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ACL, Meniscus reconstruct and recovery

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
2.5 weeks ago I completly tore my ACL, Medial meniscus and a grade 3 MCL tear. I Get cut on in about a week to reconstruct the ACL and repair the meniscus. I am hoping to be skiing before the season is over for my daugthers sake.
What are your experiences? thoughts?.....etc.
This is the first sugery I have ever had after 42 years of abusing my body so I am not sure what to expect.
post #2 of 29
Sorry to hear about this .

You are not going to ski again this season. @ 9 months post-op for return to pivoting activity = next season.

Good luck .
post #3 of 29
My wife did the same thing last February. She just skiied for her first time since, on Xmas day. Her surgery was in late April after 6 weeks of PT to at least get back her range of motion.

Her Dr. gave the approval about a month ago to do whatever she wants (except bumps) so long as shes wearing her Don Joy knee brace.

She had no physical problems skiing...mentally, a little tough. She's (rightfully so) a little nervous. She took a private lesson the first day out, that seemed to help alot.

Good luck. As everyone told her, don't skip the PT, you will need it.
post #4 of 29
I don't even think a finely tuned athelete would be skiing in less than six months post op. The surgery seems quick. I'm taking for granted you don't have much swelling. Most folks usually end up waiting closer to 6 weeks.

Get a stationary bike and fall in love with it. My opinion is that it is by far the single best thing you can do for your knee. I know it has been for mine. There are many other things you will need to do an work on too.

I did the ACL tear and MCL sprain like you but I haven't had the surgery yet (another sordid story) and when I DON'T ride the bike, I feel it. My knee keeps getting stiffer and stiffer. Riding is better than any pill and is less invasive than surgery. I try to get an hour a day.

Listen to your doctor and PT; they do this for a living and most of us here only have our own experience to draw from. There are others that are in the health care proffesion though.

If you MUST ski this year, talk to your doctor to see if you can postpone your surgery to the spring and ski with a brace this year. You're probably still a couple of months away from that. This is probably the worst recommedation you will get from this forum but it is something that can be done if everything falls into place. Again, do what the Doctor says.

That's what I'm doing (with the docs permission) but everyone is different; you might not be as fortunate I am. The doctor said that with all the PT I've done, if it wasn't for the MRI and scope he put in my knee, he wouldn't think my ACL was torn. My ACL and MCL were injured in April of '08. I've been skiing 4 times starting early December.

A better recommendation is rest and rehab.

Best of luck,

Ken
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
I have very little swelling, can bend my knee over90*, go up and down stairs w/o the aid of the hand rail, have had no pain. Was hoping to ski green groomers for my daughters sake as she is only 3 and absolutly loves skiing but have accepted that might not happen.
Having the sugery this soon because we are having our second child on feb 25th and my wife doesn't need to be taking care of 3 of us, so I want to be as far into rehab as poss to help out.
hope i'm not rushing it but the doctor hasn't had any objections
post #6 of 29
Skip Skiing this year. You have enough on your plate!
post #7 of 29
With 2/4 knee ligaments gone and a torn mensicus, you cannot ski this year, even with a brace.

If your meniscus can be repaired (some can only be trimmed up and the bad tissue removed), that would be preferable - but requires more post-op time to heal (discipline ) before gently starting rehab.

FYI, sometimes a third degree MCL tear is surgically repaired, and sometimes it is left to heal on its own. It often depends on the location of the tear and surgeon preference.

Best of luck with things, you have a journey ahead of you.
post #8 of 29
I tore my ACL last year (no meniscus or MCL problems) at the end of January. Got the reconstruction surgery in mid-March after some pre-surgery PT and skied 9 months after surgery. As everybody says you will find out that a good rehab makes the most difference. So, make the most of it.

Of course everybody is different, but hopefully this can help to put things into perspective for you.

