Using a cadaver graft or Allograft for ACL Reconstruction

As previously noted I’ve opted to take the Allograft route for my upcoming ACL surgery. Today i’m compiling a list of resources regarding the use of Allograft or cadaver tissue in ACL repairs.

Allograft vs. Autograft in ACL Reconstruction Medscape.com – This article is brief but rather technical. It contains a couple of good images and some great information about the chances of disease transmission, which is obviously a concern for anyone undertaking such an operation.

Allograft ACL Repair Questioned in Young Active Patients MedpageToday – This article is downright scary. It summarizes a study that shows Allograft to have high failure rates in patients under 40 who are highly active, a category I definitely fall in to.

eorthopod.com has an article stating that there is no difference in strength and reiterating faster recovery period.

All of this is food for thought. Were this my first repair I’d definitely go with a hamstring repair, but because i’ve already done that it’s not an option. My approach will be to get back on my feet as soon as possible and try to get a strong as possible to protect that ligament.

1,558 Responses

  1. In 1989 I had an ACL repair surgery on my right knee. My patellar tendon was used to repair the torn ACL. The surgery was very successful and I don’t have any problems with that knee at all, which is solid.

    This year I tore the ACL on my left knee (can’t stay off of the basketball court!) and this time I decided to go with the cadaver graft. The surgery was October 7 and so far, so good. Not using an autograft resulted in a lot less trauma to the leg. The recovery time is a lot quicker, as I spent a good bit less time on crutches than my first surgery. Of course, disease transmission is a concern, but I was told by my surgeon that the chances are extremely small. At this stage, I am glad I decided to use the allograft this time.

  2. Hey David-

    Thanks for sharing your experience. How long were you on crutches after your surgery?

  3. I had the surgery Tuesday, October 7 and if I am not mistaken, I started walking without crutches on Saturday, October 18. However, I did not completely stop using the crutches on that date. I would still use them occasionally, especially if the knee were not “warmed up” after being inactive or if I had to walk for a relatively long period of time. I’d say I completely stopped using the crutches after about another week, which comes to about 2.5 weeks after surgery.

  4. David,
    Its good to know that you play basket ball too. I completely tore my ACL on left knee on Dec 8 and I was also given 3 choices to choose from:
    1) Cadaver Graft
    2) Patella tendon graft
    3) Hamstring graft
    i am also trying to find some good info to help me decide. My doctor voted for the first two choices and asked me to decide. So can you please tell me how you made this decision and when are you going to be back on the basket ball court.
    I want to be back on basket ball court asap. I am 28 yrs old now.

  5. I just tore my ACL on my left knee skiing Dec. 20th. I was also giving the choice of cadaver or my own hamstring for surgery. From what I read the cadaver surgery has a high failed rate but I’m not too crazy about having to recover from two surgeries. I will have surgery in 2 weeks. I’m a very active 39yr. old mom and wakeboarding weather is just around the corner! I was very hard on my knees playing sports and I think I’m paying for that now but not willing to slow down yet. I’m also just looking for some input from people that have gone through what I’m about to. Thanks!

  6. Hello Tracy,

    I am now recovering from an ACL reconstruction surgery that was done 4 days ago. I opted to use my hamstring and I am beginning to regret it because it is more painful. I am very active as well, I do Krav Maga, etc. So far I am still on crutches and that brace, and I try to keep my leg elevated as much as possible. The one thing that is making recovery so much better is this machine that pumps cold water into a wrap that goes around my leg. It also compresses and is very soothing. Make sure you get one, I dont know what I would have done without it.

  7. Hi Kimber,
    I have enjoyed the cold water compress during therapy. I hope I will be taking one home. I just hate that I’m just now getting some movement back in my knee and in two weeks I will be back at square one. Good luck with your recovery, I’ll keep checking for updates. Tracy

  8. Hello,
    If you need help deciding on allograft vs. autograft this is might help.

    I just had my second ACL reconstruction on my left knee on december 10th. For both surgeries I opted for the allograft. I am finding recovery time to be quite quick as I am off crutches and out of any brace as I wright this. I am currently learning how to walk properly again. My first allograft failed, but that was when I aggressive inline skated in 2001, skating twists knees too much, much like skiing, so no more of that. I currently only ride road bikes and Downhill mountain bike, and snowboard, all have much less impact on the ACL. I don’t play basketball, soccer, run, or any other sport that has harsh turning, this is why I opted for the allograft over autograft. Word has it that the allograft is weaker than autograft (my first one failed) so that seems to be true, but my sports and lifestyle have changed and I know feel that the allograft was the better choice for me.

  9. 24 days after surgery I…
    Walked down 3 flights of stairs to do laundry (elevator back up)
    Ride 30 minutes a day on stationary bike
    Can stand and wash dishes and cook
    Use almost all of my range of motion
    No crutch or brace when I walk

    but…

    My knee swells up every time I do my PT
    I walk like a pirate with a peg leg
    My patella dose not track correctly so there is a lot of locking and popping
    And I can’t sleep more than an hour or two due to extreme restless leg syndrome ( it really does exist )

  10. Thanks Mike,
    I think I’m leaning more towards the Allograft. I’m just not sure I want to put my good leg(if you can call it good) through anything. I have dislocated my right knee before and have some arthritis in it. Rain and cold weather sometimes flares it up. I don’t run as much as I use to but water sports and snow skiing is something that my family does together. I guess recovery time is slow and I need to be patient? And yes I’m already tired of walking like a peg leg pirate too.

  11. Hi Andy,
    My doc is the doctor for a college football team and while he recommends the hamstring for most patients, he uses the patella tendon for all athletes. I think because it is stronger or quicker recovery but there are some potential complications/issues. He is of the mentality that the allograft is weaker. After heavy duty hiking and some skiing for the last 5 years, I haven’t found the allograft weaker, but that may just be me. Personally, I do worry about disease transmission and did regret getting the allograft for the year after that surgery. Then again, the trauma from the hamstring this time really bothered me up til this week (for 5 weeks). If I was you, I would go patella (if you haven’t had surgery already).

  12. Hi Tracy T.,
    Sounds like you are under the impression that the hamstring is from the other knee. Its from the same one. Both ways (auto- or allograft), you can expect a good 3 months before you feel right (longer before you are supposed to do things like wakeboarding).

  13. Hi Kimber,
    I’m finally (mostly) painfree. Its been 5 weeks. Hang in there!

  14. Eric- Glad to hear the pain is going away! My pain is mostly on the the inside of my knee, probably where the incision is. I put weight on my leg today but when I tried to walk with my brace, it felt too wierd. I still have my bandages on, will have them removed during my doctor visit in 2 days. I have my first PT appt tomorrow, wish me luck!

    Tracy- My Dr had the machine dropped off at my house, its a rental and it truly is a godsend. I even sleep with it wrapped around my knee. Good luck with your surgery, keep us updated.

    Mike- Wow, after 24 days you are making progress! I really needed to read that.

    Did anyone have an issue with your foot swelling up? If I keep my leg not elevated after a long time, my foot swells. I go back to work tomorrow though, thank goodness I have a desk job. I will have to find a way to elevate my leg.

  15. Hey all,

    I had ACL surgery on Nov 7 using an allograft. Obviously the first week was incredibly painful, but I was totally off crutches after 10 days. I started PT right away riding the stationary bike, and isometric excercises. Moderate pain, swelling, and stiffness continued for about 6 weeks. About two weeks ago it just start feeling great, no pain. I actually, without thinking, ran up the stairs, where before it was hard to walk normally up the stairs. Just remember while it may feel weird or hard to use your leg, it is so important to be using it and doing your PT no matter how much it hurts. I can’t vouch for the strength of an allograft yet, but recovery time seemed much quicker than I was expecting. I am sure it feels like your knee will never feel the same again early on, but it will. I am sure many of you have seen this site, but it helped me a lot. http://aclsurgeryrecovery.blogspot.com/2008_05_01_archive.html

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  17. Hey Eric,
    My Dr. called me this morning and his call made me feel better about the allograft. He did say that the ones that fail are the people jump right back into their sports full force after 3-4 mo. I told him I will lay off the water sports this summer. This site is really helping me a lot and I’m glad I found it. To hear about everyone’s recovery and how well you guys are doing is encouragement to me. Thanks!

  18. Thanks for all these posts. I hurt my knee Sunday, had MRI yesterday, and find out today at 4 if indeed my ACL is torn. I want to play basketball again but know I’ll be scared to and wonder if I should. I have played my entire life and its my true passion (family being first of course). I’m 36 and have never had a knee injury before this. Any feedback on whether to play again or not? I have a lot of snap, crackle, pop in my knees which is due to cartlidge being worn down from years of playing. Thanks.

  19. this forum is pretty great. like our own little support group. i tore up my left knee back in october(acl, meniscus, and also damaged the pcl and mcl).. anyway, it was suggested to me by my surgeon to go to physical therapy before surgery 2-3 times a week, not only to down the swelling but to get some strength back and to make it an easier transition postsurgery for recovery. injury was october 3rd, surgery was dated for nov. 25, i continued PT twice a week throughout and i was off crutches in early november before surgery. i opted for the patella graft and that was my surgeon’s favored option. Surgery was the 25th, and i was off crutches by december 4th. no problems since, and with continued rehab, therapists and surgeon think i will be able to play basketball competitively by june/july. i am 22. best wishes everyone.

  20. jay dale. dont play, you will find out quickly that you can not and will damage it further. when i snapped mine, i tried to get up and walk it off, because like you, i had never been hurt like that before. but you will cause more damage whether to your meniscus, or your lateral ligaments. good luck.

  21. Jay Dale,
    I’d say after a year, you could certainly play again without fear. Docs recommend 4-6 months before running, longer for contact sports. But from my experience the graft (and mine was an allo-) was and is strong enough for skiing and playing ultimate frisbee (with lots of running, jumping, diving etc.) after a year or so – I was pretty conservative at first. And look, now I tore my other ACL before the graft one.

    The only thing you should fear is going back too soon or that you have a predisposition for tearing ACLs (but hey, even if you are like me you only get 2 weak ones so once those are replaced you should be fine). My caveat is that it may depend on your cartilage damage if you have some that can’t be fixed because that there is no replacement and it’ll only get worse the more you play. If they go in, they’ll get a good look at it (and fix what they can) so you’ll know.

  22. Wow, what a great discussion! I’d have to say that thus far I’m thrilled with my easy (allograft) recovery. At almost six weeks i’m walking almost normally and riding my bike fairly easily on a trainer.

    Also, if anyone participating in this forum would like to write about their experiences in the blog let me know. I’m always looking for more people.

  23. Thanks everyone for your posts back. I meet with surgeon today 1/12 to discuss options and a date. I’m still torn on whether to play ball again but its premature before I go through rehab, etc. On one hand I think its a sign of age and should probably just give it up. On the other I truly love it and will have one new knee and what are the odds of blowing out the other. Then again I love to exercise so I hote not to be able to run again if I re-injure. I’ll stay in touch.

  24. It’s the day after my ACL surgery and the pain level was pretty high this morning. Therapy will start on Tuesday. I’m sure that will be a fun day and the pain meds will come in handy. So far I’ve only had 2 pain pills. The Dr. had to make 4 incisions instead of 3. I had done a little more damage than we thought. I had a tear in my meniscus, MCL and a small fracture on the top of the tibia. My shin feels numb,that is just a strange filling. I’m so bandaged up right now it’s hard to tell just how much swelling I have. Nothing feels too tight, it’s just bulky. I’ve got movies downloaded to the TV and my husband waiting on me(that is the good part). I’ll feel better when I can take a shower! Tomorrow is sure to be better than today, I hope.

  25. Hey Tracy-

    Thanks for the update, I look forward to hearing about your recovery as you go forward.

    Henry

  26. Tracy, glad to hear you are doing good. Did they give you a block? When the block wears off, be prepared to take some pain medicine. Please keep us updated!

    I am 3 weeks into my recovery. I walk now without crutches and I am working on my flexion and extension. While I wish I had the allograft, I am catching up with my PT so I am not as stressed about it.

  27. Hey Kimber.
    Glad to hear that you are off the crutches,3 weeks… that is wonderful!! You are right, I had the meds ready. Yesterday was a bad day. Today I have only taken 1/2 doses of pain meds. When I get up it feels like my leg weighs a ton. I’m just trying to take it easy, stay in bed and prepare myself for therapy on Tuesday when they take the bandages off.

  28. Tracy: Use the hell out of that cold compression machine. I had that thing on all day long. And it does get better!

    At this point, the most frustrating thing is not being able to sleep on my side. My back hurts more than my knee and my PT says its because I carry myself different to favor the knee that had surgery. Anyone else have this problem?

  29. So glad to have found this site! Thanks to everyone for sharing your resources and experiences. I tore my ACL skiing on 12/26 and have scheduled surgery for 2/26. My doc strongly recommended the allograft and there are many reasons why that route appeals to me. In doing my due dilligence research I came across the article about risks for younger active folks and that worried me – I’m 35 and very active (skiing, hiking, rock climbing, triathlons) – but the discussions and other resources shared here have helped put some of those concerns to rest. I’m definitely willing to take the recovery time I need and return to my sports only when I’m truly ready – there’s plenty of other things I can enjoy that I can otherwise never find the time to do!

    Look forward to reading all about everyone’s recoveries over the next few weeks/months and thanks again for sharing!

  30. Today was not a bad day(day 3). I only had to take 3 ibuprofen this morning. I’ve done a few more leg lifts today. It may sound strange but when I try to straighten my leg out it feels better,anyone else have that feeling? It does not move much because of all the wrapping on it, that will come off Tuesday. Yeah! I’m still hanging out in bed and just trying to stay off if it. Dr. did not want any pressure on it until therapy. Each day seems better.

  31. Tracy: It did feel better to straighten it and wierd to bend it, and it is still that way. Although full extension feels like my knee is going to snap, like there isnt much holding up my knee. The swelling has gone down and my knee almost matches my other one. Tracy, when they take the bandage off, its shocking. My knee was so huge!

  32. My PT told me that ACL surgery is crazy to watch, so I youtubed it (I know, I am a nerd) and you have got to see this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfTBNBc7Obg&feature=PlayList&p=FD8588ACF464C434&playnext=1&index=29

  33. Hey Kimber and Everyone else!
    I watched the youtube video, that was cool. Not sure if I got one or not. I hope I did.

    Today was my first therapy appt. I got all the bandages off(what a relief). The swelling was not too bad and just slight bruising. We just worked on flexing and extending. The therapist let me walk without my brace but using my crutches, working on that heel-toe movement that I miss so much. He said I HAVE to wear the brace at night to help straighten my leg more. As if we get a good nights sleep anyway, right? I’ll be glad when I can get rid of the brace for good!!! The strap right under my knee keeps rubbing one of the incisions and there is no way to move it and it hurts like SH#&!! Just another bump in the road to recovery. I hope everyone is doing well. I’m glad no one has had any set-backs thus far.

  34. Did anybody else get a video of their surgery on dvd?
    I might post this question on the blog too.

  35. I tore mine landing bad durring a butterfly twist. 5 minutes later I was up and jumping again but with a strange sinsation. 2 months later i dropped to the ground screaming in pain durring a friendly jodo match. My surgery is in 2 weeks and I am alot more scared than I thought I’d be. I know 31 is a bit old to be doing martial arts tricking but I love flipping and twisting trough the air. I already gave up national competition after a knee injury 4 years ago. How much do I have to give up now? I teach martial arts for a living so limiting my activity is not easy.

  36. Tracy: If you can, keep wearing the ace bandage. That will help keep that strap from rubbing on the incision. Just wrap it around that area. Plus, it helps keep the brace from sliding down your leg. I am at that point now where the brace falls no matter what and rests on my foot (which hurts like hell.) I am going to call my doctor tomorrow to see if I can get a new brace. Good to hear you are recovering okay though!

    Henry: I didnt get a video but I have really good pictures. I would scan them and see if I can post them but I doubt they will look as good.

    Shane: I hurt mine doing Krav Maga (Israeli martial arts). I was told by my PT that it would be a year before I can fight again. :( It is very discouraging. I am hoping this year goes by fast. Good luck though, it is better than not taking care of it and doing more injury to your knee.

  37. Hey all,

    Great to hear everyone’s recovery stories, and it sounds like things are going good for the most part. I am now at 2 1/2 months post surgery, and it feels like I didn’t even have surgery (thats a good thing). I can already tell my knee has much more support and I walk with no limp at all. I still have a long ways to go building up muscle, but the Doc feels I am progressing well. I have been given the go ahead to stop physical therapy and do my excercises at home. At the follow up appointment he stressed to not rush back into serious sports, I’ll see where I am in 4 months at the next appointment. Also, I hear alot of people get the brace, which I did not have, and my mobility was back to perfect after a couple of weeks. I guess every doctor is different.

    Look forward to hearing about everyone’s full recovery!

  38. Hey Kimber,
    I have tried everything from the ace bandage to to not even buckling that strap last night. I had much rather go through 8 hours of child labor again as to put that brace back on. So first thing this morning I called the therapist and told him and he said there was another one they could probably fit me in tomorrow but he would check with the doc first. I see the Dr. on Friday. I know how you feel about it sliding down. Right before my surgery I could not keep mine up. Maybe we should come up with some stylish double sided tape to help keep the darn thing on our leg.

  39. Tracy: I think we could make and sell brace straps that actually work! I tried to give mine away to a friend who was complaining of knee pain but she wouldnt take it. Someone at work has started calling me Max Max; I dont know how I feel about that yet. But good news, I have gained 14 degrees of flexion in my knee in less than a week. Yay!

    Hanson: My Dr told me that some doctors dont give their patients a brace but then told me I have to wear mine. He was trying to comfort me when I first took my brace off to have the bandages removed. I was so nervous about not having that protection. Didnt you feel wierd? Was your knee all wobbly and what not?

  40. I have had two ACLs and four scopes. I am pretty active with sports and I am a fire fighter so my knees take a beating. The first surgery was the autograft. It lasted two years. The second was the allograft. I went to a local guy for the first surgery and a well know doc in Chicago for the second. They say one may be better than the other… Who knows. I do know discretion is the key. We’re all damaged after a knee injury and we’ll never be “the same”. If you tore the ligament God gave you, you can most certainly tear the new one. If you’re scared, get the anti-rotational brace (Don Joy’s are pretty good and comfortable). If you are fearless, great. Just know you may be back on the table at some point. Either way don’t let it stop you. We’re only young once! Good luck to all of you.

  41. By the way, the allograft recovery was significantly shorter and less painful. The first 72 hours are the key. You have to fight the urge to walk unless it’s necessary. Keeping it up, iced, and compressed reduces so much of the swelling in the knee and foot.

  42. Kimber: It definitely felt weird, but I took faith in what my doctor told me. He is a very strong proponent of using that leg as soon as you are off the surgery table. I was putting 25% weight bearing on the bad leg right after surgery and pretty much off the crutches after a week (with an obvious limp of course). I guess every doctor has their own ideas and practices. How long do you have to keep the brace on?

  43. Hi All,
    After few visits back to this site after my post and having not seen any replies I haven’t check on this site until now. Feels really great that so many people have been checking this site since then. Here is my story
    I tore my ACL on Dec 8 and by Dec 12 I found out that I have an ACl tear and scheduled my surgery for Jan 13. During the period I did some research and found that Patellar tendon is the way to go (although I wanted Allograft) and told my Doctor’s assistant to go auto graft way. My leg felt good or normal by Dec 24 few of my cousins who were doctors (cardiologists and internal medicine) thought that I should take a second opinion since they saw me playing Table tennis and dancing during the christmas break parties. I even played Basket ball again but did not do any jumping but on jan 8 I played basketball again and jumped very little and I collapsed completely, so Jay Dale don’t play till you get rehab after surgery.
    On Jan 13 I was under the impression that I was getting patellar tendon graft, but after I was anesthetized my surgen came to meet me and since on back of my mind I was inclined for allograft I asked him what are the disadvantages of allograft he said that if he had to do a ACL reconstruction on his leg he would go for allograft and he spoke to my wife while I was slowly going into sleep. So dont know for good or bad now I have a allograft.
    My recovery so far has been really great. I came back home on jan 13 and every 4 hours I took Oxycodone (few time in the night I had muscle spasms and felt like I tore my ACL again but Doctor’s nurse asked me not to worry)and on Jan 16 went for my first PT most of the exercises were easy except heel slides (torture). PT asked me to bear weight on the leg and did not feel any pain and have been walking with two crutches. Returned to work on Jan 19 could not sit comfortably on the chairs but due to constant motion leg eased out and could walk with no crutches but Pt cautioned me against that and now I use one crutch. Tommorow I will be meeting my doctor and wil post more info. Oh by the way I took my first shower on Jan 14 night with my wife’s help she wrapped my leg in a trash bag to prevent water soaking and have been taking a shower every day (of course with her help)

  44. Hello Everyone.
    Today was my second PT appt.(1 week since my surgery). I did really good and have gained 8 more degrees. I’m not saying that it was fun, I’m back on the ice right now. The therapist told me since I could not wear the brace right now and I was walking good I could drop down to one crutch. I will see the Dr tomorrow and the PT said he had talked to him about that darn incision that is preventing me from wearing that brace. I hope I get more good new tomorrow.

    Oh, I do have a bit of cool news. The place that I’m going to for therapy was opened up and owned by Peyton Manning (QB for the Colts)It’s a rehab/personal training facility. He works out here during the off season and when he is in town. I live in Chattanooga, Tn. and he has a home here plus his wife is from here. Just thought that was interesting and wanted to share.

  45. One week 3 days my first doctor appointment and good news is he wants me to remove start walking without the brace/splint and no crutches too feels really great without the brace, can sit more comfortably with the leg folded.
    Initally when I was at the doctor’s the tech removed my brace and wanted me to get to the X-ray room so I kinds felt a buckle in the leg but 30 min later upon meeting my PT he taught me the right way to walk that is heel hits the ground first and then step in,phew! it feels so good to give some air to the knee.
    good luck everyone with your recoveries.

  46. Hanson: Well I received a call from my doctor’s office and they want to fit me for a new brace on Tuesday. So I am guessing they want me wearing this thing for a while longer. The brace I have on doesnt really work, so I am pretty much walking with out it.

    But this brings up a good point. There are so many doctors with different points of view when it comes to autograft/allograft, brace/no brace, types of PT, etc. It’s driving me crazy. I have already had the autograft and there is no turning back, and I feel as though I am progressing, but there are so many conflicting sides to this surgery. Its frustrating!

  47. Just found this great ACL blog. I tore my ACL skiing @ ALTA, Utah Dec. 30th. on East Greeley Bowl if anyone familar with it. Been in therapy for prehab since then. Surgery Jan 26th with an allograft. My doc sports medicine ortho (William Beaumont Royal Oak, MI.) says is the best for older athletes (55) but hey I don’t feel it. I will get a CPM machine after. Great post op ideas from all of you. Please send comments I will need them even if I am a RN.
    Thanks

  48. To Kimber:
    My back ached more than the tear. Highly recommend massage therapy. I also go to a chiropractor. I had a violent crash, so it helped alot. Once I have surgery I will go back to alternative therapy plus rehab with a good knee therapist. I am a RN in Research so I ask alot of questions.

  49. Hey Guys.
    I just thought I would check in. The Dr’s visit(8 days post-op) went very good on Friday. He said I could leave the brace off and use one crutch but just be very careful not to fall or twist my knee. I’m walking slow but the movement is getting better. My incisions only looks like tiny cat scratches. Over all I’m very pleased with how fast I’m recovering. A week ago I did not think I would be able to get around as good as I am. Of course after doing my exercises is not a good time and I’m sure you all can relate to that. I’ll go back to work on Monday with restrictions.

  50. Tracy: Good freakin news! When you get to work, see if they have something to prop your leg up. And no brace? What the hell? I am getting fitted for a new one on Tuesday. :(

  51. Amy: My PT helped me stretch my back out and I have been sleeping on my side (I had to! I cannot sleep on my back) so my lower back doesnt hurt as much. I think my knee has thrown my alignment all off and therefore it affects my hips and therefore affects my lower back.

  52. To all:
    Wish me luck. I have my allograft surgery tomorrow. Thanks for all the good advice.
    To Tracey. I found each doc does different postop therapy. Best brace out there is a DonJoy. $600 big ones. No wonder our health care is so expensive. Its made in Mexico for probably $10.00 oh well.

  53. Amy: Good luck! I know everything will turn out great. Ask your doc of they will give you a block, it will help cut down the pain after surgery. And I am surprised you have to pay for your brace! Especially since some doctors dont require it.

  54. Well, I’m joining the group. I tore my acl, minicus and mcl on my left knee jan. 11th. while playing tennis. 15 years ago I tore my acl on my right knee and no options were really presented. The Dr. told me he was going to use the patellar and that is just what he did. I play a hi level of tennis and coach softball so I am very active. I have NEVER had a problem with my right knee with the exception of a little stiffness in cold weather.(That’s why I live where its warm) I do recall that post op, the pain was worse than giving birth to my two children or even my back surgery. So now the dilemma. I have gone to a Dr. that came highly recommended, but tells me he does 95% of his surgeries with cadaver. I’m not sure if it is wise to have this surgeon take from my patellar or look for a new surgeon who does this primarily. With my first surgery years ago, I was only 24 and I was back on the tennis court with a brace in 5 months. I’m a little older now so I know the recovery will be harder but I do believe if your active that the petellar is the way to go. Even knowing the pain I went through and will have to go through again, I’m willing to do that if it means it’ll be a better knee. The research that I have uncovered also said that the cadaver has a 24% failure rate with those 40 and younger, not to mention the risk of infection/disease – which I do worry about. Thanks to all of you who have posted your experiences – very helpful.

  55. I tore my ACL skiing last month, and am going in for surgery next week and I’m going with the cadaver. My Dr. seems to be like Jenny’s, and pretty much only does cadaver, but he works with the local pro soccer team so I’m comfortable with his advice. My boyfriend had a lot of doubts about my judgement (I really want this fixed ASAP so I can return to playing football and skiing next fall). He’s been talking to anyone who’ll listen, and everyone he’s found who’s had the surgery done with the cadaver instead of their own tissue has spoken highly of it. At my pre-op last week, I asked about rejection, and the response was that usually it happens because people overestimate their abilities when they’re young or partake in activities that are more physical than you initially think (ping pong was given as an example).

    I have no worries about the cadaver. But I think that’s my attitude in general, I’m more worried about little things after surgery than the surgery itself.

  56. Today was day 11 after my allograft surgery. Today was the first day I drove. I went back to work today and propped my leg on the garbage-can(it worked). I put my ice wrap on it as well today. I was stiff when I got home but did my stretches anyway. I’m sure tomorrow at PT they will work me over and get that stiffness out. I’m sure it’s just the swelling from today being up more.

    Kimber- I’m with you on sleeping on my side! I miss it bad. I could do it but then my knee is in that slight bend position that they hate so much. I broke down a few times and put pillows back under my leg. I just seem to wake up every few hours. The good pain meds keep me up too so I don’t take them.I’ll try some benadryl tonight. It’s funny the over the counter stuff makes me more sleepy.

  57. Hey Amy.
    I hope you are recovering and resting well. Just get passed the first 3 days. You can do it!!!!! Lots of sleep and everyone waiting on you. Best of luck!

  58. To Tracy T.
    My surgery went well. Had the allograft. The MDA had trouble with my pain control post op but being a nurse I told him to give me lots. Meds kicked in and I went home last night after 10 hours. I have a pain pump which helps alot. I work @ the hospital so I knew alot of staff to help me. My question you are back to work after 11 days? Do you have a brace? I have a job where I am running all over the hospital. What type of work do you do to get back so soon. I’m impressed. Any other advice from all of you is helpful. Sounds like all of us are very active.

  59. Hey Amy,
    Glad to here you are doing well. I’m a Dental Assistant for the Dept of Vererans Affairs but I’m only doing the desk job right now. And I was not able to put the brace back on and my therpist and Dr. said I was doing good with out it, so just one crutch. Today is my second day back to work( 12 days post-op) and when I get home I can tell my leg is more swolen. I try to keep it up as much as possible and ice on it but you know you can never elevate it like laying down in bed. Oh well, I’ll get by one way or another.

  60. Hey everyone, I am finally brace free! Yay! But I am behind in my flexion. He said if I didnt improve by my next appt he will put me under and they will manually flex my knee for me. :O

  61. Hey Guys.
    Day 12—-I had PT after work today and he worked me hard but made progress. I can extend my knee flat on the table where he can’t get his fingers under my knee. And he got my flexion to 100 degrees! OMG!! But I did it. Still can’t peddle all the way around on the bike yet and I hate calf lifts.

    Kimber-
    I’m so glad you are rid of the brace. I really hope you don’t have to go back under. :( Maybe without the brace you can work it more. I slept with a neck roll pillow under my heel for a few nights to let gravity pull it down. I know you will find something that works for you and get the job done. I’m cheering for ya!!!!

  62. Thanks Tracy! I went to my PT today and told him what the doctor said. He put me through some tough exercises, and I hurt but it was worth it. I peddled all the way around on the bike and went up a flight of stairs today at work. I did put a pillow under my heel last night and that seemed to help alot so thanks for the tip!

  63. Hi guys:
    Day 3 post op. Pain management d/c’d on Wed. 12 noon. I’m ok w/o it. I now alternate po Vicodan and Motrin. I have the manual CPM set up. Later today I will attempt it. Up on crutches with partial wb. I ahve this huge brace that a football player could wear. I’m only 5’3”. Its a pain. No swelling. On ice machine. Moving around pretty well. Made dinner last night. Just easy stuff. I see the doc on the 6th of Feb. Hope I can lose this big brace and go back to my smaller one. Any comments on this post op please email me. Amy

  64. Kimber-

    I’m so jealous that you can peddle the bike all the way around. I’ll work on that some more to night at PT. If they had a margarita bar at PT I’m sure I could have done it by now. (LOL)

    To Everyone:
    I hope everyone is doing good and healing well. Keep us updated on the progress.

  65. Hello To All,

    I just wanted to give a quick up date.(16days post-op) Therapy has been going very good. Each time I go they add something new for me to do. They now stretch my knee while I’m on my stomach. I don’t’ like that but it is progress. I can peddle all the way around on the bike now but I do lift the hip up just a little. I’m not ready to lower the seat yet. I feel that the fluid that I have is preventing most of my movement. The therapist and other patients where I go told me that the Dr. might drain it to help speed it up. My knee is not super big but it is swollen.Has anyone else had to do it yet??

  66. Tracy: drain your knee? That does NOT sound like fun :O Let me know how that goes.

  67. Tracy,
    I’m two months post-op and my knee is still swollen but PT and doc say its normal and could take a long time. Maybe yours is more swollen?

    Kimber said “But this brings up a good point. There are so many doctors with different points of view when it comes to autograft/allograft, brace/no brace, types of PT, etc. It’s driving me crazy. I have already had the autograft and there is no turning back, and I feel as though I am progressing, but there are so many conflicting sides to this surgery. Its frustrating!”

    I believe no one knows which is better auto/allo, brace/no brace, PT day after vs a week later. Having had both of the first two, I say allograft hurts less and quicker earlier part of recovery, but my doc now says my allograft is already looser (5 years later) than it should. But, they nicked nerve getting my hamstring. I also had no problems without a brace this time around and I was not religious about putting a pillow under my heel until a week or so after surgery.

    Speaking of dr preference, my doc told me that they drilled my acl hole (the one through the bone) on an angle, something they’ve only been doing for a year but which supposedly makes it stronger and less likely to tear later. Not that I feel like a test subject, but would have maybe been nice to know before.

  68. This has come up a lot in this blog in the posts and comments.
    What is better autograft (hamstring or patella) or allograft (from a cadaver)? As a biology graduate student I have access to scientific publications and the experience to assess the information. There are no published guidelines for doctors. Here is what I have found from articles comparing allograft to autograft:

    1. There is a lack of randomized trials to compare auto- vs allograft. Randomized studies are very important in science. Think about your doctor. He or she has an opinion on which is better. So the graft you get may be biased by that opinion or, if you decide opposite that doctor’s preference, the surgery itself may be biased. Randomized trials would be if you went to the doctor and picked a surgery (allo- or auto-) out of a hat. These have been done comparing patella tendon versus hamstring but not allo- versus auto-.

    2. The results of 7 observational studies show that:

    a) No difference in outcomes from patient reports

    b) Failure rate for allograft is significantly higher (9 of 158) than autograft (2 of 167). The review (first citation) recommends autograft, especially for young athletes.

    3. Greater chance of deep infection with autograft (2 out of 170) versus allograft (4 out of 628). Significant difference, but all in all, risk was low, maybe too low in this study to tell if there is really a difference.

    4. There is really no difference in results from patella or hamstring, but patella causes a little more pain. I know this wasn’t auto- vs allo- but still relevant.

    Additional interesting information I found:

    1. ACL reconstruction in patients over 50 can be as successful as in younger patients

    2. 175,000 ACL reconstructions were performed in 2000

    3. Osteoarthritis occurs in 50 % of patients that tear their ACL 10 to 20 years after injury.

    4. 60-70% of ACL tears also damage meniscus cartilage.

    5. Non-operated ACL tears are more likely to cause further cartilage damage than ACL reconstruction.

    6. 15% of patients need additional cartilage or scar tissue surgery after ACL reconstruction (I did for my first knee).

    7. Means of graft fixation (how they attach the graft) does not affect outcome

    8. Risk of tearing a graft is about 3% after 2 years, the same as your ACL in your other knee (which is what happened to me after 5 years).

    I will post later about differences in rehabilitation.

    Citations:

    Spindler, KP and Wright, RW. 2008. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear. New England J of Medicine Katz LM,

    Battaglia TC, Patino P, et al. 2008. A Retrospective Comparison of the Incidence of Bacterial Infection Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction With Autograft Versus Allograft. Arthroscopy.

    Dahm DL, Wulf CA, Dajani KA, et al. 2008. Reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament in patients over 50 years. JOURNAL OF BONE AND JOINT SURGERY-BRITISH VOLUME

  69. A little about rehabilitation including the answer to the brace and passive motion machine questions.

    This is mostly from a review on ACL reconstruction: Spindler, KP and Wright, RW. 2008. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear. New England J of Medicine.

    1. Weight bearing right after surgery does not cause harm.

    2. Using passive motion machines is not any better than not using them.

    3. Use of a brace is no better than not using a brace.

    4. Exercises bending the knee (like squats) are better than exercises that extend the knee.

    5. Motivated people can do just as well at home as at Physical therapy (But are any of us that motivated?)

  70. Hi Everyone,
    Wow, I can’t tell you how relieved I was to read this forum. I had an ACL/MCL grade III tear while snowboarding in Colorado this past Friday, 30 Jan 2009. I was in so much pain I thought that my leg was being ripped off as I heard the pop…pop…in my knee. I am not scheduled for surgery just yet, I still have to find a good orthopedic surgeon but this site has helped so much so I know what to expect. Being an RN myself you never really think of getting hurt like this until it happens to you – I, at this moment feel so debilitated and helpless. I can hardly move my knee and though the pain has subsided since the accident I am still in a great deal of pain when I am walking (with a brace and crutches) or even sleeping.
    I’m still having a hard time deciding on which way to go, whether it be the allograft or the patellar or hamstring graft. The research I’ve read makes me lean towards the patellar graft – to me, I’d rather deal with the pain and extra recovery time than the potential for complications that come with the allograft. I am very active and have two boys that keep me on my toes, everything from running to snowboarding, skiing and playing tennis on a regular basis. Since I do work in the med field I realize that when you take tissue that has been “frozen” some of it’s’ integrity has been comprised and I just hate the thought of having to do this again if I don’t have to. Has anyone had both ACL and MCL tear? I have heard that most people with only an ACL tear can usually get up and move around with little or no pain but that is not the case when I injured my knee. Which makes me think there is something else going on???
    I’ll keep updating as I get more info – they are going to do another MRI in two days to verify the damage to my knee and then schedule surgery.
    Until then….
    Candice

  71. Welcome Candice,
    I’m 39 and a very active mom as well. I had my surgery just 3 weeks ago. I went with the allograft. I did have a complete ACL tear a small tear in the MCL, meniscus and a hairline fracture on the top of my tibia all from skiing. My Dr. thought that the allograft was best for me and you could say that “I” didn’t want to “Rob Peter to Pay Paul” by taking away from my hamstring or patella . I was like you and very confused on what to do. I think for me I made a good choice. My recovery is going good. And talking to the Therapist from what they say most of the allografts that fail are the people that feel better in a few months and get back to what they were doing before it really has time to heal. I was told 8 months before I need to even think about snow skiing. This summer on the lake will not be much fun but I will do what it takes to let it heal. You can see on this site that some people went with allografts and some with autografts. I really can’t say which one is better. I can only say that I’m happy with mine so far. Keep us up dated.

    Amy- How is the recovery going???

    Kimber- so far I ‘m not going to have to drain the knee yet but that fluid that pops back and forth when I do my knee exercises just freaks me out.

  72. Tracy: Your knee is popping? That would freak me out. Its good to hear they arent draining it, the thought of someone sticking a needle in my knee….

    I am an active mom myself but my sport was fighting. Unfortunately I wont be able to do any of it for a year. I got a huge frown from my PT when I told him I punched the bag standing. He says for now, I have to do it sitting down on an exercise ball. *Sigh*

    The pain I feel when I do my flexion/extension exercises is on the back of my leg around where my calf muscles connect to the underside of my knee. It prevents my knee from full flexion. Anyone have this issue? It hurts like a mutha! And I still do not get a good nights sleep. How are you sleeping Tracy? Better?

    Amy: I hope you are doing okay! Let us know how you are doing.

  73. To Tracy, Kimber and Candice:
    9 days post-op. No swelling and minimal pain. I still have this huge brace on. I see the doc on Friday. Start formal therapy on Monday. I have been doing my own for a week now. When I take my brace off my knee and leg feel light and unstable. Weird feeling. Kimber, I have the same with flexion and no I don’t sleep good either. Not sure if its cuz of my age. I could not sleep prior to this either. Geez seems like I never sleep. Anyways I need to get back to work. I am in Michigan and the cold and looking at the snow bumms me out cuz I can’t XC ski. Candice: I hope you are doing ok. Amy

  74. Hi – Thanks to everyone that responded to my post! I got my MRI done today so I should know something by tomorrow as to the extent of the damage done. OK so I called around to a few orthopedic docs and I won’t be able to see anyone until March 5. How long does it take from the time the app is made to the time they schedule surgery? I ask this because not only am I an RN I work as a children’s photographer and since the weather is starting to warm up a bit I’ll be getting busy with shoots. My concern is whether or not I should wait until the fall to schedule surgery, I’m assuming that since they are letting me wait this long for an initial app then surgery isn’t something that is very immanent? My initial doc said that he would go ahead and recommend surgery as soon as possible (but he’s not an ortho doc)… which brings me back to what Tracy mentioned about getting the allograft for a faster recovery period….ahhh so many decisions to make. I am now into my sixth day since my injury and I can barley stand to put weight on my knee without it throbbing or feeling like I’m going to fall on my butt. Does the pre-physical therapy actually work to get the strength back in your knee or do I still risk my knee giving out and re-injuring myself (that is to say that I’m only doing minimal activity) further?? This all just seems like a very slow process for how much pain I’m in. I’ve got some pain meds but I’m reluctant to take them since I have two boys and I have to be functional during the day, so for now I’m just taking 800mg of Motrin.
    Thanks guys (Amy and Tracy) for responding back! It does help so much!

