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Unbelievable...Deer Valley

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
This friday at Deer Valley, while gently cruising down Bandana my girlfriend suddenly had a ski catch in some lose snow while executing an otherwise very nice right hand turn. When all was said and done we crutched our way out of the Park City clinic with what appears to be a torn ACL. The exam was inconclusive due to swelling and pain.

She is taking it fairly well, but I am shocked. She was improving very well and we were taking all the time in the world, skiing slowly and with great control down the greens in nice round turns. When her ski caught suddenly and she leaned inside to the ground I thought for sure she had just slightly lost her balance. I would have never expected her to have hurt herself so badly. When she said she heard a "pop" my stomach immediately churned. I keep replaying those 10 seconds in my head and still am in total disbelief that such a bad injury could occur from what looked so relatively benign. No hard fall or lost skis required.

The Deer Valley ski patrol arrived practically instantly and was extremely professional and courteous. Couldn't have asked for better treament. The Park City clinic staff was also great.

We are following up with a secondary examination in 2 days once the swelling retreats a little per the doctors advice. I hold out some hope that it will just be a bad sprain and not torn. For all the physical pain, at least she holds out good spirits and has said she will be ready to get right back out there once she heals up for next season.

I've been pretty fortunate so far to have never injured myself on skis. Watching this happen to her was a very sobering reminder to always respect the potential dangers of the sport, even when things are as easy and gentle as they can be.

All in all a very bad ending to an otherwise awesome week.
post #2 of 29
I'm really sorry to hear about your girlfriend. It sounds like she's in quite a bit of pain and taking it very well. We've also had injuries occur from relatively minor activites. My daughter, who was a competitive gymnast, broke her arm just doing a playful cartwheel. This is like you or me just blowing our nose :. She also broke her big toe and tore the tendon away when practicing fairly easy (for her) skills on a floor balance beam. Floor beams are considered fairly safe, and are used for learning new skills or refining harder ones without the worry of falling. On a backflip her big toe went one way on the beam, and the rest of them went the other way. That required surgery (the torn tendon took the bone with it), pins, and a cast. Doing hard stuff you could understand, but from easy stuff, well you just don't expect it. I always tell my husband I'm more likely to get hurt walking than skiing, as I can be a klutz sometimes.
But it sounds like your GF has turned into a "skier" already, if she's talking about getting back on the slopes. Good luck with everything, I'll be rooting for her .

P.S. If it IS the acl, there's a lot of supportive info on here for helping her rehab. Will keep all fingers (and toes) crossed for her....
post #3 of 29
Sorry to hear that, hope it isn't as bad as first thought. If it is her right knee while making a right turn it most likely happened as she fell she tried to catch herself with her right knee touching the snow first.

I have seen it many times over the years. The knee digs in and the body and ski keeps going and something pops.

At least it was toward the end of the season.

....Ott
post #4 of 29
Speedy recovery, and may it be an easy one.
post #5 of 29
i'm confused. what's so 'unbelievable' about a knee-injury as a result of skiing? it's part of the sport, most of us go through it at one time or another.
best for a speedy recovery to her, and a hearty welcome to the club
post #6 of 29
It rots but she'll mend My wife had a similar experience inMid feb suffered a compound fracture of her ankle. She already off teh cast and in a velcro brace and starting to talk about next season !!

BTW she's an awesomely beautiful woman both in spirit and appearance and in great shape and 62 years young all of which is helping her recovery , Did i say she is Mentally Tuff too
post #7 of 29
Well, I can't think of a better place to have a knee injury and spend the rest of your time in the lodge.
post #8 of 29
hear here
post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
It isn't unbelievable when you sit down and think about it... you just don't want to believe it happened.

Fortunately she seems to be getting better so we are hopping for the best after tomorrows exam.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by onyxjl
It isn't unbelievable when you sit down and think about it... you just don't want to believe it happened.

Fortunately she seems to be getting better so we are hopping for the best after tomorrows exam.
if you're both hopping, she's gotta be fine.
post #11 of 29
sorry to hear about the lousy injury. the ACL doesn't always tear in violent twisting falls. sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. the two times I tore my right one, they were violent. the left one was fluke city. never would have suspected it was a tear, if I hadn't felt the same sort of sensations in the two times I tore the right one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by onyxjl
I hold out some hope that it will just be a bad sprain and not torn. For all the physical pain, at least she holds out good spirits and has said she will be ready to get right back out there once she heals up for next season.
be sure the orthopod sees lots of very athletic people, that'll improve the chances of successful return to activity.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by onyxjl
This friday at Deer Valley, while gently cruising down Bandana my girlfriend suddenly had a ski catch in some lose snow while executing an otherwise very nice right hand turn. When all was said and done we crutched our way out of the Park City clinic with what appears to be a torn ACL. The exam was inconclusive due to swelling and pain.

