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Tell me about your ACL recovery - Page 2

post #31 of 53
heavy grade trash bags and coach's tape. cut the trash bag to size. seal the longitudinal seam with tape. adhere to leg with tape. voila! shower with impunity!
post #32 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
I'm planning on taking care of her until she's ready to return to college. She's pretty goal-oriented, and told me the other day she plans to work her butt off to be ready to play next season. I believe her.
With the right knee surgery I was off the crutches in a week and the doctor said my recovery was so quick it scared him....lots and lots of rehab really helped so she can do it if she works hard. Totally blew the ACL of my other knee 3 years later and never had that one fixed -- went skiing 3 weeks after the injury --just wear a brace skiing now and it's fine. John Elway played QB with a torn ACL his entire career -- So there's lots of reasons to be hopeful
post #33 of 53
Just want to throw my 2 cents in, most of it rehashing what's already said, but here's my take.
I scouted out and scheduled my PT the week before the surgery. He started me 3 days after the surgery, 3 times a week and had me down to 1 crutch, then none in a week. I wore a large brace and went to therapy 3Xs a week for six months. At six months, I received permission to ski, (surgery 4-1-96, skied strong 10-22-96). Of course, I used my Patella Tendon, so that does make a difference in recovery. Some doctors also keep the knee immobile for several months, it depends on what protocol the doctor prescribes to, and the PT will follow the doctors protocol. You can probably get a copy of insructions from the doctor or his PA in advance, and discuss this with the PT.
Therapy is extremely important, and extra work is great but it's also important not to go beyond what the therapist recomends... I used the CPM machine. I think it helped ease the pain of getting back the motion, but not in the quickness of it. I also used and strongly recommend the Polar ice machine, (it runs ice water around the knee while also applying pressure), it controls the swelling like you wouldn't believe and there willbe swelling.
HTHs, and best of luck to her.
post #34 of 53
Thread Starter 
Thanks again, everyone. This is very helpful and informative. The polar ice machine--is that the same thing as the ice reservoir donut around the knee? Is it issued after surgery or do you have to buy it?

Surgery is Dec. 29.
post #35 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Thanks again, everyone. This is very helpful and informative. The polar ice machine--is that the same thing as the ice reservoir donut around the knee? Is it issued after surgery or do you have to buy it?

Surgery is Dec. 29.
It's basically a water cooler with an electric pump that pumps ice water through a pad that you place on the knee. There are several manufacturers, but they're very similar.

My first surgery was done at an Army hospital and they provided one for me to keep. Unfortunately I broke a piece slamming it into a car door after I'd been using it for 6 weeks and couldn't find a replacement part.

My second ACL at a normal hospital I didn't get one - just a bag of ice. So I borrowed one from a friend. But you can find them on ebay sometimes. It would even be worth purchasing one new if you can't find one, they're so convenient. I'd ask her doc if she will get one or not and proceed from there.
post #36 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Thanks again, everyone. This is very helpful and informative. The polar ice machine--is that the same thing as the ice reservoir donut around the knee? Is it issued after surgery or do you have to buy it?

Surgery is Dec. 29.
The one I prefer is a round cooler with a hose connected to a cuff that wraps around the knee. fill the cooler with ice and water, raise it up, and cold water surrounds your knee. the more you raise it, the more pressure is applied. My insurance paid for it, and I got to keep it, it's made the rounds since.... There's another one which pumps water through the cuff and a return. Also good, but I'd rather have the one with pressure...
post #37 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2-turn
The one I prefer is a round cooler with a hose connected to a cuff that wraps around the knee. .
Just looked at it. It's called a "Cryo/cuff", and made by "Aircast".

http://www.aircast.com/products/prod...&rnd=188609268
post #38 of 53
Thread Starter 
Thanks! This is very helpful information.
post #39 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Hi everyone, I am in a quandary. My 18 year old daughter blew out her ACL playing in a preseason tournament basketball game. She attends college in Washington state, her dad and I live in SW Montana. We've scheduled surgery with the Gonzaga team physician in Spokane on Dec. 29. Here's my question: given her surgery date and the fact that she's extremely physically fit, when will she be able to go back to school without crutches?

We're trying to decide if she should stay at her present college, which starts Jan. 5, transfer to MSU Bozeman which starts Jan. 11, or bag college this semester and concentrate on rehabilitation.

The short form of the question is--does it make sense for a post surgical ACL patient to try to maneuver a snowy campus on crutches?
my left ACL recon surgery was in Jan 99. we had snow on the ground for the whole 10-day period I was on crutches. my orthopod told me that normally, in the summer, his patients are on crutches only for 3-4 days post-op. apparently this is attributable to the cryotherapy and constant passive motion therapy used immediately post-op, which all but eliminates the post-op swelling that made crutches so necessary. with rehab beginning the next day, careful controlled weight bearing becomes possible almost immediately.

as to prioritizing the rehab/therapy... they are more important than academics since a student can always recover seamlessly from a skipped semester, but a poorly rehabbed ACL repair is dangerous. the surgeon's work is only about half the repair, the rest is the patient's diligent rehab.