  75. Hi all,

    I live in Seattle and I tore my ACL last Thursday night in a skiing accident (blindsided by an out of control skier going way too fast) and have already seen a surgeon. Right now I’m struggling with the allo vs autograft decision. I’m 44, but really active- running, climbing, long distance hiking/scrambling, backcountry skiing, biking. I don’t want to give any of these up, especially the skiing or the climbing. I was leaning toward allo-graft, but after reading more, I’m scared of the higher failure rate. I’ve read everyone’s experiences so far, and they are really helpful. I wonder if anyone in the Seattle has a good recomendation for surgeons? I went to the first one on my insurance plan who could see me, but I have no idea how good he is.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  76. Candice:

    I tore my ACL in May of 08 and decided not to get surgery until November of 2008. I too wanted to be somewhat active during the summer months, so waited until the winter. As long as you are careful and it would be wise to get a brace, I don’t see it as a big deal, but obviously listen to your doctor over me. I did tear up my Meniscus a bit by using it over the summer, but nothing too major. I was out backpacking, disc golfing, etc. but laid off on activities that would put a big impact on the knee. Some people actually don’t even get the surgery, but that is for folks who are not active.

    Bari:

    Again, I am no expert, but I don’t think there is enough research too compare the allograft vs. autograft. The one study you are referring to did not have a very large sample and the failure rate was due to people trying to get back into the sports too early. They say the failure rate is higher in younger patients probably because they are more apt to jump back in the game too quick. Just my thoughts though.

  77. Candice:
    I saw a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon. His specialty is knees and shoulders. I got in appt. in 4 days. Be demanding. I did prehab for 3 weeks x3 week. prior to surgery big help. Check physcian referrals at a good academic hospital. I would only go to one that does research or is a teaching hospital. More evidence based medicine. What area of nsg. is your specialty? I got 2 opinions. I had a compete tear so my options were narrow. I went with the allograft. My doc is the Dept head of ortho research so I knew what he was talking about. I will just ease up this summer and be back skiing in December. Please comment.

  78. To all:
    10 days postop. I was able to get rid of the big brace and now use a smaller one. He said everything is on target. need to bend my knee more. Hopefully will ditch crutches by next week. Start formal pt. on Monday.
    To Bari: Email Henry he’s from Seattle abouth ortho doc or call Univ. of Wash. They do alot of research. Good luck. Yeah I feel free. Back to work w/restrictions in 2 wks.

  79. Candice: I think you are too far gone for pre-op PT but a PT or doc would tell you. Just be honest with them about the pain.

    Hanson: Sure there is debate among doctors, but the review I read (based in part on that article) agrees that allograft has a higher failure rate (there were 3 observational studies they looked at, not just the one). And my doctor tells me my previous ACL, an allograft, is already loose – in 5 years (although he may be biased toward autograft). Looseness is another allograft problem.

  80. I agree, it does show a higher failure rate, I just think there needs to be a larger sample to come to any real conclusions. Either way, whether you are talking 2 out of 167 or 9 out of 158 the failure rate is not very high. As for the looseness, I sure hope my allograft stays put, haha. I guess only time will tell. Hope everyone is mending well.

  81. Hello Everybody.

    I’m now 3 weeks post-op and still making progress every day. I’ve stopped using my one crutch(still no brace) and I just walk very slow and concentrate on my steps. I went to therapy on Friday night and I can bend my knee on my own 110 degrees and with the help of the therapist he can push me to 115 degrees. And at that point I cried “UNCLE” HAHAHA. We lowered the seat on the bike one more notch and I’m peddling good. My sleep at night is getting somewhat better. If I have had my knee bent during the night it’s hard to straighten it out in the morning. It just takes a few minutes to get it going.

    Amy- Glad to hear you are “big brace free” I put mine in the closet and hope to never see it again!!! Keep up the good work.

    Candice- My doc told me that the more I could bend my knee before surgery that better my recovery would be.Therapy before surgery is also to help get your (quadriceps)thigh muscle working again. I’m sure you can tell it is week and you can’t flex it good. That muscle will shut down and you need to get it working again so you won’t feel so unstable. The “tens unit” will help to get the muscle firing again. My Dr. told me he would not want to do surgery for 3-4 weeks until some of the swelling went down and I could bend my knee at least 90 degrees. The damage is done, you are probable not going to hurt it anymore than you already did as lone as you take it easy.

  82. When I said 3-4 weeks until surgery, I meant 3-4 weeks from the day I had my accident was how long they wanted to wait. After I posted that I was not sure if that was clear or not. Hope it was.

  83. To all:
    I agree with you Tracy. Your prehab and post is like mine. I recycled my big brace. I can walk slow w/o crutches. I am stiff in the am. I will be 2 wks post on Monday the 9th. I need to bend my knee more. Candice. Hope your are ok. Keep us posted.

  84. Hi everybody – like others before me, so happy to have found this site…went looking for more info on graft options and was inspired by everyone’s post op experiences. I tore my acl, mcl and meniscus Jan 3rd skiing. I am 36 and mom of 3 under 7, former college athlete (read: already compromised knees and other aches and pains!) and still very active with kids, tennis, coaching, skiing etc. And I dont want any limitations ahead of me. My Dr. (Asnis at MGH in Boston) wants me to go patella tendon due to my age (young?) and activity level (high) but my PT at pre-therapy thinks I am crazy not to do allograft. I don’t like the contradiction but would prefer not to go against the guy with alot of school and a scalpel! Tracy, our situations seem simliar and you seem happy to have gone with the allograft. The idea of 6 weeks on crutches and no driving with 3 kids seems hard (rt knee), where as I think I will have a quicker recovery with the allograft – but dont want that to be my lone deciding factor. I already have creptice (sp?) in both knees and a family history of knee arthritis so not sure I should comprise further by taking out the patella tendon!

    My surgery is Feb 25th so I will update prior with my decision which will be made in the next week. Thanks for everyone sharing their experiences.

    FYI pretherapy has made a huge difference- one week ago could not get around on a stationary bike, today rode at full speed. Doc did not want me to have surgery until I was at 130 degrees. I started at 80 and was at 110 after 4 appointments.

  85. Hi Sharon.
    I glad to see all the active moms around here. Tomorrow will be 4 weeks post-op and I only used both crutches the first week until I got the bandages off and one crutch for 1 week after that just for support. My walking is getting better. I still have a little limp and going down stairs I still have to go left foot first each step but going up and can do that normal(just slow). I’m very happy with my surgery and scars look like that will be gone by summer!! My speed on the bike has increased. I’m at 118 degrees flexion and I can fully extend my knee on the table on my own. But standing with the pressure on it is hard to get it fully straight. I’m working on that!! I still have fluid under my knee cap and around the knee and in the back of my leg, not much but enough to stop me from bending it as much as I want to. I know that will just take time. Good luck with everything and keep us posted.

  86. Thanks for the reply Tracy. Have you driven yet? Sounds like it is your right knee too…One plus for the patella tendon is quicker strength b/c of the bone-bone fusion. I heard my practice says 6 weeks on crutches with cadaver or hamstring – no compromise – b/c of the bone-tissue fusion. Thanks again, Shannon

  87. Shannon,
    It was my left knee. And I’ve been driving for 3 weeks now. I was only out of work for 1 week. They wanted me moving it a.s.a.p. He said the longer I kept it imobleized the less flexion and extension I would get back.I’m finding out every doc has there own opinion. I’m still on restrictions until I go back to see the Doc for my 6 week ck-up. My Doc is young and up on all the new techniques but he layed out my options with the cadaver or patella and let me choose, he said he would do either one. But because of my age(just 39 and holding) he preferred the allograft. I then talked to the therapist and got options from them. I figured they see patients recovery everyday and how many problems are occurring with each surgery. This site helped out too. So, I went the cadaver(allograft). The screws that my doc used are not titanium he put the ones in that my body will absorb within 2 1/2 to 3 years. I can’t remember the name for them. But I didn’t have to have metal in my bones or run the risk of my body rejecting it. I had a friend that it happened to with her metal screws. He did tell me that about the 12th week would be crucial because the blood flow would pick up in the new cadaver ACL and during that time I would need to really take it easy. I know it’s a lot to take in and a big decision, once you do it you can’t take it back. I want to be back out doing the sports I love because I’m not ready to give them up yet. The doc tells me there is no reason to stop sports and in 8 mo I’ll be normal again, I just have to take it slow. That is whats driving me crazy, SLOW. I don’t do anything slow. My nickname at work was “speedy” but not now. (haha) Therapy is going to be the main key either way you go. Hope to hear more from you.

  88. Hi All,
    I am a stay at home mom to a 5 year old and a 2 year old. I have surgery scheduled on March 11th for a complete ACL and a meniscus tear. My husband can only stay at home for the first five days. Do any of you think I will be able to take care of the kids on my own after the 5 days? We have no family in town to help out. I am not one to stay inactive for long periods of time although I do not play any sports or anything like that either. Just running after the kids all day. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  89. I had the same surgery Feb 2 and went with the patella graft. I also have two kids, however mine are both in elementary. I would highly recommend having a back up plan. I was very fortunate to have friends and family to help out and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them. Some people have said that doing an allographt is an easier recovery, so if that is the way you are going, then you might be ok. I elected to to the autograft as I believe its a better knee in the long run. (Had my other knee done 14 years ago – autographt and no problems) I’m very active with tennis and coaching so that is something that was very important to me. I still have swelling aroung the knee which causes some pain – to be expected. I use a brace and down to one crutch and it’s been two weeks. I wish you luck and a speedy recovery.

  90. Jenny,
    Thank you for the suggestions. This blog has been very helpful with all the personal experiences to read about.
    I will be going with the allographt but I am a little uneasy reading about the risks. Then again there are risks either way.

  91. The message sent before I finished thanking you again for the reply Jenny.
    I hope the rest of your recovery goes well.

  92. Hey all:
    2 weeks post. can walk w/o crutches and a little w/o brace. Need flexion more. Back to work on the 23rd of Feb. I had a allograft r knee. To Jenny I am older than you but very active. There are risks with all. Just follow docs instructions. I am driving. Went to Laguna Beach, CA for 5 days walked the beach. No problems. Must do exercises each day faithfully. Thats they key,

  93. Thanks again Tracy. Tomorrow is pre op for me so look forward to the discussion with the doc about graft – I feel alot more prepared with the right questions thanks in large part to you all. I’ll update tomorrow night. Natasha, I am scheduled for Feb 25th so I’ll let you know about my recovery as far as the kids go. I do have my parents coming in town for 2 weeks as my husband works alot of hours just to help with the up and down stairs, getting 2 older kids to school and activities, and deal with my 2 yr old too. I have also heard of people driving and walking around after a week but my dr is strict on the crutches for anything other than patella as the fusion of tissue to bone takes longer than bone to bone…so that is where I am expecting to need the help. I’ll keep you in the loop.

    Thanks everybody!
    shannon

  94. Shannon, I really hope all goes well with your surgery. You are very fortunate to have your family coming out to help. After the feed back from this site I have arranged for my niece to come out and help us. I actually injured my knee almost 2 years ago and have not had insurance to do anything about it.
    My doc says I should be able to drive within 3 days. Its my left so I just wonder if that will hold true after reading everyone’s experiences. I am a little apprehensive now because all my doc has told me is that he will use a graft from a cadaver. So I don’t even know where or what tendon is being used. He did say that he will use screws that my body will eventually absorb. So this site has definitely given me some serious questions to bring up with the doc.
    Again I really hope all goes well with your surgery and thanks sharing.

  95. okay, major bummer at the doctor today and thought I would share info for others. The practice I go to as Mass General Hospital is thought to be quite strong and on the leading edge of research and attends to many professional athletes in Boston and beyond. I was supposed to have surgery next wed but they will not do it as I am at only 120 degress flex and that is with pain. My mcl has healed well though. He said if I go in this stiff I will come out stiff and be very unhappy. I still have some swelling as well so I need to ice and elevate and more bike/pt. He said I am sure I could find someone to do this but he knows I want to get back to high activity level and could not do this in good faith. We have also decided to go allograft due to the tightness and my likelihood of scarring – so at least that is clear now. He also feels stongly that I should be on crutches for 6 weeks (half weight) to ensure strong fusion and he uses the screws that will disolve in a few yrs too (interference screws) – apparently this is more expensive but much better. PS just in case it does not come up with your drs, make sure they hand pick the cadaver and as young as possible (under 40 if not younger)

    Uggh- so now another 3+ weeks, more moving around my family life, and a longer time to recovery :(

  96. To Shannon:
    I was in prehab for 3 weeks prior. I did not have 120 flex. I had an allograft hand picked by my doc. Told him I wanted hot young guy <30. Ha. Doing well. On stationary bike did 3 miles today. Can walk around house w/o brace. Should be interesting working next week. I will be with restrictions. I am a research nurse and know about Mass General. Did you get another opinion? I was off crutches in 2 weeks postop. Each doc is so different. Very confusing for a non medical person. Wish I could help you more. Did you check his resume and how many patients he has done? Just a thought.

  97. Shannon: Major bummer!! So sorry girl. Please keep us update :(

    Natasha: I had the surgery done on my left knee as well. I did not even try to drive till a week later. If you have a car seat that scoots back pretty far, I think you can do it. You dont realize what a luxury bending your knee is till you try to get in a car :O

    Amy: You crack me up!

  98. Shannon-

    Need some referrals in the Boston area? I just had surgery w/ Dr. Mithoefer at Harvard Vanguard; he also works with the New England Revolution. He strongly recommends allografts. Tomorrow will be three weeks, and I haven’t used crutches all week, but I only had ACL damage. https://www.harvardvanguard.org/phys/phys3.asp?passID=6480

    A couple of friends have had great results with Dr. English at St. E’s. http://www.caritaschristi.org/Physician.asp?P=Y&PerPage=20&SpecID=PSP000022&Distance=10&Page=1&Sort=LastName&PageID=PHY000395

  99. That’s a real bummer Shannon. I hope you are not in constant pain as I was with the “flare-up” back in Sept, it went on for months. I wasn’t even able to get down and bath the little ones. That must be tough trying to arrange plans for your parents to help out. I hope they will still be able to stay with you.
    I guess now I can let you know how things go on my side.

    My knee has been acting up for a long time now so I have some practice getting in and out of the car with minimal bending. We shall see what happens.

    Great advice about the doc picking the cadaver…. i will absolutely be asking my doc about this. I just assumed they would have some type of protocol.

  100. Hey everyone,
    New to the site and this seems like the most active thread so I wanted to post a question here. I’ll be two weeks out tomorrow and had my first real follow up yesterday. Got my staples out and the doc was pretty pleased with my progress. He told me I could go ahead and start sleeping without a brace. I tried that last night was very nervous about it. I forgot to ask if no brace meant I could sleep on my side or on my stomach (I have a hard time sleeping on my back). Anyone have any experience with this? Is it O.K. to roll in your sleep if you’re not wearing the brace?

    Hope everyone’s recovery is going ok.

    Nick

  101. I’ve been sleeping w/out a brace since 1 week post-op. A body pillow makes it a lot more comfortable for me. At least early on, I couldn’t comfortably sleep on my stomach, at this point (two days away from 4 weeks), I may have broken that habit.

  102. I should have added that I always slept on my side or stomach pre-op. Sleeping on my back was tough for me, I’ve been sleeping on my side since given the OK to sleep w/out a brace.

  103. I stopped using the brace at night after 5 or 6 days because it was so uncomfortable and bulky even though they tell you to wear it. It’s intended to keep you in protection mode so if you kick or roll at night while sleeping you won’t hurt yoursself. My solution was to use an ace bandage, which also secured the ice pack to my leg and helps to prevent blot clots to keep good circulation. I would get my leg as straight as possible before wrapping and do it securely -but not too tight. This way I could sleep on my side with little problem. When I got up in the a.m. I would be sure to put the brace on or use both crutches so I wouldn’t over extend. Worked like a charm!

  104. Thanks Jenny and Deidra! I think I’m going to try the ace bandage method. To clarify Jenny, did you sleep with ice on your leg? Or was it just the same ace bandage you used? Did you guys do allograft as well?

  105. ok.. so this is the active thread where folks are talkin..

    Hi All, and thanks for sharing. i posted two weeks ago in another thread but not sure anyone took notice.. i live in victoria, BC.. tore my ACL playing soccer in november and had surgery feb 3.. my recent posts follows..

    >>February 11th, 2009 at 1:19 pm
    i came browsing ACL blogs looking for this very topic [[Erics perroneal nerve damage thread]]. I had ACL reconstruction surgery feb 3 (i’m on day 9). used my semi-tendenosis. drugged up and doing well until day 5, then redness and heat spread across lower leg, especially along tibia. intense pain – almost unbearable when standing; pain meds don’t touch it; only relief is elevating leg. i was sure i had some type of cellulitis of something (infection) so went and saw my surgeon but he was pretty sure its from blood in the leg.

    I took a day off of Dilotid (hydromorphone) on day 3 and used ibuprofene quite aggressively (2400mg/24hrs) to help deal with swelling. i tell my surgeon this and he explains to me that the reason he didn’t prescribe ibuprofene for me is that it can lead to continual bleeding of internal wounds (especially post surgery).. also it tends to slow down healing. [i wish the doctor or the pharmacist i had on the phone when i was asking about using ibu knew this!] So i only used the ibu for the one day.. its now day four since the leg pain came on but it began lessening yesterday.
    To other who’ve experience this ‘nerve pain’.. were you also using ibuprofene quite liberally? How long has the pain remained post surgery?

    >>February 23rd, 2009 at 1:39 pm
    howdy folks – the intense pain i wrote about in the previous response lasted one week. I am now on day 19 and my recovery is steaming right along. i believe the pain was the result of post surgical trauma inside the leg (blood and fluids) AND some nerve trauma that doesn’t seem uncommon when the hamstring option is used (the graft is made from below the knee!!). Anyways.. this morning i got on my road bike (setup with a trainer indoors) and that felt great. i’ll be on it alot from now on.

  106. I hope everyone is doing well. I been way too busy lately but I have been keeping up with all the post. I’ll be 6 weeks post op this Thursday and doing good. I still have a small amount of fluid under the knee that is just wearing me out. I can flex on my own 125 degrees. I feel I could do more but the fluid seems to be stopping me. After being at work all day by the time I get to therapy everything from the knee down is swollen and tight and that just makes it hard to bend. I’m riding the bike just fine and getting better going downstairs, as long as I have something to hold on to. I still have bad nights where I can not sleep good but I still try to keep my leg straight in bed. Straight or bent if I keep it in either position more than 10min. it is stiff to move it again. It just takes a few seconds to get going again. Now I know how my 92 year old grandmother feels.

  107. Hello Everyone….. so my surgery is still on for March 11th. I was curious about sleeping with the brace. My doc said I only needed to wear it while walking around and off while sitting/sleeping.

    Daniel, glad to hear it wasn’t an infection but that must have been scary. I really worry about blood clots as I have poor circulation and at times some mild RLS (restless leg syndrome).
    Thanks for letting us know about the ibu. I cant believe the doc and pharmacist didn’t realize the risk.
    I hope you continue to do well and please keep us posted.

  108. Has anyone delayed surgery for whatever reason? If so what kind of results have you had and would you do it again?
    Thanks!

  109. I’m almost 6 weeks post-op, hamstring, from ACL surgery. Physical therapy is progressing fine, but this week I have had a harder time keeping the swelling down as we push it more. Then Monday my knee cap started floating or slipping. It’s the strangest feeling, and sounds like a squeaky door. I was alarmed, but them my PT said its normal and results from fluid under the knee cap due to swelling. Has anyone else experienced this?

    I’m still not sleeping well either. I think its as much as not being able to exercise to tire myself out as much as it is the knee. I have been able to use pillow between legs to sleep on my side now.

  110. Hello everyone… It’s nice to see that I am not alone in the struggle to decide what will be the best procedure! I have a severed ACL and torn meniscus. I am 36 years old…and single. This is very stressful… I am leaning toward allograft because of the recovery time… but I fear the results won’t last as long as the autograft. My surgeon will only perform the patella graft or the allograft. I am so confused! I know that I have time to make this decision…I just received my MRI results on Tuesday. Thanks for all of the great information…

  111. Hello everyone!

    I just had my 8 week post op visit and my knee is doing great. I can only go to 120 degrees flexion, but the Dr said that I am right where he wants me to be considering I used an autograft instead of an allograft. My hamstring is tight, so bending my knee is hard. But the ligament is strong, and I can pretty much do anything (well no punching yet due to rotation.) I can walk up and down stairs, ride the stationary bike, squats, lunges, etc. He pointed out that from 2-3 months post op, the ligament is at its weakest and that this is when most re-injuries occur, so I have to be VERY careful right now. He said I can do some straight running (no cutting, changing of direction rapidly) at my next visit in 6 weeks. Oh and he did point out that my quads in my left leg are pretty much down to nothing right now which SUCKS since I had good strength in it before this stupid injury.

    As far as the brace in concerned, I was sleeping without it because of the ice machine, right after I got out of the hospital. I had my leg elevated though and I wouldnt even think about turning while I slept, which is probably why I woke up every 2 hours. After the ice machine was off, I wore the brace at night till my Dr said I didnt need it anymore. The thing didnt fit anyway because the swelling was down anyways. But that first night sleeping without it was really wierd!

  112. Hey Guys!!
    Yesterday was a real bad day for me. I fell coming down my stairs at home yesterday morning. Yes, I landed on my bad knee with it behind me. Basically I sat on my heal. Good thing I was still holding the rail!! I wont even talk about the pain I felt. I went on to work and called the Dr. and of course they told me to come right in. Good news was after bending it like that my allograft is as tight and nothing came loose. I’m very sore today and went to therapy tonight. We went slow and after all of that I gained 3 degrees. I’m now at 128. I don’t recommend the staircase treatment, not fun. I just want everyone to be extra careful. My husband is making me stay down stairs for a while longer,no more taking my sons laundry upstairs :) This could work to my advantage. See how we have to see the bright side of things. I hope everyone has a good weekend!

  113. Tracey, I was talking to my PT about injuries they have seen during PT and she mentioned someone doing what you did. She said actually there is great benefit (although not recommended to use that method) in that you quickly break up all the scar tissue. It’s what they would do in surgery if you weren’t getting the bend they wanted. I can’t imagine the pain you must have felt, but my point is it comes with a lot of benefit. God bless.

    I’m 6 weeks post op and yesterday was able to stand on surgery leg on balance board throwing ball against trampoline and catching. I couldn’t do it just 7 days ago. Everyday gets better. The real question for me is at 36, will I play the game I love so much again-basketball.

  114. To all: Kimber and Tracey:
    I am always afraid of tripping down the stairs. Yikes. I am back to work with the brace still I can flex 100 degrees. It was 4 weeks post op yesterday. Doing ok. The PT breaks up the scare tissue by rubbing my leg. I started doing that also. This blog is so good I like all comments.
    shannon How are you doing?
    Take care to all TGIF.

  115. Tracy: OUCH!!!! That is one of my biggest fears right now. I cannot imagine how much that hurt. :O

    Amy: 100 degrees at 4 weeks is awesome, I am very jealous. My PT breaks up scar tissue too, feels wonderful huh?

    Jay: I think you will be able to play again! Cutting, any quick changes in direction are frowned upon for awhile. Do you balance on a coreboard? I found a website with strength training videos for acl recovery, though I dont know if they are for people who have had reconstruction surgery.

  116. Hey everyone! I finally had my surgery yesterday, after 5 weeks of waiting. I had the allograft (achilles tendon). So far there’s been a lot less pain than I expected. I’ve got the big huge brace and crutches right now, but doc said that I can begin weighting the leg as of today and get off the crutches as soon as I feel comfortable. Took a few steps and they definitely felt wobbly, but I’ll keep trying. Have been on the CPM machine for an hour so far this morning and am able to get to 60 degrees with minor discomfort; will be using 3x per day for 2 hours at a time. Follow-up scheduled with doc for next Wed. and if all looks good will begin PT then.

  117. Hello Everyone!
    While doing research about knee ACL surgery I’ve found this blog, which is great. Next Friday I will have a surgery. I will have Allograft installed and other things done to my knee (ski injury). Well I’m somewhat scare, kind of afraid of the pain and post recovery. I just hope that everything will go well.

  118. Hi Bob!
    I’m having my surgery next Friday as well. I was injured skiing on 1/29. I’m having the allograft (someone else’s acl) and may have torn meniscus to repair – won’t know till they go in there. I’m also terrified of the recovery/pain. Sorry – don’t have much to offer you other than we’re having surgery the same day….I do know that my friend had the same surgery last March and she completed some VERY significant bike rides that summer (RAMROD – ride arount Mt Rainier with 10,000 feet of gain, then 3 weeks cycling in Colorado and Utah), so I have inspiration. She worked really hard early on to get mobility back so that they would let her begin cycling. She also skiied to the summit of Mt. Baker 10,700 feet and back down under pretty crappy, icy conditions earlier this year, so we have hope!
    Bari

  119. To Bob:
    I am a nurse. You will be fine. Tell you doc you want the cold pack machine. Passive CPM and lots of Vicodan. Pain wasn;t to bad. I had the allograft to the ACL r knee also due to a ski injury in Utah.

  120. Kimber, I think it was a coreboard. It’s curved to wear it wobbles back and forth making you balance as you throw the ball. They are going to have me go to a D1 facility (for athletes; lots of high school athletes train there) at the end of PT b/c she wants me to have confidence in the knee. What I worry about is if it can to happen one knee, after 36 years of playing basketball am I now just biologically dispositioned to hurt the other knee. I’m torn, no pun intended :) . Hope your PT is going well.

  121. Hello Everyone,
    I would like to thank everybody for great support. I feel better already.
    I just want to go through the surgery and I’m sure after couple of days I be OK.
    Bob

  122. Jay Dale-
    I’m also attending a D1 facility here in Chattanooga, Tn. Way better than the place I went before surgery. When I walked in on Thursday at therapy the day after the fall, they did not think I would be moving as good as I was. I was more sore but pushed through it anyway. But you are right, they told me the same thing. I did break up some fluid and I’m sure some scar tissue, just glad that was all I broke up. We must have had our surgery on the same I was 6 weeks post-op on Thursday. And yes, you will play again!! Maybe not for a few more months but I have 3 years on you and I plan to snow ski and wake board again and coach my sons basket ball team next year. It was hard not getting out and playing with him this season. We will all get back to our sports, it’s just going to take time. Good Luck To Everyone!

  123. Now THIS is a great blog. So many supportive and polite people! I, like many of you, tore my MCL (Grade 2) and my ACL while skiing 3 weeks ago. The MCL must heal via immobility and constant 30 degree position before I can do the ACL surgery. I’m hopeful that on Tuesday (March 3) the doc will let me “shoot” my crutches and begin MCL rehab. I’m told that’s about 6 – 8 weeks, then ACL surgery and all the joys that have brought us all together!

    The conversations around surgery or not, auto/hamstring/patellar/allo graft and PT have led me to these conclusions (for those of you unsure or searching for opinion): Avoiding the surgery would be a mistake if one ever wants to enjoy “change of direction” activity like skiing, lacrosse, or most other field / ground sports. I’m 43 and my doctor is giving me the option, but agrees that if I want to “get back out there” then I need the procedure. Allograft is a less painful, less invasive, if not “creepy” solution; I’m leaning that way. I don’t like the idea of on-going kneeling pain from the patellar tendon and my doc is not a big fan of the hamstring procedure.

    Good luck to everyone, and after shoulder surgery last year and this upcoming adventure, you can add me to the list of “do what the PT tells you to do!” disciples.

    Last point: the encouragement and positive vibes from this blog have definitely lifted my spirits. I’m sitting here on the couch (again) while it’s snowing and reading about all of the quick recoveries, biking, jogging, etc., have been a big help. THANK YOU.

  124. Bari: I was just scrolling up and saw your original post. You WILL be back to doing all the things you love, just gotta be patient. Sorry to hear someone else did your injury for you, but stay committed to the knee, not the sports. When I had my shoulder done last year I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to throw a frisbee or a ball with my kids, but I’m good as “slightly used” now…no problems at all just a few scratches on my gelcoat!

  125. Day 3 post-op. Very little pain/discomfort remaining. I managed 4 hours in the CPM on day 1, then 6 hours on day 2, so have upped the angle to 64 degrees today and am currently in my 2nd session of the day. I’m still using the crutches, but am putting more and more weight on the leg each time I’m up and have even gone down to 1 crutch several times. So far my recovery continues to be easier than I had expected or hoped! Wishing you all the same!

  126. Lidija, what is the CPM and what does it mean to be “in” it? Glad you’re doing so well.

  127. Hey All,
    Felt like posting a follow-up on my original post re: sleeping w/out a brace…it still sucks. I tried wrapping it with an ace and that worked a little bit, but I still find myself waking up in the middle night pretty regularly. I’m over 2 weeks out (19 days to be exact, so really almost 3 weeks) and I don’t really have any pain in the knee otherwise – except of course at PT. I’m on the bike. Bending to 110 degrees. Off Crutches. But I still can’t sleep through the night.

    to anyone who’s a bit farther along: when were you first able to sleep through?

    I’ve taken to using a leftover pain pill before bed, but I’d really rather not have to do that.

    Tom CPM is Continual Passive Motion machine. You put your leg in it and it bends you. Continually…while you are passive. Meant for right after surgery to keep your knee flexible. My doc didn’t give me one.

  128. Nick:
    I am 5 weeks post op and still have trouble at night. Sometimes I will pop a Vicadin or 600mg Motrin. They don’t like you to prop your leg on a pillow but I find that helps and Ice it. Also, if you turn on your side use a pillow b/t you legs. Hope that helps.

  129. Nick, I’m 6 weeks post op and still have trouble sleeping through the night. I seem to crash early at 9 or so, wake up and watch TV from 1-3, and they fight to sleep until about 5 or so. I can turn on my side using pillow between legs which helps. I think it may be due to inability to get real exercise that tires that body out to sleep well. I always slept best after 2 hours of basketball that day. I’d like to know too at which point people resumed normal sleep patters pre-op too. Good luck to all.

  130. I had problems sleeping up till approx a week ago and I am about 8 weeks post op. My doctor said this is common, and prescribed me Ambien, although I still woke up but only once or twice. I now sleep all the way thru the night, so there is hope!

    And my doctor is not a big CPM fan, he doesnt prescribe them to his patients. It is frustrating that there are so many different opinions when it comes to these doctors! Some say yes to CPM, some say no. Some say use allograft, some say autograft. Grrrrr….

  131. OH!!! Before I forget…

    I found some great videos for ACL rehab on YouTube. He explains what you can do for each stage of recovery and has someone demonstrate. Search for ACL rehab by HumanKinetics461.

  132. Thanks for all the sleep advice guys. Glad to know its not just me. Now that I’m sleeping without a brace my worst fear is that I’ll roll on my leg awkwardly or just leave it in a weird position for too long and stretch out my graft. I don’t even know if that’s something that can actually happen. But I’m a nervous nelly.

    Kind of in the same rhythm as you Jay – sleep early, wake up in the middle, ice watch TV grit my teeth. I’ll be happy when this part of it is over.

  133. Nick, I haven’t checked this sight for a few days so to answer your questions-I had the patellar graft. About the ace bandage – I would wrap my leg at night and then the final layer I would secure my ice pack. Your not going to stretch out your graft. Put it this way, if you do, then the Dr. didn’t do a good job. We are all stiff and fighting for flexion because our grafts are tight. you would have to do something terrible to make that happen and I think you would wake up. :)

    I’m 4 weeks post op and have the same sleep issues. I’m so tired during the day and can’t wait to get to bed. Usually @ 11pm. By 2 am I’m wide awake and can’t fall back to sleep until @5am. Have to get kids up at 6am. It’s driving me crazy! Plus, only thing on tv is infomercials. The only thing that has worked for me in addition to taking my percocet is I’ll take 2 benadryl. But I hate to do that every night.

    i’m very disappointed in my flexion. I’m currently only 100 degrees and feel that I should be much further along. I so badly want to ride the bike, but I can’t make it all the way around yet. It’s those little milestones that I look forward to these days.

    Only the strong can handle this and it appears that we all are. Best of luck to everyone!

  134. Okay…I still haven’t made the decision Allograft/Autograft! The pro’s and con’s have my head spinning! How did all of you make this decision?? I am 36 years old, fairly active (gym: kick boxing/step class) HELP!! :)

  135. Marti-

    I’m 28, pretty active (jog & work out 5x a week, play flag football, ski, hike, etc), and am happy so far with my cadaver tendon / allograft. But I’m just over 4 weeks out, so it’s possible I’ll feel different in the future.

    I chose the allograft b/c I didn’t want to risk the recurring knee pain that’s possible w/ a patella tendon autograft, and I didn’t want to take a piece of my hamstring out when I need it most for recovery.

    Hope this helps.

    Deidra

  136. My reasons for going with the allograft were pretty much the same as Deidra’s: didn’t want to deal with the long-term patella issues and didn’t want to harvest from the hamstring. The few studies noted above indicating allografts are weaker were such small sample sizes that I did not consider the numbers statistically relevant. Also, an achilles tendon allograft is supposed to be as strong as a natural ACL. Finally, I truly believe that the determining factor is the surgeon, and I trust my doctor. I knew which way I wanted to go before he made the recommendation, and when he did he said he’d go with an allograft if he needed the surgery. That was enough for me. I did second guess my decision at times though (obviously, as I found this blog!) because of the infection/rejection risks, but ultimately decided that the chances were so small that the benefits of the allograft outweighed the risks. Part of that, again, came down to trusting my doctor, as he works exclusively with one lab in the Seattle area for the graft tissue because of their safety and quality record. I had to schedule my surgery 5 weeks out due to the lab’s waiting period for a graft. (And that hurt, because that means I’ll be back in hiking condition that many weeks later this summer!)

    Tom – here’s some good info and a photo of the CPM machine: http://www.arthroscopy.com/sp06001.htm.

    Day 4 – I’m off the pain killers now and down to just ibuprofen during the day. (I am planning to take a 1/2 percoset at night to help me sleep though.) Just did the dishes and was able to walk around the kitchen without crutches, but I am still using 1 crutch for longer distances and stairs. Tried the CPM at 68 degrees this morning and it was a bit too much, so backed it off to 66. I’m definitely feeling more sore/tender today now that the meds are out of my system, but it’s a dull pain and not keeping me from moving around. Most of day still spent on the couch with leg elevated/in the CPM though.

  137. Thanks Deidra and Lidija! I am defiantly leaning toward Allograft…so hearing from people that made that choice… helps!

    My concern: I called my OS yesterday and spoke with the PA. I asked if I could know the bank that the graft would come from (I wanted to check it out) and I was told that the ONLY information that I could have is… the age of the donor. Now after reading that Lidija knew where her graft came from…I feel like I should call back and be told that information! After asking a bunch of questions about the allograft…the PA told me:”I tell patients that have ANY concerns about the Allograft… to do the Autograft. (???) Maybe I need to talk to the OS directly. I really want to feel good about my decision… and I don’t want to have chronic pain in my patella! Hmmmmm??

  138. Marti:
    Your doctor should know the bank. I requested a specific graft. My doctor soaks the graft in antibiotic and then Nucks it to prevent antirejection.

  139. Hey Jenny,
    Thanks for your responses. Sorry to hear you’re sharing my (and most everyone else’s) sleeping problems. I took a vicodin at 12:00 last night and crashed by 12:30. Made it all the way to 6:00 before the pain really kicked in…so that’s progress, but I’m running out of vicodin.

    Re: your biking – how high do you have your seat? I started with a really, really high seat when I was at 90 degrees flexion. Couldn’t go all the way around the first few times. But made gradual gains.

    Keep on truckin’ everyone.

  140. Lidija, thanks for the link on the CPM. Looks like a helpful tool to get moving. Marti, I too was confused by all the choices and the surprising lack of definitive information. As I got caught every elevator ride and office entry answering “geez, what’d you do?” with the brace on, I was shocked at how many people have had ACL recon. One of my good friends said he’s done BOTH: patellar on the left knee and allograft on the right. He strongly suggested the allograft. He’s early 40′s, very active (soccer, running, basketball), and besides all the pro’s and con’s we’ve discussed here, he said something interesting….from a “liveability” standpoint, the patellar graft gives him nagging but constant problems. His doctor told him about the possibility of pain when kneeling, and the issues with the harvest site, etc., but he said that when you’re speaking with a doctor in the office the descriptions of discomfort are lost in the context of life. Another 40-50 years is a long time to be in pain that often, and he wishes he had done allograft on both.
    Sorry to pass along a 2d hand opinion, but I trust him.

    I’m waiting for my MCL to heal before I can do surgery, and have been on crutches and leg brace for 4 weeks. I was so happy when the doc said I could lose the crutches….I can carry coffee again!!!

    Thanks again to all for the positive vibes.

  141. Hello to all. I found this website recently after my 3rd ACL reconstruction on my right knee. I had the allograft procedure 4 weeks ago today. I’m 40 now, but my original injury was at 16 and it happened on the basketball court. In 1984 I had autograft surgery using the hamstring. I didn’t feel my knee ever regained full strength after this surgery, but I’m sure there have been many improvements to this method since then. In 1991 I tore my ACL again on the golf course of all places! It was kind of a freak accident, but none the less I was right back where I started. For my 2nd reconstruction they used my patella tendon for the repair. This procedure was very painful and it took nearly a year before my knee felt normal again. Once again, things are likley different with this procedure now. This method resulted in a very strong knee, however I did have the common problems and discomfort with kneeling. My knee was always very touchy if I banged it into anything after this procedure too. I got along fine after that procedure for 17 years until my knee started to buckle frequently in the fall of last year. I had no specific trauma to the knee, it just started giving out on me. I went to a surgeon (not the one who did the first 2 surgeries) and he suggested the allograft for my life style. I am active and exercise a lot, however I would never considering getting on the basketball court or putting on a pair of skis. Too much risk under my circumstances. I’ll stick with my walking, swimming, cycling, etc. So far so good with the allograft. I have been amazed that there really hasn’t been much pain compared to my other surgeries. The first couple of days yes, but the pain meds took care of that. The most pain has been since I started PT last week. I gained 23 degrees in one week and I’m now at 107 degrees. I use the CPM machine 3 hours per day too. My therapist recommended I get a Nordic Track ski machine once I’m healed up for hamstring strengthing. My quads have shrunk big time since surgery. I can’t cycle yet, but soon! I was only on crutches for 5 days and just wore the brace 2 weeks. I slept fine once getting rid of the brace. Good luck everyone and take care!!