She is taking it fairly well, but I am shocked. She was improving very well and we were taking all the time in the world, skiing slowly and with great control down the greens in nice round turns. When her ski caught suddenly and she leaned inside to the ground I thought for sure she had just slightly lost her balance. I would have never expected her to have hurt herself so badly. When she said she heard a "pop" my stomach immediately churned. I keep replaying those 10 seconds in my head and still am in total disbelief that such a bad injury could occur from what looked so relatively benign. No hard fall or lost skis required.

The Deer Valley ski patrol arrived practically instantly and was extremely professional and courteous. Couldn't have asked for better treament. The Park City clinic staff was also great.

We are following up with a secondary examination in 2 days once the swelling retreats a little per the doctors advice. I hold out some hope that it will just be a bad sprain and not torn. For all the physical pain, at least she holds out good spirits and has said she will be ready to get right back out there once she heals up for next season.

I've been pretty fortunate so far to have never injured myself on skis. Watching this happen to her was a very sobering reminder to always respect the potential dangers of the sport, even when things are as easy and gentle as they can be.

All in all a very bad ending to an otherwise awesome week.

Man, do I feel your pain. This is almost exaclty how it happened to my wife back in early January, same circumstances, same type of improving skier, same sickening feeling in my stomach when she told me about the pop. I would have done anything in the world to hit rewind and prevent the whole thing. There was pain and swelling, but the real pain came when she figured out she couldn't ski any more on that trip. She's now a month past her ACL reconstruction surgery, which has been a challenging experience for both of us, but she's doing great and getting better every day.

I know my wife will be a bit nervous about skiing again next season, but hopefully she can get back into it. She was really excited to ski this past year, so it was a major disappointment for both of us when she got hurt. Like you, I am amazed I went all these years without a similar severe injury only to watch it happen to my beginner/intermediate wife. We were interested to find out that ACL injuries happen much more frequently to women. And the catch a tip, twist, almost fall is a classic ACL injury in the making.

Now for the bad news -- that pop was most likely the sound of the ACL snapping. It's the telltale sign. There are others, which the docs will evaluate with a physical exam (they will see if her shin bone moves forward out of the knee joint) and an MRI (the severed ACL will look like a frayed snapped rope). With any luck, it's just a partial tear and she can heal up. In my wife's case, the ACL totally busted and she had to get a replacement put in (an autograft -- they took a tendon from the hamstring and used it as a pseudo-ligament to replace the ACL).

If you or your girlfriend has any questions, PM me and I'd be glad to put you in touch with my wife. She's become an ACL expert (unfortunately) in the last two months and can totally sympathize with the situation.

Craig
post #13 of 29
We had a lecture on Knees the other week (from an orthopaedic surgeon on the volunteer staff), complete with yucky model of the knee, and tools used to fix them, and the bloke said that the injury rate in favour of women was not just more, it was like 9 out of 10 ACLs is to women!
post #14 of 29
That sucks, I'm sorry to hear it. A friend of mine busted his last year in what was little more than falling over in a lift line. It happens all too easily.
post #15 of 29
yeah - i tore my calf muscle apart in one of those falls... it sucks because you would swear you could not do that much damage from such a small gentle fall....

In my case I made it worse by skiing on it for 2 weeks because it did not hurt and I did not notice anything wrong other than the strange colour of my lower leg.....
When it decided not to heal after 2-3 weeks I took it tothe doctor and got a huge lecture for not appearing sooner... :shrug:


Hope it is all OK.... if not take gonzos advice and find a reallygood doc.... then do the rehab....
post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the kind words and advice.

We are headed to the doc today at 2:30 to get a more complete exam. The swelling appears to have gone down somewhat so hopefully they can get it figured out, and she will have access to an MRI should it be necessary.
post #17 of 29

On the bright side...

