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Partially Torn ACL- still skiing, my options?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
i tore my ACL last new years eve. my 270 friend fell on me at a party, and it snapped back. felt a pop. couldn't walk on it the next morning (blurry night...) and then crutches for the next week. went to the doctor, said no ligament damage, but maybe some cartilage tear. said wait at least 3 weeks until doing anything.

went skiing on january 22. was tight, stretched it out. not fully good. but the skiing was great.

skied the rest of the season. felt around 80%. great season snow-wise.

fast forward. may, i am going on a 2.5 month backpacking/mountaineering trip- get my knee checked out just to be safe (yukon wilderness=bad for preexisting weak knee)
doc has me get MRI, comes back ACL partially torn. i go on the trip anyway. knee buckled at times with pack on, but otherwise ok.

i'm wondering what to do- i feel like my knee/leg muscles are pretty strong/holding up, but i've heard i can make it worse/cause permanent damage. i am thinking about getting surgery after ski season to patch it up- is this a dangerous thing to do? am i playing with fire by skiing this winter? any recommendations from experienced ACLers?

i'm wondering, with my knee functioning pretty well and a routine of condition before surgery, will recovery be relatively-easy compared to those who've had a full-tear? hmmm....
post #2 of 11
Aren't partial tears repairable with healing response treatment? Bode Miller had one done and only missed a few spring races.

Full ACL repair is a big piece of surgery.

Everyone who had it done will tell you it is a must do. Those who didn't will tell you otherwise.

Find a US ski team pool doc and ask them. What are you, crazy, looking for medical advice on the internet?

Newf
(ACL free for better than a decade)

ps-- where are you? we can send you to some good doctors.
post #3 of 11
First that stinks, what a way to injure your knee.

Anyway I think the healing response treatment has to be done fairly soon after the tear. Google the Steadman Clinic in Vail for more info.

FWIW I've been there / done that with a "partial tear" diagnosis that was not accurate -- it actually was all the way shot. Long story, with some familiar players (newfydog weighed in), here: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=39404 .

Last season closed out with 25 days, skied better than ever, back in the bumps and improved.

One driving factor for me in opting for surgery, and doubting the partial tear diagnosis in the first place, was the intensity of pain when the knee buckled, and difficulty running. It just wasn't holding together, and the pain was not the kind I could just push through.

In other words, LISTEN to your body, and QUESTIONS to your doctors...
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ono View Post
but i've heard i can make it worse/cause permanent damage.
If your tear is allowing your knee to move as it shouldn't you are probably grinding up cartillage which is definitely serious permanent damage.

Quote:
will recovery be relatively-easy compared to those who've had a full-tear? hmmm....
Recovery will be the same as they'll replace your torn ACL. Recovery now is a breeze for most people. At Vail/Summit Ortho patients walk out fully weight bearing, no brace, and can return to full activity as soon as pain/swelling are gone. I'd pick my doc wisely. Some of the Knee specialists up here have done thousands of knees. These are the type of people you want doing yours.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by breckview View Post
At Vail/Summit Ortho patients walk out fully weight bearing, no brace, and can return to full activity as soon as pain/swelling are gone. .

Mayo clinic says 6-9 months.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acl...9/PAGE=AC00011

I know two Steadman associates, ski team pool orthopods, and both have explained at our monthly ski patrol clinics how the graft revascularizes, and goes down in strength for a good period of time.
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
I know two Steadman associates, ski team pool orthopods, and both have explained at our monthly ski patrol clinics how the graft revascularizes, and goes down in strength for a good period of time.

That's what my Steadman - trained/US ski team ortho said; no skiing until until revascularization of allograft was good (6 months post op). Time frame for patellar tendon or hamstring may be quite different, all I know is the allograft advice from my doc.
post #7 of 11
I should have said, "pain, swelling, and full flex/extension restored". For most people that probably is 6-9 months for skiing and probably does correspond with the graft reaching full strength. In any case, the procedure/recovery is unbelievably easy compared to years past. (My wife is an surgery nurse for Steadman/Hawkins and Vail/Summit Ortho docs.)
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
ok- good general info on docs.

my knee is functional, and moves quite well. i think its more psychological, knowing that it's not 100% physically right- i run, lift, ski, backpack and do high impact sports all the time.

i'd like to find a doc that is REALLY good, preferably someone specific to ACL and skiing stuff- this US ski team pool docs- how do you contact them? i'm in washington DC for school, and am in the CT/MA/VT area when not skiing. i'd love to head to summit county, but not for surgery (unless it's the last day of a ski trip, and the last day of my ski season)

thanks for the advice- any specific recs?
post #9 of 11
REGIONAL MEDICAL SPONSORS

USSA has developed a regional medical sponsorship program to formalize the many established relationships with medical service providers across the country. This includes hospitals, physical therapy clinics and medical clinics. These sponsorships currently supply extensive physical therapy/athletic trainer support to the rotational pool, sports medicine supplies, expedited medical services and athlete injury rehabilitation. Most of all they provide seamless continuity of care for USSA athletes, optimizing proper medical management as well as assisting USSA manage expenses associated with medical services.

Hospitals
Barton Memorial Hospital, South Lake Tahoe, CA
Mammoth Hospital, Mammoth Lakes, CA
Vail Valley Medical Center, Vail, CA

Orthopedic Clinics
Desert Orthopedics, Bend, OR
Rosenberg-Cooley-Metcalf Clinic, Park City, UT
Steadman Hawkins Clinic, Vail, CO
Tahoe Fracture and Orthopedic Clinic, Lake Tahoe, CA

Family Health/Urgent Care Facilities
Park City Family Health and Urgent Care Center, Park City, UT
Vail Valley Medical Center Clinics, Vail, CO

Physical Therapy Clinics
Howard Head Sports Medicine Center, Vail, CO
Myers & Associates Physical Therapy, Mammoth, CA
Olympic Physical Therapy, Seattle, WA
Saco Bay Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Portland, ME
post #10 of 11
"I know two Steadman associates, ski team pool orthopods, and both have explained at our monthly ski patrol clinics how the graft revascularizes, and goes down in strength for a good period of time."
--------------------------------------------------------

^^^ Exactly. According to my Dr. my ACL replacement graft (Patella) will be weakest between the 6 month to 9 month timeframe. This is when the tendon actually begins to gain blood vessels into the body and become an actual living tissue again, till then its just a cut out piece of tissue.

So I was told expect to be off skis for 1 year. Which puts me back on skis by next December. Perfect timing really.

Good luck to the OP, hope you find what you are looking for.

Just a word of advice though: my knee sounded just like yours for 4 years. I got tackled ackwardly by a friend playing football, and for a few weeks my knee was swollen and sore. For years after that it would periodically "pop" and give me some discomfort. Then one day 3 months ago it "popped" again, only this time it was so severe my entire ACL tore and my meniscus was severely damaged.

The point is, in my experience, if your knee is still popping, one day if you dont get it fixed, its gonna "pop" for good, and your gonna need the surgery anyways, though this time with the possibility of greater damage being done to your knee.
post #11 of 11
Hello!

Do not belive blind to MR. MR can give false results. Only diagnostic metod that can give you right diagnose is arthroscopy. And if ACL is partly broken and even full broken there are solutions. You can ask doc. to give you coordination workouts that can make Your muscles better in coordination and stabiliti of knee.
Surgery is last option and it is agressive. After surgery you can not walk for 7 days and rehabillitation is couple of months. That can not be done by arthroscopy so it is open operatin of knee!

Sorry for bad english
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