Ari's ACL Surgery

by Arianne
(Lakewood, CA, Los Angeles)

My Pretty Knee 2 Days After Surgery

My Pretty Knee 2 Days After Surgery

My name is Ari. I am a 15 year-old female who tore my ACL during soccer practice in late February. I wasn’t doing anything major – not like I would in a game. I just twisted the wrong way and went down. My mother knew immediately that it was my ACL since both she and my older sister had torn their ACL in the past (all in our right knee).

My surgery was April 4th and after a lot of research, my family opted to go with the patellar tendon graft. My mother warned me that I would be in a lot of pain. She wasn’t kidding! I don’t like to take pain pills, but by the end of the second day, I was asking for them. After a few days I got tired of pain pills and of being in bed and decided to get up. Even though I was afraid, I felt much better afterward.

I started physical therapy 3 times per week about a week after my surgery. The hardest part was getting my range of motion back. I now go to therapy about once per week, but continue all that I’ve learned at home or in the gym.

I am up to jogging about 3 miles about 4 times per week and work plyometrics almost daily. Now the hardest part is feeling like I am 100%, but knowing that I am still healing inside. I really want to get back to my game.

My doctor is old-school and doesn’t want me to play again for at least a year from my surgery date. However, my physical therapist says that if I keep to my therapy plan and work hard, 5 to 6 months is a reasonable time frame. I’ve talked to many people who have come back after 4 to 5 months. That is frustrating because I would
like to believe my physical therapist, but my mother wants to believe my doctor. This means that I will miss my freshman year of soccer.

I’ve learned a lot of things that I could have done to help prevent this type of injury and I will be incorporating these things into my warm-ups in the future.

Update From Ari - November 2008
Well ? it?s been almost 8 months since my surgery.

I was finally given the OK to pretty much do anything soccer related but without full contact. This means no games, but I do get to scrimmage and do the drills that will get my feet back under me 100%. At this point, I am probably only about 60% of my original game. Even so, I am being recruited by quite a few teams and clubs.

Do you have any idea how good that feels - especially when just a few months ago I wondered if I'd ever play soccer again?

I am working hard still at the exercises given to me during my last session of physical therapy. However, I am spending more time working on my non-surgical let than the other way around. I've heard many stories of people resuming sports only to blow out their other knee. I am determined that it is not going to happen to me.

My knee does feel different. My mother says it will probably always feel that way. But, it does feel strong. Every once in a while I notice a mild clicking but there is no pain involved with it. I am going to ask my doctor about that, but have been told that is normal.

I am really grateful for this forum and only wish I would have found it prior to surgery. I hope my story encourages somebody to realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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