the game I love.

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Danielle's ACL story

by Danielle
(Michigan)

I have always been active growing up. I love sports and that rush you get during the games. I lived for it. In April of 2011, I was running at practice and my knee gave out. Despite the pain, I got back up and started to play again. The same thing happened and so I sat out of the practice. That alone killed me. I went to the rest of the weeks practices and played about 3 soccer games. After the last game, my coach told me to get checked out.

So I went to my orthopedic doctor, had x-rays, and mri's. The mri showed that I had completely torn my acl in half. As my doctor was explaining it, it wasn't the surgery or anything else, it was the amount of time I wouldn't be able to play. When I heard that, I tried so hard not to cry. So my surgery was May 20, 2011. With the help of my therapists, coach, and doctor, I was able to get back to light playing around August and serious playing in September. It was 10 minutes into my first game. I tore the other acl. This surgery was October 28, 2011. I am currently 2 months and a couple weeks in my rehab.

I understand the disappointment and fear of this surgery. All I can say is good luck and keep your head held high. This isn't anything worth fussing over. You can't change the past. If you can, get pictures and video's of the surgery. It's an amazing procedure to watch!

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Brian's ACL story.

by Brian Mulder
(Roxbury, NY)

Well it has been 6 days since ACL surgery. I used my patella tendon. I had very good range of motion before surgery. I injured myself skiing at Grand Targhee ski resort in Wyoming. I was skiing in a cliff area with my 16 year old son. I jumped off this cliff/rock section and when I landed in the deep powder I compressed and kind of turned my leg at the same time. Then initial impact and turn caused the injury and I heard the pop and felt the burn all the way down into my toes and knew instantly that my ski season just ended.

I managed to get to my feet and not let on to my son that I was hurt. I made an effort to turn and ski down to where my son was waiting and felt the pain and mess that was my knee that now had no stability and I went down in a heap. It was the end of the day and I was in an area that was not conducive to a speedy rescue from ski patrol. That was also when I fessed up to my son that yes I was indeed hurt. I was able to get to my feet and get my skis pointed downhill and make my way to the base lodge. Yes I skied down on one ski with my bad knee kind of tucked up tight to my good knee and make easy turns down through the deep powder to the groomed trail to the lodge and then on to the emergency department in Driggs Idaho. For those interested I had my GoPro helmet cam on and running and got the whole thing on camera.
Here is the link.

Three days later I was on my flight back home to NY State. Then one week later for my MRI and confirmation by my ortho doc a week later. All the waiting for the MRI and then my ortho doc was the hardest thing. Not really knowing how bad it was until almost two weeks later was awful. And of course he didn't disappoint and confirmed my worst fear that my ACL was gone. then I had to wait another month for the actual surgery. I injured myself on Sunday February 26th and had surgery on Tuesday April 17th.

I go back for my first visit since surgery this Thursday the 26th of April which is 9 days after surgery. It is at that time that they are supposed to set up my PT schedule. I spent one night in the hospital after the surgery and had a femoral block for pain which helped a lot as my leg was still pretty numb when I left the hospital around 1pm the following day. The pain after the block wore off was pretty intense and no fun at all. I was taking two oxy codeine every four hours and still pretty uncomfortable. I have been able to weight-bear very little and went of the oxy yesterday only to need more today. Except only taking one every four hours. I showered Sunday four days after surgery and decided to leave all wrappings and brace off my leg for,the entire day.....bad idea....let me rephrase......BAD IDEA!! My foot is swollen and the pressure was unbearable. Have on a tight ski compression like sock and ace wrapped leg with brace and it is much more comfortable. Doing leg exercises as instructed and hoping Thursday comes quick so I can get pt started. They say you usually take 6 to 9 months to get back to 100% and for me that's next ski season. No more cliff jumps for me.

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