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ski on ACL injury?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
My wife was goofing off with her sister last Saturday, and blew out her ACL while skiing. I already told her I'm going to supervise her like an Austrian ski instructor next year....

Anyway, she is scheduled for surgery on Feb 13 with a great doctor. They are going to do the hamstring repair. The doc recommended she try to stay active and work her legs over the next few weeks so her thighs are in good shape going into surgery. They suggested elliptical machine, etc... at the gym, and said she could do aerobics as long as she wore her brace and took it easy. Which got us thinking -- could she ski with the brace in the near future, prior to surgery?? My thinking is that she ought to be OK as long as she takes it easy and wears the brace (and I will keep an eye on her). She's a green-blue skier, and doesn't do anything radical.

We've got a four day ski weekend planned for Feb 9-12, and we're hoping she can at least do a little lite skiing rather than stay in the condo the whole time. We'll chat with the Doc tomorrow, but in the meantime, I am curious to hear other's experiences skiing on a busted ACL. I know it's been done before, in fact some folks manage for years without an ACL. So if anyone has some real world experience to pass on, I'd appreciate hearing it. I think it would really boost her spirits to get in a few turns before surgery. I know after surgery, she won't be skiing until next winter.

thanks,
CRaig
post #2 of 20
you have the general idea already, Craig. there are stories of folks going for the rest of their lives w/o an ACL, and there are those who went from the ACL tear injury to a more severe group of injuries in the same knee later that ski season.

I don't think there's any honest way to advise someone on this other than to say,

What is your knee worth to you? Here's what happened when I skied on a torn ACL braced w/ Lenox Hill: complete tear with additional meniscal damage.

So the gamble is this:

- cartilage injury typically leads to earlier and more bothersome arthritis
- cartilage injury likelihood increases with a torn or severed ACL

and every orthopod I've seen has reminded me of how the ACL is a primary stabilizer in the human knee, and without one the knee is highly vulnerable to additional injury.

personally speaking, having been through a lot of knee surgery, I'd advise against doing anything until it's fixed. but I know you'll hear other views, and they'll have good reasons for them too I'm sure. perhaps the best person to help on this decision is the surgeon who would fix the ACL.
post #3 of 20
I completely agree with the Crud man. Same thing
happened to me. My only regret with my ACL surgery
is that I did not do it sooner and I thought I could do
too much. Are a couple of ski days worth potentially making
your knee worse? Knowing what I know now, I would not
ski.
post #4 of 20
Interestingly enough, my roommate is skiing this season without an ACL. His is a sadder story- he had already had a full reconstruction and then tore it up again. Then after the operation he had a staph infection. All the new stuff they put in had to come out and they won't be able to operate again for another year at least because of the holes they had to drill in the bone to attach the ligaments. There's not enough room to do it again so they had to fill in the holes and wait...
But he is skiing well with a custom brace that ran north of a thousand dollars or so. Apparently it gets sore every now and then, and he takes it a bit easier than he used to. But he's certainly skiing with it. On the other hand, he is a very good skier and this bodes well for his ability to avoid injury. Most of the ski related ACL and other knee injuries happen to people who are less experienced- they have uglier, more out of control, backwards-flailing falls. So I think I would say that her lower skier level actually makes it more likely she will hurt herself again, not less likely.
I don't know- I would make sure she takes it easy if she does go up. Another thing she could look at is snowboarding. The doc told me that it would be far better to have my legs attached to the same board in case of a fall. I couldn't bring myself to put on that board though...
On a more positive note, I have had both an ACL and an MCL reconstruction on my left knee, along with 80% of the cartiledge removed. (lateral meniscus) If you take the rehab seriously, you can come back from just about anything. I still do 3 rehab sessions per week and ride my bike constantly in the summer. But as a result, my knee is totally functional now and my technique is better than it was before the injuries. I also had my elbow reconstructed 3 months ago using material from my wrist and already have 18 days on the mountain this year. You can come back awfully quickly if you want to. Just more work.
Best of luck to both of you. As someone who's been there a couple of times before, I can tell you that you will both be out there carving it up next year for sure!!
post #5 of 20
I tore my ACL about 15 years ago. No other damage to that knee at the time.

I wanted to wait to do the reconstruction (patellar graft) until after the ski season so I asked my doc for a brace so I could ski "a little" before the surgery. He prescribed one but went to great pains to explain to me that my knee would not be stable and I could do additional damage.

