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ACL tear - looking for thoughts on recovery time - Page 4

post #91 of 358

Vermonte, I am glad that it made you feel better reading the acl club stuff and that your knee feels better.

It sounds like in your situation its just something minor

Let us know what the doctor says next week 

post #92 of 358

Could you guys tell me how often you go to see your doctor for check up visits after the surgery ?

My doctor is great. It looks like he did a good job. For me its just strange that I went to see him two weeks after my surgery and then he told me to come back in three months. Eventhou he said I can call or come anytime if I feel something is not going well... and I go to physical therapy twice a week where they check my knee,...but I dont know if this is New York city thing but it surprised me a lot that after this kind of surgery that are not really follow up visits.

thanks giga

post #93 of 358

I had a 10 day follow up and then again at about 6 weeks.  My next one is tomorrow at 4months post op.

post #94 of 358



Back in February while racing, on my first run of my last two for the season, I caught an edge on a heavy wet base which caused my left ski to turn to the left (binding did not release) while the rest of me was wanting to go right and as a result, my knee popped (not painful just felt weird).  I was able to get back up and tried to ski down, however, my knee kept buckling.  Over the next few days, after 3 doctor’s visits, an x-ray and an MRI, the result was that I completely tore my ACL and damaged both menisci.  I decided to go with a cadaver ACL which was the perfect length providing bone on bone healing on both ends (in theory).  I also had to have about 25% of my medial meniscus removed then subsequently reshaped and the lateral meniscus repaired.


After the surgery was completed, I had a follow up visit with the ortho doc about a week later.  He told me that it was up to the PT folks and then had me scheduled for another appointment at about 8 weeks.  Due to the menisci repairs I was on crutches for 5 weeks post surgery.  Therefore the 8 week visit was to be sure that the menisci were healing OK.  My next visit is scheduled three months from may last which will be just under 5 months.  So my ortho doc visits were one week, at 2.5 months and 5 months.


I do not think that your schedule is off the mark.  I think that PT/exercize is your priority.  Good luck!


I am looking for opinions on whether or not I should ski on softer carving skis this year or stick with my mid-fats.

post #95 of 358

Just came from the ortho.  Doc says my knee is rock solid and great job rehabbing.  It is feeling better now also.  He said do whatever I want on the road bike, but don't mountain bike until 6 mos.  1 more month until plyometrics and I can go to the driving range.  2 months and I can do whatever I want.  What a relief.

post #96 of 358


thank you for the info.

How long is it since your surgery?

I torn my ACL in mid february and kept skiing without it until the end of april which was not smart thing to do, even doctor told me DO NOT SKI. I had a big fall in Solden and injured even my meniscus and my shoulder ( chipped the bone). .I had my ACL patellar graft and small part of meniscus removed  4 weeks ago.

Good question about the type of skis to use;

I know many people who ski after their ACL reconstruction, all I know they do ski on any skis really, racing, soft carving, stiff skis, I know a guy who skiing on moguls 7 months after his surgery and torn his ACL on the another knee.

If the doctor tells me its ok to ski this coming season ( i will listen to my him.this time) I will keep it easy on groom slopes and using all mountain skis.I love my Fischer Progressor

I am sure I will be worried a lot not to mess up the new ACL or the another knee.



those are great news, congratulation ,  I am happy for you :-)

How long are you post op? 4 months?



post #97 of 358





Oddly enough, my knee did not hurt much at all up to and after surgery and I never experienced pill popping pain.  I have read many blogs/forums fearing the worst, but I was lucky in that regard.


Now, a little over 3 months out of surgery, things are feeling pretty good with minor issues from time to time.  Funny how the knee lets you know if you pushed it too much.  In about a month, I will be fitted with a brace and at 5 months, I will start to easy my way back into sports related activities besides the normal rehab stuff.  Most of all, I am looking forward to the ski season - eager to get back out there.


As far as my skis, I currently have a 3 ski quiver comprised of Rossignol Bandit SC 86, Salomon Equipe T 2V Race, and a pair of Dynastar Max 8 for spring and early season crud.  The first two are fairly stiff the Max 8 carve pretty nice but are my rock skis.  I also play on a pair of short skis but they are pretty unstable at higher speeds.  Currently my plan is ski the groomers at all levels, cruising mostly.  Some small jumps once I am comfortable and skip racing, glades and parks for a year.  I always buy my gear in the summer and online (best prices) which works out well if you know what you want.  Currently looking for a int-adv carving ski but may ski that and go back to my mid-fats.

post #98 of 358



You are lucky that you didnt experienced big pains, when i torn ACL I kept skiing that day, it was not that bad; but after my surgery i though I was going to die; first few days. My roommate is a nurse she was giving me pain killers, sleeping pills and little Jameson at the same time and that knocked me out nicely :) but this can be done only under a professional watch, please ( just in case if someone is doing a research on ACL....)