to show the benefit of aggressive focus on the rehab, here's an example. my right ACL recon was in 1985. back then, they opened you up quite a bit more, and so they had to let you heal a lot longer. this meant rehab therapy was very very very passive and conservative for the first 2 months post-op. as a result, massive atrophy occurs, and the leg cannot bear any weight. so the crutches were a 4-6 month ordeal, depending on your speed of healing and the quickness with which your particular healing could sustain more aggressive therapy. but you can see that "aggressive" was hardly an appropriate term in comparison to today's repairs. as a result, the typical wait post-op for a return to running, cutting sports was ONE YEAR. and then that was a return with a clunky Lenox Hill brace that made you a whole step slower and really cut into your 40 and 100 yd sprint times... if you really worked hard.

contrast to the intense focus rehab I had in '99. I was back on my road bike in 4 weeks, on my MTB in 3 months, could have been back into cutting/running sports at 4-5 months.
post #40 of 53
Thread Starter 
The surgery went well. She's not in too much pain one day later, though we drove 400 miles home today. Thanks to the people who recommended the polar pack. She was able to fully extend and almost flex her leg 90 degrees several times today. The incision looks good, and the knee has very little swelling. I strongly recommend picking a good surgeon. We were lucky that she was injured in Spokane and that the trainer referred us to the Gonzaga team physician.
post #41 of 53
Great news Nolo - thanks for the update.
post #42 of 53
That's really great, Nolo. :

She's young and should make a complete recovery. Years from now she'll have trouble remembering which knee has the "new" ACL.

Did her surgeon talk at all about the interior differences in the knee between males and females? It seems like I've read that the channel that houses the ACL/PCL is proportionately narrower and less spacious in women and that may translate into a higher risk of ACL injury in athletic women.

Just wondering if that was brought up at all.
post #43 of 53
Thread Starter 
No, he didn't talk about gender factors in her injury at all. A lot of men and women basketball players blow their ACLs, same as skiers. Part of it is the demands of the sport. As far as women being more prone to ACL tears, I have heard it attributed to Q angle and menstrual cycle, but not the size of the capsule.

She's restless today, and walking heel to toe without crutches.
post #44 of 53
good news, glad to hear she's doing well.

(I've also heard the Q factor/leg bone alignment explanation, but no other gender related cause)
post #45 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
No, he didn't talk about gender factors in her injury at all. A lot of men and women basketball players blow their ACLs, same as skiers. Part of it is the demands of the sport. As far as women being more prone to ACL tears, I have heard it attributed to Q angle and menstrual cycle, but not the size of the capsule.

She's restless today, and walking heel to toe without crutches.

My surgeon said that I have (had) narrow (intercondylar) notch syndrome - where the bone was likely rubbing on my old ACL, which is likely why my ACL tear on my right knee was from a particularly uneventful incident. (I just put my foot down funny in sand on my mountian bike). He said since my bone structure is the way it is with less space in my knee for my ACL (probably in addition to a curvy build, wide hips, etc.) - I've been prone to more knee injuries than average. He drilled out the bone to create a larger space, which should fix the narrow notch problem.

http://ajsm.highwire.org/cgi/content/abstract/26/3/402

^ Just a quick thing I found through Google stating that people with narrower intercondylar notches have a higher incidence of tearing their ACL. And women are more likely to have a narrow intracondylar notch.
post #46 of 53
How's the rehab going?
post #47 of 53
Thread Starter 
She's doing very well, but the pain is still bothering her. She used crutches for less than a week and is walking almost normally now, two weeks post surgery. She'll be returning to school on Sunday, an 8 hour drive by herself, which I will worry about all day.

She wants to play basketball more than ever.
post #48 of 53
is she eating any painkillers? vitamin I worked well for my post-op/rehab pain.

she's not pushing it TOO HARD is she? I distinctly recall Schutte telling me to NOT push too hard esp. to the point of pain... apparently pain is a good warner against damaging the graft.
post #49 of 53
Nolo, I hadn't sen this thread until now. Sorry to hear about your daughter, but glad to hear she's doing well.

I blew my ACL the first run of the season back in Nov '98. I skied the whole season without it, and had surgery in May '99.

I worked my PT'ist pretty hard . I was back to 100% in 3 months. I was supposed to go to PT twice a week, but I went 3-4 times a week. I started mountain biking and playing golf 4 weeks after surgery (it was my back leg - I wouldn't have played golf if it was the front leg - I thnk it actually helped my game because I wouldn't let myself go to my back foot). I never wore a brace. I did a patellar autograft. My knee has never bothered me while skiing or any other sport since the time it got back to full strength and the swelling was gone. The swelling took a ling time to completely go away.

In regard to pain, I was completely off the Demerol (or Perk or whatever it was) about 3 days post op, and only took drugs for the swelling after that. So I was lucky to not have any real pain.
post #50 of 53
Thread Starter 
Well, she took off back to college today. We'll miss her. Though it has been tough for her, it also has been fun to hang out together again.

Last night we had a scare when I was helping her with one of her flexion exercises and there was an audible "pop" which she felt at the back of her thigh. She seemed fine afterwards and this morning, and has a doctor's visit this week. Anyone else have anything like that happen post surgery?
post #51 of 53
Yes I did. Although she should check it out with her PT, I heard the pop when I had finally gained a bit more range of motion.
post #52 of 53
Hopefully the pop was just some scar tissue being separated.

The Cryo Cuff will be her best friend.

I still use mine if my knee gets tweaked.
post #53 of 53
Thread Starter 
Huge sigh of relief!

Yep, we sent the arctic flow cryo cuff whatjamajigger off with her.

I can't thank you all enough for walking us through this scary process. She consulted the thread too. At times like these, you can never have enough information and the subjective information most of all.
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