My commentary is embedded within the excerpts of your post below - I hope this works!
..."My OS has been very careful to counsel me about the bone growth being the weak link in the
hamstring graft chain, and he was only willing for me to start skiing again if I agreed to certain
restrictions - carving on groomers only, no off-piste, no moguls"...
You may be in the terrain 'penalty box' for now, but it's not a such a bad deal - at least you're
skiing again.(Considering that where I live, I'd kill for the chance to be able to ski places like
Seymour, Cypress & Grouse - really!) I'd have to drive about 3 hours just to get to the nearest
700(ft) vertical, otherwise I'm stuck at places with less than 400 verts.
..."I have had to accept that this season will probably be a more limited kind of skiing than I'm used
to, but to be honest I'm so glad to be back out there that I can handle the restrictions. I'm
looking at it as a good opportunity to work on my carving form and eradicate errors from my
technique before I start hitting up the tough terrain again next season."...
If I get the chance to get back out at all this year, I'll be taking it real easy. This should
provide me with similar opportunity to really figure out how to ski my AC50s on the crappy snow
found here in my neck of the woods. The model demoed real well in Utah last Feb, but skiing a new
pair here was quite a different experience, and I went down before really getting the chance to get
used to them.
..."With regard to the question of how to handle ACL deficiency, I can only really speak to my
experience between injury and surgery. I was very lucky and had a really good recovery, probably
because my leg muscles were in excellent shape when the injury happened. I was skiing tentatively
six weeks after injury,and skiing comfortably (high speeds, variable conditions) at eight weeks out.
I did wear a brace on my PT's advice, but really didn't notice any weakness or discomfort in the
injured side. However, my OS (and other medical professionals I spoke to online) all advised me that
surgery was the best course of action, in spite of the fact that I seemed to be managing fine
without an ACL"...
I wonder if the recommendation to have surgery will apply for me as well, at age 52. So far, my
first OS recommended it, "If you want to ski hard gain". That makes sense to me. I don't know if
having an autograft is wise for me though. His inclination was to do a patellar allograft on me. I
don't know what technique my new OS prefers yet, but, at my age, tissue regeneration at the harvest
site might not be so good... For that reason, I'm shying away from having an autograft.
..."Their rationale was a) the risk of increased damage in a fall without an ACL to provide lateral
protection for the knee joint and b) the gradual wearing away of articular cartilage, which happens
at different rates but is inevitably exacerbated by the lack of the ACL. (A bit like MNator's
comment about "sanding down" the meniscus, except that articular cartilage repair is a much more
Although I'd love to skip through this ordeal without a surgery, these 2 points always bring me back
to earth. I have a few extra chips on the 'don't do it' side of the argument to consider,(age, only
ski 10-15 days/yr, etc) but ultimately, sage medical advice trumps my own rationalizations. We'll
see what doctor #2 has to say soon enough.
..."Given that I had some existing knee problems and early stage osteoarthritis on both sides, this
wasn't a risk I was willing to take. I'd be lying through my teeth if I said that the surgical route
was an easy one or that I hadn't been through some bleak moments in the past seven months. However,
I'm still sure that the choice I made was the right one given my circumstances. It was really,
really tempting to avoid surgery given how well I recovered from the initial injury, but all the
tests showed that there was just a shade more laxity in the knee without the ACL. The thought of
what that laxity might do over time was enough to get me into the operating theatre."...
At a ripe young age still, you had much at stake in that regard. That my knee capsule is in decent
shape yet also gives me reason to do what I can to protect against future degeneration.(Bass playing
already provides me with ample opportunity for a different kind of degeneration, and I'd like to
keep it that way!)
..."BTW, if anyone here is looking for more advice on surgery, recovery, graft choice or anything else
to do with an ACL tear, I'd really recommend the Knee Geeks forum -
http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php. I've gotten amazing advice and support from the folk
there over the past year"...
Agreed - Those Brits are thorough!
..."Hard to believe that I'm coming up on the first anniversary of the day I crash-landed that air on
Can I ask you where you were - I've been to Whistler a number of times and it's great up there.(when not fogged-in) I sure wish that I lived closer to it!