I, being much smarter than one of the best-known orthopedic surgeons in the world, skied "a little" until one day I just put my weight on that knee during a turn. No fall, no unusual position or motion, just transferred weight onto that knee at the start of a turn. The result was major pain - far worse than the ACL tear - and a significant mangling of my meniscal cartilage.

The doc ended up repairing both in the same surgery. The acl never bothered me again but the missing meniscus has turned out to be a low-level pain-inducer ever since. All because I felt I could ski "a little" before the surgery.

If I were your wife, I wouldn't even consider skiing on it again before the surgery.

Good luck.
post #6 of 20
Dan Marrino played most of his NFL career with a torn ACL.

The problem in your case is that your wife doesn't have the time to strenghten the muscles around the knee before your trip, which could possible help her avoid further damage.

I tore cartilage at a young age, and as stated by uncle crud, I now suffer from arthritis.
I'm currently on mobic, and I'm only 41!
It's a risk.
Sitting out one season may be a good choice.

God luck, and I hope she recovers well.

Ray
post #7 of 20
Every knee is different. I've skied ten years without an ACl in one knee. It wasn't even diagnosed properly until last year. I now use an off the counter brace (in my case, better than a custon ACL brace apparently--I need all round support, not ACL type support).

The reason I have been able to get away with it is that everything else is so solid it doesn't show up. That's why it was not diagnosed.

If the knee is not real stable, don't do it. I'm just relating my experience because you asked.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the advice folks. I am now thinking she'd be better off NOT skiing this time around. I would hate to see her make the damage worse than it is. She'll probably be able to do some gentle snowshoeing, which might be a safer bet -- we'll see how well she can walk in three weeks.

thanks again,
Craig
post #9 of 20
I agree that every knee and every injury is different. I skied an entire season with out an ACL. But I got lucky because I didn't injur my miniscus when I tore my ACL or during the ski season. If the Dr has done an MRI and thinks she is safe from doing any more damage, then just keep it as strong as possible up until surgery.
post #10 of 20
i have been skiing for the past 10+ years with a torn acl, only wearing those knee braces you can buy anywhere. i did a lot of exercises with ankle weights. last year, i tweaked my knee again and went back and had aother mri-the doc said i still have tissue there,(!)probably scar tissue- ordered me a don joy, and i am off skiing again.
post #11 of 20
It is possible to ski without an acl . you will have to wear a good brace though. I exploded my left knee years ago. Completely tore the acl off the femur, ripped the mcl off, and tore the meniscus halfway off as my leg bent 90 degrees the wrong way. Yes 90- degrees the wrong way ! I ripped the mcl when i freaked at how my leg was shaped and decided to thrust it back down to normal(i was in some sort of shock and not thinking right) postion. Very very very very bad idea. Anyways I made a full recovery, I became an army ranger and ski harder now than I ever did. Rangers almost did not accepot me due to that injury,but i proved them wrong and went active overseas after graduation (A/1/75). I have not had a single problem with it. My recovery, after rehab(very long rehab) was an a brutal workoput regime in the gym almost every day. My doctor drilled in my head how muscle is the best brace so that is what I did. Never wore a brace once I got the big one off with the dials on the side. Whatever it was called.
Anywasy, you want a patella graft, it is the strongest you can get.
The worse part is dealing with the pain of moving it right away after surgery. All day long I did. I was terrified of losing mobility and being able to get into the Army Rangers. You absolutely have to get down to busisness or scar tissue will form and now you have to get opened up again to scope off the scar tissue.
But... Mission accomplished. Tons of will power and determination to get the job done right and you will be victorious. It is not that serious of an injury (anymore). Very time consuming recovery though. I huck off cliffs and have had some spectacular crashes since to with no problems. Not to mention luggin heavy loads all over the mountains of Afghanistan and then ground pounding in Iraq. You caaaaaaaaaaaan dddddooooooo eeeeet!
post #12 of 20
I had a clean tear of my acl returning a punt in a high school football and my doctor told me to delay the surgery and that I could stay relatively active. Minimal cartilage damage, other ligaments and tendons fine.

Two months later I was shooting jump shots in my driveway when my knee gave way and I ended up shredding my knee. My knee has been a total mess since then. The surgery to fix everything took four hours due to the extensive damage. I have terrible arthritis already and I'm 27.

Your wife's doctor's advice about strength is good advice, just do it with a physical therapist in a safe environment.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well, my wife skied a conservative/easy half day last Friday with her knee brace, and did OK. Also a few runs Saturday. She had her surgery today (Monday) and the doc said everything went well, with no other damage noticeable inside the knee. With careful rehab, she should be good to go for next season. My big concern is that she has lost some confidence (especially in Saturday's crud), so we'll have to slowly ramp back up. I think private lessons will be a good way to get her back into the swing of things.

