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ACL Tear, Surgery and Misdiagnosis

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ACL Tear, Surgery and Misdiagnosis

Postby sox 06 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:47 pm

About nine or ten years ago I was in middle school and playing football. I played for two years and I injured my left knee in the first year. It didn't seem bad so I didn't get it checked out or anything. During the course of the following season, I could barely walk and I was going up and down stairs one foot at a time. It was bad. I went to my doctor and he said I had Osgood-Schlatters. He said there's nothing I could do about it and that at some point in my life it would get better.

I suffered for the next couple of years and I had to stop playing football. Fast forward to two or three years ago. I was kneeling down in my bedroom and when I went to stand up that knee popped real loud and it felt like the knee went out of place. I panicked and turned around to sit down when it popped again and felt like it went back into place. This same thing has happened about eight times since then. It happens when I'm doing "everyday" things such as sitting down on a bed, couch or bending down to do something.

I went to a new knee doctor and she took x-rays and evaluated my knee and said my kneecap was out of place and because of this the inside of my kneecap was wearing out. She sent me to therapy. The first day of therapy, my therapist was evaluating me and said that the ACL in the knee was either torn or had been torn at some point. I went back to my doctor and she actually said the same thing. I went for an MRI and it came back normal.

Fast forward to this Summer. Therapy didn't help at all so I had surgery to smooth out my kneecap. When the doctor has inside of my knee she looked at everything and confirmed that I did indeed tear my ACL at some point (likely when I was playing football). She said I am a candidate for ACL surgery, but I could get away with wearing a brace and not having surgery.

Sorry for the long post, but I need some help and I think it helps to know the whole situation. I'll turn 21 this Sunday and I refuse to wear a brace. I don't think a 21 year old should have to wear a brace to play pickup basketball or golf. I don't want to further injure my knee so I figure getting it fixed now it the best thing to do. Has anyone had ACL surgery? I know its a long, painful and potentially frustrating recovery.
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Re: ACL Tear, Surgery and Misdiagnosis

Postby lastingsgriller » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:34 am

it's never happened to me, but i do know if a situation you can probably relate to. i'll follow up your long post with a long story to go with it.

i grew up playing soccer. my best buddy was one of the better soccer players in the state. he was up for Mr. Soccer his sophomore year. (irrelevant, but pertains to the story). summer after sophomore year during summer soccer he caught a foot to the knee and had a slight tear to the ACL. probably what you had, as you can't walk if you have a full tear. the doctor spotted it right away and told him he had a choice. he could have surgery and be out for 6+ months or he could rest and let it heal. the doctor told him it would never be that same without surgery, but it would heal and he would be able to play junior year in the fall. he is a competitor, so he said "let me play." as it was, he was not the same. he wasn't half the player he had been. he was bad that year, and he isn't even a player based on speed or quickness. he was just a ball controlling midfielder. but he never had confidence in anything he did and he never felt right. his knee felt like mush (much like your knee feels, i'm sure.) he said he always felt like the next shot to the knee would break it. and because of that he never had the confidence to do anything.

interestingly enough, in our third to last game, he broke his ankle. he talked to his doctor and asked while they are doing surgery on his ankle, could they do his knee as well. turns out, no, thats two different surgens.. haha.. but what ever. he had both done within a week and rehabbed them together.

long story longer... he said it took 8-9 months before he rehabbed his knee to full strength, but once it was full strength he said it was significantly better then anytime since he tore it. he has always said his biggest regret was not just getting surgery right away.

It is a significant investment of time. also, if you are not the type of worker thats going to go all out and rehab it right, you might as well not do it at all. but, if you are willing to put the time and effort into it, i think you will be amazed what it's like to live with a normal knee again. it's easy to just live with what you've got and deal with it, but a couple of years from know you will thank yourself for getting it fixed.

blah blah blah... long story, i know.. but, you're young, get it fixed while you still heal fast and have the energy to hit the gym every day.
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Re: ACL Tear, Surgery and Misdiagnosis

Postby Madison » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:31 am

My kid brother tore his ACL when he was 14 and again at 17 (if memory serves - regardless, it was twice before he turned 18), same knee both times. It tore a second time because he was still growing after the first surgery, they knew it would likely happen again with the way the first surgery went. Anyway, he's over 30 now and has had no issues since the second surgery. So I'd get it fixed for good (surgery) since you're only 21. ;-D
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Re: ACL Tear, Surgery and Misdiagnosis