  142. I’m a big Nordic Trac fan. Great workout, no impact whatsoever, and in comfort of own home!

    Met a guy today who had ACL, MCL, PCL, and meniscus tears. He had allograft surgery in late November and is very happy with his decision. I told him about this blog and how common the sleep problem was…he lit up into a smile as though recalling a fond memory. Also said that his recovery went in “steps”. Weeks would go by with no apparent improvement, and then a big jump in mobility. He reiterated that patience was vital to his recovery.

    Here’s an odd one for you all…I could have slept without my brace last night and I actually CHOSE to wear it. Some things defy logic!

  143. Hey Everybody!
    I just wanted to say that everything is still going well even after my fall down the steps last week. I’m 7 weeks post-op now and at therapy tonight I got 131 degrees flexion laying on my back and 123 degrees on my stomach. My sleeping has improved this week. I have the same sleep problem. But it is getting better. I never slept in my brace. I only wore it home after surgery and never had to put it back on. At this point I must be having some nerves reconnecting. I’m having “little” sharp burning pains across my knee that last a few seconds. Nothing too bad but I know it’s there. Anyone else having odd little pains like that?

  144. To Tracey:
    Odd pain across knee yes I get those.
    Sounds like you are doing also. My flexion is better.
    Take care

  145. Tracy, the little burning pains are your bones healing after the drilling required by surgery. It’s normal and actually a good sign.

  146. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone…reading your thoughts and experiences has defiantly assisted me in making my decision.

    I am going to have: Allograft. (Ahhh…its feel so good for this mental struggle to be over!) My tentative surgery date is April 21st. I live alone…so I have a few good friends that are taking time off to help me through this. (I am very lucky to have them) Besides the ACL, I have a “severely torn” meniscus…so I guess my recovery time will depend on what they see once I am in surgery. I start PT next week…I am going to work on getting as strong as I can during the next six weeks!

    My worst complaint is… lower back pain! I guess I am walking incorrectly and putting stress on my good knee and lower back. Also, I am having a lot of trouble sleeping. It’s going be a long six weeks until the surgery…and then the FUN begins! :)

  147. Good for you, Marti. You’ll do great. And yes, back pain is sometimes related to knee problems, and knee work makes the back pain go away. Client of mine had back pain, couldn’t make it go away…had knee replacement and back pain was gone.

  148. One week post-op. Completely off crutches now and CPM up to 70 degrees. Saw the doc yesterday and he said to start working on my extension and stop propping my leg up on pillows. OMG, now I understand everyone’s comments on difficulties sleeping! I couldn’t make it but 5 minutes before giving up and putting a folded up towel under my knee. (I figured letting it happen in stages might be better than going cold turkey…) Started PT today and was able to get to 90 degrees flexion with assistance – amazing! Most of this first PT session wasn’t too bad until the russian electrical stimulation – that was, ummm, uncomfortable at times. PT set up for twice a week going forward. Now it’s time to do some of that homework!

  149. This site is amazing! I am having trouble navigating the various posts but think I am almost there. I love reading everyone’s recovery story. I was hurt skiing on Feb. 15 and am scheduled for surgery on March 17. Left knee ACL. Am still on the fence about grafts but after reading the posts this morning am leaning allograft. I am currently in pre-hab. PT though have cut it back to 2x per week to save on insurance money for post-op.
    I too am an older active mom- and an RN, looking forward to getting back to my usual active life style.
    Will continue to monitor this site and post once my big day arrives.
    Thanks again! What positive attitudes you all have!

  150. OMG…I feel so blessed to have found this site. I have been stressing over this decision for weeks. All of your stories have helped ease my mind more than you’ll ever know. I’m 35, a first grade teacher and a mother of 3. I tore my ACL in my left knee on February 3 during a dance class. (I was almost too embarrassed to tell my friends/family. I don’t even have a good story like the rest of you.) Surgery is scheduled for March 12. I wasn’t sure up until… literally this moment, but I’m going for allograft. The thought of disease transmission has kept me up for nights on end, now I realize I’m being a little neurotic. I’m still very nervous, but am so grateful to all of you who have shared your pre and post stories. I’m looking forward to reading more.

  151. Can anyone tell me how soon they were able to drive? Right knee/Acl allograft with meniscus repair. Thanks!

  152. Marti:

    3 weeks post. I had ACL allograft R. knee

  153. Oh thanks Amy…that’s encouraging… since I am single! :)

  154. probably the toughest is the patellar autograft. It’s tough work on the recovery and rehab side. Whatever you decide your PT is extremely important, so take it seriously and make sure you put the hard yards in every session. Don’t rush back in to play – just focus on range of motion and strengthening those quads and hamstrings.

    I am not your doc or PT but just give it 1 year to get back to any kind of sport..work on those legs…….

    good luck to all and get well..

  155. Hey Stacy,
    Looks like we are the newbies here and we are roughly on the same schedule. I am scheduled for surgery on the 17th. Have been debating the graft options for days. I do health research for a living so you can imagine the hours on this one.
    I have my pre-op tomorrow and have pretty much decided allograft as well. I think the disease piece is so very minimal and the healing, pain piece (easier, less) significant.
    I will follow your progress and be cheering for you. Glad to hear you are nervous, I am actually getting quite scared myself. Worried about the pain and worried about the rehab. I am active and fit but 48 and this seems like a huge challenge. Does everyone feel this way?
    Will follow your posts!

  156. I just had the surgery on Friday (Allograft) and started on the pain meds immediately after I woke up since there was a strong pain in my knee despite the nerve block they gave me before surgery. I didn’t handle the narcotics very well. By Saturday morning I was nauseous, dizzy and couldn’t pee (evidently it did something to the sphincter muscles). I switched to ibuprofen and tylenol per Dr’s orders and after a great night’s sleep I feel much better today. I’ve been doing the isometric quad tightening exercises since Friday night and the passive leg stretches with my leg propped on a towel. My leg of course is very sore but no tooth grinding pain to deal with like I thought there might be. I’m kind of tired of being confined to the bed and crutches, but am enjoy the excuse to be waited on hand and foot by my fiance. I strongly advise anyone facing this surgery to make sure you have someone with you at least through the second or third day. I was a wreck yesterday. Today, off the pain meds, I’m coping much better. Tomorrow is my first PT appointment, where I guess I get to start bending my knee. On crutches, you can’t carry ANYTHING. I’ve begun putting drinks in a Nalgene bottle with a lid, but soup or anything on a plate is a problem. Glad to know I don’t have to deal with that for very long!

  157. Hi Tammy.
    Thanks for the encouraging words. I think it is normal to feel nervous. Who wouldn’t be??? I’m sure we’ll both come out of it great. For me, reading about everyone’s experiences has really helped to ease my mind.
    I’ll pass on a bit of info. from my doc. that I hadn’t heard before. He doesn’t recommend the hamstring graft for women. He said that more often than not women have very thin/weak hamstrings; therefore, the knee is still unstable and at risk of reinjury.
    I have been doing PT for 3 weeks. It has helped me regain a good bit of my range of motion. It also has given me a small sense of what to expect after surgery. Are you doing PT now? Good luck with your surgery. I am looking forward to following your posts.
    P.S. – My dad was killed by an impaired driver a few years ago and is now my guardian angel. I believe he will be watching over me during the surgery. I will also ask him to watch over you on March 17. Take care.

  158. hey everyone, nice to hear all these stories and know i’m not alone. i tore my acl and medial meniscus and am due for surgery soon.(havent set a date yet) so many things are on my mind and i’ve totally freaked myself out looking at pictures and watching videos of surgery almost to the point where i’m trying to talk myself out of the surgery.. well i also have no idea which type of repair i should do that seems like such a hard choice to make, help? also, i was wondering how long everyone thinks i will be out of work… i bartend and waitress so i am always on my feet.

  159. To Stacey, Tammy:
    I had the allograft on the 26th of Jan. Back to work on the 23rd Feb. In brace @ work. I am a research nurse and walk all over the hospital. Huge hospital >1000 beds. Anyway, you both will do great. Listen to your doc. Pain about an 8 out of 10 first day then <. Take pain meds have everyone wait on you. I am 55 years probably the oldest in this whole blog. I am riding a stationary bike 8 miles day.
    To Alisa: Unless you are in the medical field don’t look @ all that OR stuff on the web. I freaked out about it too. Stopped looking @ the pics. Go with allograft. See above note. I am doing great.

  160. Thanks Amy. I am getting more and more nervous. I was ready to cancel the surgery at one point over the weekend. I wish it were over already. Thanks for sharing …what to expect the first day. Did you have the pain pump? I was wondering if it is painful to remove. How soon after the surgery did you begin PT? Sorry for all the questions…..I’m trying to mentally prepare.
    Thanks

  161. Stacey:
    Don’t cancel.
    1. Day of surgery. Make sure you have a good MDA (anesthesia) to give you the block. Then they put in the pain pump. Usually its a form of Lidocaine.
    Stays in 3 days. Patient usually removes it. Its about 10 ” long no pain on removal. Just make sure you clamp it off. ( Directions on pump.) I had a passive CPM machine delivered so I took the bandages off on Wed 2/28. Had surgery on Monday 2/26 and started PT with the passive CPM. Formal PT was after 12 days (Dr. check) You must start process soon. Do not hesitate. Take pain meds every 4 hours. Especially @ night and when you are doing exercises. You will be fine. Very common procedure.

  162. I’m 7+ weeks post op (125 bend) and have follow up visit today. More than anything I just miss cardio exercising and breaking a good sweat. I thought I’d respond to some of the posts over the weekend in random order. (36 male, ACL from hamstring, meniscus repair). I drove to work 7 days later, but my hamstring hurt pretty good. I just moved the seat way back and tried to keep leg straight as I could as I drove. Had to use both feet to drive. The pain after surgery wasn’t bad, I just remember broad big ache, not any knife piercing pains. My nurse said don’t wait until you have pain to take medicine so I followed her advice. I have a desk job so I was back at work 7 days later, and even then eased into it w/3/4 days. After hours and hours of research, I concluded there is no clear answer on hamstring, cadevar, or patellar. It just depends on personal preferene to pros & cons, and your own surgeon’s preference. Good luck to all.

  163. Staci and Amy
    Just research the pain pumps. I’m not trying to scare anyone but I was told by my Doctors not to get one. There are some problems with the lidocaine and marcaine causing the cartilage to deteriorate over a period of time and it could not show up for a few years. My husband had a pain pump for his shoulder 5 years ago and he is now having problems with his cartilage now.This is new studies and is just now coming out. Just look it up on the web. Like we have said before every Dr. different. Good luck

  164. My Dr said no to the femoral block, and the topic of a pain pump never came up. Percoset and my GameReady (ice machine) effectively managed the pain, and I weaned myself off the Percs w/in 72 hours after surgery. I didn’t replace them w/ OTC drugs (Advil, Tylenol), but I think GameReady helped a lot.

    Every doctor is different, but they’ll encourage you to call anytime if things aren’t going well after surgery. My doctor and the nurses reiterated this many times, that it was fine to call day or night over the weekend since my surgery was on a Thursday, but if your first pain alleviation plan doesn’t work, they should help you set up an alternative plan quickly.

  165. Just back from my pre-op with official decision of allograft. Did tons of research and basically came down to no harvest site so only one injury to recover from, very little (if any) risk of disease transmission or rejection, quicker recovery and less pain. Does this square with all of you?
    Stacy, I too am worried about the pain. Was given a prescription for dilaudid and am hoping it will do the trick. I have been told the post op pain is no worse than the injury pain?? Comments anyone?
    I am allowed weight bearing with an immobilizer and crutch. Crutches untl stable on leg. Immobilizer until I regain quad. strength and timing. PT begins formally 2 weeks post op.
    The only thing they didn’t discuss was showering…. anyone??? Somehow, it just seems to make me feel better!
    Stacy, do not cancel. We will go through this together! Alisa, stop with the videos, they will do you no good and even as a medical person, they are gross!

  166. Hi Everyone…. just wanted to drop a quick note and let you all know that its on for this Wed. (11th). I am so nervous about going under, not so much the recovery. Thank you all for the posts as they have really put things in perspective for me. I am 31 and have been putting up with with a severed ACL and meniscus tear for almost two years now. No sports injury just a freak accident. Will post and let everyone know how it goes for me. Thanks again to all for sharing and good luck.

  167. Natasha:
    You will do fine.

  168. Natasha, the going under IS the most un-nerving part, and you will likely have a few options. You can be anything from mildly aware of what’s going to completely out of it and sound asleep. Like anything else in life there’s always a risk, but this is a very short procedure. Anesthesia is like magic to me, but I’ve found the doctors willing to answer ANY questions you have. ASK THEM. Whatever you want to know, they will tell you, and often just eliminating the unknowns can make you more comfortable.
    Stacy, don’t cancel the surgery. I thought for a few days about not having it (I’m 44 and most of my activities are “straight ahead” type stuff except skiing and golf), but I knew I’d regret forgoing it later. I can’t even schedule mine until the MCL heals which is at least another 6 weeks. I too wish it would just hurry up and be done! Too much time to think about it!!
    Re: the pain pump, my daughter (13, just had patellar graft 10 days ago) had it and it was no problem at all. There was a little “bulb” that indicated when it was empty (took 3 days) and it literally slipped right out when it was time to remove it. It’s only just under the skin surface, held in place with an easily removed tape, and she didn’t even feel it coming out. Our doc said the benefits outweighed the risks (biggest one was of infection at the site), but I’m glad to know about these new studies that Tracy T mentioned. I’ll certainly ask.

  169. Thanks to all of you for your insight. I will definitely talk to my doctor about the pain pump. He seemed to highly recommend it. I’m thinking of returning to work roughly 2 1/2 weeks post surgery. I teach, and can rest fairly often. I would be driving myself…..L knee injury and I use my R to drive. Does this seem realistic???? Thanks

  170. I was worried about the pain as well just because I don’t like to take pain meds. My worse day was the day after surgery. But I only took 5 “half” tabs of Percocet for the first 2 days and nothing after that not even aspirin or Tylenol. Everyone tolerates pain different. I just can’t tolerate the pain meds. Just getting out of bed to go to the bathroom made my knee throb but nothing I could not tolerate. I only took a week off from work and was back driving(my left knee too). I’m a dental assistant but I was on desk duty. I’m still not assisting too much right now. If I’m standing up a lot my leg swells and then by the time I get to therapy I can’t bend my leg good. My therapist gave me a knee sock to wear for the swelling. It is getting better every day. Prop it up as much as you can at work and take a ice pack with you. You will be fine and don’t worry too much. I will be 8 weeks post-op this Thursday. It will go by fast. Best of luck!!

  171. Automatic transmission? You should be fine pretty soon after surgery, once all the pain meds are out of your system, especially if your car has a “dead pedal” where your left foot would go. It takes the strain off the left knee, calf, and quad muscles. Also, if you have a high vehicle like an SUV be aware of the need to put weight on your left leg (think about how you get into a car….the things we take for granted!), and you may not want to “pivot” on the ball of your left foot. You might want to “back” into the car’s seat, sit down, and then swing your leg in. Don’t try to be graceful… The other thing to be aware of is getting in and out – you want to be able to put the seat all the way back. This is easy with power seats but again you’d be surprised how much effort it takes to bring a manual-adjust seat forward when you can’t use your leg. And lastly, again depending on the height of your vehicle, getting out can be harder than getting in. The actual driving is easy (almost a relief) compared to the first few times figuring out the in and out. Suggest having a friend help you in the beginning. Minivans are great for this because those seats are typically right at hip-height and the weight transfer is much easier.
    A manual transmission obviously presents challenges, but between steering wheel and seat adjustments, I found a position that works.

  172. Tom…Thanks for the tips. I do have an automatic, it’s a truck so a little high and difficult to get in to. I’ll need to give that some thought.
    Tracy…I’m the same as you with regard to pain pills. The last one I took a pain pill, it made me so sick to my stomach I thought I would need to go back to the hospital. I’m really worried about the pain afterwards.

    To all of you that have been writing your thoughts….thank you so much. I am so nervous, I’m making myself sick to my stomach. Hearing your stories and successes helps me when I’m just about to change my mind. I can’t wait to be the one talking about my good experience and putting other people’s minds at ease. Good luck to everyone with PT and speedy recoveries.

  173. Tracy
    Thanks for the pain control advice. I am like both you and Stacy, I cannot stand pain medication. They gave me a prescription for dilaudid and I am afraid I will be a zombie!
    You are now 8 weeks out, how do you feel? And how are you getting around? They just told me today it will be very slow going for 4 months, and no golf this summer which was kind of a bummer.
    I find the frustrating part now is not having the endurance I am used to having. They said that would continue for the first few months.
    How far do you walk at this point without getting tired out? What have you added to your PT regimen?
    One week and counting! Thanks so much everyone for the great info!!

  174. I wanted to tell everyone that your posts have helped me so much. I’m 43, tore my ACL skiing and I have surgery tomorrow, the 11th, going with the allograft. I keep second guessing my decision to go through with the surgery at all tomorrow, so scary. But, I will be thinking about Natasha having surgery at the same time! That will help me.
    Thanks, you have all given me courage to go ahead!

  175. Tammy:
    I am like Tracy 7 weeks out. I ride the stationary bike for 10 miles every other day. I go to PT 3x week. I walk all over the hospital for my job its a >1000 bed institution. I get tired at the end of the day. Usually I am @ work x10 hour days.

  176. Amy – You are a warrior.

    I’m just under 4 weeks out now (4 weeks exactly tomorrow). Bending my knee (with assistance) to 112 degrees. Walking without crutches. No real pain in the knee. Sometimes when I do mini or functional squats at PT it stings a little, but other than that I’m pretty good. Slept very well last night, might have been a function of the poor night of sleep I had the night before, but I’ll take what I can get.

    Actually, what’s really bothering me is my hip. It gets really tight and I can’t do the stretches I would normally do to loosen it up. I work a desk job as well so I’m constantly having to stand up and stretch or walk around. Anyone else have the tight hip problem? Any solutions? Or suggestions?

  177. To Nick: Its because we are still out of alignment. I encourage you to make sure you do heel toe when you walk and swing your knee like your uneffected leg otherwise its very painful.

  178. Nick
    I had been having crazy hip pain until the PT “taught” me how to walk again. I had been swinging my leg around (kind of like doing hurdles) rather than bending the knee and walking heel toe heel toe. The PT had me practice calf raises and do lunges as well as practice walking over a log backward and forward with my back straight like balancing books on my head. He also said to toe in a little when I walk and the difference is amazing! Of course I am pre-op not post op like you.

    Amy- you are a warrior! I find doing about 25% of my usual activity exhausting. I usually shoot for 10,000 steps per day plus my exercise classes. I asked when I could do that again and the PT said probably not for 4 months! Can this be true?? Please say no!

  179. Renee & Natasha
    Best of luck tomorrow! Please keep us posted on your progress. Those of us who are going next week will be following you closely! Heres to a speedy recovery!

  180. Hi all,

    Just a little over 4 months post-op, so I thought I would give you folks good hopes. I experienced the pain, trials and tribulations you all have and are experiencing. Now, I am feeling great. I don’t even realize I had acl surgery (allograft) and it feels so much more stable. Obviously, I am not playing sports yet, but riding the bike, walking, etc with just a small amount of swelling when I really push it. Just keep thinking about how much better it will be, even though those first couple of months can be mentally tough.

    Cheers to healthy and speedy recoveries!

    Hanson

  181. Renee and Natasha
    GOOD LUCK TOMORROW. I will say a prayer for a successful surgery and speedy recovery for you both. I go in on Thursday the 12th, so I will be looking forward to reading your posts and going through the recovery process with you. You both will do great tomorrow!! Try to get some rest tonight, it sounds like you won’t be getting much sleep for a few weeks based on previous posts. Take care

  182. Thanks so much for the well wishes and prayers. So far, I’m wondering if I will be able to sleep I’m so nervous! I hate to waste my last night on my stomach for awhile so I’ll get off the computer and give it a try. I will try and post tomorrow after I get home.
    Good Luck, Natasha and to you, Stacy next!

  183. Stacy, Natasha & Renee,
    Good luck with the surgeries this week. I wish you all the best. And you will get through it. Keep us posted please.

    Tammy- I’m getting around good. This week I have seen a lot of improvement. I’m walking better. I have some discomfort and popping when I walk and that is normal I’m told. I went to therapy tonight and I’m now at 134 degrees flex.I’m spending about 2 hours at therapy, 2 nights a week. I’m riding the bike, walking more at work. You will get your energy back.I was sluggish the first few weeks too, and then after surgery about 2 weeks again until my energy came back. Try to eat right. I think it was because after surgery I did not have a good apatite and did not feel like eating. I lost 4 pounds. I just can’t wait to get my muscle back. One real skinny leg and one normal leg is driving me crazy. I feel because of my age(39) it will take me longer to get my muscle back. Everything is harder the older we get(haha). I just don’t heal as fast as I use to.

  184. I’m back to sleeping on my side 4 days post op. Don’t sweat it!

  185. Stacy
    Tomorrow is your big day? You will do just fine. Please please keep us posted, I am right behind you and will monitor your progress ok? Fingers and toes crossed for you.

  186. Quick update before I fall asleep again! I really couldn’t have had it go too much better. My doctor did a femoral (I think that’s how you spell it) block and it was (is still!) great. It hasn’t worn off yet so my pain has not been above a 2 out of 10 all day. I felt sick to my stomach and they put Phenergan in my I.V. and that helped a bunch but made me very sleepy. I have slept off and on all day. The brace is HUGE and I have to wear it for two weeks and no weight bearing for two weeks. This seems a little daunting, I can’t see it fitting it in the driver’s seat.
    So Stacy, don’t sweat tomorrow, I built it up in my mind to be a lot worse than it actually was and I’m so relieved that part is over and you’ll be feeling the same this time tomorrow.
    I’ll let you know how I feel after the block wears off!

  187. Oh, and that’s good to hear, Bari! I’ve had a hard time being on my back just today so I’ll look forward to day 4!

  188. Good job Renee; congratulations the surgery being over! Stacy you go tomorrow, right? We’re all thinking good thoughts for you. To all: I mentioned my daughter had surgery about 2 weeks days ago; she’s came home from PT today depressed and I showed her this blog. THANK YOU for your positive comments and honesty…she feels much better!

  189. Renee…Congratulations! I am so relieved to hear that everything went well. I can’t wait to hear more details and track our progress together. I’m jealous now… I wish mine was over too! I’ll try to update tomorrow.
    Tom B. Thanks for the well wishes. I feel the same as your daughter. Very thankful I found this site. Everyone is so honest, it puts my mind at ease.

  190. Stacy, Hope you read this before you leave. Best of luck today, please keep us posted! You will do just fine, I am sure.

    Renee: You are amazing, thank you so much for posting I am up in a few days and you are an inspiration!!!

    Will follow you all over the weekend, I am getting my house set up and ready for “rehab” time.

  191. Thanks everyone! It’s so nice to have the encouragement of all these great people. Tom, my daughter had knee surgery 2 years ago, not ACL, but I know she would have felt much better had there been a site like this for her. It’s amazing how much better you feel knowing you’re not alone!
    For an update this morning, the block has mostly worn off and I have some pain in what feels like the incision points, still not unbearable though. I slept on my side (I hope that is ok?!) and set the alarm for every five hours to take a Vicodin so that the pain doesn’t get away from me like I was told it could. The brace hurts when I stand up because it’s so heavy it pulls on everything. I forgot to ask if I can take it off when I’m sitting down (?).
    I’ll praying for you, Stacy, I guess you’re there now. Post when you can!
    Tammy, you will do great. I did everything I could think of in the house beforehand. I am kind of enjoying getting waited on :) , that doesn’t happen often. I will look forward to hearing how it’s going for you!

  192. Hi Renee,
    I actually don’t go in until 1:30 today. I will be stressing over it all day. I am a side sleeper too. I was encouraged by hearing you say you slept on your side the first night. Did you get a pain pump? I am still unsure about whether or not to get it. My doc recommends it, but I am not totally convinced yet.

  193. Hello All. Well the surgery went fine and was surprised I was able to bear weight on it when coming home from the hospital. I have two small steps at the front door and made it up with little help from the crutches. I slept off and on most of yesterday and only took two pain pills. I have a terrible headache this morning and still some nausea. My doc said that I have early arthritis because the injury was so old.
    The brace is VERY cumbersome, I am already tired or it. ;-) All in all I have been walking on my own half and using crutches half of the the time. My doc told me he wanted me bearing as much weight as I can tolerate as soon as I could so I have been. Sorry if I’m being redundant Im still a little groggy and cant believe I am able to walk around so soon.
    This is going much better than I anticipated. I do feel a lot of pressure and at times some sharp shooting pains around the incision points.

    Stacy I’m praying for you … you will do great. I was very scared about going under but it all worked out. Think positive and it will be.

    I’m loosing track of who else is up next but good luck to you all and keep up with this blog…. I know we all know how much help it has been.

    So how are you all sleeping on your side? I wanted to so bad last night (1st night post) but was worried I’d mess the brace up.

  194. Natasha,

    Glad to hear you are doing so well. I had my surgery on Friday and was able to walk within a few days. I began rolling to my side on the second night. I rolled to the side where the brace would be on bottom and used a bunch of pillows around my body to prop me in place. They took the brace off on Monday at my first PT session and now I can sleep on my side and stomach. Pillows help a lot. I have 5 in my bed. Boyfriend slept in another room until last night just to make sure I got a good night’s sleep. I’m starting to feel much better. Leg is still very sore – it’s not the knee but the shin where all of the fluid drained. Sometimes it feels like the shin muscles are ripping away from my leg when I do the leg bending exercises, but this should go away when the swelling subsides.
    Good luck!

    Bari

  195. It is so great to hear you all did so well!!! Good for all of you! What an inspiration and what a gift this site is.

  196. Natasha…I’m so glad to hear that your surgery went well. It’s gives me alot of encouragement. Did your doctor give a reason as to why he wanted you bearing weight so quickly. I’ve heard mixed opinions. Well….I’m getting ready to go in for my surgery now. I pray that mine goes as well as all of your did. Take care everyone!! I look forward to reading about your progress and seeking your advice.

  197. Sorry for all the typos…I’m a little nervous. My brain and my fingers aren’t working together very well. LOL

  198. Natasha, you are doing so great! My doctor won’t let me weight bear at all for two weeks, it’s crazy all the differing views the doctors have. I wish I had your doctor! I agree with you about the brace, it’s inconvenient. I was able to sleep on my side by just resting my good leg on top of the brace, it’s so sturdy it didn’t even bend in so it was quite comfortable.
    Stacy, you’re probably done as I type this! I didn’t get a pain pump at all, just the femoral block and the pills. I’ve taken a lot more than Natasha, I’m afraid not to the first 48 hours. Maybe I should try to be braver!
    I am already VERY tired of sitting on my bum all day. I don’t even go to PT for ten days but have already started the exercises but it’s not too pleasant.

  199. Renee,
    Everyone is so different, don’t think you should not take the pills. I have the hydrocodone 750mg which say to take every 6-8 hrs. I am a light weight when it comes to pills so maybe that’s why I am getting away with it. I would go crazy not being able to bear weight for two weeks. That is so crazy. I’m not sure why there is such a difference in opinion about weight bearing. I talked to the nurse today and she said continue on with what I can tolerate but make sure I wear the brace at all times when up and walking.They want me to start PT in 7 days.
    I put the brace over my stretch pants today and went outside with the kids. Just standing around with one crutch watching them play. I had to sit down after about 10-15 minutes to rest.
    Maybe if you talk to your doc he will loosen up on the two week restriction?

    Bari, You said they took the brace off on Monday. Is that for good or are you still wearing it off and on? How long has it been since your surgery? The swelling is normal huh? It sounds so painful, not looking forward to any of that. Is it mainly due to the PT. Ive seen a lot of you folks commenting on PT and pain. I guess as the old saying goes, “no pain, no gain”.

    Stacy, I look forward to hearing from you and am pulling for ya.

  200. Thanks, Natasha, you are right, everyone is different. My pills are 500mg and I’m not super-sensitive to drugs. You are a rock star, though, outside standing around with the kids!! I’m definitely not as tough as you! I’ll blame it on the fact that I’m older, not wimpier ;)
    I’m in a lot more pain tonight, though still not unbearable. That’s a good idea, I’ll ask my doctor if the two week thing is negotiable at all.

  201. You guys should be so relieved and proud of yourselves! Outside already, I hope!!
    Did anyone get a script for dilaudid for pain? I am really worried about the strength of this med. I only weigh about 115 pounds, I am afraid I will never wake up??
    Stacy, can’t wait to hear from you. Hope you are doing well.

  202. Renee,
    If you had a meniscus tear that was repaired, it’s normal for you not to be allowed to bear weight. I’d check with your Dr first before listening to all of us.

    Natasha,
    Yes, I had my first PT appointment on Monday after my surgery (on Friday). They removed the brace and gave me some exercises to begin working on. But, mine was a straight ACL tear with no meniscus damage or other trauma. It would be different if you had other damage. They told me I don’t need to wear the brace but to carry one crutch while walking to warn people that I need extra room and care and also to use as support in case I trip (which I tend to do since I dont’ raise that leg as well).
    My second PT appointment was today and I’m on the stationary bike now and have a lot of sqaut and lunge type exercises to do.
    But, I think everyone is different and every doctor has a different method.
    Haven’t taken any pain meds other than ibuprofen and tylenol since the morning after surgery (they hydrocodone made me feel AWFUL). Pain has not been bad at all. It’s really just soreness from the swelling and incisions. But, the more I move my leg, the more the swelling is reduced as the fluids get pumped away. Feeling much better today!

    (Plus, I had allograft, which is supposedly less painful than autograft).
    Bari

  203. Renee… you are so funny. If I didn’t have my kids I would probably be laying around a lot more. I had an acl and meniscus with the allograft.
    I haven’t taken anymore of the pain meds either. Last one was yesterday around 4PM. They just make me feel so loopy.
    I am really sore tonight. We went out to eat and the waitress didn’t see my big braced leg sticking out the end of the booth and leaned right into my foot which caused a lot of weird pains on the ride home. I am sure all is fine but I understand now why they are telling you (Bari) to carry that crutch. My husband told me I should take it in but I insisted I dint need it :-) Guess I will be taking it with me next time I venture out.

    I cant get in to PT until Friday and really want to get started. I’m afraid the longer I go the longer it will take to regain flexibility. When I try the exercise with the towel it hurts like crazy and I’m not sure how far to push myself. The paperwork was not that clear on how may to attempt just to attempt them 5-10 times a day. I’m so confused.

  204. Natasha,

    For the towel exercises, the pain that I felt the most was actually from the swelling in my calf and the tight tissue below my knee, not the actual knee. It felt awful and scary, but I did the exercises about 5 times per day, with however many repeats felt comfortable (probably about 10). I just pulled the knee in very slowly, a little more at a time. The pain in the shin is AWFUL and it feels like you are ripping your ACL out, but you aren’t.
    Bottom line, use your own judgement. You’ll know when enough is enough.

    Good luck!
    Bari

  205. Hey guys. I know a lot of you have just been checking this comment thread for updates. I’d like to encourage you to check out the forum that i’ve been working on. Unfortunately you do have to register to use it, but I think you’ll find that it’s a better format for the kind of discussion that we’ve been having on this thread.

    Let me know if you have any problems or suggestions!

  206. Hey guys,
    Has anyone heard from Stacy? I have been away this weekend and have had spotty internet. Hoping she is ok.
    Natasha: What did they give you for pain? My Dr. gave me an Rx. for a very strong medicine and I am afraid I will be out of my mind. Tough enough navigating around on crutches with a brace let alone totally drugged!

  207. Hi Tammy, I have been wondering about Stacy as well. I really hope all has gone well but have not seen any posts from her.
    They gave me an rx for 750mg of hydrocodone (vicodin), an anti-inflammatory and a antibiotic. I only took the hydrocodone the first two days because they made me feel so loopy (out of my mind). I have just been taking the anti-inflammatory for pain. Last night I had a lot of pain but got thru it with no pills. My 5 year old is sick with a stomach bug and I wanted to be coherent in case he needed me.
    Are you doing okay with the pain? How many days post are you now?

  208. I’ve been looking for Stacy’s posts too, I hope she is okay.
    I’ve been taking Vicodin every 8 hours with no side effects and as a result, very little pain. Everyone handles the narcotics differently and I would rather have pain than feel loopy but I haven’t had to choose between the two. Tammy, you will just have to see how you handle the drugs. Darvocet is less powerful but my sister prefers it because Vicodin makes her feel bad, so you might ask about that.
    Can anyone tell me how long they used the ice machine? Also, when is it okay to sleep without the brace?

  209. Thanks Natasha and Renee.
    I am going in on Tuesday. I have a prescription for Dilaudid which is an extremely powerful pain killer. I only weigh 115, I am worried I won’t even wake up!
    I think we have some vicodin around the house (left over from my son’s wisdom teeth) so I think I will have that on hand in case I can’t handle the other.
    I am allergic to anti-inflammatories, can only use tylenol so I am between a rock and a hard spot.
    I will also ask about darvocet or something a little less strong.
    Natasha you are having a really great recovery it sounds like, you too Renee,
    I hope I can be like both of you!!!
    Will keep an eye out for Stacy.
    Tammy

  210. Hi Everyone! Sorry it has taken me so long to update. My computer is upstairs, and as you know, I can’t get up there yet. Everything went well. Little tough coming out of anasthesia on Thursday night. Went to PT 13 hours later on Friday morning, not pelasant, but tolerable. Took the Percoset) for 2 days, now just Tylenol. Did have extreme pain on Friday night, went ER per dr. request. Apparently had a nerve pinched. They gave me 3 different pain meds through my IV, but it didn’t really help. Going to PT 3 times a week now. Almost 4 days post op and getting around great with crutches. I’m glad to hear everyone is doing well. I’ll update soon. I’m going to bed. PT kicked my butt today.

  211. Just wanted to say good luck tomorrow, Tammy! I will be thinking about you and praying for you, you’ll do great. Post when you can and let us know how you did.
    I’ve way cut back on the pain meds and my exercises are going pretty well. Sleeping is still a huge bummer, tried to go braceless and ended up putting it back on in the middle of the night, just felt too unsafe. My biggest problem is that I seem to have no energy and the crutches are exhausting, probably from a lack of sleep.
    Hope all is still good with you Natasha

  212. Just noticed your post, Stacy! So relieved to hear from you, I was imagining all kinds of things. Wow, that’s pretty intense that you had to go to the ER but sounds like you are doing awesome! Are you allowed to weight bear or are you fully on crutches? I haven’t been to PT yet, just doing exercises the PT at hospital told me to.
    Good job, Stacy, isn’t it a relief to have that done?!

  213. Oh Stacy, I am so happy to hear from you. Sorry about your complication but glad to hear you are doing better.
    Went to my other house today where I am going to recover. Turned on my internet so I can check on you guys and post.
    Have to be there at 9:45 tomorrow surgery at 10:15. My only concern still is the pain med they prescribed. Very very strong. I am going to try to deal with that before surgery. I hate medicine.
    Renee what are you doing for meds now? Heard the sleep issue is a pain in the butt. I am planning on tylenol pm as soon as I can.
    Talk to you all hopefully tomorrow afternoon.

  214. Hey gang! Thanks to everyone for continuing to share their stories and best of luck to you all for speedy recoveries!

    I’m now 2 1/2 weeks post-op. I’ve had the CPM at 90 degrees since Saturday (am actually returning it tomorrow), have been doing all my exercises, and my flexion is up to 105. I got on the bike for the first time at PT today, which was a WONDERFUL surprise (the beginning of getting back to my normal activities)! Still wearing the brace most of the time, though I’m taking some steps around home without it. Continuing to wear the compression sock and icing often, as there is still some swelling and mild soreness, especially just below the knee and next to the largest incision. PT said I can go ahead and start sleeping without the brace and so will give that a go – nervous to try based on earlier comments though… my extension still needs some work and I’m sure it’ll be uncomfortable…

    Overall I’m very pleased with my progress. It feels better and stronger every day!

  215. Hey Stacy….. SO
    “/[;.’ glad you are ok. So what did they do to fix the pinched nerve? I hope the rest of your recovery goes well. So you started pt so soon huh? I really wish I could be starting sooner but wonder why you started so very soon. I don’t recall anyone else here starting so soon either.

    Tammy I know you will do great and we are all thinking of you. Check in as soon as you can. Having this place to connect with everyone really helps me a lot.

    I am still doing well. I tripped up the steps yesterday eve and had a lot of pain during the night but it was much better this morning so decided not to cal the doc. Had to take both the kids to the doc this morning and they both have pinkeye and ear infections. Boy I guess when mom goes down everyone goes with her :-) .

    Have any of you cut over to the forum Henry was talking about?
    Henry I took a look at it a few days ago but find it hard to cut over because we have all this string going.

  216. Hello new friends….I just registered on the forum. Henry has made it very simple, but I must say te blog is nice because there’s no need to choose topics; it’s just stream of consciousness. Perhaps someone will create a forum for “random thoughts”.
    Glad to hear you’re all doing so well. Ally (my 13 yr old) is having some scar tissue build up..I think she’s not moving enough, and I really want her to read your stories and accounts. One more big thanks to everyone. I’m still 6 weeks PRE surgery, but my MCL is healing nicely. Got on the bike, can go down AND up stairs now like a big boy, and don’t have to scoot the seat all the way back to get in the car. All wonderful until surgery and I go back down to square one again!!

  217. Good luck today, Tammy! I am now taking a Vicodin (500mg) in the morning, and one at night. I’m going to call the doctor today and ask if I can do Ibuprofen or Tylenol instead and save my remaining Vicodins for PT. Pain has never been at all unbearable with the Vicodin.

    Ally, my daughter had knee surgery too and the moving was the hardest part. She did some crying at PT but now walks like a champ. Hang in there and post your thoughts if you think it would make you feel better. We’d love to hear from you.

