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ACL surgery and rehab

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I "acutely ruptured" my left ACL, and slightly tore my meniscus, in early April - insurance issues delayed scheduling surgery so I haven't been able to get in until next week (May 26). I'll be having an allograph for ACL reconstruction.


I'm young (23) and in good shape (had 100+ days of skiing double blacks this season) and hardly notice it now. I've been cycling and using the eliptical and have almost full range of motion - only have a slight limp when walking down stairs...This is my first serious injury.


Is it unreasonable to think I could ski next season? I may have a position with patrol starting in early Dec.

I know everyone's different, but does anyone have a rough guess at how soon after surgery I might expect to walk without crutches?

Finally...any hope of teleing in the future? I got into it quite a bit this year and love it.


Should I consider special/new boots and/or bindings?

I have Garmont mega-star AT boots, and silvretta free-rides on Karhu bettys and marker griffons on Volkl Mantras.


I know this is a common ski injury and it's been helpful to read some of the other ACL related posts on here! Any comments/suggestions?


post #2 of 17

Well I have a similar story to you except I'm 43 not 23 and will be having surgery on May 26th as well.  I did my left knee in 1998 and now my right knee.  I tore it skiing in January and thought about living with it as is.  However unlike other guys my age I don't want to "limit" my activity and I do believe that fixing it will prevent further damage.  However I must say the toughest part is that I feel fairly ok and even think with a brace I'd be ok to ski.


As to your questions:  You definitely will ski next season (I am and I've already booked a trip with my family to Aspen) however my days of pounding bumps are over.  You on the other hand can probably go back to skiing bumps but just a tad bit more carefully.  Remember you don't want a total knee replacement when your older.


Expect to need crutches for only about a week or two max.  I think Telemark turns are harder on the knees but again after surgery you will one day even forget which knee was operated on.  That will not be this season though.  Some say it takes 18 months for a "complete" recovery.


I too am going to re-think equipment.  Set my bindings lower and consider any specialty bindings to prevent this from ever happening.  Let me know how it goes for you. ajsmall65@gmail.com


p.s. curious if your knee buckles now or you too feel reasonably ok. 


Edited by archman - 5/22/2009 at 02:26 pm GMT
post #3 of 17

You should be fine, although length of recovery depends in part on if they repair or trim your meniscus.  If it is a part that they can repair, this is the better long term option, although it will mean that you will not be fully weight baring for 4-6 weeks and will likely need to work harder to rebuild lost muscle.  If it is a trim,you will have less "cushion" going forward, but will likely be weight bearing right away and can lose the crutches as soon as you feel comfortable without them. 


In any case, listen to your Doc & PT and don't be afraid to ask them questions if you are unsure about something.  Work to get your range of motion back after surgery and do what your PT says, but don't feel the need to push things too hard too soon as you have plenty of time before ski season.


Every case is different, but I am closer in age to archman and blew my ACL with partial tears of MCL and meniscus on 10/23/08.  I had ACL reconstruction 11/19/08- double bundle allograph & 20-25% trim of meniscus.  Rehab went well and I started skiing gently in mid-March.  Wouldn't have wanted to do patrol work at that point, but you should be ok by the 6 month mark if you have no set backs. 


Since then, I have been skiiing about once a week and it has been feeling pretty good recently, although I still have a bit of swelling that the Doc thinks will go away in the next couple of months although symtoms can last up to a year.


Good luck to both of you...

post #4 of 17

As far as gear goes, I haven't made any real changes yet other than lowering my DIN from 8 & 9 to 7 although I don't really think this would have made a difference in my case and may go back up to 8 next season.


The knee binding sounds like it might have some benefits, but it seems like they are still working the bugs out. 

post #5 of 17

If you do your rehab religously you should be fine to patrol in december.  I was able to run sleds braced after I tore my ACL but before surgery. I am 7 weeks post surgery and will be patrolling in december.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies! Yeah, actually my knee feels fine - it felt like it might buckle for the first two weeks, but I was on crutches and super careful. Now it just feels a little weak, and almost achy if I try to do squats or run, but it hasn't collapsed since. Good luck with your surgery too!

post #7 of 17



I read a furtune cookie the other day -


"The time it takes to achieve your next goal is a measure of your discipline".


I really like it.


Originally I was to have surgery in early July (last year) and be able to ski by the following January; as long as I stayed the course.  Things changed (complications due to arthrofibrosis) and I didn't have the surgery so I was skiing in December with a brace.

post #8 of 17

Wow so you have really waited a long time for this. How was skiing with the brace and the torn ACL?  Good luck Tuesday as well.   

post #9 of 17

Not sure if you're asking me or someone else about the brace.  Here's my version.