Postby Metroid » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:14 pm

Rub some dirt on it and call it good.
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Re: ACL Tear, Surgery and Misdiagnosis

Postby Dan Lambskin » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:09 pm

Metroid wrote:Rub some dirt on it and call it good.


or 'tussin
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Re: ACL Tear, Surgery and Misdiagnosis

Postby sox 06 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:22 pm

Another thing is I haven't trusted this knee at all since it starting giving me trouble. Now that I know my ACL is messed up, I'm going to trust it even less.
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Re: ACL Tear, Surgery and Misdiagnosis

Postby lastingsgriller » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:27 pm

sox 06 wrote:Another thing is I haven't trusted this knee at all since it starting giving me trouble. Now that I know my ACL is messed up, I'm going to trust it even less.


lastings wrote:but he never had confidence in anything he did and he never felt right. his knee felt like mush (much like your knee feels, i'm sure.)


get it fixed, homey ;-D
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Re: ACL Tear, Surgery and Misdiagnosis

Postby jake_twothousandfive » Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:19 am

I tore mine my freshman year of college during finals week in a game of backyard football. Completely siderailed my summer. I couldn't walk at all, not so much because of the pain but it gave out when I put too much weight on it. So I had surgery right away. I won't lie, the recovery process is long and hard. The first few weeks are spent attempting to regain full range of motion. My knee was locked into a small range of motion (I couldn't either bend it or extend it fully) following surgery so a lot of time was spent pushing it down and pulling it in for barely noticeable, painful gains. That was the most painful portion of recovery for me. The next phase is muscle strengthening. I couldn't get my upper leg muscles to fire so I needed electrical stimulation to help reactivate them; though I don't think that's always necessary. The next several months are spent on mostly strengthening exercises, which aren't painful but boring and tedious.

If you do go ahead with it, the best advice I can give you is to take it very slow. Intentionally hold yourself back from doing too much, too soon. Following all of that I retore the same ACL during a physical therapy session evaluating my progress. During the vertical leap test I landed on the injured knee and put just enough pressure on it to tear it again (about 8 months following the first surgery). I then had to have surgery again and went through the same process a second time. Not fun.

Fast forward two years, I can run several miles a day at a good clip with no pain. The strength is still not all back, and the explosiveness I once had never will be, but I can lead an active lifestyle and never wear a brace. Doing a quick measurement now, I can tell you that my injured leg is still 2 inches smaller around than the non-injured leg. At one point the muscles had atrophied to the point where there was about an 8 inch difference in the circumference of each leg. I can play any sport but I'm nowhere near as good at them as I once was.

The best athletes in the world take 7-9 months to fully recover when, I imagine, nearly all of their time is devoted to recovery and they have the best doctors to work with. You should expect it to take you a bit longer than that.
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Re: ACL Tear, Surgery and Misdiagnosis

Postby sox 06 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:53 pm

jake_twothousandfive wrote:During the vertical leap test I landed on the injured knee and put just enough pressure on it to tear it again (about 8 months following the first surgery). I then had to have surgery again and went through the same process a second time. Not fun.

8-o I can't imagine that happening.

My knee has been really swollen since the kneecap surgery and it was so bad that I had to have it drained. I've been doing exercises every day since the surgery but the swelling has restricted how much I can bend the knee. It feels really tight inside of the knee when I try and bend it and there have been a couple of times when I thought that was the ACL thing when it was just the swelling.

I need to do the one foot at a time thing when I go up and down stairs. There have been a couple of times when I forgot to do this and I tried to go either up or down normally, using both legs. Every time that I've done this, there has been an extremely tight feeling in the knee (because of the swelling) but every time I've panicked and thought it was my ACL :-o

I absolutely cannot live the rest of my life knowing my ACL is messed up.
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Re: ACL Tear, Surgery and Misdiagnosis

Postby BigLebowski » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:33 am

I have an appointment next Monday regarding my knee. I hurt it 18 months ago playing basketball and have avoided the Dr. on purpose ever since. I have finally broken down and have an appointment scheduled since my standard of living has dropped significantly in the last 2 months. I am hoping it is a partial tear and not a complete tear, but the joint laxity has me worried. I am a father of 4 (ages 10 to 5 weeks) and want to be able to play sports/games/hike/etc. with them all so I finally broke down and scheduled an apt. I've seen many of my college teammates and friends go through surgery and the biggest thing I found it that most don't rehab enough. I understand that some go to far and re-injure the knee, but in the most part I've seen a lack of rehab is what causes future problems. Good Luck....to you and to me.
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