    Tom, I know how you feel. I got where I could do 20 minutes on the stair climber pre-surgery (took me 8 weeks to be able to do that) and it’s so frustrating to know I’m back at the beginning. My quad is moving so much better now after surgery than it did during pre-hab (I did my own) so I think all the pre-work really made a difference. Sounds like you are doing well.

    Natasha, be careful!! Freaks me out that you are going upstairs and I’m not even allowed to weight bear. My dog has pinkeye! I hope he doesn’t give it to the rest of us.

    Lidija, thanks for the update, you doing so well gives me hope!

    I signed up on the forum as well but didn’t really know what to do from there, random thoughts and a post-surgery questions forum might be good.

  218. To all;
    I am back to work and doing great. Good luck to all.
    To Tracy and Henry and Kimber thanks for your insight.

  219. Ok quick post. Got home a few hours ago. All went well, ACL and meniscus repair (can’t type)
    Using dilaudid. They gave me 2 in the recovery room the last one at 1:20 and I just took one at home,
    Also took 2 tylenol and I used some Arnica (a homeopathic med)
    Pain isn’t too bad, more of a dull throb and the worst part is it isn’t in my knee but in my lower leg on the outside. Dr. Said from where he stitched the meniscus back together.
    Makes me cranky but not out of control.
    Will check back in later

  220. Great to hear all went well Tammy! Rest away and hope you have a great recovery. Keep us posted.

    Hope you are doing well Stacy.

    Renee… the stairs are actually just two small steps that lead from our living room to the dinning area. But I don’t have a choice not to use them or I would be stuck in the family room all alone. Thank you for your concern as it reconfirms what everyone around me keeps telling me. I hope I’m not over doing it I just cant sit still for long periods.

    I finally slept on my side and almost made it thru the night for the first time. Still just relying on the anti-inflammatory. I have been able to do laundry, dinners and dishes for a few days now and even vacuumed today.

    Everyone…please keep posting about the pt as I am anxious to start but now worry about the pain. What kind of exercises do they have you do?

    Thanks again to all!

  221. Renee , Natasha,Tammy, Stacy and Amy and any one I missed!
    Glad to here that you all are doing well. Just remember that you will have good days and then a bad day will hit. Don’t get discouraged at all. I’m 9 weeks now and this weekend was bad.I was stiff, could not bend my knee that good. But went to therapy and I can flex on my own 136 degrees on my back and I’m about 4 inches away from my heel touching my butt when I’m on my stomach.I never thought I would get this far but doing better everyday. Keep up the good work.

  222. Good morning
    Post op day 1. Not a bad night last night. Did use my dilaudid. Only one at a time (2mg) about every 3 hours. Used 2 initially to go to sleep. Figured out a way to sleep half on my side so actually got some sleep. Biggest problem I had was that I had to go pee about every hour or so. What is up with that? They must have pumped me full of fluids in the OR! Finding the dilaudid makes me a bit spacey but does a good job with the pain. Had breakfast today so plan to start the tylenol with meals. Would like to wean off this med as much as possible.
    Find standing up feels so good. Did anyone else notice that? I have an immobilizer but can bear weight with the crutches. I am suprised as I had my meniscus repaired as well.
    First PT is on Monday, in the meantime have a sheet of exercises to do. Havent tried bending yet, will try soon.

  223. Tammy! Sounds like you are doing great! I’m so glad to hear it. According to the nurse in the OR, we heal better when we aren’t in pain so we shouldn’t be afraid to medicate as needed. I am down to taking mostly Tylenol, I want to save the Vicodin for PT. Had a great night sleep using a 1/2 of an Ambien, slept 10 hours and only woke up twice briefly, huge improvement.

    Natasha, I’m really just super jealous of you. I am very active normally, gym 5 days a week, running, I have a horse, and it’s super frustrating to have to sit on my bum and not bear weight when I know I could do it!! Especially when the weather is so beautiful, perfect horseback riding weather. Oh well, I did have my breakfast outside this morning and that was a huge mood booster. Oh and I’m not concerned about you and PT…vacuuming?!? You’ll do fine :)

    Tracy, thanks for the post, I think I will need to hear that kind of thing, it’s easy to get discouraged. Sounds like you are doing so well, almost being able to touch your butt sounds impossible!

  224. Hi Everyone! I miss reading your posts each day. I check as often as I can.

    Tammy…I am glad to hear that all went well. I’m sure you’re relieved that it’s over. Congratulations! I took the Dilaudid at the ER and know exactly how you feel regarding “loopiness”. I didn’t like that medication. I began Tylenol on day 3. It doesn’t completely take the pain away, but it helps. I also had to pee every few hours for the first few nights. I think it was a combo. from the fluids and how much I was drinking at home. They told me to drink alot because the pain meds. “bind” you up. That’s the last thing I needed. I can bear weight with crtuches, not full weight, and without crutches, but can’t walk on my own yet. I can’t even lift my leg on my own yet, it’s frustrating!!! Hang in there…I’m sure your recovery will go great!

    Renee…I am feeling much, much better. Going to the ER scared me, especially when none of the IV pain meds were working. But I feel much better now. PT is grueling. I feel like she is going to snap my leg in half when she bends it. I go 3 times a week now. I notice slight improvement each time. I have heard a few people talking about the CPM machine…what do you know about that? I don’t have one. I’m wondering if I should ask for one. How is your PT going? What kind of exercises are you doing. Are you weight bearing yet?

    Natasha…I’m sure your PT will go great! I was a little surprised they had be start 13 hours later, who knows what the right thing to do is. We didn’t accomplish much the first day, but she’s been working me hard this week. I do notice improvement each time I go. Make sure you do the home exercises, it really helps. As for the nerve, I had so much swelling that the bandaging was pushing on the nerve. So, loosening the bandage and IV meds. to reduce swelling is what finally relieved the pain. It was awful. I haven’t had that sort of pain since. Straight Tylenol, only 1, every 6-8 hours. Good luck with your PT and recovery, I’ll keep checking back on your progress!!!

    Everyone…thank you so much for sharing your stories and for sharing your concern for me and each other. Every tiny bit of information helps. I’ll check back when I can. How soon before I should expect to climb stairs or drive?????

  225. Argh….I can’t tell if I’m happy that my surgery is 4 weeks away or sad….all of you are making such great progress; congratulations. I wish mine were done already.

    Ally (again, my daughter) and I were at PT together today, and they have her doing some leg lifts and some stationary biking as well several minutes of ice (that machine that pumps cold water around a cuff wrapped around the knee) to close out the session. Therapist said she needs to really do more bending while seated, and she has some build-up of some kind that “catches” at times. Doc says that it is scar tissue, so ladies, please: don’t just sit there. Keep bending, moving, stretching, and working out the pains.

    So Stacy, are you glad you did the procedure?? It sounds like we all heal at different rates, but I would think the stairs and driving will come in several weeks. Up is easier than down, and going down like a 5 year old is a lot safer than trying to do it like a grown-up. TAKE YOUR TIME. No such thing as an emergency when you’re trying to get your body back together.

    Bye all….have a great rest of the week.

  226. Good morning.
    Day 2 post op. Interesting. Yesterday I felt absolutely wonderful until about noon (24 hrs post op.) It then dawned on me that the marcaine block had worn off. OUCH. I hadn’t taken any pain medication for 6 hours and spent the better part of the evening trying to catch up. So hint #1 take your medications on schedule for a few days.
    This morning there is pain present, however, not unbearable. Just aching. One interesting thing is I get these little electrical jolts on one side of my knee… anyone else? What the heck is that?
    The ice is absolutely helping, standing helps and I am now touching down heel toe with the crutches which feels great.
    Let me hear how everyone else is doing. Looking forward to bandages off and a shower tomorrow :) the high point of my week!

  227. So good to hear from you from everybody! Tammy, I was completely paranoid about the block wearing off because I could tell it was taking the pain away so I made sure to take a Vicodin every four hours the first two days and the pain never got out of control. I’m getting electrical jolts and some spasms too, the jolts are especially pronounced where the screws are. Nice. I can’t feel the skin at the bottom of my knee, is anyone else feeling that?
    That’s awesome that you can weight bear, Stacy. I know I could if I was allowed. I have my first doctor appointment since surgery on Tuesday and I asked if they were SURE I couldn’t weight bear until then and they said YES!
    I’m trying to do the stretches, leg lifts(which are easy) and heel slides (not so easy) several times a day. I also laid down on the couch and did sit-ups and used some barbells to work out my arms. I hate to go completely to square one!
    With Natasha’s inspiration, I unloaded and re-loaded the dishwasher while sitting on a stool. Who’d of thought that would ever feel good?! :)
    Enjoy your shower, Tammy, it is awesome to shower! Tom, I completely do not regret doing the surgery.

  228. Just FYI, I am just under 2 weeks since my surgery and have been driving a manual transmission since Tuesday (left leg is the surgery leg, and no problem with the clutch). I can also walk up and down the three flights of stairs at work. Carefully and slowly, but I can do it as long as I hold the hand rail for balance. I have 125 degree bend at PT. I had an allograft, so I’m sure that if I’d had my own tissue harvested, I’d be much less flexible. But, agree with Tom – work through the soreness and pain.

  229. Bari
    When did you begin to feel “normal”? I am just 2 days out and can’t even imagine bending my knee or even walking right now. I can extend fully and it actually feels good. I thought I might try bending it today. I have been partial weight bearing with the crutches and it doesn’t feel bad but I thought I was just doing well to get around!
    Renee- don’t you love those jolts? What the heck? They jump me out of my skin! I haven’t taken my bandages off- have to leave them on till tomorrow, so I don’t know if I will be able to see my screws. I supposedly have the bioabsorbing screws??? At least I won’t alarm when going thru the airport!
    Good idea on the sit ups and stuff hopefully I will feel like it in a few days.

  230. You are doing well, Tammy! We have to be careful when reading the posts to remember that we’re all different ages (I’m in my 40s), different injuries and different recommendations from our doctors. It’s easy to get frustrated if you feel you’re not doing as much as others, but we have to go at our pace. It is great to hear what others are doing so you know that you can push yourself more. Bari, awesome, pushing on the clutch!
    You will just see the spots where the incisions are, I was pleasantly surprised when I finally unwrapped my leg, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. My doctor told me which incisions had the screws and those incisions are a bit bigger than the others and I feel the most (yes, very weird!) jolts from those spots. I think Tom was the one who said it was part of the healing process so I just remind myself of that!
    I didn’t feel like doing too much the first few days so I didn’t. My leg hurts the most when it’s hanging down, which seems opposite of how you feel. Because of that, I have a hard time staying upright too long, I have to sit down and elevate. I’m afraid to bend it too much and because I haven’t been to PT I don’t know how far to push it.

  231. I don’t feel close to “normal”. I just have been very diligently, since the day of surgery, doing the quad exercises and and when they removed the brace on day 3, bending my knee past the point of comfort many times a day and also working very hard to get normal extension (that hurt worse than bending). I’m still VERY sore all of the time. I hit the wall on Tuesday, and other than PT, did no exercises. Slept from 6:45 pm to 6 a.m. that day. But, each day is a gradual improvement over the last. I rode the stationary bike for 35 minutes last night – was very stiff this morning. I’m trying to walk without a limp, even if it hurts. My whole life now is about trying to function normally, even if it hurts. The PT wouldn’t give me a straight answer when I asked him how long I could expect to be sore….. I’m not sure how soon I’ll feel ‘normal’!

  232. Hey Guys,
    Bari-
    I’m 9 weeks today and I still don’t feel quite normal. I have found that after being at work all day and I come home and take off my shoes(new-balance) I can walk better bare footed. I’m thinking I might need to talk to the therapist about a good pair of sneakers. I have stiff days and the knee still hurts some.I had slight arthritis in my knees before my accident so I’m sure that is not helping matters in my case. I have popping in my knee now that I’m walking a little better and they said it was all normal. But I can’t wait till I’m normal again too. We are the people that just like to play hard. Welcome to the ACL club. Just keep up the hard work. The time really goes by fast.

  233. Good Morning! Post Op Day 3!
    Thank you for all of your comments everyone. It is so nice to have some experience ahead of us!
    Yesterday and last night were so much better. Down from 6 pain pills to only 4! And, only one in the middle of the night YAHOO! Finally found a way to turn to my side a little, my back was killing me.
    Big new of the day… a SHOWER! Wow did that feel good! Finally got to take the bandages off, have 4 holes (don’t know why) one seems quite big..will ask the Dr. on Monday. First post op visit and first PT on Monday. Let the wild games begin.
    You guys truly are amazing, what an inspiration! Thanks for all of your notes!
    Stacy: How are you??

  234. Hi All, I tore my ACL and MCL on Feb 18 skiing in Lake Tahoe (Heavenly). I am 35, and live in NJ, so it took me a while to get back to the east coast and into a doctor’s office. I was finally told today that I ruptured the ACL, so badly that I bruised the bones around it (still don’t understand the consequences of that yet). I have surgery scheduled for Apr 21, and my doctor said he prefers allograft. After reading all your posts, I am somewhat concerned about the durability of that choice, but will have a discussion with my doc about it. He’s a part of the Hospital for Special surgery in NYC that caters to mostly athletes, so I would hope he would have a trustworthy opinion!
    It’s been a month now and I have been in PT, have a brace and am walking with a cane and a pirate limp….I can only bend my knee about 100 degrees, and am somewhat frustrated that after I get back to being truly mobile i will have to go into surgery and do it all over again. But after reading all your posts, and knowing that there are people out there sharing your experiences and frustrations, makes me feel like I am not alone. I learned more on this website than any other that I googled! Thank you to whomever started this forum!!!
    I will continually check it and add my experiences as I have them.

  235. Kelly, we all feel for you, definitely keep posting on your progress before and after. This website has been a godsend for me, it really helps to know you are definitely not alone (thank you, Henry).
    Yesterday was bad, just in terms of still not being allowed to put any weight on my leg, I was so sick of sitting around I thought I would go insane. Today was better, went out to dinner and rode the little cart around at Walmart (embarrassing), went with my husband to watch him feed my horse.
    This too shall pass! Hearing from Tracy and Bari makes me feel better, they are an inspiration as you all are.
    Glad to hear things are going so well for you Tammy. Looking forward to hearing from Stacy too. I’m sure Natasha is already running a marathon ;)
    Happy healing, all!

  236. Kelly, I did the exact same thing….ACL and MCL tear, and done skiing in early February. Keeping the MCL immobilized for so long (and yes, crutches and brace) definitely weakened the whole leg, but just stay with the PT. I HATE the fact that I’m finally walking without a limp and I can almost squat but have to go back to square one in late April (my ACL surgery). Pain is weakness leaving the body…frustration is the resistance that says you’re doing it right….and small goals are better than big ones. Just stay with it.
    And for those of you following the adventures of Ally, my daughter, she got a bit of tough love from the doc yesterday, and it worked. She’s really been working hard on the bending and straightening and she’s feeling not only better, but proud of herself.
    I read her some of your posts last night and I know it helped. You’re all wonderful!

  237. Hello everyone, just checking in. My thoughts go out to those who have just had surgery or will be having surgery, hang in there! I just signed up to the forum, can’t wait to post there. It is so good to see all the support and encouragement. :)

  238. Hi Everyone. I think I’m the only person on the planet without a laptop. I scooted myself up the stairs this morning so I could check in on everyone. What a sight that must of have been. I’m post-op 8 days and doing much better than a week ago. I haven’t taken any pain pills or Tylenol for 3 days now. It feels good to get my head out of the clouds. PT is going great. It lasts about 2 hours each time. Is that typical? When she bends my knee I feel like my kneecap is going to pop out and fly across the room. It’s paying off though, I feel better each day. My bend is almost at 90 degrees and my extension is great, about 1/2 inch between the table and my knee. The worst part for me is that my quad muscle isn’t coming back very quickly. I only have control over it periodically. I’m having to retrain it to remember how to walk. What a pain. I still need crutches to get around, but I’m relying on them less. I’ll update again soon.

    Tom B….I can totally sympathize with you feeling like you will be back at square 1. I was feeling great right before the surgery and almost hopped off the table in the pre-op room. I told the anesthes. that I could live with the slight pain I was feeling. Pre PT helped ALOT!!! It wasn’t fun but it helped. Despite feeling like you’re back at square 1, think of the long term benefits. Think of your daughter and how you don’t want to be limited in your activity so you can have fun with her. You’ll do great!!! I’m glad to hear that Ally is doing well. I struggle mentally with the recovery and I’m 35, so she is doing great.

    Kelly…I had the same situation where I bruised the bones around the ACL. It was a discomfort for about 2 weeks, then no problem. It heals on its own. Pre PT helps alot. You’ll find that in no time, with the help of PT, you will feel so great that you won’t want the surgery, but do it anyway. I’m pulling for you. Can’t wait to read about your progress.

    Tammy…I loved the shower too!!! It’s funny how we miss the little things. I still have a hard time balancing in the shower. My husband is all too willing to help out. LOL. I have 4 holes too. Well 3 small holes on my knee cap and 1 longer incision below my knee cap. My PT said that some people have 3 and some have 4. Hang in there, you’re doing great.

    Renee…Still no weight bearing at all?? That must be really frustrating. It’s funny to me how different each of our dr. and PT’s are. You WalMart story made me laugh. We sort of make a joke out of it now. I’ve realized that every now and then I need a little help. I went to my sons baseball game on Wed. and they brought a golf cart to get me from the gate to the field. I was embarrassed at first, but got over it quickly when I realized how far away the field really was. Keep us posted.

  239. Kelly: I am basically on the same schedule as you. I tore my ACL playing indoor soccer at college on February 20th and will have surgery at the end of the semester (May 12). I have serious knee bruising as well and just began physical therapy this past week. I improved my range of motion from 85 degrees to 115 degrees in one day. I know those last few degrees will be hard but this is the year of pain so I am going to get used to it. I would like to get some opinions on which type of graft to get. I am a freshman in college who played varsity sports throughout high school and I am currently a member of the tennis team and part of the club soccer team. My doctor seems to recommend the patella tendon graft but I am weary of the recovery time for that and never being able to kneel again. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

  240. Stacy, thanks for braving the stairs so we can hear how you’re doing! I guess we should just try to appreciate the motorized assistance with our activities :) I’m so envious of your progress in PT, I can’t wait to start. Do you take any pain pills before you go? I’m taking an occasional Tylenol now, but that’s it. I have a lot of shooting pains still, does anyone else?
    Just some advice to those coming up, I’m so aggravated about not being able to put weight on my leg, definitely talk to your doctor before surgery what his philosophy is about recovery. I might have picked a different doctor if I’d known he was going to be so conservative. Apparently he had someone tear their new ACL after surgery falling so now he is ultra cautious. I’m just afraid that despite the exercises I’m doing I’ll have a lot of scar tissue build=up.
    Glad to hear things are going better for you, Ally. Hang in there!

  241. hi all, its me again i posted a comment a few weeks ago… i’m the one that was watching all the videos and looking at the pics of surgeries….lol well i’ve got a date now march 30th and have leaned towards the allograft but still not 100%… Yikes! i’m really not nervous about the surgery too much i’m just dreading the 6 weeks my doc told me i couldn’t walk for. i’m a active busy girl always on the go! i’m a wait/bartender so i won’t even be able to work for 6 weeks, i did need a vacation but this is far from what i was wanting!lol i’m also nervous about my kids being to rough with me and accidently jumping on it or something they are 3 and 5. well i’m glad that everyone is healing up nicely it gives us all hope.

  242. Hey guys
    Good to hear from everyone and welcome to the newcomers.
    I know just how you guys who are pre-op feel. I had just gotten myself mobile in time for surgery. It seemed a little counterintuitive! However, I really think it will make your recovery so much easier! I am so happy to be post op now.. day 4. Lets see… shower again this morning.. amazing, off the narcotics so far today (it doesn’t help with the bathroom issue, reminds me of childbirth), more mobile on my crutches, and 5 months 26 days till sports!
    It does seem daunting at times, but stick with the therapy it really did make a difference.
    Renee- how funny riding around wally world in a cart. I was thinking of hitting the mall tomorrow with a few friends just for a change of scenery! (My family is skiing this weekend :( )
    And Stacy, you be careful butt scooting those stairs.
    Have been partial weight bearing with my crutches but it slows me down quite a bit so sometimes I pick up my leg and cheat! Am doing my extension exercises, not much for bending, it feels nasty!
    Tried to get on my exercise bike yesterday… right! Not yet.
    Anyway, will try to sign on the forum today, couldn’t remember my password in my drugged up state! Happy saturday.

  243. Hi All…. 10 days post and had my first pt yesterday. It was a lot better than I expected. Didn’t really do much. I am 90 degrees flex and fell like I can could go further but docs orders wont allow it until next week. It actually felt good to bend my knee after having it so straight for 9 days. They put an electro thing (forgot what its called) on my thigh to induce muscle flexing. That felt weird but didn’t hurt. Then he massaged the knee gave me a sheet of exercises to do at home this weekend and sent me on my way. 1 hour in and out. Cant really complain, did the full sheet today and seem to be a bit tired from it. I just iced it really well and it feels pretty good now.

    Sleeping a little better now but I find if I am on my back too long the leg kinda goes numb. Will ask my doc about it this next week.

    Renee…. I so wish I could just run. I haven’t been able to do any of that for a really long time so I am so looking forward to the day I can actually run after my little ones and play tag again! What a blessing that will be.

  244. Bending does feel nasty, Tammy! You can feel all kinds of strange pulling, not pleasant. Really glad to hear the details of how you’re doing. Enjoy the mall, it feels amazing to get out!
    Natasha, 90 degrees seems really good! I wish you could play tag too, You know I’m just having fun with you, you are truly inspirational. I was glad to hear about what you did on your first appointment, sounds pretty do-able.
    I know how you feel Alisa. My kids are older so I don’t worry about them jumping on me but I have a 90 pound puppy that scares me to death!
    Isn’t it funny how much you appreciate things you kind of took for granted before, like how great a shower feels, how nice it is to carry you own coffee to the couch, how wonderful sleeping on your stomach is, ect., etc. I will try not to take these things for granted again.
    Time flies even when you’re bored to death. Back to work on Monday (yikes), first doctor appointment on Tuesday and hopefully clearance to weight bear!!

  245. HI all…. I just love reading all your posts and thank you for your responses! I had a breakthrough today…I was able to make a full revolution on the bike and can bend to 115 degrees now!! I’ll be back to normal in a month, just to do it again, but i agree, that getting my quad back pre-op will make post op recovery easier. And for those skiers out there…my doc said, unofficially, he has noticed that there are much more ACL injuries with the shaped skiis. His theory is the extra torque on the knee in turns. Just an interesting tid bit.

    Warren- My doctor (at HSS) prefers the allograft, i believe for the quicker recovery time, but I know that the field is fairly split down the middle between patella and allo-. They say that the allograft is a bit weaker because when they freeze the tendon, it loses some of it’s integrity (i read that on a previous post above), but there are doctors that dispute that. There seems to be one test on 64 patients that’s prominent on a google search but the small number of test cases makes me a little cautious on the info. Then they say that the patella is a longer and more painful recovery and could lead to tendonitis in the patella down the road….there are pluses and minuses to both.

    Renee- you hit it on the head…the little things in life are such a major deal now! Getting my coffee to the couch was a process. I set up an obstacle course of stools from the coffee machine to the couch and would just move the cup from one stool to the next…and I miss how showering used to be a good part of the day instead of a painful part. Good luck at the doc tomorrow!

  246. Hey guys. Post op day six and lots of new info.
    First off, I ditched the pain meds officially on Friday. Have just been using tylenol, arnica and ice.
    Today was my post op check. He removed the steri strips and stitches and took 2 x-rays to check on the ACL. All was well. He also trimmed my immobilizer so it almost actually stays up sometimes!
    The good part of the day was when he said I could ditch the crutches as long as I use the immobilizer always. The bad part is that I have to have the immobilizer for 4 weeks because of my meniscus repair.
    The other sort of bad part is that my rehab will be a bit different because of the meniscus but I still will end rehab in 6 months so it is all good.
    So after my Dr. visit I had PT. All was well. I have full extension and 90 degrees of bend. I have some groovy (right) new exercises and they actually put me on the exercise bike but would only let me pedal with one leg. Talk about weird.
    So Kelly and all of you, hang in. I am so glad it is over. And for all of you with the stupid brace issues, I am with you.
    Tomorrow we will discuss sleep or lack thereof. Good night.

  247. Hello everyone
    It’s been a while since I’ve posted but I read your blogs often and glad to see everyone doing well and staying upbeat. I’m 6 weeks post op today, I had ACL, miniscus and decided on the patellar graft. I am extremely thrilled with my decision. I had this same surgery on my other knee 14 years ago and it has never been a problem, so it was an easy decision for me to to have the patellar. To sum it up. After interviewing 3 Dr., when the 3rd one said ” Do you want a 90% knee with half the pain and recovery when using an allograft ora 100% knee with a bit of a longer recovery using your patellar?”, Any questions I might have had were just answered. If I’m going to put myself throught this, of course I want a 100% knee. Today, I am 128 degrees flex. Yesterday, I hit 2 malls and walked for 5 hours.(yes I was tired at the end of the day, but I got to shop!!) Like many of you, I had the crappy post op knee brace that is hot and slips down all the time. I now have a new brace by Breg that weighs @ 1 lb and is much cooler and never slips. It will fit under my dress pants or jeans, so I don’t mind wearing it at all.
    Another little tid bit, especially for the ladies. If your worried about scars, use Rawleigh antispetic salve. My Mom reminded me how great this stuff is and she ordered it on line for me. I have used it every day since surgery and my two scars are almost faded to white – Barely pink. Maderma can’t touch this stuff.
    Keep at the PT, it gets better before you know it.

  248. Thanks for the tip on the scar stuff, Jenny, I’m getting that ASAP.
    Kelly, you made me laugh out loud with your trail of stools. What a great way to cope! Interesting about the skiis, that was what I was using when I tore mine.

    Had my first doctor appointment, and YAY! I can weight bear with the brace on only and ditch the crutches as soon as I feel able!! It really felt so good to put my foot on the floor, doesn’t hurt at all. I start PT in a few days. Didn’t hurt when he moved my knee all around, only when he massaged the scars, ouch (apparently I have to start doing that), and cut out the one “dissolvable” stitch that was misnamed, bled a lot. Been getting around fine at work with the crutches, keeping my leg up on the mini-fridge under my desk most of the time. Oh, and slept on my STOMACH for about an hour, pure heaven in spite of the slight pain. Sleeping is still mostly awful though, even waking up if I take an Ambien :(

    Hope everybody is doing well. Talk to you soon.

  249. Hey Renee and everyone! Congrats on your first dr. visit! It does feel great to touch down I got the same news on Monday, the only tough part for me was that my leg simply didn’t want to ditch my crutches! I practiced all day yesterday and am up to 7 steps without crutches! I am also usually using only one on my bad side. Do you still have to use your immobilizer? Man what a pain that is. I have been sleeping without mine so I can roll on my side but then getting up to go to the bathroom I either have to put it on or use crutches. Either way, the sleep part is def. a problem! Have been using tylenol pm when I go to bed and I am getting a bit more sleep but would still call myself a bit dangerous due to lack of sleep!
    Does anyone have any other weird pains? I am finding the knee really doesn’t hurt but I have several places on my leg that just throb. My ankle area feels like I have a pulled muscle and my groin and quads are killing me. Have been using a rolling pin on the upper leg, it is pure misery while doing it though it does flatten out the knots!
    I have an interesting article on the shaped skis, it is a known fact they do contribute to more acl injuries, I too was on shaped skis. I will try and find it and post for all to see. In Vail they are now instructing their employees on avoiding injuries on shaped skis and have reduced their acl injury rate by a significant figure.
    Well off to the shower, cheers all. And to all of you more experienced recovery people, does it get better soon???

  250. Sorry for the second post. If you google shaped skis & acl injuries you will find many articles explaining the mechanism of injury and acl injury prevention when using the new skis.

  251. Tomorrow I’ll be one month post-op. First the good – on Monday the PT said to lose the brace and I have not put it back on since! Next, the not so good – today I had a follow-up appt. with my doc, which didn’t go quite like I’d hoped… He said that my knee was a bit stiffer than he would have liked. :( He said he’s confident the increased flexion will come in time, but still scheduled my next follow-up a few weeks sooner than normal. I must admit I was a bit bummed, because I’ve been doing my exercises religiously and was really hoping for a “you’re doing great!!” Maybe it was just one of those “bad days” we’re all supposed to have, because it did feel pretty stiff… It usually does though, unless I’ve just done my exercises (and I had not done them today before the appt). Anyone else feeling the same?

  252. Lidija
    Why did you have to wear your brace for a month? I think I have to wear mine that long too and I am very frustrated. I had a meniscus repair in addition to my acl.
    Don’t get too discouraged, I don’t know how we are supposed to work on our flexion when we are straight legged most of the time.
    How are you walking now without your brace? You will probably loosen up very quickly.
    I hear you on the “bad days”- sometimes it isn’t very fun! Chin up!

  253. I’m supposed to wear my brace whenever I walk but take it off whenever I’m sitting down, as you know, that gets a bit tricky when you are up and down, especially at work. It is so hard to work on flexion when you’re strapped into that thing. I am having weird pains too and my upper leg did really hurt where I imagine I got the shot for the nerve block. That is a lot better though, if it’s the same, Tammy, yours will be too soon. I’m still using two crutches to walk for the most part but at home I’ve used one some. My leg just feels so weak despite the exercises I’ve been doing faithfully, I guess two weeks of not weight bearing takes it’s toll. 7 steps without crutches is awesome Tammy, I will make it my goal to get further along over the weekend.
    I definitely have my highs and lows so far, I think we just will until eventually there are more highs than lows. Hang in there Lidija and everybody. This will all be a memory before we know it.

  254. Hello, all. Lots of interesting posts here from a variety of experiences so I thought I would try to get some feedback about my recovery. I had ACL reconstruction with an allograft on 9-23-08 (no meniscus repair). I only had PT sessions for 2 or 3 weeks and then was on my own; several of the exercises were created with home use in mind. Over time I did some research on how to modify the exercises since I had no more appointments but that was really the only change I made. By January I was getting pretty frustrated with the level of apparent weakness in my knee; any time I bent it while standing, it shook like crazy. So went back to PT and have had a different approach the last 6 weeks or so. It seems to be improving somewhat but it’s a bit hard to tell (still a bit shaky). I’ve not been very active at all; I’m afraid to even walk on my treadmill (probably because walking was what tore the ligament in the first place- not kidding). Has anyone has similar experiences with allografts? Could the weakness be due to the lack of sufficient PT exercises? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  255. Lidija:
    Try not to get too discouraged yet. I can’t remember just how long I had my brace on but I know it was for at least a month. Once it came off (I planned to burn it until I found out how expensive it was…) the flexion came much more easily. Just be a patient patient and keep up with the PT and (*knock on wood*) you’ll do fine.

  256. Hi Everyone! Yay!!! 2 weeks post-op and feeling great. I’m walking with one crutch when necessary, but I can walk around the house….well if you want to call it walk, more like hobble….without crutches. At the doc. yesterday they removed the stitches, painless!! and he unlocked my brace. I still need to wear the brace, but it can stay in the unlocked position. My knee has buckled a few times, so I just furniture surf around the house in case I need something to hold on to. PT is still grueling, but good news…..yesterday I made it all the way around on the stationary bike!!!. I peddled for 6 minutes. It felt really good. My PT pushes really hard, I’m usually there between 2 and 21/2 hours. I am doing much better than I thought I would be at this point. I have a lot of tingling and pain in my shin. My doc said it is nerve damage from when my nerve was pinched on day 2. It could take up to a year for it to fully go away, but it’s bearable. Other than that, everything is going well. I can’t wait to read all of your updates. Keep your spirits up, the hard part is over.

  257. Amy B, I’m surprised you only did PT for 2 or 3 weeks. I’m 9 weeks post op and still going once a week and probably will for several more weeks. I was doing twice a week for 7 weeks before they moved me to a sports D1 facility for PT because they could work me better so I can try to get back on the basketball court. I’m 36 and tore ACL 1/4/09 and tore both meniscuses (which has slowed the PT pace down as a result) and had surgery 1/16/09. I say all that to say that my physical therapist believes that a lot of PT is just working on re-strengthening the leg muscles and getting your balance back (apparently you lose some balance cells during surgery due to incisions). I’m guessing your leg is shaking b/c you didn’t strenghten leg muscles and now that the knee feels better and you feel like dong more that your core leg muscles (calf to thigh/hip) just aren’t strong enough to allow you to walk comfortably. Its not just the knee/ACL, but the whole leg you have to PT. Anyway hope this helps, I’ll be praying for you and all on here.

  258. Good advice everyone! Sounds like we are all “on track” just hard to remember that sometimes.
    JayDale – you had both meniscuses repaired, so did you have to stay in your immobilizer for 3-4 weeks? How long did it take you to start rebuilding strength in your leg?
    Renee: I hear you on the brace, taking it off and on is such a pain. I must do it 50 times per day! And I am having weird pains too, one behind my knee and one down by my ankle bone. Who knows, basically it feels like my leg got run over by a bus!
    Stacy: How cool you on the bike! Good for you!! I don’t know about my PT yet, sometimes it seems like they have several of us booked at one time and I have never been there more than 1 hour. Will have to keep an eye on that part although how many leg lifts can you do in one hour??
    Amy: I don’t understand the PT part. I am supposed to go 3 per week for 8 weeks then 2 times per week for 4 etc. It doesn’t sound like you had very good follow up- poor you. I did see a girl at my PT the other day who was back for remedial PT as she didn’t have a good program in her home state. Lets hope you get back on track soon!! I bet with some good strength training you will feel more stable.
    Good to hear from everyone.

  259. Hi All,
    Its been 10 weeks now after allograft ACL surgery and i have been running on the tread mill for 2 weeks. I have been facing a little discomfort in my keen since 2 weeks back. I feel like my knee is locking up when I try to bend my leg after straightening my leg completely, some times I hear a pop (like cracking of knuckles). Most of the inflammation on my leg is gone expect a small bump one of the incision’s and i have very good range of motion.
    I want to know if other who are at my stage of rehab also feel that lock feeling. Surprisingly tomorow i am meeting my doctor and I haven’t been feeling that lock since two days.

  260. Thanks Amy! Good to hear that the flexion came easier once the brace was off – I was hoping that would be the case, so it’s good to hear that’s how it went for you. This morning my PT got me to 113 degrees flexion, which was only 3 degrees better than last week (darn!). Looks like I’ve definitely got some work to do.

  261. Hello all. Glad to hear everyone is still plugging along.
    15days post…Got the stitches out and had second pt yesterday. Also found out that I actually had two meniscus tears instead of just one, along with the complete acl.

    Anyhow, pt went well…. went in at 118flex and came out at 120 :-) I was so happy because I had the flu so bad over the weekend and thought I wouldn’t even be able to do 90degrees. Flexing is going great but my strength is so sad. They keep telling me it will probably be at lease a year before I regain full strength again. My injury was pretty old so doc had to cut away lot of my cartilage due to arthritis damage and wear and tear.

    I am really bummed because I am still young (31 yrs.) and I just know no matter how well I recover I will always have some problems with this knee from the arthritis. Some nights I just want to cry (like right now). So to all you out there that are unsure if you should have the surgery think about what it will be like “long term” if you don’t.

    Good luck to all of you and I look forward to staying connected with you thru this site.

  262. Tammy, I wore the immobilizer for 4 weeks. But at PT I took it off for that.

    The most frustrating part with the meniscus repair is that the PT’s have to take it so slow. They aren’t worried so much about ACL as they are about meniscus. They said the meniscus doesn’t have much blood flow to it so it takes much longer to heel. Plus my repair/suture (sp?) was in the middle of meniscus so blood flow is very weak there. I’m dying to jog and break a sweat, but doc won’t release me to run for 3-4 more weeks which would make me about 12-13 weeks post op. Also on the stationary bike they wont’ let me go more than 25-30 minutes at no more than Level 5. I feel like I’m just spinning; can’t break a sweat doing that. They explained the 8-12 week post op period is most critical as ACL studies show it weakens at this period for some unknown regions. So I’m learning self control as taught in 1 Corinthians 9:25.

  263. Thanks for the responses and well wishes! It had seemed like I didn’t have much follow-up from what I’ve read here and elsewhere; makes me wonder how my surgeon’s other patients fare…. Another problem I’ve had lately is pain near the incision site, which is also where the bottom of the sartorius muscle lies. I’m not sure if it’s the muscle or the scar tissue that I didn’t massage for months (didn’t know I was supposed to). Thoughts?

    Andy: Running since 8 weeks post-op? Wow. At 6 months post-op I’m still scared to even try! I don’t recall any locking but I started having a lot of popping in my knee after about 4 months. Of course, most of my joints pop and have for years. Hopefully your doctor can determine something despite the locking going away recently.

    Natasha: I hear you on the crying thing. I’m only 28 and starting to wonder if some of the weakness in my knee will be permanent. Plus with all of the popping I’m prone to, I know I might also develop arthritis eventually. I used to be a dancer and don’t feel complete without it but apparently my body has other intentions (just typing “I USED to be a dancer” is enough to make me tear up a bit). I guess all we can do is keep pushing ahead and hope for the best!

  264. HI guys, glad to hear that you’re all progressing through the hurdles! I am about 3 weeks PRE-op and am getting my flexion back, but the quad and calf muscles are still very weak. I asked my doctor if I need meniscus repair and he said he’ll see when he gets in there and that the MRI doesn’t give him enough detail. My question to anyone is, did you know you needed meniscus repair beforehand? I am concerned because a month after my surgery I have a wedding that I have to fly to and walk a bit, and if I have meniscus repair I don’t think I will be up to it b/c I hear you about the longer PT time. SO I am trying to figure out whether i should buy the plane tickets or not…..I just can’t believe that an injury that happened in split second is putting out of commission for so many months. I am thankful I have the time to deal with it right now, but it’s just really crazy.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated. Just as a reminder, I completely tore my ACL and did a number on my MCL as well…..and the MCL still hurts 5 weeks later….

    Keep the faith everyone, you are all so inspiring!

  265. Hi Kelly,

    I can really relate to your comments, especially ‘an injury that happened in a split second is putting me out of commission for so many months’. My surgery is scheduled for 4/29. I’m having a hamstring cadaver ACL replacement. I fell in late December and have been hobbling since then with a can, an ace bandage when I go out, and daily pain that worsens as the day progresses. Good luck with everything!