Best of luck in your recovery and hope you get back to skiing soon.
post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
OK I pretty much wrote off skiing this season.
Went to my 2nd PT session and had 120* of flex in my blown knee vs. 140* in my good knee, swelling is gone and had good muscle control, so I'm done w/ PT pre op. Therapist said 5-6 months before I'd be skiing
post #10 of 29
In similar position but a bit farther along having injured my knee late October- 60% MCL tear and 20-25% of meniscus removed during my ACL reconstruction on Nov 19.

I too have a daughter and would like to be able to at least ski some easy stuff with her in March.

Doc has said 4-4.5 months minimum with a double bundle repair (6 with the standard single bundle), but my PT thought I might get cleared sooner as some others have been cleared as early as 3 months out (and one snowboarder hasn't reinjured after going out only 78 days post-op). HOWEVER, my PT's opinion is that you are better off waiting close to a year. Apparently, the new ACL is stongest when they first put it in and then actually weakens and breaks down as it first starts to vascularize. Some difference of opinion, but my PT said it is weakest at 9 months (he read a study that showed this is when the highest number of retears take place) while the physician's assitant told me it started strengthening again after 3-4 months (although patients vary and data is limited).

I have been able to walk my daughter to the magic carpet and over to a very short beginner chair, so you may ask your Dr and/or PT about doing something similar...good luck.

I just noticed that you said they were going to repair your meniscus...while this is good long term, it will delay some of the PT intially (compared to the trimming of the meniscus that I had)...
post #11 of 29
Good luck with your surgery and rehab. You’ll come back strong.

I had ACL reconstruction (6-Nov-2008) allograft (achilles tendon) and lateral mencius tear stapled. Currently ten weeks post op and in the sixth week of PT. Just hit my flexion and extension numbers (140/+7). Getting strong everyday.

Post surgery – let your body heal, rest and recover. The CPM and polar ice unit work wonders. I used the CPM for 5 weeks and gradually tapered the ice machine.
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
I am at 10 days post op right now. No CPM here (they said only w/ micro fracture would they use a CPM), left sugurey w/ a brace, crutches and a bag of ice(not to mention Oxycodone and Vicaden). Was told I could walk in the brace w/ it locked out(PT said only 50%weight). couldn't stand the brace so I used crutches w/ varying degrees of weight. Worked my stretches and muscel control hard the first week, Today my flexion is at about 100, I am able to walk w/o crutches or brace. I am in the Cryo Cuff about 90% of the time. Will know more on Tues when I have my first post op appt w/ the ortho. Therapist says everything is just fine but it is hard to tell when it is your first sugurey so you have nothing to compare it to.
The magic carpet is a good idea, I was doing that w/ her 3 days before sugurey, the problem is she has been on the carpet for the last year and a half and would rather ride the chairlift. Luckely we have her in a local program that gives her a one hour private weekly and her instructor has reallized her ability and doesn't even bother w/ the carpet anymore.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CB BB View Post
Therapist says everything is just fine but it is hard to tell when it is your first sugurey so you have nothing to compare it to.
I still feel this way after 8+ weeks...other than some lingering swelling everything is going well, but sometimes you don't know how to react to an increase in swelling or a small pain here or there even when everthing else seems to be right on track.

My biggest issue the first few weeks was getting comfortable sleeping and minor back pain (likely from lying around and weakened core muscles).

