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ACL tear, surgery, & rehab diary - Page 8

post #211 of 245
Thread Starter 

I'm BACK!!!

First day of skiing!!! 8 months post-op
Almost exactly 10 months after my ACL tear and 8 months after my ACL reconstruction, I was back on skis today. And I'm alive and whole to tell the tale!

I'd been feeling pretty decent about the knee -- sure the operated leg was still weaker than my good leg, but I felt like it would hold up to pressures of some easy groomer skiing.

So headed up to Loveland this afternoon. Being the cautious person that I am, not only did I have any intention of skiing anything other than greens, I also did not want to take the lift up to the top and then find out that I couldn't ski. So I stayed on the bunny hill only.

The first few turns were weird. As is customary for me, the first few turns of the season are always rusty and mostly skidded. Coupled with the injury, I was even more nervous than usual. And it showed. I was making skidded turns with my skis very wide (afraid of tangling them up). Fortunately, I felt no pain or anything in the knee. On the left turn, the leg felt good (my right knee was the injured/repaired one). On the right turn, I felt a little twinge on the inside of the knee from time to time.

But it still felt very uncomfortable. While I didn't feel any real pain, I did not feel very stable. I realized that it was because I was nervous and skiing very upright and rigid. So after the fourth or fifth run, I opened it up a bit. Took an athletic stance and let the skis run. It felt great and very stable. I was able to rail the skis and make nice rounded turns. Slowly I ramped up my speed. No pain at all. On the left turns, the right leg felt very stable. It was awesome. Even when I hit some scraped off icy patches or dips and rolls, the leg held (although one compression was a bit uncomfortable). I'd say I probably skied about 50% of my regular speed today. Even though the leg felt stable, I did not feel comfortable going any faster. I could also tell that I was keeping my skis a bit farther apart than usual, just afraid of hitting any terrain variation that would tangle them up.

Skied for about an hour and half. Towards the end, I started feeling a bit of pressure building up in the operated right knee on my left turns (as the G's built up). It felt like it was maybe because I was unconsciously trying to rotate my femur/quad outward. Obviously I need to get my form back, and I'm hoping that should alleviate the little discomforts I felt from time to time today. Today, I was mainly focused on my knees, nothing else.

It was awesome to be back out there again. I feel like I can get out and ski some proper greens now. Slowly, with many stops, but at least I can be out there. The feeling of the G's building up as the skis rail around is just as awesome as it always was.

I'll have to see how scarved turns feel on steeper terrain -- on the bunny hill they felt fine, but real pivoting is another story -- feels like it would put a lot of torque on the knee. Definitely no bumps for a while though.

Right now, the right leg muscles feel sore (the good sore), and I have a little pain/discomfort in the knee when squatting -- I'm assuming it's just all the movement and jarring that has made it a little inflamed.

So anybody else who got injured last season been back on skis yet?
post #212 of 245
Glad to hear you're getting back out there!

I went out this weekend for my first time after last season (which took an early end due to an mcl tear followed within a month by a major car accident).

I went the bunny hill route, too. Since 06/07 was my first ski season, even though I felt like I was doing pretty decently (for a low intermediate) pre-injury, I think that I'm starting from scratch to a certain degree this season. Definitely planning on lessons on a regular basis.

Although I've been counting down days til opening, I had two major fears about getting out and skiing again: aggravating current injuries/getting new ones, and plowing down kiddies on the bunny hill. For the former, thankfully I didn't get any new injuries, and as far as current injuries, it was just pain and inflammation, nothing major. As for the latter, I managed to stay away from most of the kiddies, and didn't plow into any of them .

I could tell that I looked like a total idiot, I noticed a liftie (and others at various points) watching the comedy blowout that was me getting reacquainted with skis, but it really felt great to be back out there. I'm really looking forward to working my way back up to the skiing the stuff I was last season. It's funny though how at this point, a totally flat bunny hill is as exhilarating as narrow steep runs felt pre injury.
post #213 of 245
Well done! I'll look forward to making some turns with you soon!
post #214 of 245

Me Too!

I just spent the weekend at Whistler (the only area in the PNW open really) and had a blast! Kudos have to go out to my surgeon, physical therapist, trainer and the folks here at Epic for their support.

I skied pretty hard for 2 days (I'm guessing around 15 runs on Saturday and 10 or so today) with my son and one of his friends who both teach at our ski school. We started on a couple of groomed greens and progressed to blues. On the blues and greens my son said my skiing looked just like it always did, although I know I wasn't skiing quite as fast as I normally would. When we made a wrong turn on one run and ended up on a fairly steep bump run, I slowed it down considerably but didn't really seem to have any problem.

The only thing that impacted my skiing (besides the obvious fatigue) is that the leg wasn't as strong as the "good leg" and finishing longer radius turns on steeper slopes required a lot of concentration and effort. I need to continue to build up my leg strength in the injure leg. I didn't really experience any pain whatsoever skiing. As my doctor suggested, I did wear a brace.