    Best,
    Marsha

  266. Kelly
    I had my lateral meniscus repaired. ( In addition to my ACL.) It did not show up on my MRI but at “pre-hab” I had a pretty good idea something was wrong because as I progressed there were some things I just couldn’t do as it felt like something was in the way. My PT and I had a bet there was a piece of meniscus there. However, I didn’t know they would repair it, I thought they would just clip the rough edge. So at my first post-op. appt I was shocked to learn it had been repaired and that it would change my rehab significantly.
    I am now 10 days post op. I have to wear the immobilizer at all times unless I want to use crutches. I cannot bear any weight unless I am in full extension. I can however, takes some steps without crutches, in fact I walk around several minutes at a time each day. I usually use my crutches and “walk” with them then if I need to do something quickly I can just crutch. I have noticed my knee probably would have given way if I had not been in my immobilizer and I am a bit discouraged about that!
    I would think 4 weeks after repair you should be able to fly and walk a bit, or you could at least arrange wheel chair transport etc. Some of the literature I was given said full time immobilizer 4 weeks, some said for 3 weeks so I will definately clarify at my next PT appt.
    Good luck to you!!

  267. Natasha,
    How long after your injury did you wait before you had the surgery? I am intentionally delaying my surgery and in the meantime doing home PT to keep muscle strength and wearing my brace always when I am at Tae Kwon Do (how I got the injury). I anticipate that it will be a year between injury and surgery. I am just trying to keep from doing any more damage in the meantime.
    Thanks for any input.

  268. Hello Tess. It was almost two years for me. I did not have any medical insurance during that time. I didn’t even really know what I had done to my knee just that it was bad. I did not wear any brace or do any professional pt. I just did some stuff at home, nursing it in the beginning and then bending and stretching to regain flexibility. It was hard because I kept re-injuring it. With out the guidance of a doc and knowledge of what was really wrong I ended up doing things I shouldn’t have with a torn acl.
    Why are you waiting so long to have yours? I’m sure if its at the advice of your doc then you should be fine. Although my doc and therapist said that I really lost a lot of strength because you tend to baby that bad leg with out even realizing it.
    Best of luck to you and please keep us posted.

  269. Thanks Marsha and tammy for sharing and for your thoughts! Tammy- you’re right, i’m sure that whatever happens, I can figure out how to deal with it (wheelchair, etc). and i am actually surprised that you are so mobile for just 10 days post op, thanks for the advice, and a speedy recovery to you!

    If anything…I think this injury is forcing me to slow down a bit and remember how to have patience..

  270. Kelly
    Make sure you work really hard at your pre-hab if you are given the opportunity. I think pre-op strength really helps. You will be amazed at some of the positions you find yourself in with your crutches etc and having a strong good leg really helps!
    I think the name of the game for ACL rehab is patience (of which I have little to none) and it is very easy to get discouraged. I have also found the progress is not linear, which is also frustrating. It is so hard to be out of control on this one.
    You will be amazed at how you will get around, and it really is endearing to have people hold doors etc. It does force you to take a look at the slower side of things.
    Good Luck.
    PS When is your surgery again?

  271. I am 54 years old and have been skiing all my life. was at crested butte a month ago in the phoenix bowl with my AT binding skiing downhill and tore my acl. surgery thursday this week with a cadaver tendon. hope I am not making a mistake not going with an autograft. my fear is that i will not be able to ski like i want, I have never had to think about my knee goingout lwhen I ski. anxious howard

  272. I agree with Tammy, getting as strong as possible pre-op is crucial. Being at work all week and having to crutch everywhere was exhausting, I’m pretty strong and my good leg was sore by the end of the week as well as my hands.
    I’m 18 days post-op today. Got clearance to weight bear with brace 4 days ago and I am offically not using my crutches to get around as of this weekend (Tammy was my inspiration). It’s very slow going but so freeing to be able to carry things! I actually vacuumed today (Natasha was my inspiration)! I found out that I did have a meniscus tear that is healing so that explains the conservative approach my doc is taking with me, Bari was right. I agree, Kelly and Tammy, patience is key and very difficult. I feel good and postive one minute and the next I want to take my brace and throw it as far as I can and walk off!
    Is anyone having trouble with their scars being so tight and painful? I’m having a really hard time massaaging them and they are so tight I feel like it’s interfering with my flexion. I’m tempted to take a Vicodin again (haven’t since around day 5) just so I can massage them really well.
    Howard, I’m sorry to hear about your accident, we all feel for you. It’s a hard decision which to go with, I am not sure if I will resume skiing again or not (went with allograft). Good luck with your surgery and keep us posted.

  273. Renee, thanks for the thoughts. not skiing agian is not an option for me. I am already having thoughts that I made the wrong choice as to the allograft but I figure lif I blow it out agian that next time I will go with the hamstring. Logical thinking???? howard

  274. I have certainly heard of people skiing with the allograft so you’ll hopefullybe fine. You could always change your mind before surgery. I think I’d change my decision if I thought there was a decent chance I’d blow it out again. This is no fun. Horses and riding are my first love so I’m not sure I’m willing to lose that again over another ACL tear with the skis. I guess we all have to decide what matters most.

  275. Yes, I’m at day 22 and my scars are really tight and sore to massage. I think they are interfering with my flexion as well – they are what is sore, not my knee. I didn’t know to massage them until Friday at PT, so I’ve been working on them all weekend.

    I do feel like I’ve made a ton of progress though. I can bend to 135 degrees now, and I walked for an hour today. I’m able to do about 45-55 minutes on the stationary bike. I’m cleared to ride outdoors next weekend, but don’t think I have enough energy back yet to ride very far. Supposedly, after 2 months I’ll be cleared to walk/jog.

    I was REALLY frustrated and depressed last week. I’m normal enough that I’m not completely focused on the surgery, incisions, etc, but now I really see the impact – I can’t do all of the normal things I’m used to doing and it will be a long time before I can. I sometimes feel like I’m in a bad dream – like I can’t quite believe I had surgery. Anyone else feel this way?

  276. Howard,

    I’m 45 and tore my ACL skiing as well. I also went with an allograft. My surgeon feels like I’ll be able to resume my normal skiing. I too am fearful that it will ruin the skiing in the future – I’ll be too concerned about tearing it again. Someone posted some links in this blog to articles about moves while skiing that can help you avoid tearing an ACL – the way you get up after falling, initiate turns etc. I found them useful.

    I was in an AT binding last year when I tore mine – my ski buried itself in deep, wet cement like snow and the binding didn’t release when I fell forward over my knee. It twisted and popped. I found out later that I’d been shown the wrong set-up for the Dynafit bindings that I use. Expensive mistake! I didn’t realize for a year that I had a torn ACL. I was skiing in bounds this year and was mowed down by an out of control skiier. My knee twistede and popped again – probably just popped out joint and maybe completed the tear…

    Good luck with your recovery. We should share results next ski season. I’m 22 days into it and I can tell that my knee is more stable now. That feels good! Now I will just have to learn to trust it.

  277. Howard,
    I am 48 and an avid skiier, I log about 60 days per season, including off mountain, backwoods etc. I went allograft and my surgeon said I would be good to go again. He said next ski season will not be as good as new, but the following season will be excellent. I plan to volunteer with the handicap ski program at our mt. next year so I can get out there and do some good without thinking about my knee. They took me out just prior to surgery in one of their sit skis and one of the people tethering me has had both knees done at different times. I think the worry is really all in our heads not in our knees!
    RENEE: Good for you walking like a big girl. I am back crutching most of the time. I don’t know if I over did things a bit or if my leg just continues to weaken with this brace. I am getting very frustrated, I can’t wait to see the PT tomorrow to find out what is going on.
    BARI & RENEE I get frustrated all the time too. I haven’t actually had a big pity party, I refuse to cry just yet but I would like to throw my crutches, brace etc in the ocean! I don’t think this is one bit fun. And Bari, I have that bad dream feeling all the time. Keep thinking I am going to wake up and it will be just a bad dream.
    Hang in there everyone, one more week will be behind us before we know it.

  278. Hi Everyone! It sounds like everyone is on the road to recovery. Just think…. a few weeks ago some of us were ready to cancel. LOL I’m 18 days pot-op today. No crutches!!!!!! I use my brace when I go leave the house, but no brace walking around the house. I walk up and down the stairs pretty easily, but down is definitely more difficult. I feel like my knee is going to buckle. Anyone else feel this way?
    Bari…I agree with you completely. It is frustrating because we’re starting to feel better so we want to do more, then BAM…you get put in your place. Our body has a funny way of making us slow down even if we don’t want to. I’m not at the depressed part yet, it’s sort of nice having people hold the door open and be nice all the time.
    Renee…way to go, no crutches!!! I’m sure you love it! You’re doing awesome.
    Howard…as for the logical thinking…if you’re already anticipating another surgery that makes me think you are not so confident in your decision. This is what my doc told me…all 3 choices are better than what you have now, but…patellar tendon is by far the strongest. It’s what the pro athletes use because it is the most durable. However, a little longer recovery and possible pain when kneeling. Hamstring is usually pretty sturdy in men, not women. He said that women tend to have very thin hamstrings and they usually do not hold up very well. Cadaver is the weakest option, yet it is still a great option. Just becuase it is the weakest of the three doesn’t mean it is weak! So, if you’re looking for durable, it sounds like the patellar tendon is the best bet. Hope that helps. Go with your instincts.
    Good luck to everyone who will soon be having surgery. I’m sure this site will be helpful. I know it has gotten me through some tough times and has answered alot of questions.

  279. Just FYI, I struggled with the options of my own tissue vs. allograft and went with the allograft. My surgeon is the team Dr. for the Seattle Sounders soccer team (pro). At least 4 of their players have allografts and are doing fine with them. He didn’t feel there was enough of a difference to make it an issue of whether to use my own tissue vs. cadaver, just my own personal choice on how to proceed (recovery is less painful in the beginning with allograft). I suppose that as the process evovles one day we’ll know definitively which is stronger, but right now it seems that the differences hopefully aren’t enough to worry too much about….perhaps that’s what we need to focus on: our fear. I know for me I’ll have trouble trusting the graft, but like Stacy said, it’s going to be WAY better than not having an ACL at all!

  280. Hi- Tammy- my surgery is April 21, and i go to PT 2X a week and do the exercises at home. My quad is still very weak, and you’re right, the rehab isn’t linear. Last week I got to almost 130 flexion and then over the weekend I developed a pain in the back of my knee, in the upper part extending into the muscle a bit which is stunting my flexion to only 120. PT thinks it’s either part of the torn ACL getting in the way or perhaps a torn meniscus. Anybody else have this pain?

    I too chose the allograft because my doctor, who currently serves as team physician for the US Ski team (so says his bio….), recommended it and says that he trusts it. But I have the same doubts as all of you that it is a strong as the patellar. I agree with Bari though, that in time, more light will be shed on the differences. But I take comfort in the fact that my doc said that if he had to get it done (And he is a skier too) he would choose the allograft.

  281. Keep up the good work Kelly.I had issues with my knee as well when I was in pre-hab. The PT used to hold it when I would do squats and it would allow me to get lower. They said it was either my meniscus or part of the acl. Turns out it was both! Funny thing is I still have a weird pain in the back of my knee after my repair and everything was supposedly repaired. I can’t wait to ask about it tomorrow.

    I picked the allograft for a few reasons, first the quicker rehab and less pain. It really was only painful for one day post-op. Also, I understood the patella would always have problems if I chose that site. The hamstring is supposedly weak in women and it will leave a residual 20% in strength forever. Everyone at my orthopedic office from physicians to PT’s to AT’s said they would choose allograft which was enough for me.
    I guess the bottom line is that everyone needs to make their own decisions for their own personal reasons and once you commit then do the very best you can to get in good shape pre-op. and work as hard as you can post-op.
    Best to all.

  282. Glad to know I’m not the only one with scar issues. I agree, Bari, the scars are more painful than the actual knee when I bend it. If I’d known, I would have started working on them earlier. I hope I’m as far along as you at day 22.
    Tammy, I hear you. I walked around without crutches all weekend and then today, I can barely do it unless I go very, very, very slow, what’s up with that?! I really think the brace is messing with our progress. Stacy is doing awesome and she is allowed to take it off. Please let us know what your PT says.
    I definitley feel like it’s a bad dream, a one second fall turns into ALL of this. Hearing how everyone is doing truly does help and I look forward to hearing from all of you everyday.

  283. Renee – I had one of those “going backwards days” this past Saturday… Friday I was feeling pretty good walking around the office, doing my exercises, and on the bike. Saturday I woke up feeling really stiff and it felt that way all day – even stiffened right back up after a 1/2 hour on the bike! It was to the point where simple walking was difficult for the first few steps if I’d been sitting for more than just a few minutes. It was really frustrating!! I woke up Sunday feeling fine though, with my range of motion/flexibility much improved. So much improved that I was able to walk downstairs normally for the first time instead of one step at a time – yay! But so strange… Anyway, I’m going to ask my PT about it today, but I kind of suspect that the strong storm system (and associated pressure changes) that rolled through my area on Saturday had some effect. Anyone else have weather-related experiences?

  284. Lidija, how far post-op are you now? I never thought about the weather, that makes sense! Is good to hear that you were right back to feeling good though the next day, it will be good to remember that tomorrow is another day and not to get too down. Thanks, Lidija!

  285. Kelly….sounds like you and I did the same thing. Torn ACL and MCL. I’ve been in MCL rehab for 3 weeks now after crutches, brace, and all the other words that make us cringe. AND…..just this weekend developed the same pain in the back of the knee you’re describing. PT says I may have overworked it, but doesn’t think it’s serious. I’m scheduled for April 16th surgery but have to back it up to later in the month.

    Howard, I’m with you….wanna ski (GOTTA ski), and allograft should be sufficient. I’m not planning on making any highlight videos, I just want to get back out there. I’m also thinking this coming season, which seems so far away, may be a no-go since surgery is so late. I guess we’re all a little different and we’ll just see how it goes.

    Does anybody know of a “test” to see if our knees are actually strong enough to do all of our passions without actually having to do them??

  286. Renee – I’m 4 1/2 weeks post op now. And despite the challenges over the weekend, my flexion increased quite a bit since Thursday! PT was able to get me to 130 flexion and also to full extension! PT also did say that weather could have played a role in my discomfort on Saturday, as the pressure changes can affect swollen/healing tissues. I asked what to do next time that happened and he said to do alternating hot/cold therapy (get in a hot bath for 5 min., ice for 5 min., back in hot bath, ice, etc.).

    Hang in there everyone! We were looking at race calendars today to pick out a triathlon for me for late this summer as a goal (I’m thinking super-sprint, PT thinks I could do a sprint). Either way, just to think that’s achievable is great news! We’ll all be back at it soon! :)

    Howard – btw I’m another skier who went with allograft and my doc assured me I’ll be skiing again by the ’09-’10 season.

  287. Lidija
    Sounds like you are doing very very well. Weird how one day of weather can have such a negative effect on the body! Good for you training for a tri! I was shooting for a 5k for September.
    How long were you in the big brace? When do you think you turned the corner so to speak? I am only 2 weeks out today and keep trying to remind myself to be patient, hopefully after going to PT today I will get a realistic idea of where I am on the recovery road. I don’t start real PT until next week just once per week for the first two weeks so by the time I get there I have all sorts of questions etc.

    Tom- you should be able to ski at 6 months providing your Dr. clears you. It won’t be the type of skiing you may be used to for the first season but you should be able to get back out there. Why are you backing your surgery up?

    Renee, will keep you posted today after PT. Hopefully we are on an uphill day. These setbacks are tough.

  288. Tom- how long ago did you have the injury? I am 6 weeks into it, and my MCL is still as tender and painful…although the swelling did go down. My PT just massages the area and then uses this sonogram (i think) wand to massage it as well. I know there are different levels of tears, and I think mine is a 3, but i thought it would be better than it is by this point. and my doc said I should be skiing next season as well!

    Tammy-So what did PT say about your progress?

    Keep the faith everyone!

  289. Tammy – I was in the brace for 3 1/2 weeks and have just been out of it for a week. I don’t quite feel like I’ve turned any corners yet – but do feel I’m making good overall progress (except for the occasional “off” day). (The turning point I’m waiting for is the first day I make it through with no stiffness/pain.)

  290. o.k. had surgery monday was not expecting this at all…. the pain i had the 1st 2 days were probably worse than childbirth…. did anyone else have extreme calf shin and ankle pain? also i’m starting to feel o.k. if i just lay here leg elevated but if i even get up to use the restroom my foot almost turns purple….

  291. Alisa, have you talked to your doctor about that? I did have pretty good pain in my shin whenever my leg was not elevated, bad enough that I would hurry to get back to a place to elevate. That lasted over a week. It’s much better now (had surgery 3 weeks ago today). Still can’t feel the skin under my knee, down into my shin. I had redness but never purple. You poor thing, I feel for you.

  292. Alisa,
    Yes, I had extreme pain in my shin and ankle and horrible looking purple bruising. 4 weeks later my shin is still sore and some of the bruising is still visible. The surgeon and PT therapist explained that all the fluid from your knee drains down the channel by your shin bone, which causes the pain and swelling. I would say that the most pain I felt was from the shin and the incision sites, not in the knee itself.
    Bari

  293. thanks bari and renee… i loosened up my bandage and that seemed to help alittle… my foot still turns purple if i dont have my leg elevated. i get to shower tomorrow… yahoo! do you guys know if i cover up the wounds again? if so, with what? good luck everyone!

  294. Alisa,

    I found the best way to cover your leg when you take a shower is to wrap with Saran wrap starting at the bottom and working up so that the layers overlap like shingles and shed water. Wrap tape (I used athletic tape, 3-4 wraps) around the top and bottom to form a seal. It was easy and kept my leg dry in the shower.

    Best to keep your incisions dry until they heal. If they don’t get oxygen or get wet and mushy, you’ll have a bigger scar. They told me not to put anything on them, no neosporin or anything. Just the surgical tape.

    Good luck! The first shower feels really good!
    Bari

  295. Oops, I didn’t cover up my leg, I got it wet. My doc didn’t tell me not to. I hope I heal okay. I just re-covered the incisions after the shower with big band-aides and changed them after every shower with fresh ones until I felt like they didn’t need to be covered. I was told not to put anything on them, too.
    Enjoy your shower, Alisa!

  296. Alisa
    I had crazy ankle pain and still have it sometimes. I told the PT and he worked on it a little, said the tendons and bones weren’t meeting up properly from being immobilized. I also have a nasty pain behind my knee and he said it was a knot of tendons, he worked on it for about 10 minutes on Tuesday and it still hurts today.
    For your shower you can use saran wrap or you can also cut pieces of ziplocs and tape them around your incisions or they do see a water barrier at the drugstore. I was allowed to shower after day 3 and then just kept the area dry after the shower.
    The purple, it happens, the more you increase your range of motion and start with your exercises it will improve.
    Good luck to you. Hope the pain has subsided!

  297. Had my first PT today, it’s about time! Wasn’t too bad but my flexion stinks. Was only at 82 :( and my goal was to start at 90 which I can do if I hang it off the table but that’s not how they measure. My strength was good and I can touch the table while extending. The worst part was the icing after. Tammy, she didn’t feel that the immobilizer would hurt progress, especially if I did the exercises faithfully. What did your PT say?

  298. oops i thought i was supposed to wash my wounds and then cover them up again… they never told me! yikes…. im feeling alot better today. day 3. renee how long was it before your pt? good luck all!

  299. Renee
    PT said that the first 4 weeks are like a holding pattern. Do the exercises, let the meniscus heal and then get to work. My leg size continues to get smaller, and he said it could take up to a year for the legs to catch up in size.
    For now they are doing some soft tissue massage on sore spots, giving me new exercises to maintain strength and trying to keep me from going nuts while immobilized.
    The real work begins when the brace can come off.
    My extension has been really good from the beginning, I do heel props all the time and I do heel slides on the wall to work on flexion which is about 100-110 degrees. They did tell me extention was the most important and the flexion would come over time. Good for you getting full extension!!!
    Alisa: So glad you are feeling better. The first 3 days are really the worst. You are on the upswing now!

  300. Hi Everyone. I’ve been reading all of your posts and it sounds like everyone is recovering well. I’m 3 weeks post-op. I returned to work full time teaching first grade last Tuesday, and my knee was huge by the end of the day. I’m suppose to use my brace for support while I’m at work, but I can take it off when I’m at home. I feel unstable when the brace is off, like I won’t be able to catch myself is someone bumps into me. Does anyone else feel this way???? Is anyone using a smaller brace? I’m still going to PT 3 times per week, 2-21/2 hours each time. I dread going. The exercises are good, but I hate when the PT bends my knee. I want to jump off the table. At my last PT, my extension was 1 and my flexion was 129. I still have alot of nerve pain in my shin. I can get up the stairs easily, but down is much harder. I can go one step at a time, but going down is slow and I sometimes feel like my knee will give out. I can’t wait to hear all of your positive stories. Take care.

  301. Hi guys, great thread. Reading other peoples personal stories has been very insightful and helpful. I am 3 days post-op from ACL allograft and repair of both meniscus’. I have started a blog if anyone has any interest. http://reconstructingmyacl.blogspot.com/

  302. Alisa,
    My first PT was 3 days after surgery and then twice a week for the first 2 weeks. Now I’m at once a week, soon to be every 2 weeks. Every surgeon seems to have a different approach though. I have not worn a brace and was encouraged after the first PT session to begin pushing myself to get stronger. Today is 4 weeks since the surgery. I can flex to 138 on my own and I feel a lot more stable this week. I’m starting to be able to see a quad muscle when I flex the surgical leg. I have been riding the stationary bike between 40-55 minutes at least 4 times per week (built up – week 2 I only rode a few times and only 30 mintures) and also doing strengthening exercises, walking, and going up and down stairs. Last week I was really depressed and didn’t feel like I was getting anywher. This week is much better. I’m cleared to ride a bike outdoors this weekend and looking forward to it. Hang in there. The first week or so is the worst – you are just getting used to the idea that you had surgery. Plus your body is trying to get better, so you’ll probably feel more tired than normal. Ask you PT and doctor a lot of questions when you see them. I was lucky in that my PT and surgeon have both given me a huge amount of information about the procedure, what to expect, what to expect in rehab, what all the crazy feelings in my leg are, etc… I feel a lot more confident doing the exercises knowing that I’m not damaging the graft even though I feel pain and funny sensations (most of that is around the incision sites). Good luck!
    Bari

  303. hey bari thanks for all the info… i’m not set up for pt until this tuesday which will be my 1st pt and my 1st post off visit with the doctor. i’m feeling much better and am able to walk in the brace without crutches. the brace sucks it just doesnt fit right, its so uncomfortable the minute im done walking around i take the damn thing off so my leg can breathe. my doc has not been great about letting me know what to do and what to exoect so i’ve kinda been in the dark this whole time. hopefully my pt will be more helpful and give me more info. i just really dont know what im supposed to be doing. i really appreciate your comments and help………l

  304. Alisa, three weeks to my first PT, thought it would never get here. I’m with you on the brace, I take it off as soon as I sit down and it feels so much better. Glad you’re going to PT soon, will be anxious to hear how it’s going.
    Now, tell me everyone, is it possible that my first PT could make me super sore and inflexible for 2 days? I’m worried that I hurt myself because that night, after I cleaned the house which really wiped me out, I kind of fell down on the couch with my foot stuck at an angle by the ottoman. Hurt like crazy and I’m scared I did something. My husband keeps saying it was the PT combined with the fact that I cleaned house that night and was on my leg a ton. Any thoughts?
    Tammy, that makes me feel better to hear what your PT says. My leg is definitely getting smaller. You are so much more flexible, I have a lot of work to do there.
    Stacy, sounds like you are doing awesome. I am envious of your flexion as well. I feel unstable, even with the brace on. I’ve stood up without my brace (against orders) a bunch and it’s fine as long as I don’t move!
    I’m having some of that depressed feeling the last two days with feeling like I’m worse but reading that everyone is going through that helps.
    Thanks, all!

  305. Renee, don’t get discouraged. PT can definitely make you sore. The first day I went back to work full time my knee swelled alot. I went to PT right after work and it hurt like !@#?. That night, I couldn’t sleep at all. My leg from my knee down had a constant ache. My PT said it’s from all of the swelling. I keep reminding myself that just because I’m beginning to feel better it doesn’t mean I can do as much as before. Our bodies are still healing and get exhausted much easier than before. I think we’re all doing great. How long is your PT appointments and how many days do you go each week?
    ????????DOES ANYBODY ELSE’S SHIN/KNEE ITCH???? My leg itches around the steri strips. I want to yank them off. Each time I trim a piece, my leg is red and bumpy in that spot. I think I’m having a reaction to the strips. It’s driving me crazy. I backtracked at school yesterday. I was so tired from going back to work full time…my 1st graders aren’t letting me rest very much…I had to use one crutch when I walked to the other end of the school. My knee gave out on my. I was so frustrated. I haven’t had to use it since, but I’m not walking as far now. Has anyone else experienced their knee giving out?

  306. Hi,
    I hurt my left knee skiing in January 08. The French doctor I saw that day told me I had damaged my acl and put me in a 90 degree brace and recommended surgery. When I got back to uk I saw my doctor who said he couldn’t test the knee properly as it was too stiff. He recommended physiotherapy but it being the NHS it took me a good two weeks of pushing to get an appointment. By this stage my knee had seized up completely by being in the brace, which no one had told me to take off. It was a painful uphill battle to get the movement back in it but it was never flexible enough after that for any acl damage to be diagnosed manually.

    I finally got an MRI scan after a lot of begging. I was told I had an acl tear, medial ligament damage and a meniscal tear. My consultant said that as I was 43 there wasn’t a lot of point doing acl surgery but that they would operate on the meniscal damage. He referred me back to physiotherapy and said if I strengthened my muscles I would be by fine. Although I was walking by this time I was having real problems getting up stairs and as I have 4 children and a business that involved a lot of lifting, I was finding it very hard to cope. Strangely I didn’t have any of the ‘normal’ symptoms of the knee giving way. It just didn’t feel right.

    Six months after the original injury I had arthroscopy to repair the meniscus and although it eased things in my knee it didn’t stop the problems with stairs or lifting. When I went back to see the consultant after a few weeks he said that they had discovered that the acl had been completely torn but that it had reattached itself elsewhere in the knee. He said that this was rare but did happen. In his opinion I would find it stable enough to get by.

    I still found it really uncomfortable and difficult to get by normally so I wrote to him begging him to do the operation. I was given another appointment for about 6 weeks time when my consultant happened to be away and i saw another doctor who did a manual test of the knee and said immediately that it was too unstable and I needed an acl reconstruction. At last someone taking me seriously and not judging me because of my age!

    I had another 6 months on the NHS waiting list and on March 12th this year finally went in for my surgery -over a year after the original injury!!! My consultant came to see me before I went down to theatre, he told me that he still didn’t think I had an acl problem and that I although I had been pushing for the surgery all along, he still didn’t think I needed it. he was planning to look at the knee again through an arthroscope but didn’t expect to find anything.

    Perhaps you can see where I am going here? I was given a general anaesthetic and told I would also have a spinal block when I was under. My hour long surgery ended up being 3 hours long. The consultant said that the minute I was under he could tell from testing the leg, that my acl was completely useless. it turned out that it had completely torn and had then reattached itself to my pcl. There was also an ulcer under my kneecap, I can’t help wondering if I got this because I was walking around on my injured knee so long.

    Apparently my consultant said that he had real problems getting the screws to fix into my shin as the bone was very soft. When I asked him about this he just said that he didn’t usually do this operation on people as old as me (I’ve never really thought I was that old before!). He didn’t tell me, but when they took the bandages off to change them I discovered he had opened up the knee and I didn’t just have a couple of small entry holes, but a large 12cm cut down the knee cap. I had a patellar tendon graft and don’t know if this is normal or not, but I suspect not.

    I am now 3 and a bit weeks post op and am getting on with my physiotherapy, but i must say things seem to move very slowly on the NHS I’ve had two sessions with the therapist but am having to do the rest myself at home. No braces or icing machines on the NHS! I can manage the exercise bike with the seat high and no resistance, and I seem to be getting on well with straightening and bending but my knee feels so strange, as if it had become detached. Is this normal does anyone know? I have some swelling but the pain has never been too bad so I count myself lucky for that.

    I am sorry this has to be the one longest of entries. I’ve never been on a blog before but came across this site and it was so good to hear some other stories. I have to admit I am feeling really let down, although a friend has warned me that it is usual to feel depressed after an anaesthetic. The NHS is great in many ways, after all I haven’t had to pay a penny, but I still feel I shouldn’t have had to wait so long and it would have been nice if the consultant had at least acknowledged that I had been right.
    Sorry to bore you all and thanks for the stories.
    Pru

  307. Oh my goodness, Pru! You have been through it! I am also 43 and I got a completely different reaction from my doctors. They felt I was too young NOT to do the surgery! I had a complete tear too and it was two months before I had my surgery. I was definitely unstable before the surgery. It sounds like you are progressing well despite your challenges. We are all experiencing moments of let down because it is not an easy process. Hang in there and keep us posted.
    Stacy, thank you, that does make me feel better. My knee is a little better today so I think you’re right, it’s the extra strain and demand. I’m going 2x weekly for about 1 1/2 hours. I’m a speech therapist and I really feel for you working with 1st graders all day, you must be exhausted! I do find I tire so much more easily. My shin and incisions are very itchy in spite of the fact that I’m not keeping my scars covered anymore. I stopped doing that about a week ago. The steristrips didn’t make me red or bumpy though, so maybe you are having a reaction. My skin on my shin under my knee is still quite numb but at the same time, super sensitive, weird. Thanks for the encouragement.

  308. Hello everyone! So nice to find this forum! Really helpful. I had an ACL reconstruction (allograft) on April 1 (ACL and lateral meniscal tear on February 28, skiing in Sun Peaks, Canada). So far I am ok. The pain is manageable, but I cannot bend my knee at all. Is this normal? I use crutches, but do not have a brace. Part of my leg still feels pretty numb. I will start PT on Monday. I wish all of you fast recovery and goodluck.

  309. Renee- My knee is useless and hurts sometimes after PT and having a busy day. But, it does seem to get better and I am able to use it more over time. PT right now is only 1x per week, I don’t want to waste my visits until it is time to get to work. I had a crazy week last week too, first time I have cried from frustration! I wasn’t very nice to be around. fortunately the sun is out this weekend and my knee seems to have progressed some so I hear you!!!
    Stacy, I couldn’t stand the steri strips anymore so I ripped them off at about 2 weeks. I still have some red marks from some of the other tape they used. I have been using vitamin E cream on the incisions and the tape marks .Alisa I am with you , the brace doesn’t fit right and it is very uncomfortable. I try to take it off when ever I can! I have to use it to walk but I have cheated a few times this weekend and used my crutches and kept my leg in full extension for walking.
    I have yet to see my physician since surgery, I saw his PA who was useless and told me nothing. All info. I have received to date has come from the PT thank goodness.
    Pru- your story is crazy. I am 48 and age was never even discussed! That is ridiculous! I am happy you have finally gotten surgery, hurry and get to PT though so you don’t damage anything!

  310. Stacy, my knee gave out like 3 times today i think it might be from over doing it. I definately overdid it today maybe its our knees way to remind us to slow down and remind us that it is hurt and we are taking it too far.. I know when i feel better I tend to forget my surgery was only six days ago and i’m already going up and down stairs to do the laundry cleaning house mopping all today so i think my knee gave out on me so much cuz i overdid it. My shin and knee also itch i think thats probably from healing..

    Because i was given no instructions from my doc. i took off all bandages and tape after 72 hours. sounds like everyone else is leaving them on longer. oops! I cover my incisions with bandaids but am now worried i took the tape off to soon. Damn doctors….. my instructions said, remove bandages after 72 hours i guess i just figured that meant the tape too, i was all percoceted up! I also didnt know if I could already put neosporin on yet…

    PRU i think that age should not matter its how active of a lifestyle you lead. I am sorry that you were given so much grief that stinks.

    I wish you all the best this week… i will post and let you know how the doc and pt visit goes this tuesday…

    As always thanks for the comments and inspiring words…

  311. Pru….to put it bluntly…it sounds like your doctor is a moron. I’m sorry you had a bad experience and that your doctor made you feel uneasy. 43 is not old!!!! My doctor told me that with a complete acl tear IT IS normal for it to attach itself to the pcl, but one ligament is not sturdy enough to carry out an active lifestyle. You did the right thing by having it reconstructed. It sounds like you and the doc didn’t discuss the type of graft you would have????? (Patellar, hamstring, cadaver) That surprises me to. An incision on your knee for a patellar graft is correct in addition to the arthroscopic holes. You and I had our surgery on the same day. Keep doing your exercises at home. My PT is working hard on the extension, she says it’s the hardest to get back. On Friday, my extension was at 1 and my flexion at 129. Ask your PT to give you measurements. Definitely continue to use ice for swelling. I’m looking forward to hearing your updates. Keep your head up…you’re doing great!!!

    Tammy….Thanks for sharing…it makes me feel better. Did your doctor or PT give you the go ahead to use some type of cream/ointment on your incision??? My PT told me no, but it’s driving me crazy. I don’t think using your crutches is cheating. We all need a little help now and then. I find that if I I’ve had a really busy day, my leg (quad) and my knee are sore and tired and if I don’t use one crutch, my knee will give out on me. I think we’re too hard on ourselves. We need to give ourselves more credit for all the things we have accomplished since surgery. Have a great day.

    Renee…I’m glad I’m not the only one with weird shin sensations. Sometimes it bothers me more that anything else. It sounds like you’re doing great. I’m hoping to move to 2 days per week for PT. Although, I have noticed that I’m starting to slack on the home exercise part. I need to get my butt in gear!!! I hate the heel slides. Have a great day.

  312. Tammy, I’m going to read your post to my husband, he seems to think I should be all sunshine and happiness! I need him to understand that frustration is part of it. I think all of my loved ones are as tired of this as I am. When will you start going to pt more? I have unlimited visits but at 30 dollars a pop, it adds up.
    Stacy, HATE the heel slides and now the wall slides that my PT is having me do. I’m thinking about going to the gym today for the first time since my surgery and doing upper body stuff and my pt exercises. I think just being in my normal routine might make me feel better. We’ll see, after a long day at work, I may not be up for it.
    Alisa, I got the same instructions as you and took everything off. The only reason I but bandaides on was because I didn’t want the brace rubbing. I don’t use anything now. My pt put cream on my scars to massage them so I started doing that too. I think once they are closed up it’s fine to use something. My incisions are really looking pretty good despite the fact that I also got them wet after 72 hours.
    Laura, yeah, I think not being able to bend is pretty normal, I’m struggling the most with that 3 weeks out.
    Good day to everyone. It’s amazing how much better I feel being able to hear from you all!

  313. Just back from PT and I got to ride the bike today for 8 minutes!! Never wanted to stop but they made me. Also got permission to start walking with crutches and NO brace!!! I cancelled my PT appt. for Wed. as it would just be more of the same and am trying to save my visits for when I can really progress.
    Stacy I don’t remember asking about using Vitamin E cream but i have used it before on surgical wounds so I did it this time as well. It really seems to help the scar and I use it each time I massage the wounds. Better to do that yourself a little than to have PT do it – it hurts when they do it!
    Renee- Frustration is the name of the game. The challenge seems to be staying ahead of it! I think it is hard for family etc. to understand just how much work it is and how frustrating it can be. You have my full permission to be cranky sometimes!

  314. Thanks Renee. I started PT yesterday, but I did not do much. Exension 20, flexion 75 degrees. My biggest problem is edema. I have a very active 8 yrs. old daughter, so spending a lot of time in bed with my leg elevated was out of the question. Because of the accumulation of the fluid, my leg feels completely numb and extremely cold. I think I should call my doctor. Today I did call my mom and shipped my daughter over to her house (I should have done this from the beginning instead of being so heroic). Wish you all goodluck

  315. Thanks, Tammy, someone needed to condone my occasional crankiness! 8 minutes on the bike is awesome! And no brace! What great news! I’m so happy for you!
    Laura, 75 degrees is not bad six days out. I’m three weeks out and only at 82! Stinks. You do need to rest. Part of my shin under my knee is still numb and I don’t have a lot of swelling. When I told my doctor he said “you won’t miss it” so I take that to mean the feeling might not come back. I haven’t had any cold feeling.
    Went to the gym and it felt nice to back even if I couldn’t do any cardio. I had some trouble getting back off the floor after doing legs lifts and crunches so that was a little embarrassing.
    Keep up the good work, all!

  316. Ok older “graduates” question is when you were told you could begin to wean from your brace and crutches, how exactly did you do it and how long did it actually take to be done with both? I just love how they give the blanket suggestions and then leave it for the patient to figure out!! Help please??

  317. Tammy…every doctor and PT is different, but this is what I was told… First my doc unlocked my brace and I walked for about a week with the brace and one crutch. After about a week (around week 3) I ditched the crutch and just used the brace. I’m still sort of in the same dilemma as you, because I’m beginning week 4 today and I still feel like I need to use my brace when I’m at school. The kids run up and hug me or bump into me alot and I feel unsteady. I don’t know if it’s in my head, or if my quad really isn’t strong enough to hold me up yet.

    Is there another brace, maybe a smaller one, that I could use for peace of mind? Or….am I just being overcautious? My flexion is 130, not sure of extension, but was 1 about 5 days ago.

    Good luck to everyone! Let me know how PT is going. I’m switching to only 2 days per week next week. What is the norm for 4 weeks out? Should I continue going 3 days? I have unlimited visits, but I really just need a break. Between dance competitions for my daughter, baseball tournaments for my son and football practice for my oldest…. I just want one me day with nothing to do.

    Have a great day.

  318. Tracy, Kimber, Bari, Amy
    Where have you all gone? I am now 20 days out acl and meniscus and it is so confusing! One therapist says to wait 4 weeks to lose the big brace and crutches, one says start weaning now… I have been trying to “wean” leaving off the brace and walking with just crutches but I have been having some crazy pinchy pains and more swelling. Is this just healing pain, is this over doing? I am only doing PT 1x per week for now until we can advance my exercise etc. so I can’t ask them the questions. I don’t go again until next Wed. which is also my 4 week post op check. I imagine the Dr. saying what are you still doing with the crutches etc.. I will then have to bop him with one!
    How hard was it to get off the brace and crutches and resume walking???
    Help!

  319. What a blog site! I hurt me knee skiing on Feb16 and had allograft ACL reconstruction on March 25. It’s week 2 and I’m off crutches, can walk without a brace @ home only and feel pretty stable. My PT and surgeon absolutely do not want me to turn, pivot nor go outside without a brace. It’s funny how everyone’s doctors do things differently. I have a great PT-he reminds me to always tighten my butt muscles when taking a step. This protects your fresh knee. I hurt especially after therapy (the next day). I did my own therapy on the bike and stretching/srengthening exercise before surgery and felt like
    that helped tremendously. Work hard on your PT days, diligently do home exercises and get those quads going. I finished session 4 of my PT yesterday. My knee is straight and my flexion is now @ 131. My left knee is at 145. I do work hard on it, 1.5 hours a day doing all exercises and it does help. Best pain reliever—-ICE, ICE baby.