Sounds like everything is on track for you and that you will be back strong next year...Good luck with everything (including the new baby)!!
post #14 of 29
CB BB, My surgery for ACL tear was Feb 08. My knee has held up well. Just spent two days skiing all day and she did some swelling. Pretty stiff, but seems to be doing better today. I never really had anything like this happen before, so I don't feel whole yet. But alot of that is my head. I'm starting to let it go a bit more. But your mind says hold back. It just takes some time. Hit that bike when the weather gets better, it make you feel great. Listen to your therapist, and make him push you when your ready!
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
What should I excpect for recovery? How long till I lose the brace?
post #16 of 29
I did this too. Ski season is over unfortunately but it will only lead to a better one next year. I had my ACL reconstruction 12 years ago (hamstring). Great results thus far, no pain, no limitations, no fears. Tore it skiing. What to expect: The first week after the meds wore off were pretty damn painful. Take the pills, elevate, ice...just do it. The knee will be stiff and sore but improves quickly. You have time, take it. Let the knee heal and don't overdo it. I understand the whole graft thing may take close to 1 year to totally heal. I went to a brace quickly...7 -10 days maybe post op (they want you to get it movin'). No more than 8 weeks in it. I focused on flexibility first and making gains to walking, stairs up and down withouit pain. Follow the rehab path, take it slow, cross off the milestones and don't skip ahead...you'll be fine. Mentally, it's gonna be there for awhile, but it fades. I have not worn my brace since, not even to ski. I still ski hard but find it best to keep the skis out of the air alot more now. I'm 41.
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
Things have changed in the last 12years. I went w/ the cadavor graft so you don't have that recovery to deal w/ as well. I was in a brace right after sugury and have to lock it out straight to walk. That is the problem the brace is digging into shin when locked out and when it is set to flex it grinds on the knee itself. Really not much pain. At 2 weeks post op I can bend it a little over 90*. All the swelling is gone.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CB BB View Post
How long till I lose the brace?
A general rule of thumb is you can do away with the brace when you can do an independent straight leg raise without extension lag. This will differ base on your Dr.'s preference. I have seen some people ditch their brace after 2 weeks because their Dr. said they don't have to wear it any more. I would say the usual time in a brace is about 1 month post-op but it does differ from case to case.

The best way to lose the brace is to gradually work your way out of it. Don't wear it at home or at PT but wear it when you are out and about. As you feel more comfortable and stable on your knee you will start going places without your brace because you will simply forget to put it on.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CB BB View Post
Things have changed in the last 12years. I went w/ the cadavor graft so you don't have that recovery to deal w/ as well. I was in a brace right after sugury and have to lock it out straight to walk. That is the problem the brace is digging into shin when locked out and when it is set to flex it grinds on the knee itself. Really not much pain. At 2 weeks post op I can bend it a little over 90*. All the swelling is gone.
90* of flexion at 2 weeks is pretty good. How is your extension? It is important to get full extension after an ACL reconstruction and get it quickly.
post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 
They haven't meassured it yet but I can extend it beyond straight. Comparing it to the good leg it is close but no cigar. Therapist said another 2 weeks in the brace maybe longer just cause of walking around in the snow at the base area isn't stable. They don't want me out of the brace right now because of the meniscus repair and are affraid of damage.
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CB BB View Post
They haven't meassured it yet but I can extend it beyond straight. Comparing it to the good leg it is close but no cigar. Therapist said another 2 weeks in the brace maybe longer just cause of walking around in the snow at the base area isn't stable. They don't want me out of the brace right now because of the meniscus repair and are affraid of damage.
That is good that you have full extension. There is no need for your knee to ever go "beyond straight" so don't force the hyperextension. Doing so can slowly stretch out the graft and can eventually lead to instability down the road.

Did you have a meniscus "repair" or a "meniscectomy?" These terms are often used interchangeably but they are very different especially went it comes to the rehab. Usually on a repair you will be non-weight bearing for a while depending on the severity of the injury. There are differing opinions on this so it comes down to your surgeon's preference. If they just cut out the tear in the meniscus (meniscectomy) you should be weight bearing as tolerated immediately.

The bottom line with your brace is if you feel like your leg is unstable, you should be wearing your brace.
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
it was a repair

post #23 of 29
Then you should strictly follow your surgeon's & PT's instructions. Meniscus repairs are delicate when they are healing and prone to re-tearing. The menisci have very poor blood flow and therefore heal very slowly.