I am trying to hold back and not to do too much exercises or push it too much, I have a tendency for that. One month after surgery is too early.

Could you tell me what kind of brace are you going to get? I was doing a research on them, too many options out there and Ph.therapist said it doesnt make difference.

As for the skis you have good skis already, I would skip the jumping part for some time even if small jumps, ACLs do not like the landing part for sure.

I have three pairs of fischer racing skis; it you are looking int-adv carving; Fischer progressor is the best ( thats what I believe)

they have 3 kinds, they are with race ski construction technology but are for all mountain skiing and can carve beautifully ;)

I will keep my racing skis under the bed this season; The day I torn my ACL I had GS skis on and skiing powder there were more crazy people with me but i was the one who paid for it


post #99 of 358

My first torn ACL occurred at a sky diving competition around 1969.  I resumed skiing following a 34 year gap and took up snowboarding in 1996 and discovered I couldn't go more than 300 yards without waiting for the knee pain to subside.  I had the ACL repaired (patella tendon graft) in May 1997 and then had two subsequent tune-ups. The only other injury in 2000+ jumps (other than 3 sprained ankles) was a separation of the ribs at the Nationals in Oklahoma in 1975.

Since resuming skiing I have had broken ribs (led to pneumonia), broken foot, another torn ACL (this past January), and a broken hand. Actually the last incident resulted from a UPD (UnPlanned Dismount) from one of my unicycles.

This past March I competed at the NASTAR Nationals with a brace on the torn ACL. Okemo Mountain did a nice wrapup of the event in their blog.  It's now been a month since the surgery (hamstring graft this time) and I have 135 degrees of motion.  I'll resume racing this winter but will likely wear a custom Townshend brace for this season.  Ironically, my snowboard racing has never produced an injury.  I split my time 50/50 between the two pursuits.

The doctor has me taking Vitamin D now because the bones can't take the same sort of abuse they did in the past.


"What a drag it is getting old......"

post #100 of 358
Thread Starter 

Hey folks. I haven't stopped by for a while - rehab has been keeping me really busy. But that's a good thing, right?


Vermonte - so glad to hear that you didn't do any damage and all is good. Sounds like you're having a textbook rehab.


Giga - I had a followup with my OS at 11 days, and will be seeing him again at the 2 month mark. At the 11-day appointment he provided me with a detailed rehab protocol and explained that my physiotherapist would be my most important day-to-day contact during rehab; he'll just check in to make sure the graft is stable and all is looking good. I think this is fairly standard (in fact I seemed to get a lot more instruction from my OS here in Canada than my UK friends did from theirs - a lot of them didn't get any instruction at all about the period between the surgery and starting physiotherapy!)


dski & Giga - When the injury happened it didn't hurt immediately, but by the time I'd gotten off the slopes and into the ER it was pretty horrendous. It settled down after a week or so and I had a good recovery prior to surgery.


Patmoore - you're way ahead of me on ROM - I also had the hamstring graft but I still have quite a lot of swelling which is hampering flex, so I'm stuck at about 115 right now (3 weeks post surgery). I'm envious that you'll be back on the slopes this winter - if I'm lucky I might catch the tail end of the season.


My rehab is going fairly smoothly so far. I'm up to an hour a day on the stationary bike, an hour in the pool, plus lots of range-of-motion and closed chain strengthening exercise. My leg strength, stability and quad control is excellent for this stage (I had no quad shutdown post-surgery) and my proprioception is improving all the time. Unfortunately I'm having ROM problems due to residual swelling, which also happened post-injury - I always swell badly after injuries, and it takes a long time to go down. Fortunately I have 8 weeks off work, so at the moment I'm able to prioritize my rehab. One step at a time...

post #101 of 358


I am glad that your rehab is going well, you are really working hard, nice 

115  three weeks after surgery is good, the swelling is effecting the ROM. My PT keeps telling me not to push flexion, I am 6 weeks post op I am at 130 now which he said is good.

This rehab is really taking a long time :-( which I knew of course. 

How long are you suppose to wear the brace? I've stopped using it couple of days ago, my doctor and PT are not into the braces too much. PT said its more mental help that the real help for the knee. I dont even know what to do for the ski season, brace or no brace. But of course I will have to see if everything will go well and if I will be able to ski. I really cant imagine winter without skiing


I also got fairly enough instructions from my Orthopedist before and after the surgery and I asked him million questions and he gave me all the answers, at the same time we are lucky with the computer technology those days so much info out there but some BS too.

Keep up good rehab :-) and yes one step at a time.

post #102 of 358

I'm not a doctor (I don't even play one on TV) but I have a lot of experience with ACL tears.  The first one was in 1969 at a sky diving competition.  Repaired in 1997 with two subsequent tune ups.  Now getting SynVisc type injections for the bone on bone.