Craig
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle crud View Post

you have the general idea already, Craig. there are stories of folks going for the rest of their lives w/o an ACL, and there are those who went from the ACL tear injury to a more severe group of injuries in the same knee later that ski season.

I don't think there's any honest way to advise someone on this other than to say,

What is your knee worth to you? Here's what happened when I skied on a torn ACL braced w/ Lenox Hill: complete tear with additional meniscal damage.

So the gamble is this:

- cartilage injury typically leads to earlier and more bothersome arthritis
- cartilage injury likelihood increases with a torn or severed ACL

and every orthopod I've seen has reminded me of how the ACL is a primary stabilizer in the human knee, and without one the knee is highly vulnerable to additional injury.

personally speaking, having been through a lot of knee surgery, I'd advise against doing anything until it's fixed. but I know you'll hear other views, and they'll have good reasons for them too I'm sure. perhaps the best person to help on this decision is the surgeon who would fix the ACL.

 

Hi Uncle Crud,

 

I am 43 and going for my first knee reco next week, I have also got damage to both meniscus .

 

oblique longitudinal tear within the periphery of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus extending to the inferior articular surface (26 mm) : Medial Meniscus

Incomple Wrisberg rent teat : lateral menisus

 

I think my meniscus status is worrying me the most for longer term OA prospect.

My knee is quiet stable but I understand I must do the knee reco to prevent further meniscus injury and be able to have a normal life.

 

I am wondering when you had your last injury with meniscus tear and how much they trim of your meniscus and more importantly have you got any OA or other issues at the moment which is 10 years post op (I guess)

 

Cheers

Fabien

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by fabienzan View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle crud View Post

you have the general idea already, Craig. there are stories of folks going for the rest of their lives w/o an ACL, and there are those who went from the ACL tear injury to a more severe group of injuries in the same knee later that ski season.


I don't think there's any honest way to advise someone on this other than to say,


What is your knee worth to you? Here's what happened when I skied on a torn ACL braced w/ Lenox Hill: complete tear with additional meniscal damage.


So the gamble is this:


- cartilage injury typically leads to earlier and more bothersome arthritis

- cartilage injury likelihood increases with a torn or severed ACL


and every orthopod I've seen has reminded me of how the ACL is a primary stabilizer in the human knee, and without one the knee is highly vulnerable to additional injury.


personally speaking, having been through a lot of knee surgery, I'd advise against doing anything until it's fixed. but I know you'll hear other views, and they'll have good reasons for them too I'm sure. perhaps the best person to help on this decision is the surgeon who would fix the ACL.

Hi Uncle Crud,

I am 43 and going for my first knee reco next week, I have also got damage to both meniscus .

oblique longitudinal tear within the periphery of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus extending to the inferior articular surface (26 mm) : Medial Meniscus
Incomple Wrisberg rent teat : lateral menisus

I think my meniscus status is worrying me the most for longer term OA prospect.
My knee is quiet stable but I understand I must do the knee reco to prevent further meniscus injury and be able to have a normal life.

I am wondering when you had your last injury with meniscus tear and how much they trim of your meniscus and more importantly have you got any OA or other issues at the moment which is 10 years post op (I guess)

Cheers
Fabien

Given that Uncle Crud is a banned member who last posted in 2006, I don't think you're going to hear too much from him.
post #16 of 20


Why did he get banned for ?

post #17 of 20
Too much fighting with other members as I recall.

You might want to check the date on threads before you post in them to make sure the people you want to connect with are still participating in the forum. This was an eight year old thread.
post #18 of 20

I think there is some internet eticate about posting in existing threads rather than start a new one; isn't there?  If so then there is nothing wrong with posting in old threads.  Besides it gives me a chance to make zombie jokes :D.

 

Uncle Crud had a great vocabulary and acerbic wit.  His threads were very entertaining, but alas very hurtful to newcomers who didn't appreciate the verbal abuse.  IIRC he may have expanded his fighting beyond the internet too.

Cheers

post #19 of 20
He is picking up really old threads but missing the middle aged ones. Weird.

There were two or three active acl threads when I had my surgery (January 2013, 56 years old, injured 3-ish years previously). They were good threads and largely reused by the next year's class.

Fabienzen, try to calm down and trust your surgeon. If you can't trust him, find a different one.
post #20 of 20
But, if the person the new posting party wants to communicate with has moved on, he might do better with a seance in some cases.
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