A repair is a pain in the butt during rehab but if successful, has better long term results. I hope everything heals well for you! Work hard and you should be back on the slopes for the 09-10 season.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CB BB View Post

2.5 weeks ago I completly tore my ACL, Medial meniscus and a grade 3 MCL tear. I Get cut on in about a week to reconstruct the ACL and repair the meniscus. I am hoping to be skiing before the season is over for my daugthers sake.
What are your experiences? thoughts?.....etc.
This is the first sugery I have ever had after 42 years of abusing my body so I am not sure what to expect.


How did you recover from that ? I am the same , I am 43 and having knee reco with medial meniscus tear and an incomplete lateral tear. The meniscus part is the one worrying me for the long term OA as it is the load bearing part of the knee. How long did you wait to get operated on ?

post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CB BB View Post

it was a repair


How big was your tear ? It is unusual they would repair on a 42 years old. It was probably in the red/red area ? Has the repair work meaning you have not had any issue since.

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by EWA113 View Post

I did this too. Ski season is over unfortunately but it will only lead to a better one next year. I had my ACL reconstruction 12 years ago (hamstring). Great results thus far, no pain, no limitations, no fears. Tore it skiing. What to expect: The first week after the meds wore off were pretty damn painful. Take the pills, elevate, ice...just do it. The knee will be stiff and sore but improves quickly. You have time, take it. Let the knee heal and don't overdo it. I understand the whole graft thing may take close to 1 year to totally heal. I went to a brace quickly...7 -10 days maybe post op (they want you to get it movin'). No more than 8 weeks in it. I focused on flexibility first and making gains to walking, stairs up and down withouit pain. Follow the rehab path, take it slow, cross off the milestones and don't skip ahead...you'll be fine. Mentally, it's gonna be there for awhile, but it fades. I have not worn my brace since, not even to ski. I still ski hard but find it best to keep the skis out of the air alot more now. I'm 41.

 



Hi,

How much did you have ? Any meniscus trim at time of surgery or bone bruising ? How long did you wait before getting operated ?
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by EWA113 View Post

I did this too. Ski season is over unfortunately but it will only lead to a better one next year. I had my ACL reconstruction 12 years ago (hamstring). Great results thus far, no pain, no limitations, no fears. Tore it skiing. What to expect: The first week after the meds wore off were pretty damn painful. Take the pills, elevate, ice...just do it. The knee will be stiff and sore but improves quickly. You have time, take it. Let the knee heal and don't overdo it. I understand the whole graft thing may take close to 1 year to totally heal. I went to a brace quickly...7 -10 days maybe post op (they want you to get it movin'). No more than 8 weeks in it. I focused on flexibility first and making gains to walking, stairs up and down withouit pain. Follow the rehab path, take it slow, cross off the milestones and don't skip ahead...you'll be fine. Mentally, it's gonna be there for awhile, but it fades. I have not worn my brace since, not even to ski. I still ski hard but find it best to keep the skis out of the air alot more now. I'm 41.

How are you going now ? Any meniscus dammage ?

post #28 of 29

I posted in this thread after my 1st knee surgery and blew out the knee a 2nd time in May 2011.  1st time involved a meniscus trim and a "double bundle" ACL recon while the 2nd involved 2 meniscus repairs (1 was a "bucket handle") and a traditional ACL recon- Long story short, I was more conservative in my rehab/recovery time table after the 2nd surgery and the knee feels more stable than after the 1st surgery and very good overall.  Got in about 80 days last year and have about 40 so far this season.  Best of luck!

post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post
 

I posted in this thread after my 1st knee surgery and blew out the knee a 2nd time in May 2011.  1st time involved a meniscus trim and a "double bundle" ACL recon while the 2nd involved 2 meniscus repairs (1 was a "bucket handle") and a traditional ACL recon- Long story short, I was more conservative in my rehab/recovery time table after the 2nd surgery and the knee feels more stable than after the 1st surgery and very good overall.  Got in about 80 days last year and have about 40 so far this season.  Best of luck!

ok thanks. No arthritic changes ? When you say repair do you mean they trimmed your bucket handle tear or managed to fix it ? I am assuming you had a lateral meniscus tear as well ? Did they leave that untouched ?

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