The ACL tear on the other knee took place January 31st but I was able to finish the race season with a custom Townsend brace.  Reconstruction was five weeks ago with a graft from my hamstring.  I now have 135 degrees range of motion (more than the other knee) albeit with some pain.  The knee is perceptibly warmer than the other but that will diminish as will the pain.  I was off crutches after ten days and abandoned the temp brace after four weeks.  Formal PT ended at the same time but I work hard on my own forcing the knee to bend.  I'll resume racing (ski and board) this winter and will wear the Townsend brace for the first season only.  Not everyone is going to have the same recovery time.  Despite my advanced years (about to turn 64) I tend to heal very quickly from the many injuries I've incurred in the past few years.


What really bums me is missing golf.  If it were my right knee I'd have resumed playing by now but the left knee takes more abuse for a right handed golfer and it's too risky for another couple months. 


I've resumed biking but will hold off unicycling for at least another month because of the potential reinjury from UPDs (UnPlanned Dismounts ).



post #103 of 358


you have lots of experiences with the sport injuries for sure.

I was wondering if your orthopedist told you that you will be able to ski this coming season or you just know it from your own experiences.

I am 6 weeks post op and really hoping to be back on the slopes next season but my doctor told me maybe in january or february if I do good rehab.

I was doing research on the braces, the townsend brace seems a good brace, i guess it fits for the ski boot ?


post #104 of 358

He cleared me for racing once the season starts in December.  I scheduled all four knee surgeries in May or June so my season has been uninterrupted.  The broken foot was late in the season 2008 and the broken hand (unicycle fall) was in August 2005 so I missed very little time on the snow.  The broken ribs and pneumonia in 2007 did make me miss the NASTAR Nationals for the only time since 2004.


My doctor knows I bounce back quicker than most so you may not want to use my experience as a guideline. 

post #105 of 358
Originally Posted by patmoore View Post

He cleared me for racing once the season starts in December.  I scheduled all four knee surgeries in May or June so my season has been uninterrupted.  The broken foot was late in the season 2008 and the broken hand (unicycle fall) was in August 2005 so I missed very little time on the snow.  The broken ribs and pneumonia in 2007 did make me miss the NASTAR Nationals for the only time since 2004.


My doctor knows I bounce back quicker than most so you may not want to use my experience as a guideline. 

post #106 of 358

I can use your experience as a hope :-) thanks

post #107 of 358

A lot of it comes down to you get back what you put in. Stick to your PT and training program and you will be out and skiing sooner. ROM, strength and endurance were the gating (no pun intended) factors following my surgeries and return to racing. The actual healing was done way before I was approved for sports.

post #108 of 358


Master racer, what do you mean that your healing was done way before you could get back to sports? not enough strength....?

post #109 of 358

The ACL was solid before I was able to pass the strength and endurance tests. I had been down for an additional 6 weeks with a meniscus repair prior to the ACL reconstruction which degraded my strength a bit more than just an ACL reconstruction.


The point being that you have to work diligently work on your strength, endurance and ROM. It isn't just a matter of having an ACL. You need to be in good condition overall to be released to activity.


The greatest likelihood of failure will occur from pushing the repair before the body is strong enough to support safe activity.

post #110 of 358


 I understand, I am working hard on my rehab and I will keep doing it so we'll see.

I am going to see my doctor tomorrow hopefully all is going well by now.


post #111 of 358

After my ACL econ surgery (cadaver) and minisci repairs I was doing PT and going to the gym diligently.  Interestingly, I found my self at 4 months out experiencing pain around my Patella.  I ran out of PT visits limited by my insurance company, but I ran that course in any case.  After researching things a little and talking to my OS, my VOM part of the Quad is not doing its fair share and the patella is being pulled more to the left causing irritation.  I stopped working out with the exception of walking a lot.  Now a couple of weeks later, the pain appears to have disappeared, and I am also finding that my walking feels much more normal - I was experiencing weird lack of control every now and then (more han likely due to VOM strength lacking).  I go for a final check up with the OS at my 5 month mark next week and will be fitted for a brace to use during the upcoming ski season (which I am looking forward to).  My focus at this point is to work the quad.

post #112 of 358
Thread Starter 

Pat - I'm very impressed with your recovery time! 


Giga - while Pat's story is hopeful, I would talk to your surgeon to get an idea of what may be a realistic goal for you. They all have slightly different techniques and protocols, and release to full activity depends partly on these and partly on the outcome of your rehab. My release to full activity will not be until 8 months at the earliest; in my case the restraining factor is graft fixation. If I do get to ski this season, it won't be until around April. Mastersracer also makes a really good point about the need to regain strength before resuming full activity; my surgeon likes hamstring and quad strength in the operated leg to be at 95% of the good leg before he'll approve return to sports. This is mostly for graft protection, as poor leg strength/limited muscle control heightens the risk of an injury or action that might stress the graft.


