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ACL-deficient downhilling, day-after pain, should I finally go for surgery?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Anybody have advice for this ACL-deficient downhiller?  I had a full tear (soccer) w/surgical repair 14 years ago, but my ortho says the repair has stretched to the point where it's basically gone again. Stopped soccer but continued with other sports (daily swimmer, plus bike, hike, ski X country & downhill) & have so far decided against re-repair because 1) I was told the re-rupture rate is much higher for a second repair, and 2) my rehab the last time around took almost 6 months until I was fully back, and I haven't been willing to do that again.   I'm a woman in my 50s & downhill fairly aggressively, probably 2/3 of the time on terrain I gather ACL-deficient people are supposed to avoid: blacks & double-blacks, moguls, crud, the occasional small jump, etc.  (In California, so light deep powder not much of an issue here.)   I know about the brace controversy but like skiing with mine, which is lightweight and makes me feel stable and confident.  I think the swimming (lots of kickboard & fly kick) and biking keep my quads and hamstrings pretty strong, though I'm not good about spending time in the gym before ski season. 

So here are my issues: 1) After a day or two of downhilling with the brace, I get swelling and some pain in the back of the knee, like the bottom of the hamstring.  It's not terrible but also not much fun, makes walking a bit uncomfortable for a time, and limits the number of days in a row I can downhill.  I used to joke that this was fine because who can afford that many lift tickets anyway, but we're getting good snow this season & I'm sitting here on a Saturday with the two-day ouch trying to decide whether to go up tomorrow.  Could this pain be in part because of the way the brace is holding the knee together?   2) When I start getting tired in the afternoon of a skiing day, I lose some control over the bad-ACL leg--like, me: "OK, turn, dammit!" leg: "No, actually I don't think I will." 

Trying to figure out whether I should just plan another surgical repair finally, or whether there's something I can do to improve the skiing & post-skiing experience, besides staying on groomers, which just isn't worth the lift ticket cost to me. I hear the rehab can go more quickly now that they've figured out how to use cadaver ACLs more easily.   My last surgery was an own-hamstring repair, which was supposed to make for an easier rehab than a patella repair, but it still took too long for my impatient self & I got sick of all those indoor PT machines.

Thanks for any thoughts!
post #2 of 2
CG what city are you in?  If you're hesitant about having another surgery (don't blame you for that!), I would suggest going to get some help from a trainer who specializes in sports rehab training might be a wise step before you decide.  Or a good physical therapist or athletic therapist.

Elsbeth
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Injury, and Recovery › ACL-deficient downhilling, day-after pain, should I finally go for surgery?