Skiing the first time with the brace I was very anxious.  Spent the first few runs bracing for a fall.  Once I realized it was in my head and not my knee, I was fine.


Skiing with a brace for me is a non-issue.  I can barely tell its there.  If you're having problems with it slipping, re-read the directions on how to put it on about a dozen times and do EXACTLY what it says.  Most of the straps are to only keep the brace against your leg.  Only one or two hold it up.  If you over tighten the rest of them, it will slip down.



post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Any preferences/comments on auto (patellar or hamstring) vs allo (cadaver) grafts?

post #11 of 17


Originally Posted by auoraustralis View Post

Any preferences/comments on auto (patellar or hamstring) vs allo (cadaver) grafts?

took me a while to figure out where the advanced search button was on the new format...try these






post #12 of 17

Disclaimer: All I know about this is what I've read on the internet and what my OS told me about my knee.  That and what several friends have told me about their knees.



Which ever one you are comfortable with AND the surgeon is comfortable with.  I'd rather have someone do a good job on my second pick than a lousy job on my first pick.


The alternative is to change surgeons of course.  Not always easy to do.


At your age, you can handle any of them so you should go for strongest in the end.  I'm guessing that double bundle wins that one.  I don't know if there are many OS's doing it because I think it hasn't been around that long.


Cadaver (vs. auto) is going to be the fastest healing since you will only have one wound.

post #13 of 17

my doctor only offered me a patella tendon or because of my age (43) a cadaver graft.  He said the chance of rejection is minimal but didn't think it was worth the chance for me.  He would send me to somebody else for a Hamstring.  He or the guy I went to for a second opinion (The NY Jets doc. doesn't do hamstring grafts)


Good luck tomorrow.   

post #14 of 17

Good Luck on the surgeries folks, you will get through it!


This past season (2008/9) I skied 61 days on an allograft ACL that had been reconstructed at the end of the season before. I only had a ruptured ACL - no other damage. The surgery was done by Micheli in Boston and went well as did PT.


I was skiing on it 8 months after surgey, using a CTI brace and soft boots (Lange 80) for the first 14 days. After that point my Kneebindings arrived and I skied the next 47 days on those with Nordica Speedmachine 110 stiffness boots. I continued wearing the CTI brace for the rest of the season. The first days back on the snow are tough from a psych perspective, but you get over it.


Now it's 14-15 months post surgery and it seems pretty much normal.


PT is critical! Also, the soft boots worked for me real well in starting off to retrain movements and not put too much stress on anything. They also gave me something more interesting to think about than getting hurt again - like: wow, these boots really crush. I had been skiing on Lange WC130 boots when I got hurt the year before...

post #15 of 17

Chris makes good points relative to a brace and a softer boot if needed.

My oldest, longest relationship, buddy had the allograph maybe 8 years ago and all went well. He is still a hack skier, no race technique that I can see, so he blows up alot. I know it wasn't his first surgery either, sometimes having money isn't everything!!!


On a differnet note, I have had a slippery patella since I was 13 or 14, but have never had surgery on my knees still, knock on would. I do have some issues of swelling, but IBUs and ice mixed in wiith hot tubs gets me through. I


I did crank the farside of a ditch leaving the woods at Killington back in Mar. '02, most of you easterners will remember that march, it dumped ALL month. Well, I see this embankment coming, so I throw my upper torso back to the tails to hopefully survive. BLAM!!! I was tweaked a little in my funky knee and lower back. Problem wasn't anything that kept me from skiing, but the knee was heading to Big Sky for the first week of april with the D&Q ski clan. Had to wear an ice sock the whole time when I wasn't skiing. Upside was the Corona girl was all over me! Yeah baby!


Anyway, when I get back to SoJersey I visit my buddy's doc who did the allograph for an opinion. His words to me were this, 'either give up skiing and enjoy your life with no soft tissue on the bottom of your femur, or come and see me when you need a knee replacement'. Funny thing is I've just started to get fluid buildup in my so-called good knee. My doc gave me celabrex and said,'Congrats, you are developing arthritis!'


Good luck with everybody in rehab, you should be good for another 50k miles!

Edited by snokat - 5/27/2009 at 08:49 pm GMT
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well - I am 3 weeks post op (cadaver graft) and start PT on Tuesday. I'm off crutches and barely have a limp, there's a little swelling, but overall it looks/feels great. Some "pinching" now and then, and it defiinitely feels stiff - the doc said not to bend it past 90deg until PT starts, so I've been super careful...going up stairs is alright if I take it slow and carefully, but I lead with my bad leg going down.


Thanks for all the info! Now it's just taking it slow and hopefully I'll get back out there next year!

post #17 of 17

Great time of year to start your rehab, you have lots of time, physically and emotionally(psyche).

Good luck and listen to your PT.

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