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Type of Ski Gear after ACL Reconstruction

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 


This past season, I decided to race after not having done so for about 20 years.  It was a great and fun experience. However, back in February, 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 doctor’s visits, x-rays 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.


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.


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.  I was trying to decide, due to my ACL reconstruction and menisci repairs if I should ski more of a shaped ski this up coming season and whether I should I have the binding set differently?


Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

Edited by dskifanatic - 7/20/10 at 7:29am
post #2 of 9

Follow what the OS prescribes (i.e. brace or no brace) and you should be fine.  You shouldn't have to make any other adjustments.  Might want to stay out of the moguls for a while. 


I tore my ACL in April '08 and raced (NASTAR and Beer league) Feb '09.  Still don't have an ACL (long story).


Go easy the first day or two back but as long as you do ALL the PT you are supposed to and not stop when your HMO quits paying, your leg will probably be stronger than it.  You should be mindful of what it is telling you though.  Especially with miniscus damage, jumps and bumps could cause swelling and should probably be put off for a while.


If you aren't sure, ask your OS.


Good luck and heal quick,


post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply!


I have read a lot about others who ski with no ACL which amazes me!  I guess it is all about conditioning at that point.


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. Just want to be on the mountain!  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 skip that and go back to my mid-fats.


As far as PT, I think I have spent that experience (18 visits, I have two left for future check ups).  I am currently trying to establish a training cycle/habit that focus' on the quads and hams.  Stationary and road biking, squats, stretching etc. are all in the works.  I will be getting a brace for sports which is when I will take a 8 session exercise class.  Then I will work to get muscle tone back!


Thanks again Ken!

post #4 of 9

You need not change any of your ski equipment. I just had my 4th recon 6 weeks ago and I still plan on hitting the hills hard (with my custom knee braces of course). At one point I was skiing sans ACL in both knees. Currently I have a patellar tendon allograft in my left knee and a quadriceps tendon autograft in my right. I blew them all out on the ski hills.


After a primary ACL recon you are free to beat the crap out of it as if nothing was ever wrong (assuming it was just your ACL and cartilage). The stationary bike is your best friend when rehabbing. I ride for at least 2 hours a day.


Last season I used my double tipped skis a few times which went well (I just like to go backwards) and then I decided to use my Atomic Beta Ride R-11's (my all-time faves) and I blew my right ACL out on the moguls. I plan on staying off the moguls for good but that's all I am giving up.   


A first-time ACL recon should not set you back and if a surgeon tells you otherwise then he must not be very confident in his work. On the other hand (as in my case), after your fourth recon the doc will likely tell you to start seriously considering giving up skiing but I refuse to. I'd rather ski for 5 more years and get a knee replacement than never ski again. As well, you must consider the type of graft you have. Allograft tissue takes about 2 years to fully re-vascularize so I would take it easy this upcoming season. The failure rate for allografts is also higher so you don't want to over do it too soon. 


The one thing I will say however, is that knee braces will NOT necessarily prevent a re-tear. They certainly help with limiting hyper-extension and reinforcing proprioception but that's about it. They do help you to feel more confident. The CTi2 knee brace has a ski boot attachment which some people like. I don't care for the CTi2 braces myself. Also make sure that when you get your brace, you bring your ski boot so they can make the brace the right length.    


I do find that my legs more tired and achy so I got myself a pair of amazing ski boots which I wouldn't trade for a million bucks. If you don't have them already, I would suggest custom-molded orthotic boot liners. They really do make a difference when waiting in line for the left.  


Good luck with your recovery.

post #5 of 9

I had my surgery last april.  I did not change my equipment after surgery.  The only caution from my doc was to not race or jump.  He said that the danger is when the knee is extended.  It is more protected when flexed.  You will find that after a few days out you gain confidence in the repaired knee.  By later in the season I over-did it in the bumps.  When I pushed it hard in the bumps I did get some swelling.  I was warned that this would occur for the first year after the surgery.  My doc said it takes about 18 months to get back to 100%.  I also opted for the cadaver graft.   Good luck with your recovery.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have pretty much made up my mind that I will cruise the groomers this upcoming season.  Maybe later in the season, ratchet it up a notch once I have gotten out there a dozen times or so.  I will stay out of the glades, parks and moguls for the most part for the upcoming season.  Based on what most are saying I guess I can save a few dollars and skip the expense of gear that I may only use for one season.  Although, I am looking at a pair of Fischer Heat skis, that I just have fun carving with.


I also see discussion regarding knee braces a little here and on another thread - I think for a confidence boost the knee brace will play a role for me at least for this year.  I am trying to really tone up and working to get the quad (particularly the VMO) back in shape - seems like it is the last muscle to develop.


Any how, thanks for the input!

Edited by dskifanatic - 8/2/10 at 7:46am
post #7 of 9

Do you have a say in what kind of brace you get? I got an Ossur Paradigm after my ACL tear, and was back skiing six weeks later. I did take things pretty easy for the remainder of the season (ruptured my ACL in March, returned to the slopes in April, had my recon in July) but I found it impressively lightweight and supportive. After a couple of runs I barely noticed I was wearing it. I've also heard really good things about the Townsend Rebel braces for skiing, though I wasn't able to find a local distributor.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have Bledsoe Ultimate Sport.  It is short enough below the knee to allow room for my boots.  It also feels pretty good with the exception of some pinching from the strap below the back of the knee when I am bending a lot, but I added a little padding the fix that issue.   I am looking forward to getting back out there!

post #9 of 9

Should the bindings be set any differently?


I have been 49 yo now for several years, at least with respect to binding charts.  Now that I found that I have been skiing for 6 to 20 ears without an ACL, I keep wondering if I should relax the bindings slightly.  I currently ski with the toe at Level III chart setting (except for the age drop) and the heel +1 over chart DIN.  Any thoughts or suggestions?

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