As I'm writing this my knee is a little stiff, but I think that's more attributable to the fact that I had to sit in a car for 6 hours driving home than anything else.

Overall, I'm estatic with my progress and hope everyone else has the same level of success I've had.

post #215 of 245
Very encouraging reports guys!

My first skiing is scheduled for Dec 15 weekend.

Ice skated this past weekend and that went well. Knee felt "nice and tight" when turning.

Anybody take any tumbles? That will be scary I think.
post #216 of 245
The only issue I had was my left (good leg) ski fell off in the middle of a turn and I had to make a sharp left turn on the right leg to stop. No pain / problems of any kind.

No major crashes of course either. I'm sure one will happen sooner or later.

post #217 of 245
Thread Starter 
That's great you are all feeling good.

mmckimson, you're way ahead of me! Skiing blues and steep bumps!? I don't think I'm ready for that yet. My post-op PT had been interrupted for chunks of time (especially towards the 6-8-month mark) for various work and personal reasons, and so I'm probably bit behind. And my patellar pain didn't really go away until just a week ago, and that held back my strengthening quite a bit.

I feel confident that I can ski greens fine. My fear with skiing blues is that once I'm on it, I'll want to ski it fast like I used to, and I'm not sure my leg is up for that yet!
post #218 of 245
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mike_m View Post
Well done! I'll look forward to making some turns with you soon!
Yes, we should definitely make some turns. I'm probably going to get out again this Friday, and maybe even Thursday. I'll keep you posted.
post #219 of 245
Congrats to all!! I am working off my third operation (No ACL, No Miniscus). One thing that has really helped me is the "Skiers Edge", it's a pricey machine, but a good "no impact workout" using the skiing motion/muscles. Good luck to all!!
post #220 of 245
Congratulations, Faisasy!!!

See, I knew you'd have fun.

The caution you are feeling here in the beginning is, I think, normal (what do I know about normal?). Your brain is so used to doing all those proper excercises from PT, everything aligned and controlled, its hard for it to re-learn how to be passive, and let the muscle memory take over. The thing that stuck in my head from someone else who had had ACL surgery was that the reconstructed ACL will end up being STRONGER than your regular ACL in your other knee.

Let the process happen, and soon you will only have this as a memory to give back to the next Bear that injures themselves.

Y'all sound like you are doing well, and making great progress. Keep up the good work!
post #221 of 245
Good on ya Faisasy!!! I got out this weekend in Mammoth for four days straight. Interestingly, while this is now second season out after the surgery, and I've stayed in PT shape all summer, I was still getting occasional mini-twinges. I've ditched the brace this year after a long discussion with the doc...felt great, but that's probably what the twinges were from, rotating the knee a bit more than I could while wearing the brace last year. 90% of what you have in front of you now is the psychological part of confidence-building. No amount of PT will do that for you---it's all about getting 'back in the saddle' and realizing that your knee actually still works. You'll be there quickly I'm sure!!!
post #222 of 245
Follow-up...lots of new pow this weekend at Mammoth. Skied Saturday with no brace, felt a little twinge-y. Wore the brace Sunday and no twinge-ies. Thus, brace it is for another while or two, then I'll see how it goes again!
post #223 of 245
I know what you mean... for the moment I am more comfortable with the brace (although I think it's probably all in my head).

post #224 of 245

I'm Back

Time for my first post-reconstruction ski report!

Actually it was kinda pathetic in that I only skied about 3hrs in terrible icy conditions, but it was shore 'nuff skiing :-). Was six months almost to the day after the surgery. And it went quite well. Only did green and blue groomers (actually that was all that was available) and was fairly tentative at first. I could definitely feel the knee. There is a special kind of ache I get that I now associate with exerting lateral forces on my knee and that was there. It's minor but it's there. But that was all.

The knee was solid. No twinges. No instability. Only used a neoprene sleeve, no brace. Towards the end of my short day I began to not think about it constantly and get a little more aggressive, to the extent the limited terrain allowed anyway. I didn't fall (as per my plan...) so I didn't have to experience the fear of uncontrolled forces on my knee. I'll save that for another day. The strength disparity that still exists wasn't evident either, likely also due to the relatively easy terrain. So despite everything the knee is functioning as advertised and as promised I am a happy camper

I realized that I actually only have about 4 days of skiing on the equipment I bought last year, and two of those were acl-deficient days. So I am looking forward to continuing the get to know ya and capability testing process that I was busy enjoying the hell out of when this whole fiasco struck.

I'm also going to email my surgeon to let him know the news and thank him again.
post #225 of 245
Isn't it nice to see that those of us who have been contributing to this long-winded thread are starting to get back on snow? Maybe it's time to "retire" this thread so we don't have to think about our ACLs anymore!

post #226 of 245
It should be dying a peaceful, natural death soon enough.