If it is a torn ligament it will almost certainly be stronger after repair and physical therapy. It's certainly a huge inconvenience but it's by no means the end of her skiing enjoyment. There will be a psychological hurdle to overcome but just assure her that her new knee is even stronger! Here's to a successful and speedy recovery. She could even be back on the slopes next year.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant
...and the bloke said that the injury rate in favour of women was not just more, it was like 9 out of 10 ACLs is to women!
I may be off base here but I think it has something to do with hormones. I do know that women become even more susceptible when they're pregnant. I guess the moral of this story is to FALL HARD and you won't get hurt.
post #19 of 29

I can relate - unbelievable!

The same thing happened to a girlfriend of mine several years ago. She was skiing down a gentle slope and all of a sudden she caught an edge. Her skis kind of slo-o-o-o-owly went in opposite directions and then she gradually fell. It looked like slow motion. I couldn't believe it when she said she really hurt her knee. It turned out to be her ACL too. Seeing her fall, I would never have guessed that such a serious injury could happen. That was the end of her skiing, but she is an avid hiker.
post #20 of 29
All right! enough I hear ya already! I'm not making my wife ski next week end.

A word to the wise is sufficient

CalG
post #21 of 29
As part of our instructor training, we were required to watch video (developed by Carl Ettlinger and friends) of people blowing their knees out. Everything from world cup racers doing 50 to home video of beginners creeping down the bunny hill. We would watch each incident several times, repeated again in slow-motion to the point at which you could identify the very moment when the ligament pops.

Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't some sadistic ritual dreamed up by the director, but a requirement of employment by our insurance company. The reason was that Ettlinger had identified a specific set of common factors that led to what he referred to as "phantom-foot" ACL injury (nothing to do with PMTS). The good news is that the ACL will most likely tear only if all factors are present, and there are things that skiers can do to remove some of those risk factors. One study indicates that partcipating in the training significantly reduced the rate of knee injuries experienced by employees, which obviously makes the bean-counters at the insurance company very happy.

Rather than try to paraphrase his findings, here's one of many links to his research:

http://www.vermontskisafety.com/faq_...iers_tips.html

The video is very entertaining, if you can get hold of it, and if you like that sort of thing.

Hope that helps ...

- Scott
post #22 of 29
For some reason (I believe it is the relatively wider hips of women) and something called Q-angle, women are more prone to ACL injuries than men. I wish your wife a speedy recovery.
post #23 of 29
Ah, the "vermont" knee video. People all over the US have seen it.

The injury to women may in part be due to the big hip/knee angle thing, but there's more to it than that. Our surgeon had no theories to offer.

I've skiied all my life, and so far the dreaded ACL (or any acute injury) has not happened. However, my hamstrings were for a long time stronger than my quads, which might have helped. (it's very unusual).
post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 

Not so bad!

Well, it turns out after all the scares from the MRI, it turned out to be not nearly as bad as it could have been.

She broke her tibia. There is no ligament damage per se. What happened was a tibia plateau fracture which also fractured one of the tibia spines where the ACL anchors. All the ligaments are still intact, however, the anchoring point has become detached. All the bones are still in a very good alignment though so no surgery will be required.

They stuck a hot pink cast on her leg, told her to stay off it or else, and we have an appointment to check up in 2 weeks. Its still a pretty bad injury, but the fact that it won't require surgery and will likely heal well are a good sign.

I signed it with two black diamonds =)
post #25 of 29
Well that's good news, kinda . Best wishes for a speedy recovery .
post #26 of 29
It's kind of weird thinking that a broken tibia is good news. But ACL injuries are so much more difficult to deal with, just about anything seems better by comparison. Anyways, let the healing begin!
post #27 of 29
Wow, that is quite an "alternative" injury (complete with the misleading pop)! But it's good it's something that will heal up without surgery. This sounds like a freak thing where the bone broke instead of a ligament, but hey, I'll take it! Best of luck to the both of you during the healing process, and I hope your GF gets right back on skis next year.
post #28 of 29
Sorry to hear about the injury. Since skiing on shaped skis I have wondered if they actually contribute to knee injury's? Get a ski loaded up and they really take of, intended or not. Being that she is learning?
Wish her a speedy recovery. A friend of mine blew an acl after hitting a tree (long story, but the tree was ok), 6 months to the day he was skiing again.
post #29 of 29
According to stats I've read, ACL injuries about about 6.5 times more likely to happen to females. It has something to do with their strength/weight ratio and mechanical structure of the knee - which differs from men's due to angle of connection to the pelvis, which is proportionally wider.

It's unnerving to hear of these things, especially when one's surrounded by female family members on ski trips.
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