  320. Tammy- I did not wear my brace after surgery, just for the ride home and that was it. I used both crutches for one week and used one crutch for two weeks after that. Every PT and Dr. has something different to say. But I did fine.

    I’m now 13 weeks post op. And I’m doing very well. I have stopped my PT and now released to go to the guy on my own. I can now start light jogging and continue the same exercises that I was doing at PT. My knee still has some pain, still stiff in the mornings, swelling, popping when I walk but it is getting better. I”m about 2 in. from my heel touching my back side when I’m on my stomach, so that is not bad. I’ll work on that some more. I still have days that it just does not want to bend good and that is part of it. The Dr. will see me in 3 months and I hope by then I will have gotten the muscle tone back in my leg. Working on strengthening the muscle is hard because it just feels so week at this point and at this stage the allograft is starting to really reconnect so I have to take it easy. Now I see why that say 8 months before you are back to normal.

  321. Hi Tammy,

    Did they stitch up your meniscus or did they just shave it? If they stitched it, that’s when you have to stay off your leg for 3-4 weeks. For the rest of us, many have just had ACL repair, so our recovery may be different. I only had ACL and did not wear a brace except for 3 days after surgery (until my first PT). I’m now at 5 weeks and I have about 138-140 degrees of flexion. I was able to start riding my bike outdoors last weekend and am trying to gradually build up distance. I’m still doing my PT exercises – squats, bosu ball, thera bands, etc to build the supporting strength in all muscle groups, not just the knee. I can walk up and down stairs fine. My knee is still sore, especially around the incision sites. It gets stiff and cranky when I sleep, so have to wake it up in the morning. My knee cap still hangs on scar tissue and catches sometimes while I’m walking. My doctor is going to allow light walk/job by next weekend. It’s worse now that I’m starting to feel more “normal” – I am constantly reminded that I don’t have the stamina, strength, etc that I had before surgery and that I have a to take care not to twist my knee. The graft is heading to the weakest point now (2-3 months out is when it’s at its weakest), so even though I feel more normal, I am NOT. I go to PT once every 2 weeks, but only if I do my exercises at home religiously. If they feel I’m not making progress, they’ll make me come back more often.

    Good luck! Call your doctor and PT and ask questions if you have them. You have certainly paid them enough! They should give you any information you need, even if you don’t have an appointment (mine do!).

    Bari

  322. Bari, Tracy
    WOW! You guys give me hope. Can’t wait for the day that I can sit down on the ground with both legs bent under so I can reach my pots and pans easier. Ugh! I didn’t know there’s a weakest point-good to know. My PT cautions me to avoid any sports for at least 12 weeks. I have been told to wear my brace outside until 6 months post for safety. Thank goodness for Donjoy-that Bledsoe was so heavy. Going back to work on Thursday for 8 hours. That would be my 3 week mark post-op. A little hesitant but I have to try.

    Suz

  323. Good to see everyone getting better! Tracy: I am having the same issues. I saw my Dr for my 4 month check up and he said not to expect my quads to come back any time soon. My ligament is strong and I have full extension and 133 degrees flexion. There are days when my knee doesn’t want to bend. Gonna try running on it tomorrow.

  324. Thanks guys. Sounds like everyone has their own little issues.
    Bari, they stitched my meniscus. Today is actually the 4 week mark so I am hoping to be given the go ahead to start using it. I have been partial weight bearing with crutches, I just don’t feel like I can actually walk without them. I do feel the quads have gotten stronger from even the partial wgt. bearing I just wish I knew what it would take to really get them going so I can start rehab in full.
    Tracy: Are you back doing most of the activities you want with the exception of sports? I just look forward to walking around, digging in the garden etc. anything without crutches. I never imagined how long this recovery would be.
    Good luck with work Suz, I don’t dare try that yet, I need both arms and legs for that deal.
    Enjoy the sun today.

  325. Haven’t checked in for a bit. Hope everyone is doing well. I just finished my 5th pt session and am at 110 degrees flexion. It’s getting better slowly but surely. I started going all the way around on the bike last time but they will only let me do it for 10 minutes. I am now allowed to go braceless in the house only (but I cheat and take it off in the office too). It hasn’t buckled in about a week so I feel like it’s getting stronger. Still don’t sleep through the night, is anyone else still dealing with that? I wake up every time I turn and my back hurts when I wake up. Spirits are up, though, as long as I’m progressing.
    Take care everyone.

  326. Renee,
    Ah, the constant discomfort at night. I wake up 3 times a night from either pain from my heel (from sleeping on my back), pain on my knee (if I sleep on my left side) and pain on my right hip (if I sleep on my right side). The last time I had a full night’s sleep was when I was on Vicodin which I stopped taking on the 5th day post-op. Sometimes taking ibuprofen before bed helps. My knee doesn’t buckle at all-did you tell your surgeon that? The itching around the knee has started though-I’m taking that as a sign of healing. My PT reminded me the other day how far I’ve come along since surgery—he’s right. Good thoughts and continued healing to everyone. Keep up all the hard work and stay safe.
    Suz- now 3 weeks post-op and counting…

  327. Hi Everyone. I haven’t checked in for awhile, but it sounds like everyone is recovering well. I’m now 5 weeks post-op. 137 flexion and 1/2 extension. I am now going to PT twice per week, 2 hours each time. I’m doing alot of quad strengthening, it’s not coming back so quickly. I’m with you Renee, sometimes I feel like my knee will buckle. I’ve been back at work for 3 weeks teaching first grade. My doc. wants me to continue my brace only at work. Since my quad strength isn’t great, he’s afraid one of the kdis will knock me over or I will trip over a chair, etc…I need to wear it at work until the 6 week mark! I’m counting down!!!!! I have alot of itching around my scars as welll. I’m putting vitamin e on my scars and massaging them each day. I must not do it right because it is way more uncomfortable when the PT rubs them. I haven’t really had much knee pain, but my hamstring on the outside part of my knee is always tight and causes me the most pain. Does anyone else have pain here? I always feel like that is what keeps me from progressing. Confession time….I have started slacking on my at home exercises. I need to get my butt in gear. I’m wishing everyone a speedy reovery. Keep up the hard work and positive attitude.

  328. I am two weeks out now, I also have trouble sleeping at night. the only time i can get some sleep is if i take my oxycodone. I am now getting this heel pain don;t understand it. my OS has me on crutches for four weeks, It is a drag!! Thought i was progreesing well until yesterday, started doing my flexion exercises at home and began having more pain in the back of my knee, don;t know if this is normal or not, maybe over doing it? have an appointment with OS monday. would like to get back to work soon good luck to everyone howard

  329. Hey guys!
    Big week for me. I am officially 4.5 weeks out. PT last Wed. and got permission to ditch the brace (officially but I had ditched it several days earlier). Also got permission to get off the crutches. Didn’t dare initially but worked very hard on it on Thursday and was off all day Fri. and Sat. Find I have one good day then one tough day but overall progress is good. Am ahead on my flexion and extension is full. Rode the bike for 20 minutes it felt great. Saw the Dr. for the first time, he still has a long list of things I can’t do..think I will just stop asking him!
    One piece of wisdom he did give me was to look at the progress on a weekly basis vs. daily otherwise it is discouraging. I do find each week is positive progress, just wish it would go faster.
    Sleep is still not great. Did find it helps to put a small pillow under my knee at night and move it when I turn.
    Dr. also told me to use Mederma on my scars. Anyone with any experience with this? I do continue to massage them all the time, which I find really helps. If I wait for PT to do it it really hurts!
    Keep up the good work everyone. Still cant wait to throw the brace and crutches in the ocean. Don’t dare just yet, worried about bad karma!

  330. had my second post op visit today and the good news is that i can wean myself off the crutches. still having numbess below my knee and down my shin. Also when I flex my knee the first couplef times when I start my daily flexion exercises ,I fell a grab or like something is getting plucked in the front of my knee. It is disturbing and uncomfortable. Has anyone else had these sensations ??? howard

  331. HI Howard,

    yes, I think we’ve probably all felt similar sensations. The numbness is because they cut through some nerves that supply that area below your knee. I think it will come back. I’m 6 weeks out and still feel it, but not as much The grabbing sensation is probably due to scar tissue around the incisions in the front of your knee. When I first started flexing exercises, it felt like my kneecap was going to fly off my knee. Knowing that’s what it was, I just kept pushing through the discomfort. I talk to my PT a lot about what is causing the different sensations. As long as I know I’m not damaging the graft (and unless you twist it, you’re probably not going to hurt it), I feel free to push through the pain. I still feel like my knee cap is hanging on scar tissue if I sit for too long in one position, then get up to walk. Massage is really good. Also with your leg straight and loose, move your kneecap around to stretch the tissue – push it down toward your shin and around in a sweeping motion.

    Good luck!
    Bari

  332. Bari,thanks for responding and sharing your thoughts. It is very reassuring to hear that others have had similar sensations. this blog site has certainly helped me be more comfortable with my situation and has inspired me to continue to have a postive outlook.!! thanks howard

  333. Hey all! I’m just short of 8 weeks post-op now. Flexion is 136 and extension is full. I’m regularly riding the bike (at least a 1/2 hr. per day, more when possible) and have even started upping the resistance level. Walking generally feels pretty good (my gait is mostly back to normal) and going down the stairs is becoming mostly pain-free (depends on the day and how much we pushed at PT). PT started incorporating a bosu ball (steps ups onto elevated bosu) and hamstring exercise ball curls into my routine – tough, but great exercises! Only some minor swelling left right beneath the largest incision. Feeling pretty good overall!

    Tammy – I feel like I’ve finally reached that turning point!

  334. Lidija:
    Good for you! I am so happy to hear that things are normalizing (if you want to call it that) at 8 weeks.
    I will be 8 weeks in the middle of May and can’t wait to get back to some activities.
    I have been riding the bike at PT and started walking without my crutches on Saturday. My gait is good in the morning and then gets worse as the day goes on and I get tired. I limp pretty bad in the evening and I am sure I will hear about it from PT tomorrow.
    The Dr. is still keeping me pretty restricted though he did say I could walk as much as I want, probably knew i would tire easily and not tolerate too much.
    Please keep me updated on your progress and again YIPPEE for you!

  335. Hi all, haven’t blogged in a while but I still read your entries. Glad to see that everyone is doing so well!
    SO, today is Day 0 for me….had my allograft this morning, and am just getting my senses back, now that I am back at home. I am thrilled to report that the only major reconstruction was my ACL. There was a small piece of meniscus that ripped off, but the remaining part was structurally fine and didn’t need mending. My MCL is still healing 2 months out, and he said it was a really bad strectch but that heals on its own.
    I woke up and the epidural hadn’t worn off yet, which was a very very strange and uncomfortable feeling. I hated not being able to move my feet! I was pretty drugged up and am having trouble with my stomach now, but finally am able to keep some noodles down so I can take my pain meds.

    My doctor seems pretty conservative though, i have an ace bandage and huge immobilizer, and he said I need to keep BOTH of them on in the shower until I see him in 1.5 weeks….has anyone else had to do this? He told me to put a bag over the whole thing so as not to get it wet.

    Anyway I am so relieved that the surgery is over and I am on the road to recovery.

    Thanks to all who keep writing!

    Kelly

  336. Hey Kelly
    Congrats on your post op status- finally- you have waited a long time!
    Be careful in the next few days, it can be a bit rough when the epidural wears off. Just take your pain meds as they directed for a few days and all will be well.
    Great news about your meniscus, if you had had it repaired it would delay your rehab by about 4 weeks.
    Some physicians recommend keeping everything on for 3 days, some for 3 weeks, the interesting thing about this blog is you see so many variations on post op protocol. If he said keep it on, just wrap everything in a trash bag while you shower. I took my brace off to get in the shower and then put it back on, couldn’t get the darn thing into the shower.
    Please keep us posted on your recovery and welcome to the “other side”!

  337. Great to read about where everybody is! So much progress being made! I’m so pleased for everyone. Glad to see that Howard and Kelly are both repaired and officially on re-hab instead of pre-hab. Congratulations! My doctor is super conservative too but that is not necessarily a bad thing, though it can really feel like it sometimes. Just follow the advice of your doctor and be careful about getting too caught up in comparisons. My PT told me yesterday on my 6th visit that I was a week ahead of where he would expect me to be, which greatly surprised me since I’m so behind everyone else (I have full extension, 116 flexion, and my pt said good quad control and strength). The great thing about this website is that it keeps you pro-active in your recovery and keeps you pushing yourself a little. And of course, reminds you you’re not alone :)
    Keep up the good work everyone!

  338. Hello everyone! I am glad you all made progress. Me too! And I am so happy about that! There’s been three weeks since my surgery, and my next PT appt. is on May 5. Last Thursday (2weeks after surgery): extension 5, flexion 115. My PT thinks that the exercises I do at home on my own are working, so he could not see any reason for continuing the sessions. He will just check on me every other week or so. My goal: 0 to 125 by May 5. Hope to make it! The only thing that is hard to do at home is flexing by having someone pushing your leg in. (Does anybody else do that? – my PT thinks is crucial). My husband does not do it because he thinks is hurting me too much. By myself, I stop at the first sign of pain.
    Kelly – my doctor asked me to remove the huge immobilizer next day after the surgery, and put as much weight as tolerated right from the beginning. There are a lot of differences regarding the post-op protocol! Important is to be motivated and ready for pain when the epidural wears off. And be able to sleep on your back for couple of weeks (which I do hate – therefore did not have a lot of sleep first week after the surgery).
    Well – goodluck to everyone.

  339. Laura- yes the sleeping thing is difficult, I need the oxycodone to fall asleep and have to wear my immobilizer, but I have figured out that if i turn slightly to the side of my operated leg and swing my good leg over, I can get some sleep on the edge of my side and give my back a rest. Also, pre-op I was doing heel slides at home and using a towel on the bottom of my flexed foot to bring my leg to me. I hold it at the point of intolerable pain for 10 seconds and then do it again. That seemed to work.

    Well 2 days out and I can finally eat again. I was sick the first 24 hours from all the drugs they gave me. Pain isn’t too bad when I am lying down, but when I stand up and the blood starts rushing down, it feels like someone is slicing into my shin! Tonight I am going to figure out how to shower with the brace, and can’t wait to feel clean. Next Friday I get the stitches out and start PT again. Oh and I also looked at my scars and I think I have 6 holes…seems like a lot to me. BUt they look small ( i still have the sutures strips over them)

    Good luck to everyone and keep the progress going!!!!

  340. Tammy and Renee- thanks for the comments! It is nice to be past surgery and I am sticking with my doc’s advice. Just can’t wait to go from the immobilizer to the brace that i can bend in. Life is so much easier when I at least have one hand free! :)

  341. Hi everyone. Hope everyone is having a great day! Got on the bike today and started pedaling. felt a click in my knee cap during ever rotation. Has any else had this experience.? could it be due to the swelling or maybe the graft? kind of a freaky sensation howard

  342. Howard, my knee clicks and pops often. Pt says it’s normal! Good for you being on the bike!

  343. I just got back from a 50 mile bike ride and my kneecap feels like it is “grabbing” below. I think I completely overdid it – they told me to ride as much as I want, but I’m scared I’ve pushed too far. ….oh well, I’ll see how it goes. I was also given the o.k. to start to walk/jog but I overdid that one too – my knee has been very sore below the kneecap. Anyone have similar experiences when they started to do more activity? I’m so frustrated at the pace of the recovery. I keep moving forward, then having to take some steps back again!

  344. Renee, thanks for getting back with me. It is good to hear that your pt states that the clicking is normal. I wonder if this is something that will continue. ? Bari, WOW 50 miles. can i ask how far out from surgery you are? howard

  345. Kelly, I remember that terrible pain when you get up. I think it took about 4 days before it went away. Just take your time and wear your immobilizer. I was at PT last week and they were telling me about this girl who fell down the stairs 1.5 weeks post surgery. She didn’t have her immobilizer on. She had to go back to surgery. Hang in there-it does get better.
    Bari, take it easy. I do get the same stretching pain right in front of my knee after trying to flex my knee or after being on the bike (spinning bike that is). I worked 2 days and now am off again because I think I overdid it too. My knee is pretty sore and just “feels funny” like I did something wrong. My knee pops once in a while-after a good stretch and also when I do “manuals” with my PT. He said it’s scar tissue.
    Lesson I learned this week-it’s gonna take time. I’ve finally accepted it. It’s good to read everyone’s progress because it gives me hope. Have a great week everyone-I love Spring!
    Suz-now 1 month post surgery.

  346. Howard,
    7 weeks last Friday. Not long when you think about it, but hey, they TOLD me I could ride my bike outdoors and start to walk/jog…. :-) Feels o.k. after 4 ibuprofen and some ice. Hopefully no damage – my quads hurt worse than my knee on the ride. I have PT on Friday and a 2 month check up with my surgeon the following week, so I’ll see if they scold me.
    Bari

  347. Hi all,
    I am so excited to have found this forum – it gives me great hope for my post-op.
    I was hit by a car Feb 15, tore MCl, ACL, and medial meniscus. I had the meniscus repair March 4, and now waiting til July for my ACL reconstruct. I’m not a super-active person, so we’re waiting til a good time for me work- and school-wise. I’m pretty well decided on an allograft, because I just feel like why should I take a perfectly well-working part of my body out and put it somewhere else? Reading the posts here really helped me confirm that decision. As I said, I’m not a super-active person, but I have a physical job, so a quicker recovery time would be really important to me.
    While I have y’all on the line, as it were… has anyone found a good solution to the fact that the neoprene brace is just horridly hot when it’s hot out? I’ve got a stocking sleeve, but it’s not great.

    -Sylvia (almost 28 yrs old, pre-op)

  348. Hello everyone…so glad to find this site. I am in the process of deciding between a hamstring autograft and an allograft. I am a 27 year old professional dancer and dance teacher, so my doc suggested the hamstring because of my age, but I am having a hard time deciding which make the most sense. I will have the summer to recover from the surgery before going back to teaching full time, but am worried about my loss of flexibility and strength that might occur from using my hamstring. The doc seems to think that the allograft is not the best idea because of my high level of activity and the chance of allograft rupture. I could use any info that you might have on either, the pros and cons, and your opinions as to which is the way to go. I have surgery scheduled for June 17th…so I am contemplating which one to do
    Thanks

  349. Bari, I will be 4 weeks post op this thursday, hope that I can be as actice as you when I hit 7 weeks. today was a strange day in that my swelling is much better but now I am having pain in my shin bone and i still get this plunking or grabbing sensation around my knee cap. Ocassionally I will also get a sharp pain in the inner knee that I haven;t felt before. I can;t imagine doing anything that would have damaged my graft. just can;t figure it out. I will wait and see howard

  350. Welcome to the clud, Sylvia and Trina! I’m sorry you’re having to join us. Trina have you considered the patellar tendon?
    Being careful is extremely important whatever stage you’re in. I went for the first time since surgery to feed my horse last Thursday (my husband’s been doing it). I got out of my SUV, didn’t look down and fell into a really big dip in the ground made by trucks from the rain. I like hyper-extended my knee and it hurt. I luckily had my knee brace on because I shudder to think what I would have done if I hadn’t. Only yesterday has it started feeling better where I can bend it again and weight bear without pain. Hopefully I didn’t do anything major, I guess I’ll find out at pt today. Just a very good reminder to watch what you’re doing and don’t get over-confident or careless!!
    I’m glad to hear others describe the “grabbing” sensation. I feel that often in the front of my knee when I’m bending it. It’s like it contracts threre against my will and then will only slowly let go as I push it. Very unpleasant.
    Suz is right, it’s going to take time. I pray for patience for everyone! We surely need it.

  351. Hi renee… I am trying really hard to keep myslelf active before I go into the surgery… I hear the hardest part is the muscle atrophy. I am leaning towards the hamstring autograft , which kind did you have? Any one hear have any experiences with the hamstring autograft?

  352. I have the allograft, Trina. I haven’t heard a lot about hamstring, it seems most pick either allograft or patellar tendon. It’s my understanding the hamstring in woman is not strong but I have no real knowledge about it. It’s a tough decision, I wrestled with what to do too. You are smart to work hard prior to surgery, I really think it’s helped with my strength afterward but even still my bad thigh is now smaller than my good one.

  353. Hi Trina,
    I worked really hard to strenghten my quad before surgery and I think it helped. Like Renee though, immediately after surgery my quad was GONE. It looked like a bird leg. At 7.5 weeks, I’ve already recovered a lot of muscle though.

    To all:

    I fell down the stairs last night! My surgery leg bent all the way to my butt and it HURT! It’s sore and a swollen today. I’m hoping I haven’t done any major damage to the graft (I don’t think I twisted it and I didn’t feel a pop). Too busy to get to the Dr. today. Anyone else have something like this happen? I’m 7 weeks past surgery.

    Bari

  354. Welcome Trina and Sylvia! My one piece of advice is to get the bad leg as strong as you can before surgery. I had 2 months pre-op and am now 7 days post op, and I worked hard at PT to get my quad back before surgery. I know it is making a difference now with my speed of recovery and strength in my leg. as for the allograft/tendon choice- It’s really a personal decision, but I haven’t heard much about the hamstring either, my doc said it’s weaker in woman also so it was the last choice for me. I had fairly active and had the allograft.
    So, I am about 50% weight bearing but still in an immobilizer and after those stories, I will surely keep it on. Bari- i hope all is ok!
    I am still having that horrible shin pain but other than that, the idle pain has subsided. I go on friday to get my stitches removed and start PT! Can’t wait!

  355. Hello all, lots of action here in the past few days.
    I am currently 6 weeks post op ACL and meniscus repair. Decided on the allograft for healing purposes and because I didn’t want to damage any of my undamaged body parts. Had 3 weeks of pre-hab and would agree, the harder you work in prehab and the stronger you are the quicker the recovery.
    Had to wear an immobilizer for 4 weeks due to the meniscus repair, took it off at about 3.5 weeks, continued to use crutches until 4 weeks and then stopped using them just before my 5 week appt with PT. Am currently walking with a slight limp, have full extension and about 125 of flexion. Ride the bike at PT as well as using weight machines, and doing multiple exercises including squats and lunges.
    Am hoping to ride my bike outside in the next few weeks and my Dr. tells me I will be able to run a 5k this fall.
    Diligence and patience are key though both are very hard at times. Progress seems so slow at times and frustration is very common. The key seems to be to look at progress on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis. Expect some slow days and some tough days but each week usually results in forward progress.
    Bari, hope everything is ok, sounds like you need to chill a little, would hate to see you have to go back in for repair! Kelly Renee & Howard, you are all doing great, keep up the good work.
    Take care all!

  356. Very glad that I found this site! I’m currently 12 days post-op from my ACL revision…and 17 years and change from the first repair. I’ve forgotten a lot in that time….lots of little things that I’m hoping others can share their experiences and let me know if my recovery is “normal”. My biggest issues deal with swelling and discomfort levels- what is to be expected this early? I feel a lot of tightness in my knee and a general feeling of clicking or shifting when I walk. Was this a normal experience for anyone else? How long did it last? When did the swelling finally subside. I’m at a loss because I really can’t compare this go-around with 17 years ago. I was in bed for two days, on crutches for 4 weeks and then on one for an additional 2 weeks, and in a brace for 8 weeks. This time, out of the brace after my first post-op visit. I was weight-bearing at about 24 hours. Lost the crutches after Day 5…just no comparison. The standard of care has changed som much in 17 years- and for the better! 7 years ago I had a lot of quad atrophy. This time, it’s minimal.
    Another question…do any of you remember the surgical knee being hot to the touch? I seem to remember there being told years ago that one of the down sides to the allograft was an increased or maybe prolonged time of swelling due to foreign tissue being introduced.
    Any comments are greatly appreciated! Good luck and continued success to all those recovering and if anyone has questions regarding upcoming ACL repair, fire them my way!

  357. Kyle – I’m 8 1/2 weeks post-op and my knee is still hot to the touch. I saw my regular doc just last week for an annual check-up and she said that was due to the swelling. Even though my knee doesn’t look swollen any more, there is definitely still some inflammation under the largest incision and that is where I can feel the heat.

    Note: My normal doc mentioned that I should be eating a high-protein diet while healing – 50 grams of protein per day. I hadn’t heard that before (wish I would have known sooner!), so thought I’d share…

  358. Thanks for the reply Lidija! I just got back from my rehab at the gym and noticed the post. I appreciate the info and it makes me feel like I’m having a “normal” recovery. I also have some discomfort…like a pulling sensation around the largest incision (the one on the tibia). Did you or do you have that as well? If so, has it gone away yet.
    I’ll take your and your doctor’s advice about the protein! Time to raid the almond butter jar!

  359. Hi everyone! Just saw my surgeon today for my 5 week check. Minimal swelling today. If I use my ice machine 1-2 hours a day, it really takes the swelling down and I can flex my knee better. My knee feels better than it did pre-op. He’s allowing me to take off my brace outside if I know I won’t potentially twist my knee or trip. I’m going to keep wearing it till 12 weeks post outside just to protect my allograft. My knee feels very solid and I just took 400mg of Ibu today so far.
    Bari-so sorry to hear about your fall. Hopefully everything turns out fine.
    Hi to Trina and Sylvia. Hope you find kinship in this website as I have. I also had the allograft. Agree with Tammy about the autograft. My surgeon won’t even do patellar tendon transfers anymore. Also he won’t use hamstring autografts on women above 32 years of age because of the resulting weakness post-op. It’s a hard decision-I asked a lot of people and surgeons I work with.
    So glad to hear of your progress Tammy! WAy to go! Renee, hope your knee is fine. Well, going back to work tomorrow for 8 hours. Great news-my OS said I can go back in the pool (no breaststroke of course) This is my best week yet. Good thoughts to everyone. Happy healing!
    Suz-5 weeks postop

  360. Hi Kyle. I also have a 2.5 inch incision at my tibia. Have 6 incisions total but that one is the worst. My OS today told me that swelling will come and go for 2 more months. Dont’ know of any discussions related to increased or prolonged swelling due to allografts. They all have their pros and cons (allo, patellar transf, hamstring auto). My PT always checks my knee for warmth before and after sessions. It’s swelling for sure. As long as I don’t see any drainage from my incisions, I’m happy. Take it easy.
    Suz

  361. Suz, I appreciate the reply. Sounds like you are doing great! It looks like I’m going to benefit greatly from those ahead of me. I’m already getting such valuable info! Did you ever have a feeling of your knee twisting or not tracking right during the earlier stages of your recovery? That’s probably the weirdest thing for me right now. It’s not a feeling as though it’s going to give out but there’s an ever-so-slight feeling that it just might lock on me sometimes as I shift my weight from that knee and bend it to pull forward for another step (hope that sounds right). Rational thought tells me it’s just due to the swelling but I can’t help but think “What if the tibial fixation has come loose or it has lost the tension it is supposed to have”? I’m a long way (80+ miles) from my surgical/rehab center so I’m going it alone with PT. I can do the exercises but the biggest issue is when I have questions like those above. Like I posted earlier, this is my second go at ACL reconstruction (I guess it’s called a revision when you do it a second time) but I opted for the allograft yet again and this time it’s an anatomical placement (last time it went more behind and high into the femur rather than into the lateral interior) so it’s supposed to be sooooo much better once it heals. Anyway, thanks for your earlier response and I hope to hear from you and others again soon.
    Wishing you continued success.
    -Kyle

  362. Kyle,
    I know exactly what you are describing. I will be 7 weeks post-op tomorrow, allograft surgery. I have the same locking feeling as you. I talked to my PT and my doc and both said it was normal. Mostly caused from swelling, a little from tracking. I just push through it and it usually goes away. My quad strength has been the most difficult to regain. My flexion is 140 and extension is 0. My ROM is doing great, but at times I feel like my knee will give out on me. I think it may be psychological. I still have pain in my shin and I HATE when my PT uses the “sucking” thing to move my scars around. It hurts!!!!! Make sure you massage your scars and do your exercises at home. Good luck to you. I’m glad to hear that everyone is doing so well. Bari….I hope you are doing okay. You worry me. You are so aggressive, I’m afraid you are really going to get hurt. Good news….last week at PT, I was lying on my stomach and the PT got my heel to touch my behind. It was really uncomfortable, but I did it. I tried to jog, didn’t work. PT yelled at me. I won’t try again until I get the green light. Talk to you soon.

  363. Thanks Stacy. Your comments make me feel a lot better. I’m officially 2 weeks today and I’ve been back at work all week. Stairs are still slow but I’m occasionally leading with the surgical leg. My walk is more slow than anything else with a varying limp depending on lots of different things I guess.
    The psychological issue is definitely a part of it- fear of doing something and screwing up the repair. I remember that it took me a long time after my first surgery to actually go out and get lost in the event- running , basketball, etc….actually forget about guarding my acl. As I progress through this recovery, lots of little things I had forgotten from the first time 17 years ago are coming back. I can tell you that so far (and from other posts above) the entire rehab and recovery issue has progressed dramatically.

  364. Thanks for everyone’s concern and kind thoughts! My surgeon says my graft is solid as a rock and didn’t scold me at all for the activity level (like I thought he would). He just says use my knee as a guide – if it’s sore after I “walk/jog” then I’m doing too much and back off a day or so. I seem to have tweaked it a bit from the sudden jerking move (unfortunately, unlike Stacy I can’t touch my heel to my behind yet!). No limit on the bike riding either, just use my judgement (hmmm….they think I have GOOD judgement?). Just absolutely no climbing or anything that will torque it.

    great to hear everyone doing so well! I’m 8 weeks tommorow and the diffcult few weeks after surgery feel like a distant memory now. Hang it there you guys who just had the surgery!

    Bari

  365. Glad to hear all is well, Bari! I’m good too. Tammy, Stacy, Suz, you are all doing so well! Welcome Kyle! I’m 7 weeks post-op and I’m still wearing my brace outside. I don’t wear it inside but don’t feel comfortable (or have permission to) go without outside. I’m riding the bike further, doing lots of different exercises at pt and overall feel better every week (Tammy’s right, can’t judge day to day). However, I’m still no where near my butt with my leg!! Stacy, they call the sucking thing the “snake bite kit” at my pt and it is AWFUL! I massage my scars all the time but nothing compares to that! I did have a pulling sensation for quite a few weeks on my tibial scar but that’s much better now.
    Keep up the good work all!

  366. Ok here we go, week 6.5 and basically PT stinks. How is it you can go from being ahead one week to behind the next?? Full extension and about 125 flexion which I now learn is behind and my foot should be touching my butt! And about the creepy little limp I have because my knee goes snap crackle and pop when I walk! Does anyone else have a limp? Seriously, I have only been off crutches for 10 days and I was in an immobilizer until 2 weeks ago, what the heck?
    Ok, so I am sorry but I had to unload somewhere.
    Hope you all had a better week maybe the lesson here is don’t go to PT on fridays, they are tough!

  367. Well I am 10 days post op now just got my stitches removed and got permission to ditch the immobilizer! I am in my pre-op brace and back on a cane. I start PT on Monday. My doctor said that he wants me to go withtout the brace and cane two weeks from now and not baby the leg, but I feel so much more comfortable with the brace on. We’ll see how I feel then, I am sure it won’t hurt if i wear the brace outside for longer. So i walked freely today for the first time and at one point me knee sort of slid back and locked. I am hoping it’s just because I lost alot of quad strength in the past 10 days (Eventhough I did the home exercises…) and I hope I didn’t hurt anything. I am so paranoid about damaging the allograft b/c it feels like it should take longer for it to set and be strong.
    Bari- so glad you’re ok!
    And wishing all continued progress!
    Anita 10 days post op- allograft

  368. Tammy and Kelly- just saw your posts. Here goes….Tammy seems to be the veteran at 6.5 weeks. I’m at 2 weeks, 1 day (second time around) and Kelly is five days behind me. You two have so much in common with me and what I’ve been experiencing lately. I have the Rice Crispie knee (snap,crackle, and pop). My leg gets tired, swells a little, and tightens up further. I finally made the 90 mile trip to PT to ask some questions and get some new exercises today and supposedly, everything is OK and completely normal. I didn’t specifically remember this stuff as my first ACL repair was 17 years ago and soooo different. They told me that much of the issue has to deal with the remaining swelling (makes sense, right?) and probably some muscles overcompensating for others that have atrophied (makes sense too as I can definitely see it- not nearly as much as last time around though). Some muscles have maintained strength while others have definitely suffered. But I’m paranoid about the allograft too. I missed a step at 8 days post op and had a terrible feeling that I had done something wrong. The PT folks today assured me that I would have known if the fixation had broken. I see my Doc in another 10 days so I’m not going to be completely satisfied until he looks at it again and gives me the OK.
    Tammy, I still walk with a limp especially toward the end of the day. That is apparently due to the swelling and muscle issue noted above- or so I’ve been reassured. NOTE: I did a new round of exercises today to start working more on quads and hamstrings (some variations of squats) and I could literally feel the fluid shift from one place to another. I’m pretty sure that it’s causing my knee cap to track weird sometimes as well as the weird pull and twist I sometimes sense in my knee as I walk or exercise. You know the docs really did some tramatic stuff to our knees in order to fix them- hyper extension, hyper flexing, portals and instruments moved in and out, etc. I’m starting to remember some of that same stuff from my first surgery and from my personal experience. The swelling goes away so gradually that you just don’t remember when it actually disappeared completely. It goes down so quickly at first but then seems to go so slow for the last bit. I’d recommend staying on the Ibuprofen and ice with lots of water to keep it flushed through your system. Right now I think we’re all fighting the same things: swelling, atrophy, bone healing/revascularization, and most importantly, the psychological effects of the procedure and the hypersensitivity that comes with it. Every little pop or sign of discomfort makes we immediately think “What’s gone wrong?” Then I have to convince myself that it’s ok. This forum helps a lot- especially when I hear I’m not the only one having these issues.
    Take care and keep me posted on your thoughts and progress!
    -Kyle in Anacortes, WA

  369. Tammy,
    Hang in there. I’ve had really frustrating weeks as well (this is one of them) where I feel I’m going backwards instead of forward. My kneecap catches and pops all of the time. I limp not becuase of pain but becuase of the weird sensation of the kneecap not tracking correctly and the “fear” of pain.
    Even though they told met o.k. to “walk/jog”, I didn’t follow the instructions (15 minutes with mostly walking) and have been doing about 30-35 with more running. I’m now REALLY sore. PT yesteday says the ends of the bones where the screws are placed are softer than the middle of the bone (for shock absorption) and that when we start running, we jar the screw. I’m backing off now. Just cycling and waiting for the soreness to go away again. My range of mobility is not as good as last week, likely because of some swelling. Very frustrating experience. 8 weeks for me, yesterday.
    Bari – Seattle, WA (Kyle – sounds like you have to come all the way down here to see the doc!)

  370. Hey Bari,
    So you are limping too?? Yesterday was sooo frustrating. They made me feel like I was the only pt. on the face of the earth limping and that it was all in my head and that I somehow liked it! I wanted to cry!
    I also have a funky feeling inside, it feels like a big snap needs to happen it build and builds and then it snaps and I can walk fine. They must have had 5 PT’s consulting and commenting on my walking all with try this try that, throw your hips into it etc. All that got me was sore all over today, my back, hips etc!
    The other part was the flexion part, I was way ahead last week, now I am behind? I think they forget I also had a meniscus repair and I was totally immobilized until just 2 weeks ago.
    Anyway, I will practice my walking all weekend and then go back on Tuesday hopefully with a new attitude and after some rest improved mobility and with the grace of God, no limp.
    Take care of you, and feel free to unload on me anytime you want, I know how you feel!! Tammy

  371. Bari,
    I do travel to Seattle for the doc but it’s been well worth it so far. I just rehab mostly on my own at the gym. That’s part of the frustration with the clicks and pops and worries…but this site sure helps there. As most people probably feel, hearing others are having the same issues makes me realize that my concerns aren’t special. Especially good to read others write about having the same stuff but now it’s better. It is often frustrating and I remember that part from my first go with it. But I can also say that at about the 6-7 month mark you remember that there were tough times but the specifics kinds of fade away. I’m ready for that!
    It’s awesome that you’ve been cleared to run at 8 weeks! Probably a good idea to not go real heavy all at once…be sure to ease back into the jogging. It’s tough.
    Good luck!
    -Kyle

  372. Tammy,
    My PT guys mentioned yesterday that I was still walking with a limp…not too derogatory but I felt like I had failed to do what the teacher wanted….but at the appt. I was 2 weeks so I didn’t feel too bad about it.
    Wanted to write back and let you know that your description of the knee needing to pop is exactly what I feel. Some steps are fine…others crack and pop….and others feel really tight like it should pop but doens’t. Who knows. Ibuprofen, exercise, and ice….the circle of rehab.
    -Kyle

  373. Kyle
    There is a very good website I often refer to for rehab it is titled ACL Reconstruction Rehabilitation Protocol by Peter J Millett, MD Steadman Hawkins Clinic, Vail Colorado.
    I downloaded the whole booklet. It gives expectations week by week as well as very specific exercises and instructions for the exercises.
    Their protocol is very well known (even to us here in the East) and might be very helpful for you since you are trying to rehab independently. Good luck.

  374. Hi Kyle and all,
    Glad to hear you’re fine Bari. I saw my OS on Wed and he said to expect the clicking on my knee. I thought he was joking until this morning at work. Click-click-click first thing this morning then it went away. He said this is normal until my quads get much stronger. I have the same problem about my knee cap not tracking. My PT said this is due to my tight muscles on the lateral side of my knee. You can tell by pressing really hard on your outer thigh muscle-it hurts! He loosens it and the tracking magically goes away. He makes me do this exercise with a styrofoam cylinder. It helps tremendously to loosen that muscle so it can work properly and keeps your knee cap in the right spot. I’ve also used a rolling pin on my thigh muscles and it really hurts until you loosen it. My PT recommends that I massage my thigh muscles daily and of course the incisions so the collagen will align properly. It’s helped me quite a bit. I sure hope this helps. So I was on my feet for 10 hours today! I can’t believe it’s really starting to feel better!
    Suz-@ 5 1/2 weeks!