I have printed out the entire thing as documentation of events, as well as obvious mood swings, during my adventure.
post #227 of 245
So I just feel like I passed my final 'exam'. Skied eight days in a row without the knee brace on. The last three days were spent in the ever-deepening powder at Mammoth last weekend. First three days, the knee was a bit sore. Last five days nothing hurt anymore. Confidence in the graft kept growing, and by the last day we were skiing in chest-deep powder and I had forgotten that I had ever had the surgery. I'M CURED!!!!!
post #228 of 245
I hope this thread is retained as some sort of classic, once you folks are all rehabilitated and back on skis. I've been fortunate enough never to have had an ACL injury but I find it fascinating to follow your experiences and I think it might be really useful if and when I have the injury myself!
post #229 of 245
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by oisin View Post
I find it fascinating to follow your experiences and I think it might be really useful if and when I have the injury myself!
I hope you never have an ACL injury, but that was part of my reason for starting this thread. There seemed to be a dearth of info here about ACL injuries, especially given that it is not uncommon among skiers and boarders. With so many people chiming in, we have a pretty nice collection of notes to compare for anyone looking for personal experiences of ACL injuries/rehabs.
post #230 of 245
Thamk you. I think you have done us a great service. (one I hope I never get to take advantage of.)
post #231 of 245

Just one more quickie...

Had my first full day of skiing saturday. It went well and I'm very pleased that I went through the ordeal of surgery now. I had a few mental issues around the realization that I was no longer unbreakable, but the knee didn't care and performed perfectly. Wore no brace or support and skied really well for about 5 hrs before both quads gave out. I fell once (was clipped by another skier) and both skis released, but I didn't break.

I still have what is apparently some tendonitis in the patella that I feel on stairs off and on, and what I guess is the usual amount of clickiness in the knee. I have been doing some hamstring stretches and may get a little more aggressive with anti-inflammatories to try to break the cycle.

So that's it I hope. I'm tired of talking about it, lol. Thanks for all of your help and support and enjoy your season... you've all earned it.
post #232 of 245
Just wanted to give a shout out to faisasy. Had the pleasure of skiing with him last week. Was amazed how well his knee was performing after only 10 months!

I had patellar graft reconstruction in Jan, 1996. Was skiing at beginning of following season, but not pain free for a couple of years thereafter. Wish I had access to a forum like this back then.

Congratulations to all of you recent surgery survivors who are now back on the slopes.

post #233 of 245
Thread Starter 
Hey spdskr, it was great to ski with you the other day, and hear about your recovery back to skiing.

There are good days and bad days, but the good have been outnumbering the bad recently, so that's nice.
post #234 of 245
Originally Posted by sheskis View Post
Let the process happen, and soon you will only have this as a memory to give back to the next Bear that injures themselves.
That would probably be me.

Great to see all the regulars of the thread doing well and enjoying skiing. I am happy for you. Also thanks to all for contributing and especially to faisasy to starting the thread. It looks like I am following you almost a year behind.

The doctor said it is probably an ACL tear and will most likely require surgery. I will know when I see him in a week. I thought it was a sprain at most since doctor at first aid told me that's the most likely scenario and more importantly it has been getting better since the injury. I don't have any pain except when I bend or straighten or twist the leg too much. The brace also helps a lot with not doing any of these.

I have a couple of questions: 1) I did not really like the doctor although I guess it does not matter much for diagnosis, but given that I would see him for months if I have surgery, it would probably be good to look into other options. Any recommendations for a doctor in NYC? Somebody specializing in skiing related injuries would be preferred, I guess. 2) He has already prescribed PT before even having the MRI. Is that normal? Also, PT recommendations (again skiing-specialized) would be great.
post #235 of 245
ACL tear confirmed, season over.
post #236 of 245
So sorry lerops...

Try to think of it as the start of an adventure. With luck there won't be a lot of physical pain involved. And in all probability you will be back next year.

To find a Dr. do a search and/or post an enquiry here and at Gimp Central on Teton Gravity Research Forums. Being in a major city is a big advantage in finding a top notch surgeon who specializes in ski injuries. I would give a lot of weight to people's recommendations.
post #237 of 245
Sorry to hear that...and welcome to the club. You'll get through it and back skiing next year better than new!
post #238 of 245
Thread Starter 
Sorry to hear of your injury. But as you can see from everyone on this thread, there's light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there, rehab well, and you'll be back in no time.
post #239 of 245
Haven't posted on here for a while, but figured I should give and update. I've been skiing at my local mountain since the beginning of january. Stuck with trails for a while but now I'm pretty much good for it all (keep in mind my local mountain is 7 springs mountain resort and it has 700 vertical feet.

But I just got back from Whiteface, NY that went pretty well, skied mostly blues and one or two blacks. the only real problem I had was after a solid morning of skiing my knee had pretty much had enough and I didn't want to push it so I hung it up for the day.
post #240 of 245
Hey Switch! Thanks for checking in - You hadn't yet posted your victory declaration and I was concerned! Did that 'catching' you mentioned a while back ever go away? Mine has improved a lot but not yet disappeared completely.

You ever ski at Snowshoe? I usually go there a few weekends a year. Seven Springs is good too tho.
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