With regard to the brace, I never had one post-surgery - my OS doesn't think they're necessary. (US surgeons seem a lot more inclined to use bracing post-surgery than docs here in Canada and in the UK.) I will use a functional brace (Ossur Paradigm) for at least my first season back on snow. I used the Paradigm for skiing post injury and it's extremely lightweight and comfortable; I've also heard great things about the Townsend Rebel for skiing.

post #113 of 358

Thank you boys for your advices,

I saw my orthopedist on monday he said if I keep doing a good rehab I may be able to go back on the slopes on the end of january, he also said they will advice me with a sport brace.

When I torn my ACL in february I kept skiing without it and in late april I had a fall and fractured my shoulder ( chipped bone) now it become a frozen shoulder ; so I am really having lots of fun with rehab. Well, it is worth it to listen to you doctor for sure. I felt embbarassed going back to him with injured shoulder after he was telling me not to go back on the skis.

I am 35, have been skiing 30 years and I have had injured myself only last two years, not bad :-)


post #114 of 358

This is the photo I showed the doctor before the surgery.  I pointed out that I'm the guy on the left and in these shots taken at this year's Nationals I was racing with a torn ACL in my left knee.  This was as much knee bend as I could manage.  I told him I need to look like the guys in the pictures on the right (like that's gonna happen!).


before after 450.jpg



The ACL graft was June 22nd so tomorrow will be seven weeks.  This morning was the first time I squatted down (heels flat) and put equal weight on both legs.  There's still some discomfort but that'll go away. 


knee bend 1-400.jpg

knee bend 2-400.jpg


Despite my advanced years (about to turn 64) I'm confident my racing this year won't be impeded by knee problems.  Lack of ability may be an impediment but I won't be able to blame the appendages.  For the first season I'll wear the Townshend brace.

post #115 of 358


My surgery was also jun 22 :-) we are 8 weeks today. ( not 7:)

Congratulation for doing so well.

post #116 of 358

You are absolutely right.  It's eight weeks.  My body is mending but my mind is beyond hope.....

post #117 of 358
Thread Starter 

Wow - I'm at 5.5 weeks post-surgery, and cannot even imagine being able to bend my knees like that! I still have a fair amount of residual swelling, and my flex isn't good. It's frustrating as my muscle strength, control and proprioception are all excellent, but the lack of bend is really hampering my ability to move forward. My doc has just switched my regular NSAIDs for something stronger in the hope that that will help bring down the remaining swelling.


It's a long, slow process, this ACL rehab...

post #118 of 358



Please don't get discouraged. The fact that you still have residual swelling and don't have maximum flexion really means nothing. Extension is the most important thing, so as long as you have that you have nothing to worry about. Your knee will likely have some swelling for months. However, I am surprised that your doc has you taking NSAID's. My doc says they impede bone healing and should not be used until at least 12 weeks after surgery. I am 12 weeks post-op from my 4th ACL recon and my leg is still swollen and looks like crap but it feels good. And although it is swollen I have almost full flexion. My doc always gives me compression stocking to wear to help with the swelling. 


Also, I see people comparing themselves with other and that is not a good thing. First off, it does not matter how well or fast you think you heal. The graft, be it bone-to-bone or tendon-to-bone, takes time to heal. An allograft takes about 2 years to fully re-vascularize so sports should be discontinued until 1 year post-op. A hamstring graft also takes longer to incorporate into the bone and therefore should not be compared with a patellar tendon graft (which heals the fastest). Regardless, the graft incorporates at a rate which is similar for most humans so just because you feel ready to rock does not mean the graft is ready to rock.


You can bend your leg to your butt and squat as much as you want but it won't make the graft heal any faster. Compared to my other recons, this one has by far been the hardest for me but it doesn't mean that I am behind or in any worse shape than I was with the others. Simply, it just means this one is a pain in the ass but it's all been worth it.


Just don't compare yourself to others because doctors have different protocols and may do things a little different. As well, people react differently to the same things. What may be simple for one person may be difficult for another and vice versa but it does not mean that you won't achieve the same end result.   


post #119 of 358


What I have learned last few months, i think Bedgalskier is right, you should not worried if your flexion is not that good, it will get better for sure. For some people it takes longer that for the others. My felxion is not that great too but my doctor told me not to worried about it that the most important is that I have full extention. Most of the orthopedist have different approach for ACL recostruction or the rehab. I do believe most of them  are very good what are they doing.

I am sure you will get where you want to get :-)

post #120 of 358

BadGalSkier, that was a great post!  Very insightful and helpful.

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