  375. So I forgot to comment about “the limp”. How can you not? I start my day without it then as my swelling gets worse, my knee feels heavier and heavier. Hence, I look like a pirate with a wooden stump at the end of the day. I almost have to exaggerate the lift when I take a step so it looks right. Does it feel right? No. Hey, we all try our best.
    Suz- the soon to be ex-gimp, hopefully :)

  376. I was at a restaurant tonight and as I walked to my table I passed an older lady who looks at me and says “Did you just have surgery?” I immediately thought “Darn, I thought I was doing ok but the limp must be much worse than I sensed it was.” She then asked if it was my knee and I responded “Yes”. So she asks what I had done, when, and where. I told her about my ACL and that it was just over two weeks ago and she gasped, her mouth literally fell open, and we wound up talking for ten minutes as the rest of her party headed out to the car. I thought I had it done a long time ago but this lady had it done 30 years ago by the pioneer of the procedure…a Dr. Slocum in Eugene, OR. Very interesting talk and she made me feel better. Just thought I’d share.
    Several of you have written about specific exercises you are doing that seem to help. PLease share them with me. I’ve got about 17 exercises I do every day and would like to hear if we’re doing the same stuff and find out if there’s something one of us is doing that could be beneficial to the others.
    Suz, Tammy, Bari, Kelly, Renee, and Stacy- keep up the posts and the good rehab! I hope to see a post from all of you again soon.
    -Kyle

  377. I have a limp too, I start out good and then as the day wears on it gets worse. I find I actually have to think about walking normally and then sometimes even when I feel like I’m not limping, my husband says I am slightly. Also, if I’ve been to PT, I sometimes wake up with more stiffness and limp.
    Had new exercises added last week, Kyle. They looped a stretch band around both ankles and I go sideways, legs bent the whole way up and back a bunch. Also added a row of cones that I have to walk over with my bad leg. At first I kept knocking them over and now I don’t. The last new one was to do squats with the big exercise ball on my back against a wall. She said the important thing with that one was to have my legs forward enough that my knees weren’t going over my toes. Anyway, hope that adds some new ones for you.
    The hardest thing for me is when I lay on my stomach with the rope on my foot and have to pull my leg towards my behind. My quad is so unbelievably tight, it absolutely kills me. Does anyone have any ideas how to make this better? Any other ways to work on this? I feel like I will never get my foot to my rear and it is maddening!

  378. Limp is still there but weird in that the more I exercise, the better it is. As soon as I stop within 30 minutes I’m limping around. I can feel the fluid move around to different parts of my knee during some exercises….not a comfortable feeling.
    I haven’t heard of the looped stretch band…maybe that will be something added when I go back at my one month mark. Last Friday they did add a couple of resistance exercises. I’m doing some squats on the reclined machine at the gym…no more than 100 pounds but was told to focus on full extension (goes against what you’re taught for those machines- you never want to lock your knees out with heavy weight).
    They also gave me a nifty exercise that I dubbed the “Bowling step”. I get a 10 lbs weight; hold it opposite my surgical leg; take a step forward with the “bad” leg and swing the weight like I’m going to throw a bowling ball (but not too forceful); plant the foot while swinging forward with the weight; stop the momentum with the “bad” leg. It’s a deceleration exercise.
    Another one is a stationary lunge/squat. Place the good leg on a surface behind you (like a bench) about 12-18″ high. Set the “bad” leg forward like a lunge and squatup and down. After a couple of those, we started throwing a ball. The ball does several things: forces you to squat as you receive it; forces you to extend as you deliver it back; and, takes your mind off of the knee while you do it.
    I think the trickiest thing with those exercises is making sure you have yourself set up properly- no pivoting allowed, leg not cocked out or in a weird position that could wind up hurting you.
    Several others but I might be boring some folks.
    I’m going to ask about the stretch bands and cones when I go back in 10 days.
    How often are you doing rehab exercises? I’m doing something every day of the week for a couple of hours? Some are too strenuous to do every day so I mix in others and avoid certain combinations of exercises.
    -Kyle

  379. Kyle,
    Your rehab exercises sound exactly like the ones I’ve been doing. I go to Va. Mason Sports Medicine (for surgery and PT). Early on (weeks 1-3), I was pretty much doing them every day, so some degree. I really wanted to get the strength and flexilbility back so that they would clear me to ride the bike outdoors at one month. I also rode the stationary bike from week 2, usually every other day, and building up the time and resistance until I was cycling for at least 45-55 minutes at a fast pace with varying resistance. Now I’m afraid I slack off a bit on the strength and stability exercises when I ride my bike that day. I’m going to try to be more disciplined this week.

    In addition to the ones you are doing, I incorporated a bosu ball with a lot of them. There’s one where you get in the plank position with your feet on the bosu ball, then bend your leg out to the side and forward. Works on your obliques and other stabilizing muscles, as well as your surgical leg. I also do one where I do squats on the ball holding a weight above my head. Another you stand on the ball and step down to the side (sort of a one legged squat on the ball). You can also just step up and down on and off the ball (like steps, but works your stabilizing muscles more). The ball cost a lot ($100), but there’s a smaller cheaper size ($50) that would work just as well. I’m glad I made the investment, and I’m motivated to use it since I spent so much!

    Bari

  380. Hello. My name is Adam and I am 38 years old. I saw this site and have been reading all of the great responses. I am trying to decide which Acl reconstruction procedure to use and could use some advise. On 3/16, I fell backward and landed wrong trying to pop a wheelie on my beach cruiser (stupid I know). It turns out my acl is torn completely and my meniscus is damaged as well. I have surgery scheduled for 5/19. My doctor who is performing the surgery is wanting me to go with the patellar tendon procedure. I am wondering if he is telling me to use the the patellar over the allograft procedure because maybe he has just always done them that way. I am pretty active and enjoy wakeboarding a lot. I want to be able to get some wakeboarding in this year if possible and have been reading that the allograft is a faster heal. Also, does the patellar procedure have more scarring? Any response is appreciated.

  381. Adam, what I was told is that some people feel that there is a higher failure rate with a cadaver tendon. however, I talked to many surgeons who disagreed with that thought but will agreed that you have to let it heal longer to get it to take. From what my orthopedic friend told me, is that there is a higher chance of anterior knee pain using the patella. I am 54 years old and went with the cadaver. I am a very aggressive skier and feel comfortable that I we be able to ski again similar to how I skied before my injury. My surgeon was very particular about the cadaver tendon that he chose ,male and under 30, usung an anterior tibilias tendon of good size. Also he doesn;t use tendons that are radiated to kill the HIV and Hep c virus, because the radiation weakens the tendon. the chances of getting a disease from the tendon is 1 in 1,000,000. so I accepted that risk.. i think the most important factors are surgical technique( you need someone who does allot of them) and good rehab. Hope this helps GOOD LUCK howard

  382. Bari,
    I’m at VM as well..my wife works there giving anesthesia from time to time. I just don’t go down for the rehab since I live in Anacortes. I go back on May 12 for my next follow-up. I hope to see you there- maybe buy you a cup of coffee and compare notes.

    Adam, this is my second go at my right acl. I AM NOT A DOCTOR but I researched the crap out of the various procedures. My first one lasted 17 years (cadaver graft from middle 1/3 of patella) and I have no complaints. It was such a good experience overall that I chose it for the second go (except achilles tendon this time) even though I had to wait longer for it (it took five weeks to get it in).
    Of course there are the additional risks and they are relatively minor (unless you happen to be the guy that gets the “bad” one). The draw backs are generally that it takes longer to get the swelling down completely and your body does have to accept it and revascularize it. It has been dead, chem-washed, frozen, thawed to OR temp, etc.. I guess you could reject it too but unlikely after all of the stuff it’s been through to steralize. The middle 1/3 of the patella has long been considered the “gold standard” and you’ll see it written in lots of literature that way but honestly, I don’t know why…maybe it’s just the older literature. It is strong- it has two bone plugs (good for fixation), and it comes from you! Bad thing is called donor site morbidity (also seen with hamstring). Your patella tendon will hurt for a long time. It will be hard to impossible to kneel for a long time. You may have tendonitis.
    Ahhh, long story short as I could go on for a long time. I chose the graft because I figured that if I had to have something to stabilize my knee and I had the option of it coming from something other than me, it sounded like a better deal. I really talked to the doc about it for the second go- picked his brain until he was probably tired of me since I had a hard time deciding on cadaver vs. hamstring (patella was never considered by me) . Ultimately he said he thought I was a great candidate for another cadaver graft so voila.

    BOTTOM LINE- make your best decision and don’t regret it. Ask your doc why he prefers one over the other. Ask him/her pointed questions. Ask him whether he prefers it because it’s what he’s used to (so he’s probably better at it) or whether he really thinks it’s the best option. If so, specifically why? If he has an opinion, he should be able to share it. Remember, you the one who has to live with it.
    -Kyle

  383. Adam,

    I am 45, female and very active (ski backcountry, climb, run, bike etc). I debated for quite a while about which way to go. I was concerned by the information on the web that says the cadaver is weaker and has more problems, but after talking to my surgeon, I felt comfortable enough to go with the allograft. The surgeon I chose (I talked to 2 surgeons) specializes in this type of surgery and has been performing it for years. I ended up going with the under 50 graft as opposed to under 30, since the wait was a lot shorter and I wanted to get the surgery over with ASAP and start the recovery process. The surgeon reassured me that the difference is minimal. I’m at 8 weeks now. I still get some swelling after activity, but less as the weeks go by. I’ve been cycling outdoors since 4 weeks and have been cleared to begin a walk/jog program (at 6 weeks – usually takes 8 weeks or longer). I’ve decided to self limit on that one since I overdid it the first week and had a REALLY sore knee as a result. I’m going to start again at the end of this week. No climbing for at least 6 months. Hoping to ski this fall, but I think I’ll probably be afraid of tearing it again the first season…we’ll see. As Kyle said, make the best informed decision that you can, then don’t second guess yourself! Good luck!
    Bari

  384. Thank you for your responses Howard, Kyle, and Bari! I agree, I need to talk to my doctor about this. I read a little bit more about this on the internet, and there seem to be good arguments for both. And yes, Kyle the “gold standard” description I keep seeing seemed to have me leaning toward the patella autograph. But then, I spoke with two of my good friends who have gone with the allograft and they are happy. They think I would just be subjecting myself to more pain with the autograph. Now I have even more anxiety about this! I want it to be strong, but dont want the extra pain/recovery if I can help it. I’ll leave a message for the doctor to call me since I dont have a pre-op appt until the 15th. Also, I am reading that people have done p/t prior to surgery… I wonder why my doctor didnt tell me to do this. My poor leg is a stick now.

  385. Adam,
    I hope we helped…it’s not an easy decision. There’s so much out there to read and a lot of it contradicts other things. The good news is all of them work! It’s just a matter of finding the one that works for you. Also important is your doc’s proficiency. If he prefers one method, he probably does more in that manner and he probably does them better with better results.
    As for PT prior to surgery, I think it is very important. The more fit you are going in, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to fire those muscles again (I don’t think there’s any disagreement with that in the literature) but some people are hurt too bad to rehab prior…maybe you were one of them. A lot of the battle right after surgery deals with muscle memory. My advice/expectations to you from my experience- You will be sore and many of those muscles will not want to work. Muscle memory helps out a lot! Calf comes back the quickest I think (at least control of it). Your quads will probably be sore- for me it wasn’t so much the muscle but a tendon/ligament down the outside of my femur was painful. I can still massage the area and feel some discomfort, The inside of my thigh and my hip joint hurt a few days after I started walking. I think this was also due to the way I was carrying myself- limping and compensating.
    Again, I’m not a doctor so I’d recommend asking one about your pre-surgery rehab. I don’t think it’s too late- if allowed to do them based on your situation, you’ll benefit at least some. Ask if you can do quad sets (just tighten your quads- make them fire), calf pumps (extend and flex your ankle), stationary bike, and open kinetic leg chain exercises (there are four of them and they exercise the hip joint and make you tense your leg while doing them). That’s some of the first stuff you’ll be doing after surgery (except the bike) and you can do all of them in the rigid brace while laying in your bed, on the floor, couch, etc.
    With a meniscus tear you won’t be weight bearing very quickly (I don’t think) and all of these are zero-impact.
    Hope to hear from you again soon.
    -Kyle

  386. Bari,
    You must have had Dr. M at VM! Sounds like you are doing great. I go back for my one month follow-up a week from today and I’m hoping that they’ll at least recommend increasing the resistance on the stationary bike if I’m not ready for biking outdoors.
    I’ve still got some swelling and I can feel the fluid in my knee squish around with exercises. I’m hoping that goes away in the near future. I’ve heard that weeks 3 and 4 are usually pretty good for that. Maybe then the clicking and popping will subside.
    Did you have similar issues around week 3-4? When did you notice the biggest improvement?
    -Kyle

  387. Adam,

    I did a lot of bike riding before surgery to get my quads in shape, but I didn’t have much pain (or meniscus damage). I’d highly recommend the exercises Kyle described both before and right after surgery – especially the quad tightening. If you are used to hard workouts, you’ll be surprised at how east these are! I began tightening my quad the day of surgery and propped my heel on pillows to get my extension back. I wa zoned outs on pain meds, so all my focus was on doing what my PT said to do after surgery. It worked! When I saw them three days after surgery, I had control of my quads and could lift my leg.

    Kyle,

    Yes I did! I’m really happy with the care there. My PT is a guy there with initials PD. He’s been great! I’ve received so much good information that I’ve been able to push myself through discomfort – otherwise I think I would have been afraid of damaging the graft. He gave me a lot of latitude to use my own judgement about how far to go. I can’t remember when the major swelling went away. I still get some after activity. I think it was around 5-6 weeks. Dr. M. says it will take 6 months or more for the swelling to go away completly. The kneecap on my surgical knee still looks lumpy and some days my knee is still really stiff and sore to bend. I’m probably at 135 – 145 degrees of bend and my non surgical leg is at 155. They don’t seem to worried about it, though. They tell me I’m ahead of schedule. My leg is still smaller, but I see good definition when I flex my quad muscles.
    I still get the feeling that my kneecap is hanging up on scar tissue and now I’ve begun to notice definite pops and clicks. I also have a very sore tendon or ligament down the inside of my knee (running down toward the incision). That’s what gets the most sore these days.
    Good luck with your one month appt!
    Bari

  388. Bari,
    Small world. PD and I have been working together along with Holly. I agree with your comments. They seem pretty happy with my progress- much like you. After a little stretching with PD (I’d been afraid to push too much), I was measured at 135 last Friday!
    I was fortunate to not have any other injuries than my ACL. I was back running and doing pretty much everything (except cutting) two weeks after the injury. Between the injury and surgery, I ran about 35 miles without difficulty or any swelling. I even played some competitive basketball but couldn’t/wouldn’t plant the right foot to cut. Layups off the right foot were awkward. I lifted hard up until the day before surgery and really went hard at the gym that last day just doing every leg exercise I could think of. I know it has helped or, at least, didn’t hurt!
    Knowing that you are/were experiencing the same feelings with the knee is very comforting and assures me that my recovery is normal. I have that kneecap feeling you mention.
    I already know that I won’t be running until 3 months….it’s just Dr. B’s protocol. That’s going to be weird. My last ACL repair 17 years ago I was released back to do anything at 4 months!

  389. Hey gang! I’m now 10 weeks post-op and was just cleared to start cycling outside as of this morning – yay! Flexion is 138 and extension is full. Been doing lots of indoor cycling (1/2 hr. to an hour a day, increasing resistance levels) and have also started working out on the elliptical. PT has me doing all kinds of exercises now (incl. dynamic movements) – lunges (front, back, side, and onto a bosu ball), sideways shuffles, high steps onto a bosu, hamstring curls on an exercise ball, walking backwards on an inclined treadmill… all good stuff. Focus of therapy has definitely shifted from range of motion to real strength building and it feels great! Still some occassional minor discomfort near my largest incision and stiffness if I sit in meetings for too long, but nothing that distracts me from daily life or exercises.

    Feeling good and looking forward to taking the bike out this weekend!

    Lidija – Issaquah, WA (lots of us here from WA, eh?)

  390. Thought I should update after my fussy posts last week. PT on Tuesday at the 7 week mark. Extension full, flexion 138. According to my AT (athletic trainer) I am way ahead of the curve. Am doing bike and elliptical. Leg presses 2 legs 120 lbs and one leg 80-100 lbs. Calf raises on the incline board and squats on the balance board etc. The limp is subsiding, only have it now when I am really tired. Up and downstairs foot over foot, actually picking up speed on that. PT is planning on cutting me back to 1x per week and doing a home program or gym program for me.
    He did agree with me that daily exercise is very important. I find the days I use the bike etc are so much better and I stiffen on the in between days. Plan to re-join the gym this week for biking and machines. Hope to be cleared to ride outside in a few weeks.
    Guess the moral of the rehab story is take it one week at a time, it is peaks and some valleys but the progress will continue. Best to all.

  391. Lidija and Tammy,
    Great news! I’m at three weeks today! It’s nice to hear that it’s going to get better and better.
    Thanks for the post….let us know how the biking (and running when it’s time) go.
    -Kyle

  392. 7.5 week update: biking 35 minutes at a time, elliptical until tired. Adding more balance exercises, additional squats, starting resistance squats up and down the length of the floor. Reduced PT/AT to 1x per week and will now start my own gym program using the exercises they do at PT plus some upper body work of my own.
    Continue to push flexibility but told not to worry as the meniscus is still in the healing stage. Occasionally have pinching joint line pain with some movements, again, told it was due to meniscus and to back off when I feel it pinching.
    Saw a lady on the next table yesterday who must just be a fresh post-op and two things happened: could really feel for her, she was miserable and realized just how far all of us have come. When you are in the middle of recovery it seems like it is lasting forever but when you finally get out the other side you realize what a miracle it is that your body can recover so quickly.
    Word of advice to all the newcomers, take your pre-hab seriously! It will be invaluable on the recovery side. Build strength, get in total body shape, take off the few extra pounds, work on flexibility! You will be glad you did.
    Happy weekend everyone.

  393. 3.5 weeks today…follow-up one month appointment scheduled for tomorrow. Feeling stronger but still that persistent clicking and shifting in my knee. Wish me luck!
    -Kyle

  394. Hi all! I finally hit 6 weeks! Sounds like everyone’s progressing quite well-way to go gang! Finally did my first 12 hour shift last week and I paid for it the next day. I think I may have aggravated the soreness when I worked a day later. I only lasted for 8 hours and it was definitely time to go. Needless to say, I am in high spirits. I think I may have gotten rid of my limp most of the time. They had me doing some controlled jumps on the total gym and running on the trampoline. Exciting stuff. I still have the click on my knee once in a while because my outer quads get tight. It’s the kneecap not tracking properly. Have to really work on loosening it. They also had me working on my hamstrings today-soooo weak there. Anyone have any effective hamstring exercises I can do at home without any fancy gadgets? Keep working hard everyone!
    Suz

  395. Kyle, Let us know how it went today!

    Suz, Sounds like you are doing great for 6 weeks. I’m at 9 weeks and I still get exhausted (slept for 9.5 hours last night).

    I’m doing better than last week. I rode my bike 52 miles on Sunday and felt very strong. No pain or swelling afterward. I did a moderate walk/jog (2 miles) last night and I’m paying for it today. Jogging makes it VERY sore. Still finding it hard to motivate myself to do the indoor exercises after exercising outside. I know I need to do the balancing and lateral moves to strengthen the full compliment of muscles.
    Bari

  396. Hi all
    8 weeks out and not much change from last week. I am riding the bike inside only for about 30 minutes at a time. Can use the elliptical but really don’t care much for that machine. Have been doing lots and lots of squats with medicine ball and on a balance board. Can use the leg press machine.
    Went back to work last week- find the sitting making me very stiff.
    We have had some bad weather here and I find that makes my leg stiff as well.
    Overall a slow week for progress.
    Oh, PT decreased me to 1x per week. They would rather I go for a longer period of time but less frequently.
    Bari- I find just stepping very quickly makes my leg hurt for example having to hurry to cross the street. Wore high heels today and it felt awful!
    Overall a very “stationary” week.

  397. Bari,
    PD confirms that you’re an insane PT’er! Your name came up (well, he described a patient he had that was progressing very well and said I was along the same track) and I immediately said, “Are you referring to Bari?” He was quite surprised and started laughing when I told him the story of our meeting in this blog. Don’t be surprised if he brings it up the next time you see him.
    As for my appointment today, everything is just great. The Dr. said he couldn’t be happier and that I was ahead in all areas. They answered all of my questions (many of which had been addressed on this blog) but the doc gave me the “hands-on” explanation and made me feel a lot better.
    I’m doing well enough that I can begin some cardio and they were pleased enough with my muscle control and mobility (0 and 141 at 3.5 weeks) that I am “authorized” to greatly increase the resistance. Best of all, I am cleared to ride the bike outdoors as long as I stay away from steep inclines and the off-road trails! I can even clip in instead of digging around for my old pedals and toe cages!
    The best advice I heard today….”Let the Calendar be your guide!”
    For all—I still have the clicks and uneasy feeling in some of my steps but it was easily explained and considered very normal. It deals with numerous issues that combine to make the problems. Swelling, stitches still dissolving, scar tissue, fluid, muscles out of balance (some remained very strong while others couldn’t help but atrophy due to the beating from surgery) all combine to make the patella not track properly. Good news, they told me that stuff really begins to resolve itself around four weeks and after.

  398. Hi All,

    I’ve been reading the posts here for some time now and have learned SO MUCH from all of you! I’m 48, fairly active with skiing, tennis, biking, hiking, etc. I shredded my ACL on March 24 skiing at Copper Mountain. I also have one, maybe two (they can’t really tell from the MRI) meniscus tears and bone marrow has been leaking into my knee joint (ugh!) from my tibia. Surgery is scheduled for June 12.

    It was really weird, though, because there was no swelling, only a little pain in the back of my knee, and 2 different docs checked my knee within 2 days of the fall, and both said it was stable and didn’t think anything was wrong. At least until the MRI results came in. Go figure!

    My dr wants to do a hamstring graft, but from reading all your posts, now I’ve scheduled an appointment with him to discuss allograft. I am concerned, though, about the wait time. I talked to his scheduling nurse, and she says their grafts are all freeze-dried. I heard this is the best method of preserving them, so I feel better about that part of it. And he does hand-pick his grafts, also a plus. The scheduler said they haven’t had any issues with long wait times, though. I just don’t want to put off surgery waiting for a ‘younger’ graft, even though I would if I had to, just for the longevity issue. I think my main concern is that someone posted that it wasn’t recommended that hamstring grafts be done on women over 35 or so. Weakness in the hamstring afterwards, etc.

    The other thing is that there’s been no pre-op PT of any kind. I’m told that getting in the best shape you can beforehand is best, but dr’s staff said if there’s no swelling, no pain, and good range of motion then I don’t need it. Just make sure I don’t do any more damage while trying to get legs stronger. That PT is mainly for ‘newer’ injuries to get pts. ready for surgery. So maybe I don’t ‘need’ it, but I’m certainly going to try to get my legs as strong as possible beforehand.

    My main issue is not doing any more damage. I play lots of tennis, 3 or more times a week. I’ve been fitted for a sports brace to wear both before and after surgery, but it hasn’t come in yet. Hopefully this week. I’m just worried about making things worse.

    I’m hoping I can be back out on the slopes in Jan or Feb of next year, if this surgery is not too late in the year. Easy runs, of course! I’m thinking the following year will be back to normal. I just want to get back to normal without making things worse.

    Anyway, just reading all your posts has given me good vibes about what’s ahead. I know it will be painful, but also worth it in the end.

  399. Deb
    Welcome! Your story is so much like mine we could switch out names and nothing would change. Same age, same activities, I also had 2 Dr. visits with a stable leg until the MRI. I ended up having my acl replaced with allograft and my meniscus repaired. If you have your meniscus repaired it will set your rehab. back 2 weeks but it is worth it to save the meniscus in the long run.
    My Dr. and PT told me a hamstring graft would reduce my hamstring strength by 20% minimum and I didn’t want to risk that at my age. I have had a remarkable recovery from my allograft. I had no wait time what so ever and if I had it to do again I would again choose the allograft.
    Please feel free to shoot any questions this way. Good luck with your surgery.
    Tammy

  400. Hi all, good to hear how everyone is doing. Welcome to the club, Deb, this blog has been a huge help to me, too.
    I was FINALLY told I can go without my brace last Thursday and I’m amazed at how much better my knee is not being restricted in that thing. I’m biking for 45 minutes, doing lunges, squats, leg press and a lot of other exercises. Went to New Orleans to pick my daughter up from college, went up and down stairs loading the car with her stuff, went to a museum, walked for about 3 hours, up and down stairs and felt surprisingly good! Limp is pretty much gone unless I really over do it.
    I can’t believe how far we’ve all come, at times it seemed like I would never be able to do this stuff again. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

  401. Oh, and Deb, I did have lots of swelling and pain after my initial injury (skiing in New Mexico) and I did not do formal pre-hab. I did my own with my doctor’s blessing. As I was able, I started with biking, then worked up to using the stair climber and just worked really hard to get as much strength as possible. I think it makes a big difference.

  402. Kyle,

    That’s really funny! Glad to hear you are doing so well! I’ll see Paul next Thursday. I like their approach. They seem to be less conservative than some of the other PT’s I’m reading about.
    Have fun bikinng. It is supposed to be a nice weekend!

    Bari

  403. Hi guys,

    I just found this website when I was researching different graft types for surgery, and I am so glad I did! I just tore my ACL on April 28th playing flag football. I got a MRI last week which confirmed the tear, but I got really lucky and didn’t have MCL or meniscus damage. I see the MD tommorrow to discuss surgery options and to set a date.

    I’ve been reading over everyone’s stories and it’s been very encouraging. Everybody is very upbeat and seems to be doing really well with rehab. I have the incredible fortune of being a physical therapist, so I have a pretty good idea of what to do at this satge. I’ve been doing lots of pre-hab to get me ready to go under the knife and feel mentally ready to start this process…

    I look forward to meeting and interacting with you guys!

    Jeff

  404. Welcome, Jeff! That’s awesome that you’re a pt. We’ll be able to pick your brain! This blog helped me decide to go with the allograft. Will look forward to hearing from you on your progress and decisions.

  405. Renee>>> thanks for the welcome!

    Saw the MD today… I’m going to have an allograft too… surgery scheduled for 6/4/09… so now its more and more pre-hab!

  406. Hi Jeff,

    I’m going in on 6/12. I talked briefly after a tennis match to a PT who recommended against hamstring b/c of less support to tibia. Also, can I specify what type of allograft I get? I know my doc hand picks his, but I hear freeze-dried is best. Can I ask for a younger donor? I don’t know much about this yet, so any help you can provide would be appreciated.

    What type of prehab are you doing? I’m thinking lots of biking or stepping, but don’t know about anything else I should be doing.

    Thanks!!

    Deb

  407. Why didn’t I find this site BEFORE I had my surgery??? I did research but apparently not intensive enough!
    Just had ACL surgery (hamstring) and medial + lateral meniscectomy last Monday. I decided autograft over allograft because even though chances are really slim I didn’t want to go through this again up to a year from now – in case I should reject the cadaver piece. I have a 3 1/2 yr and an 11mths old –
    It turns out that I have been living with my torn ACL for quite some time , but it started having somehow a negative effect on my meniscus – which in turn led to pain -> MRI and here I am . No more meniscus but a brandnew ACL!!!
    It is so helpful to read all the PT info as I am really anxious getting back moving. I kickbox (5-6/week), cardio, biking, ultimate frisbee…and running after the kids …
    I had arthroscopy 20yrs ago in the same knee. All I remember vividly is that the quad “melts” soooo fast!
    I started doing some flexion motions @ home and am @ 80/90. Extension is not complete yet. I have my first post-op appmt with my surgeon coming Tuesday.
    After what I read so far I guess I will be stuck w/ my brace for a few mow days – and I agree it is surgeon’s preference.
    Must admit that the pain once at home was worse than giving birth and Percocet was a “very good friend”. I am reducing the dosage already.
    My husband just served Dinner ;-) So I will be back soon to learn more and follow all your stories…and get my encouragment from you guys!! THANKS!

  408. Quick question – did any of you with an autograft (hamstring) experience like a Muscle nod in the inner thigh? It feels like after a ton of exercise where the muscle screams for a deep tissue massage and you want to just streeeetch.
    I was wondering if this is just my hamstring reacting to the fact that it got cut off a little??? I keep massaging it for the past 2 hrs and it seems to loosen up a little.
    Thanks. Micky

  409. Micky: I did not find this blog till after the surgery too, and like you, I used the hamstring ligament. I am coming up on 6 months post-op now and my knee is very strong. I do mixed martial art with Krav Maga and I am just now able to hit the heavy bag without being totally worried about my knee. They frown on doing any muai tai kick because the rotation on your knee so I am doing other kicks and its holding up well. I did have some hamstring pain, but now I get “adhesions” at the hamstring/calf area. I dont feel that my hamstring is too weak, tho you can tell my quads and hamstring muscles have gotten smaller. If I had known more information about the allograft, I might have considered it. But what is done is done and the surgery went really well. :)

  410. Kimber, thanks for your reply. Good to know that at 6mths post-op you’re kickin’ butt again! Yeah I guess my heavy bag hitting will have to wait a while. The good thing is some of my Sanshou (not Muy Tai) Sifus have undergone the same surgery so they can help me work my leg/knee to be able to do roundhouses again soon.
    Hmmm- I have heard about adhesions before. I think there are some very specific massage therapies to help with that.
    I will see what my Doc will say when I see him on TUE.
    Would love to continue hearing about your progress.

  411. Hi Deb,

    I”m doing lots of quad sets and straight leg lifts in all planes (on my back, on my side, on my stomach). I’ve also been doing some stationary biking. Stretching is VERY important. You need to have full extension and as much flexion (bending) as you can. MY knee is pretty swollen so I can only get it to 110 degrees or so….

  412. Allografts are usually taken from a donor’s posterior tibialis (back of shin/ankle) area. They are screened for diseases and such. After they are removed from the donor, they are frozen, bio-clensed, and sterilized (per my MD). I had gone to my MD appt wanting an autograft, but after hearing how well they allografts are screened, I”ve decided to go that route and minimize my soft tissue damage… I figure I’ll be in enough discomfort!

    Good luck on your surgery!!!!

  413. Hello Everyone. Its surgery day for me and i go under the knife in about 3 hours. I keep reading these responses… its kinda funny because it does give some kind of support. I ended up speaking to my doctor yesterday. He was on vacation and I wasnt able to contact him. So, he still felt it was in my best interest to go with the Patella autograft, so thats what I am going with. On a side note i did go wakeboarding a few times this weekend since it was 107 degrees on Saturday in Sacramento, and surprisingly I didnt experience too much pain. I almost considered pushing back the surgery until after summer and brought it up to my doctor. He looked at me like I was crazy and said he would advise against it for fear of more damage. Oh well, my summer is going to suck. I am happy to hear about everyones progress and THANKS AGAIN FOR THE RESPONSES!

  414. Adam,
    Good luck to you…by now you’re out and on the road to recovery! This website has been a great help to me. I recommend that you go back to some of the earlier posts from folks just after post-op and use it to manage your expectations. I’m still doing it and 1- I’ve already been through it once; and 2- I’m currently at 4.5 weeks.
    I still have days that I feel like I was better before surgery (I continued to run and play basketball until the day prior to surgery) but, I come on line to this forum, reread some info, and feel a lot better about where I am.
    I still walk with a limp from time to time (but less often). I still feel a catch every now and then. I still have swelling that comes and goes but I am pushing it harder and harder nearly every day.

    Bari, haven’t seen a post from you in a while. Hope all is well. Tell Paul and Holly “hello” from me when you go back to PT on Thursday.

    I’m off to the gym!
    -Kyle

  415. Adam(
    hope all went well.I guess right now and for the next few days you’ll be in quite some discomfort.By day 5 I started finally to feel better.Today I’m at day 8 my graft scar is healing fine (bigger than expected though) and the incisions are looking good as well.Can drop the crutches and start flexion rehab – finally. Started getting antsy.
    Take it easy for the next few days and good recovery.
    - Micky

  416. Hi All!

    Frustrated this week. By now I see you have good weeks and bad weeks. Every time I try to do my walk/jog I end up with a really sore knee (sore below the knee cap – hurts to put weight on it). I did 5 minutes jog/3 minutes walk, then more walking for total of 30 minutes and about 2.75 miles. I’m paying for it today. I see my PT tomorrow night, so will see what he says. I keep hoping it will go away, but every time I jog, I get a painful knee. It’s been this way for at least 3 weeks now. I backed off the first week, but the last 2 I’ve averaged about 3 times per week. Anyone else have this when they started jogging again?

    Biking is going o.k. – riding to work 2-3 times per week with a total of about 25 miles each of those days, then trying for longer rides on the weekends. Also doing bosu ball exercises and theraband sidesteps.

    I’m tired of “rehab”. I want to be well!

    Bari

  417. Hey Bari
    I was just looking back to see where you are now. I think we are roughly the same time out, I am 9 weeks.
    Sorry you are having a frustrating week! I have had them. I think when we start to feel better it gets frustrating to get a set back. I have been very sore and stiff this week after having a fantastic week last week! But, I reminded myself today that just 3 weeks ago I had barely gotten rid of my crutches and could barely limp for 10 minutes at a time. Now I am back to my 10,000 steps per day, riding the stationary bike and on the elliptical. I am also doing lunges, squats, balance board etc and not very long ago I never thought I would walk again.
    I also had a meniscus repair which slowed me down more than you and I still haven’t been cleared to ride my bike outside or to run/jump but that will be coming soon I hope.
    Hang in there!! When you get frustrated, think of where you came from. I remember your earliest posts just days post op! What a wild trip huh?

  418. Hey Bari & Tammy,
    so good to read your exchange so I can mentally prepare for what lies ahead of me. And it reminds me to keep things in perspective.
    I seem to have a not so good day as well. Trying to ditch the crutches – yeah right! That didn’t work at all! So I am walking with crutches again but put weight on my injured leg.
    Turns out I have 2 huge hematomas one behind the knee (initially the Doc thought it was a blood clot so slight panic mode then) and the other on my hamstring. They are super hard and hurt like crazy. Did any of you have this???
    Like I said earlier your exchange helps me to keep things in perspective – only day 9 Post-op.No jogging here anytime soon.

  419. Bari>>> what kind of graft did you have???

    I jogged for 25 minutes tonight. Even though it was slow and ploddy, it felt good just to be outside. I figure I’d better soak it up over the next 2 weeks since I won’t be running all summer….

    Hope everyone has a good day tommorrow!

  420. HI Jeff!

    I had an allograft. Ironically, the pain is right where the patella tendon is. I went with allograft to avoid any pain in that region. My doctor gave me the o.k. to jog at 6 weeks (I’m at 10 this friday). He’s definitely not as conservative as a lot of the others I’ve read about. I’m questioning whether I’m actually ready….guess I’ll find out from my PT tomorrow.

    Tammy and Micky – thanks for the commiseration. Tammy is right – we have come a long way since surgery. It’s at least a 6 month recovery process so I guess we just have to be patient. At least I can ride a bike as much as I want and stay reasonably fit- it would be much different to be stuck in a cast for a long time. And I was lucky not to have a meniscus tear and be stuck on crutches for a few weeks.

    All weeks are not like this! Last week was really good!

    Bari

  421. Jeff, Great news…and yes, get it the hard exercise and cardio while you can. You will not care to run for several weeks. But it is such a great feeling the first time you go out for a run and do not have pain or swelling! That’s what I look forward to.

    I’ll be 5 weeks post op tomorrow and I know I’m not ready to run but the atrophy has stopped and the strength and stability is coming back. The outer quad shows the most atrophy but still not too bad…maybe a inch smaller than the other (but I hesitate to measure).

    Bari, sorry to hear about your week. I bet PD will ease your concerns tomorrow. Please let us know what he says…I’ve already admitted that I’m modeling my expectations after your experiences. According to PD, we’re progressing similarly so it’s nice to understand what you’re going through and it helps remind me of my first ACL recovery years ago. Don’t worry the jogging gets better- think of where you were 9 weeks ago. I remember my first runs after the ACL in 1992 (if you can call them that!) were torture. Between the desire to run and make it all better to the mental aspect of worrying if I was pushing it too hard too fast (and all of the other mental issues like thinking about exactly how I’m going to place that foot down- where am I stepping, etc.)…it just wears you out!

    I’ll bet you that when you go out and run in 4 weeks you’ll have nothing more than some muscle fatigue at the end (but maybe not even that with your level of biking).

    Good luck and let us know how the PT appt goes!

    -Kyle

  422. PT went O.K. The kneecap pain after running is possibly from not stretching enough. He gave me stretches for my quads, IT band, hamstrings, etc. I’ll try to do more of them and see how it goes. I’m going to try to go for a short run tomorrow.

    Also mentioned that bike riding and running isn’t enough. I HAVE to do more of my PT exercises like squats, lunges, bosu ball balancing, etc. He DID like the amount of biking I’m doing. My quad muscles look really good!

    Now I just have to get disciplined and not keep putting the exericses off until “tomorrow”….
    Overall, at 10 weeks I’m still way ahead of where many people are, so that lifted my spirits a bit.
    I do seem to have Kyle to compete with now…can’t let him get ahead of me! :)

    Bari

  423. Bari,
    Glad to hear all is well. NO competition…I just hope I’m doing as well as you in another 5 weeks! Frustrating at times…I feel like I’ve hit a plateau. The muscles continue to get stronger (the exercises are easier and easier) but the swelling and click/clack popping continue. I wish that part would get better. Some steps feel good and others make me stop in my tracks. I guess it’s still due to the inflammation and and muscles not being in balance. I don’t know but it’s something I’ll definitely be asking about on the 2nd of June when I go in again.
    -Kyle

  424. Kyle,

    I had lot’s of swelling and catching at 5 weeks. I still have some swelling. Doc says it will swell for at least 6 months. The fat pads under my knee, where the two small incisions are, have scar tissue and I think my knee cap was catching on that when I was at your stage. I massage it a lot and push my kneecap down and around that area to loosen things up. I know what you mean about stopping in your tracks – it’s a funny feeling but nothing is wrong with the graft, just the way the knee cap is tracking.

    Mine has now started popping/clacking – in the past it only felt like a “catch”. I’m really sore today, so taking it easy, but planning to do the exercises and stretching for a while at least.

    It is VERY frustrating. Some weeks are good and I get excited about the progress I’m making. Other weeks, like this one, I get depressed about how LONG it is taking and I HATE to be where I am right now. All of my friends are out this weekend climbing or spring skiing in this gorgeous weather. It’s killing me.

    Hang in there. I know we’ll all get through this and look back on it with humor. We should have an ACL reunion next year. I’m already planning a “Gimpy Knee Club” climb with 3 other women who’ve been through ACL surgery in recent years.

    Bari

  425. Bari,
    I appreciate the info. I took it easy today as well. Hard workout yesterday and quite a few events with work and celebrating a change of command here at Whidbey Island. Your third paragraph sums up my feelings too (even though I’m at 5 weeks). The lack of a predictable steady progress is tough. I’ll be at 6 weeks next Thursday and 6 weeks away from my earliest start of the running program.
    I’m dying for harder cardio and longer workouts…just can’t get where I want to be for fitness and gym time without thinking that I’m going to overstress the knee and pay for it later. I have started spinning on my road bike in the garage so that’s starting to help.
    Anyway…I’m hanging in there like you suggest!
    The reunion sounds like a great idea…maybe Ranier or Baker next June? I was supposed to climb Baker next month with some friends but I’m tabling that one for now.

    -Kyle

  426. Good Morning all!
    10 week update. Just back from a long weekend. Did a 10 mile bike ride on a river path, mostly downhill but oh to be outside and moving again.
    Played a little golf – 9 holes only on a short course. PT said not to use anything higher than a pitching wedge. Actually did use up to my 7 iron and all was well. Several miles of walking all 3 days.
    The only thing that feels different at this point is I don’t feel as steady on uneven ground such as walking in the woods.
    Knee feels fantastic, actually I am having more problems with my hip on the opposite side than the knee. PT spent most of my last session working to loosen up the hip. Anyone else with other body part problems?
    Will continue to keep track of everyone. Kyle, give it a little time, 10 weeks is pretty awesome!

  427. Good for you, Tammy! 10 weeks was awesome for me too (I’m at 11 tomorrow) and then this morning, I woke up with swelling and pain and am limping again! ARG!! I rode my bike for about 15 miles yesterday and (I’m embarrassed to say this part) wore high heels all morning. I think maybe the combination did me in. I was feeling so awesome last week, spent five days walking all over Chicago and even worked with my horse a bunch and felt great. The roller coaster continues…

  428. I am way behind all of you – just week 2 +1day.Gives me an idea what to look out for… Does anyone remember how long it took you do get more than a 90 degree flexion? I can get a little more than 90 if I do it really slowly and take my time in between flexes. If I do it carefully I am almost totally extended ( my knee is still really swollen and I have a HUGE hematoma from mid-calf to mid-thigh)- so I cannot put it down completely.
    I just have the feeling it goes sooo slowly. But I am able to do some quad exercises (just leg-lifting)
    When did you all start stationary biking??? Thanks, Micky

  429. Hi Micky,

    I was at 125 degrees at a week and a half and on the stationary bike after the first week. But everyone has a different recovery rate. I’m sure your hematoma is affecting your range of motion. I do remember that I worked really hard to get the flexibility back, and pushed through the painful end of it.
    My PT was very good at giving me information. As long as I knew the pain and discomfort didn’t mean anything was wrong with the graft, I was mentally able to push myself further.
    Good luck! Keep working at it. The first few weeks are the hardest.

    Bari

  430. Micky
    I tried to respond last night but the site was down.
    As for your flexion, if you have significant swelling and a hematoma you will not be able to have much flexion. Over time as this reduces, the flexion will come. I remember getting to 90 degrees was a lot of work and then it just comes over time. I worked very hard sliding down the wall and back up every day.
    As for the extension, I was almost full from the start but my PT had advised me to “never put anything under your knee-ever” and I followed his advice. I used a rolled towel under my ankle at all times even in bed sleeping and never put anything under that knee. If you are in a brace remove it when sitting and do heel props as often as you can.
    As for the bike, I rode it with one leg at 2 weeks. I had a meniscus repair and had to wear my immobilizer for 4 weeks and was on crutches for 5-6 weeks so they wouldn’t let me bend it to ride until 5 weeks. That comes back fast as well. The first time I had all I could do to ride 7 minutes now I ride 30-35 mins. before beginning PT. (Outside about 10 miles now).
    As Bari told you every case is different. Listen to your PT, they will get you through. Learn the difference between joint line pain and discomfort, work hard and be willing to push through when necessary. It will be worth the effort!!

  431. Micky,
    Excellent advice from Tammy and Bari. I do want to caution you and anyone else just starting out to be very, very careful about comparing yourself to others on this blog. As was said, everyone’s injury is different and everyone’s recovery will be different. My husband threatened to hide my computer because I kept saying, “well others on the blog can do this already and that already” and I was getting down about my progress. I finally accepted the fact that some people are just more hard core (Bari) (and that’s a compliment :) and I can’t get down about what I’m doing. Judge yourself only against yourself. As long as you are moving forward and you are pushing yourself, you are doing well and should feel good about it.
    Good luck!

  432. I echo Renee’s comments – your doctor and PT should be the last word and guide to your recovery as they know your condition and your injury. It’s good to use this blog to know what to expect and to get support, but not for a recovery plan. Only your PT can do that.

    I agree that as long as you are pushing yourself even a little bit, you are making progress. It will come in stages – one week you’ll make a lot of headway and the next feel like you are getting nowhere. I can tell from reading other people’s experiences we all share the same feelings of frustration. Bottom line though, you are your best guide. Don’t do anything that you feel uncomfortable with or question, just because you read it on this blog. :)

    Bari

  433. Hi All,

    I had my consult with my doc yesterday to talk about auto vs allograft. I’m still 2 weeks out from surgery, and had to get his opinion about so much that I’ve read here and other places online. He was not aware of some of the clinical trials I had seen online, so I’m not sure if that means anything or not. However, he said the outcome is the same. He recommends the hamstring graft, as he has had some rejection issues with allo in the past. But, he’s only had 2 ACL failures in the last 5 years. He needs a bit of advance notice if I want allo though.

    I just don’t want to make the joint weaker by ‘robbing from Peter to pay Paul’ in the tendon department. I just doesn’t seem logical to damage your own body more by doing the hamstring graft. My opinion is that if the hamstring is weaker, even by only 10 or 15%, then that’s going to put more strain on the graft. That make the whole joint weaker.

    Any opinions?

    Thanks!

  434. Bari, Renee and Tammy

    Thank you so much for your replies. You are right on all points and I will take it at MY rhythm – even though it seems quite slow. I guess the double (ACl & Meniscus) doesn’t help to accelerate things. Indeed my Doc told me not to do much (if any)muscle strengthening unless I have more flexion/extension. I think I need to find the fine line between discomfort=pain and pushing too hard=damaging something.Soon I will be able to do water rehab – that should help to increase the flexion/extension.
    Thanks again for your very helpful advice.

    Micky

  435. Hey all,

    I haven’t been on here in awhile, but its great to hear a lot of you are healing and recovering well. Everyone, whether you heal slow or fast, will be back in top condition someday. I just had my 6 month follow up and the doctor gave me the go ahead to do what ever I want. I have been playing basketball, golfing, disc golf, hiking, biking with no problems. So, while you may feel behind early on, and I know because I was there, you will be back doing what you have always done eventually, whether it be 6 months or one year. Work hard and listen to your PT..

    Deb, I had the allograft and feel the same way you do. It has worked out great for me, with much less recovery time. I guess I’ll have to see how it is holding up in a few years, but I just haven’t seen enough case studies to really say which one is better. Just my thoughts.

    Cheers

    Hanson

  436. Hi all,
    It’s been a while-things are going very well. I’m right at 9 weeks now and only taking Tylenol or Motrin before therapies. I’m back to work full time 12 hour shifts. Doing lateral jumps on the bosu ball, lunges and jumps on the total gym. My knee feels very strong and stable. I’m still trying to strengthen my hamstrings which I’ve found is very hard to do. My quads are about 70% back. On that note, Deb I feel for you. I actually went to another ortho surgeon to get a second opinion. The first one dissed autografts entirely. He wanted to do a patellar tendon. (according to my PT, no one does those anymore). The second surgeon does only autografts and hamstring allografts but will not do hamstrings on women over 35. He was the one who performed my ACL reconstruction. Third surgeon (I work with)will not do hamstrings on women at all. He’s a peds ortho doc. My personal experience post-op, my hamstring is weak and I still struggle to strengthen it, and I had an allograft. Two days before my surgery I almost changed my mind about the allograft and talked to my surgeon’s nurse at length. AFter speaking to her, I was reassured that I have a competent surgeon. Find a way to reassure yourself-I recall someone saying a lot of it is the surgeon’s preference. I certainly wouldn’t use a surgeon who is uncomfortable in performing a procedure. I found my surgeon from a list of the best doctor’s in the city that I live in. You have time-good luck.
    Suzanne

  437. Hello, its good to read how well everyone is doing. For an update and info to future readers, It will be two weeks tomorrow from when I had my surgery. I had the torn acl with meniscus damage and I did the Patellar autograft surgery. From day one, I have been taking Vicodin to relieve the pain, and I have had peculiar side effects. The first 5 days were very painful, especially day two and three. Sleep was near impossible on those days and the Vicodin was giving me really crazy dreams. My whole body was incredibly itchy and I was only able to eat one meal a day and have managed to lose roughly 10 lbs. Only one b.m. in the first week also- small and pellet like. My appetite has increased dramatically in the past 3 days and am able to sleep decently since the last 4 days. I have my first post op visit tomorrow and I feel guilty. I wish I had done more of what my doctor asked, and am not claiming to be a good example at all. He told me I would be on crutches for 6 weeks due to the meniscus tear, but I started walking on it 3 days ago- albeit quite slowly. I let pain be the judge, and with the brace on, I feel very little pain unless i happen to trip or stumble. I was also told not to change the bandages on my knee, but after a week I couldnt stand it anymore and so I went to Target and got some supplies. I removed the dressing and it was quite gross. The bandage was completely crusty from the dried blood and there was some white, cheesy like substance on it where it was on my main incision. My thigh had a large bruise from the back of the knee to below my butt… I dont even know why. There are two small scabs above my knee on my thigh, a 3 inch long scab on my knee where they harvested my patellar tendon and one more below the knee. There is some numbness on the right side of the incision. I assume tomorrow I will have my stitches removed. I have been scrubbing the knee with alcohol and changing the dressing once daily and it looks to be healing well. There is still swelling in the knee, but not too bad. My range of motion is a little over 90 degrees, although I must admit that I have been lazy and havent done many stretches in the past week. I remembered my appt is tomorrow, so I have been doing a lot of stretches today. I hope to begin P.T. soon so I can return to normal. Overall, I will say I expected worse and am happy that the pain is a lot less than I feared and is healing faster than I thought. It also helped to have a cocktail now and again for pain management. I hope this helps anyone out there.

  438. Wow! I wish I had found this blog month’s ago! Awesome! I think I’ve finally read through this whole thing and am ready to put in my 2 cents worth–besides, you need some Midwest representation!

    At 41, I blew out my left ACL Valentine’s Day weekend on Mt. Bohemia at the northern tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. After 3 winters of full time work, grad school and family responsibilities I wasn’t in the world’s best shape to be out skiing that day–but come on, I had barely used my new (last season) parabolic skis and it was a nice day. I caught ice on the first run, fell and, needless to say, didn’t make it down the rest of way on my own after hearing the good old ‘pop’. However, after I hyper-extended the knee, I didn’t feel much pain–it just kept giving out which was one of the freakiest feelings. I didn’t go to the emergency room because I was able to get around and saw my primary care physician two days after the fall, had an MRI 5 days after confirming the ACL tear. Because I’m in a HMO here in Chicago, I went with my primary care physician’s recommendation and saw the ortho surgeon he recommended 2 weeks after the accident. He gave me the option of not having reconstruction–if I wanted to give up skiing aggressively, change my golf stance, forget about rollarblading, etc. and lead a lesser active life–and I decided that with the full life I plan to continue to have, I needed to have surgery. I needed to do pre-PT (absolutely necessary!!!!!) and had patella-autograph surgery March 30th. I didn’t have much choice in the matter–my doc was highly recommended as well as a member of my HMO and that is the method he works with. No discussion. I can’t believe I am now 9 weeks post-op!

    I’ve been intrigued by how so many of you have had such positive, active recoveries! I have to admit I’m jealous because it seems that I am having such a slower recovery than many of you. But as a number of you have said, we have to compare ourselves to ourselves. My challenge came during surgery: there were issues with the size of the screws, the area of my bones and danger of fracture and/or dislodging of the graph and so I ended up being put in an immobilizer (horrible thing but I was told I could have been in a cast) for 6-8 weeks while things healed. Thankfully it was only 6 weeks, but it still put me behind in my recovery, mainly with my extension–since I wasn’t immobilized straight-legged.

    I had the surgery on a Monday, first follow-up on Thursday and first PT on Friday with the goal of “modified” rehab, whatever that is. I opted to follow my OS and PA’s directions quite literally so kept the immobilizer on except for PT and taking a shower–which I was able to do after Thursday’s follow-up. I went back to work after 2 weeks of recovery as a history teacher in one of Chicago’s troubled high schools and have never felt so vulnerable in all of my life–but I made it the whole week on my immobilizer and crutches without being knocked over. I can not believe some of you were back to work managing 10 hour days in hospitals–you are my idols!

    Some thoughts at large in regards to Month One…I will second guess ever living again in a home or working in a school with lots of stairs and no usable elevator…Much of this situation seems to be about character building and gaining empathy. I had never been in a wheel chair before going to the Brookfield Zoo during wk. 2 and it sure gave me a different perspective on things…I’ve been surprised at who has been helpful–and how downright rude people can be towards others with handicaps…And I don’t think I could have done recovery without my PTs–they rock!!!!!

    Now my question–if any of you are still reading: does anyone know anyone who is part of that 15% statistic that had problems with scar tissue or whatever and had to have additional surgery?

    Thanks for creating a forum where I feel I can unload some of this pent-up baggage–sorry this post was so long.

    Cheers,
    JoAnn–9 weeks out

  439. JoAnn- I haven’t heard much about the 15% you mention. I do know that the problems with scar tissue tend to be with those folks that can’t get to the extension and flex levels in a certain amount of time. Remember to that some people scar differently than others (I’m thinking of keloids that you see on some folks) but maybe that doesn’t apply to internal scarring.

    Quick update from my appointment today…good news! I’m two days shy of seven weeks and all is progressing better than expected (whatever that means- maybe they had lower expectations) but so far I’m generally happy with the outcome. Still some swelling after heavy workouts, still some stiffness in the morning or after a long day, and still some general shifting and popping from time to time due to pockets of swelling, scar tissue, and “unbalanced” muscles causing uncoordinated movements in the joint.
    New exercises and stuff is really starting to cross the barrier and into the realm of good, effective cardio coupled with strengthening drills. I won’t run for another month and I’m not supposed to bike outdoors unless it’s on a relatively flat surface and I’m supposed to go with high rpm so no bearing down on the hard gears and I have to stay in the saddle. I can now run in the pool (in the deep end) so we’ll see how that works out. After another two weeks I told I can move to the shallow end. Apparently this is supposed to help with the transition back to jogging which starts in 4 weeks. That’s what I’m most looking forward to. I think that’s when things will really start to come together…at least that’s what I remember from last time. The running provides that new level of freedom and the serious feeling of progress.

    Bari, I hope things are well with you. Give us an update when you get the chance.

    -Kyle

  440. Hey everyone! I’m just over 3-months post-op and feeling pretty good! Doc and PT have cleared me to start hiking, which is a big thing for me. I’ve already done a few small hikes and will be gradually increasing elevation gain (going for 1000ft this weekend) so that I can be ready for some good trips this summer! I’m also cycling outside and will even start running at PT in the next week or so. I’m definitely pleased with my progress as I’m now back to most of my normal activities to some degree or other – the others will come with time and I’ve sure got enough to keep me busy for now!

    For all of you still in the earlier stages of recovery, hang in there and do your homework!!! It WILL get better soon!

  441. Wow this great! the amount of questions I had are becoming fewer and fewer as I read what is disscussed here. Thanks!
    I tore My ACL and miniscus in the right knee and have had the miniscus operated on already. they didn’t know my ACL was damaged until they went in to repair the miniscus; wich by the way the doc just seemed to know was damaged without doing any tests. Is that normal? I at least expected an MRI or something before they started cutting? the good news is that I now can heal from the miniscal surgery and strengthen my knee before surgery on the ACL. Im a little dissapointed with the lack of info from the surgeon but thrilled with the amount of info on the net. Im leaning (no pun intended) towards having the cadaver method as I don’t want to weaken anything else (seems like a common concern). I am an electritian and have to be on my knees quite a bit so I’m concerned about the PT OP. Is there any one that has had the PT surgery running into problems with putting weight directly on the knee when kneeling down?

    Tahnks again for all the useful info everyone!
    Brad

  442. Hi Brad!

    I’m a little over 3 months into it with a cadaver graft (allograft) and I’m happy that I went that route. The only problem I’ve had with kneeling is that it is difficult to do before you get your full range of motion back. But, it hasn’t been very painful. I’m not a quite the same flexibility as the non-surgical knee, but very close now. I’m cycling a lot and have begun to ease into running again. Things are progressing well (this week).

    Definitely recommend getting your knee as strong as possible before surgery. That will help tremendously with the recovery.

    I’m surprised that they didn’t do an MRI before surgery.

    good luck!
    Bari

  443. Thanks Bari. Im glad to hear your progressing, keep it up!
    did you have trouble finding a surgeon to do the allograft?
    Im pretty happy with my progress until now, concidering I don’t have an ACL. Yesterday I spent some time at the gym and it felt really good. I was surprised to be able to hop on the bike without too much pain. I also spent some time in the pool wich was fairly good but I was limmited as to what I could do there. Even stairs are becoming a little less intimadating but Im still cautious.
    Thanks again for the encouragement and info
    Keep Strong!

  444. Brad,
    For surgeons, I talked to a lot of friends of friends who’d had ACL replacement surgery to find out which surgeon they used and their experience (I run in an active crowd, but you’ll be amazed when you start asking around. Lots of people have had this surgery) . Then I had to narrow it down to ones covered by my insurance plan. I settled on a surgeon used by a friend. His specialty is knee/ACL repair and he’s been doing it for years. He does allograft and autograft and gave me the pro’s and con’s of each. I chose allograft after lot’s of research and discussion. I didn’t like the sound of the patella graft and my hamstrings are already weak and tight. I was also really squeamish about using my own tissue and the pain associated with the harvest site. I’m 45, so I accepted older tissue (under 50) rather than someone under 30 since the wait was longer. The surgeon hasn’t seen any differences in using the kind I went with. He’s very particular about the type of allograft though. He will only use another ACL. I know some allografts are from Achilles tendons, etc. I really don’t know much about pro’s and con’s of each type of tissue. I think he mentioned that the other type tends to stretch more and that there’s not a bone plug attached, so you have to run it all the way through your bone and attach to a button on the other side. Overall, I would say if you go with allograft, find a surgeon who has experience in using them. Just from listening to other people, it seems every surgeon is slightly different in their approach.

    Mine is also fairly aggressive on the recovery side as well. I seemed to be doing more things like running and cycling earlier than other people, and I don’t have a brace. My surgeon and PT said they did their own studies over years and found that wearing a brace isn’t any more beneficial than not wearing one and can actually slow down muscle development.

    One other thing I like about my recovery is that my PT is associated with the surgeon (same office), so they can consult each other about my recovery.

    Since I’m only 3 months into it, only time will tell how well the graft does. I plan to return to full activity: skiing backcountry, climbing, running, etc. I’m going to be really nervous about the skiing, since that’s how I got the injury.

    Bari

  445. Hi All,

    Just had my surgery yesterday, and block wore off late this afternoon. Wow! Medication is the BEST! Have been in the motion machine since this morning too. I’m a bit concerned that I used the machine for about 3 hours, then took a nap.

    After I woke up, I was incredibly sore. Not sure if it was the CPM or the block wearing off, but I’ve added Advil to my pain killers.

    I also have a mild fever, but not sure if that’s a bad thing yet. Anyone have any experience with this? Doc said not to call them unless temp is over 101.

    Dr gave me a post-op brace, but said it’s really only necessary if I’m out and about running errands. Not much of a chance of that right now!

    The delivery person for the CPM said you can’t really do too much in this machine, and said if I wanted to use it 12 hours a day that would be okay. Does that sound right to you all?

    BTW, I LOVE the percoset! Vicodin really upsets my stomach. Hopefully won’t be on it for much longer.

    Jeff, did you have your surgery yet? Haven’t seen any blogs from you lately. Would like to compare notes.

    Thanks!!

  446. Hi Deb,
    Congratulations! You did it! Good to hear your surgery went well. So what did you end up getting? I also had a low grade fever post-op. My fever was gone the next day though. Just take it easy. I agree about Vicodin, that made me very dizzy. I didn’t take the extra oxycodone prescribed either bec I didn’t want to be too sleepy. Ugh. I didn’t go home with a CPM at all. I read somewhere that it didn’t really matter. I have to agree-I never had it post and my knee was almost straight during my first week visit post and my range of motion wasn’t compromised. Do spend some time with a towel propped under your shin to straighten out your leg. Take care of yourself.

    I’m finally 11 weeks! Saw my OS last Tues and he ok’d swimming w/o restrictions. Still no running until after 3 full calendar months with slow stops and starts only. Still on the brace until my 6 month check. I’m cool with that-just want it to heal properly. I still have the clicking on my knee though-how long does that last???? Can’t wait to start running on it. Finally at 142 flexion!

    Have a safe summer everyone!

  447. Hi everybody,
    Been quite busy (2 little monsters and rehab and life don’t leave much free time…) and now I am already at 5 weeks and FINALLY got to see my PT today. She would have preferred more flexion (I have 40 more degrees to go)but due to my huge hematomas I am about 2 weeks behind. At least I get full extension. And I started going to the gym last week. YEAH!!!!It felt soooo good to do something – even if it was just biking. And then some regular workout. It went all so well that I returned the following day – and totally overdid it and could hardly move my knee for almost 2 days. So I just did the regular “wall sliding” exercises and the “leg lift”.
    I don’t remember who of you had some popping while exercising – I think it was Bari???? Today my knee started popping as well and the PT didn’t like it too much! It was not painful, but felt weird. Did it go away over time??? The PT did then some weird super painful things with my knee (Vicodin is still a very good friend of mine ;took percocet only for 10 days) but it worked and did increase my flexion in one visit! Amazing! I can walk stairs up with no problems and down with a little more concentration – it feels so good to be able to move more and more like a “normal” person!
    A lot plays in my mind though – if I do something I anticipate something painful to happen – but it doesn’t and then I am all surprised that I can actually do that particular exercise.

    Does anyone here remember how long it took you for not having pain in the meniscus after surgery if you had both (M & ACL)done at the same time? My ACL seems to be doing extremely well and I have no other issues besides some soreness after too much PT. And icing always helps. But my meniscus keeps acting up.Doc says is normal. Any experiences to share???

    Good to hear that most of you are making great progress and that you can start doing some “real” stuff like running and hiking. I am looking forward to getting there soon as well. My PT told me though that my kickboxing will have to wait for a few more months ;-)

    My couch and icepack are calling me…

    Micky

  448. Micky,

    Glad to hear that you’re doing better (and working through the hematomas). I have had a lot of clicking and popping in my knee (currently almost 9 weeks postop). It’s starting to get better only in that it’s less frequent. Sometimes it just feels like a slight binding in the knee when walking and other times it produces a loud “pop”. My doc wasn’t concerned and made it seem somewhat normal. It’s not painful although when it makes that sound it feels like it should hurt. The doctor explained that it’s probably due to a combination of several things- swelling, scar tissue, tracking issues as some muscles are stronger than others (and some fire at awkward times as the knee is rebuilding), and finally just normal popping like in our joints. It seemed reasonable to me….and like I said it does appear to be getting better- just not as fast as I’d like.
    Bari is about 4 weeks ahead of me. It will be interesting to read whether her popping has improved. Something for all of us to look forward to. Good luck!

    -Kyle

  449. Kyle,

    thanks for your reply.Yes your explanation makes sense – considering what’s going on inside of our knees! You’re right – listening to the popping sound makes one expect to have some pain going with it – but not so far. After biking yesterday I did some more “wall sliding” exercises and the popping was less prominent. So maybe I just need to warm up before I do certain exercises. Will try this PM if my theory first biking then bending is right.
    Yes – I guess nothing with knee injuries happens as fast as we wish!!! But you’re already over 2 months out – only 4 to go…
    Good Luck to you as well.

    - Micky

  450. My knee is still popping. I notice it more when I’ve done something that might have caused some slight swelling, or for some muscles to be fired more than others. I had kneecap pain associated with running – so severe I thought something was wrong – but the PT gave me some stretching exercises. It has helped and also helps with the popping.

    I stretch my quads, hip flexors, hamstrings and IT band. It seems to help get the kneecap tracking correctly again, as does the exercise where I step sideways with a Thera band tied around my calves.

    The popping also reminds me that obviously all of my muscles are not back where they need to be (even though I’m slacking on the PT exercises because I feel more “normal” now…..).

    Bari

  451. Bari,

    so the warming-up & stretching part seems to relieve some of the “popping”. I will see later this PM if it applies to my very own “popping” as well.
    My PT just wants me to get back to my full range of motion before I start focusing on the muscle building. So I am supposed to focus only on a few exercises – no sideways or real strengthening movements yet.

    Ouuh – don’t feel too “normal” and let your PT slide. I did it 20 years ago (young and thinking “what the heck – I can walk so I am back to normal.) after my 1st arthroscopy and paid the price a few years later. My knee kept buckling under me during the slightest exercise or long walks – I don’t even mention the issues wearing high heels for a long period of time.It’s only 5/6 years back when I started kickboxing that I finally re-gained my full muscle strength and motion. And now I have to start all over again…ironic!

    Good Luck and Hang in there!!!!

    Micky

  452. Hi All,

    Day 6 since surgery. Went with the allograft. Menicus repairs did not impair weight bearing, so trying to get a bit of weight on it over the last couple of days. Swelling has been awful! Had major swelling below the knee, all the way to ankle. Has taken several days to get that under control, but now doing better.

    Ice machine is my best friend! It’s amazing how soothing that is! I have to let it go at the end of the week, though. Doing the CPM machine too. Doc wants me at 120 degrees flex by next Tuesday. I think I’ll make it – I’m at 112 right now. And at 0 on extension too! Hurts like a mother but I can get it straight!

    Haven’t head yet when I start PT. I’m assuming I’ll need to have some more weight on it before that starts, but still waiting to find out. Any advice on that would be appreciated. Should I load up on meds before?

    Anyway, it’s nice knowing I have all your experience to help me along the way! Thanks and take care!

    Deb

  453. Deb,
    Congrats on doing so well! I wouldn’t “load” up on meds prior…just my opinion but I really like to know what hurts and more importantly not feel so comfortable with the pain meds that I overdue something. I quit the Percocet completely within four days post op and I don’t think I ever too the full prescribed dosage. I did stay on the Ibuprofen and drank plenty of water to help flush my system.
    I’ve heard great things about that ice machine and wish I had received one…funny how insurance simply won’t cover some things.
    As for the swelling- just give it time…and by time I mean months. A huge portion of it will go down rather quickly (especially with the Ibuprofen and easy exercise) but other parts will seem to take forever and roller coaster back and h as you exercise and increase activity. I’m keeping a swelling chart and if you want, I’ll share the big improvements so you and others have a rough idea of what to expect.
    -Kyle

  454. I’m gonna have to join the popping club. Pop=pop every morning as I start walking the hallways at work. Doesn’t seem to happen as bad while at home. I don’t know, maybe since I’ve started wearing my danskos again???

    If you are still interested in buying your own ice machine. I had to return my ice machine because the cost of renting one is crazy, buying is about $300. I bought mine at Mendelson Liquidation Outlet. Website is meci.com. The item is called an OPTI ICE unit. It comes with everything and I paid $75 for it. Well worth it considering I use it every single day 1-2 hours a day. I think it’s an older model but it works well. The first unit I received stopped working because I left it plugged all day and I get a lot of power surges. They sent me a replacement no problem and didn’t charge me anything. Hope that helps.

    Good luck on your Pt Deb.

    Suz

  455. I had my surgery six months ago and I still have popping. In fact, if I move my knee while my hand is on my knee cap, I can feel creaking. I was told this is normal so I am not worried. I am back to doing Krav Maga but I am limited. I did some round house kicks yesterday and now my knee is sore. The part that hurts the worse is the area where my calf muscle meets the underside of my knee (probably due to the allograft.) Anyone else have this problem?

  456. Good to hear that I am not the only one with “popping sounds”. I don’t “pop” when just regular walking but mostly during PT. Figured out that the “popping” is a little less if I bike first for 30 min and do my more focused exercises after. Everything seems to be “warmed up” and ready to bend.
    I agree with Kyle not to take any pain medication beforehand so that I can feel the pain and where I have to work it harder – but …on the other hand I am quite happy that I still have Vicodin at home for the after PT pain.

    Do you all have major soreness after PT as well …and swelling..??

    On the good news side – I am almost completely limp-free while walking “normally” (and before PT).

    Oh Kimber I envy you -back to Krav Maga!!! Congrats! Must have been weird the first time you went- I bet. I do most of my PT @ my Kickboxing/Kung Fu studio…and seeing everyone punching and kicking makes me want to get up and join in, but…! Not for another 2-3 months probably. But my Sifus are trying to put together a routine for me just to work my punches.

    Ya’ll enjoy the great weather outside

    Micky

  457. Hello Everybody,
    I tore my left ACL in 1990 and had a patella-bone graft at the age of 21 on that knee. I did it on a nasty spill off my horse. Well, after 19 years of good luck, I tore my right ACL on May 28. Back in the olden days, there was no choice of surgeries. My orthopedic surgeon is the same one who did my left surgery. He is also a team surgeon for the Colts football team, I.U. and Purdue basketball and football teams, as well as a local semi pro soccer team. My surgeon recommends I NOT have the Patella graft, but has left the decision between the hamstring graft and the donor allo graft up to me. I am still very athletic and am leaning toward the hamstring graft. But, I can’t make up my mind.
    Anybody out there who has had either a patella – bone graft or hamstring graft AND an allo-graft who is athletic(skiing, volleyball, soccer, football, equestrian sports, martial arts) who can talk to me?
    I had little pain initially with my first surgery. Took no pain meds after 3 days in the hospital. Had 90 degree flexion in knee the day after surgery. Got full range of motion back within one week. I have a high pain threshold. However, I am older now, and I couldn’t kneel on my left knee for about 12 years after surgery. I have no arthritis in that knee and not alot of pain – only when it’s really cold.
    I would really love to hear from someone who’s had both kinds of grafts and is very active.
    Thanks, Katherine

  458. Additionally,
    I am not worried about disease transmission. I am slightly worried about hamstring instability. I ride competitively, and hamstrings are important! I am also worried about re-injuring the allo – graft, as it the studies show it is a weaker graft than either the patella or hamstring graft.
    Thanks,

    Katherine

  459. Katherine,
    Sorry to hear about your injury. We have a similar history. I tore my right ACL playing football at UNC in 1993 and had an allograft repair (cutting edge at the time). For the next 16 years I was OK too. I’m an active duty Marine and I’ve put a lot of mileage on my knees without difficulty. I tore my right ACL again this last January.
    I opted for another allograft for the 2nd go as well (surgery was in mid-April). I had little to no issues with the first and didn’t want to take away from good (even though it’s getting older) ligaments to repair the damage when allografts were available. I do not regret my decision. I’m just over two months and I’ve been able to kneel down on my right leg for almost a month without difficulty. There is no donor site morbidity to deal with! I think there are enough issues to deal with…I didn’t want any extras.
    I was worried about the patella tendon regrowth- the pain associated with it and future possibilities of tendonitis. But it is supposedly the “gold standard”- my doc didn’t necessarily agree with that due to new fastening techniques and rehab protocols.
    I didn’t want the hamstring used because I think they are very important to the rehab process and having that tissue removed delays the rehab. I knew (from previous experience) that I’d have enough issues with muscle loss and the rebuilding process that I didn’t want to put myself at a further disadvantage if I could help it.
    I think I’ve read that many docs recommend that women don’t use the hamstring but as a guy, I’m sure I didn’t pay too much attention to those articles. I know opinions vary but it may be worth some additional research on your part.
    Hope this helps….I think you’ll find this website very useful in the future as you recover from surgery. There were lots of things I had forgotten about the rehab and other people being willing to share their experiences has been very beneficial.

    Best of luck,
    -Kyle

  460. Katherine,
    What a bummer to go through the same thing twice…

    I am 40 yrs old and my surgeon recommended allo-graft, but I chose autograft (hamstring) because I am worried about rejection (can happen up to 12 mths later). I just don’t want to be “up & running” only to undergo the same thing twice in 1 year… I also have 2 young children who are still missing their very active Mom.(I am an avid Kickboxer,play ultimate Frisbee, kid-chaser, hiking, biking…)
    My surgeon strongly advised against patella graft as I am not a teenager anymore in a professional athletic environment and the potential knee complications.
    I would recommend going with the allo-graft as in general it comes from a younger body than your own and you do not have to recover from your hamstring loss. I am 6 weeks post-op and unfortunately still don’t have full range of motion (you can read the reason way in earlier posts – don’t want to repeat it all here) WRT flexion. Extension is OK.
    My Surgeon told me that I might lose up to 15% strength in my hamstring, but with a very good rehab I could most likely regain most of the strength by using different muscle groups. So for me it’s to early to give you a definite feedback on the strength question. Friends who’ve undergone the allograft are doing just fine – maybe not as athletic as you are, but …!
    Obviously my muscles “melted” after the OP but it seems to recover really fast.

    If you decide to go with the autograft I would make sure to have good trainers and/or PTs so that they can help you recover fast(er) and teach you exercises to strengthen the “left-over” hamstring and surrounding muscles.

    Being older makes recovery definitely a little harder & longer as your body just doesn’t bounce back as easily.
    Hope it helped a little…and Good Luck with whatever you decide.

    Micky

  461. Quick question WRT weird soreness/stiffness- has this happen to you as well? If yes when can I expect it to stop?

    Days when I am out & about a lot and I walk a lot and stand a lot – after a while the back of my knee seems to tighten up. It almost feels like a muscle cramp. . If I ice it it feels a little better but if I cannot ice it – it gets stiffer and stiffer and I limp almost as hard as a few days after surgery.

    In the course of rehab will this disappear of will I forever suffer from back knee tightness????

    Thanks,

    Micky

  462. Hi Katherine,

    I had allograft replacement on June 11, so still trying to just keep my balance on crutches, but did lots of research before. I can offer these thoughts:

    First, I was advised that women near or over 40 should not have the hamstring graft, as it leads to quad muscle dominance, which has been implicated in ACL graft failure. Next, taking the hamstring only makes the joint weaker overall, as the hamstring assists the ACL in keeping the tibia in place, plus the extra pain and effort of recovering from taking the hamstring graft as well.

    Patellar grafts are generally only recommended for young people and professional athletes under 30.

    Lastly, and this was incredibly important to me, no matter what type of graft you use, the actual graft tissue dies within 2 weeks and the body must remodel around the tissue to revascularize and rebuild tissue. So, why make your knee weaker with your own tissue that’s going to die anyway? And tissue rejection is rare, since there are no blood products involved. Recoveray is also faster, because there is no other graft surgery to recover from.

    I also researched allograft resources, and found that freeze-dried grafts are the strongest and offer little difference in strength on a long term basis. The company that my doctor uses is AlloSource. This company has never had any disease transmission with any graft it has supplied in company history. Also, the allograft type is important, as there are several to choose from. There is a patellar graft, a hamstring graft, an achilles graft, and gracillus graft. The achilles is the strongest, but most docs only use it for a followup surgery where a new wider tunnel must be drilled. Most docs will go with the patellar or gracillus graft.

    Hope this helps!

    Deb

  463. Hi Katherine!

    Deb summed up the research that led to my decision to use an allograft. I am a VERY active 45 year old woman (rock and ice climbing, big mountains, backcountry skiing, running, cycling and I used to ride (jumping/dressage)). I went with the allograft for the reasons Deb mentioned. I felt like my hamstring is already tight and weak and I was really hesitant about slicing a piece from it to use in my knee. I had surgery on March 6 and am almost 4 months into it. I’ve done really well. I’m pretty much pain free right now and cycling 3-4 times per week (average 30-50 miles each trip) and also beginning to run again. I ran 2.5 miles without a rest on Saturday, then walked and ran stairs. No pain afterward. Range of motion is really good and my knee feels very strong. I have a 4 month checkin with surgeon/PT next week.

    I can’t give you any sage advice about how well the allograft does years later, but Kyle mentioned he had one in 93 and had no trouble for 16 years. I can only hope for the same…. I have friends who have had both allograft and autograft and they are all doing well several years into it and still very active.

    I think for me, the important thing will be to continue to do the strengthening exercises for all of the supporting muscles so that one group doesn’t become dominant again. I’d had knee pain before the accident and been to PT. They’d told me I had over developed quads and under developed hams and other muscles used for lateral movements, which led to misalignment. I feel much better now that I have a more balanced exercise regime. I hope that will help support my knee when I start skiing again this winter. Only time will tell, though….

    good luck with your decision.

    Bari

  464. Hi Everyone!

    Just had my first post-op dr visit. 12 days out. Got both good and bad news, of course! First I’m not at full extension as I thought. The PCM machine said I was, but doc wasn’t happy with his tests, so I guess I have my work cut out for me over the next couple of weeks. But, the good news is that my menicus wasn’t damaged as much as the MRI showed, so less there to rehab! Yea!!

    My main problem now is getting enough weight on that knee to get around better. I read through some of the past posts and several of you were walking around at 2 weeks. I know we shouldn’t compare, but still think I should be farther along than I am. I’m having trouble getting my balance on that leg, so don’t want to go tumbling down if I don’t have to. I’m sure it will be better in a week or so. PT also starts this week, so I’m sure I’ll get more instruction on that then.

    Anyway, glad to hear of everyone else’s progress. Maybe I’ll be back on the slopes by February or March of next year! Thanks also for your encouragement through all this — it really helps keep me positive!

    Take care!

  465. Hi all,

    Micky, thanks for the tip on ‘warming’ up to reduce the popping. Come to think of it, the only time it really does it is when I have to get up at 5 am to get ready for work. I just don’t have time to stretch it prior to getting out of bed. May have to try it Thursday.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself Deb. I had to build my strength up to fully bear weight on my knee after the first week. I wore my heavy Bledsoe and increased the flexion by 15 degrees every day or every other day. I kept one crutch while I was walking until I felt stable enough. It took me another week to get rid of that crutch. My PT didn’t let me wear my Donjoy until the 3rd week or so. It think even closer to a month. It just takes time. You’ll get there. Have you tried the rolled towel behind your shin yet? I didn’t have a cpm post-op. All I used was that towel whenever I was sitting or laying. Hope this helps.

    I am officially 3 calendar months post-op. Minimal to no swelling. Finally!

    Suz

  466. Micky, I did have the soreness/stiffness on my knee, hamstrings and calves. My PT had me use a rolling pin to ‘massage’ the knot. It hurt but it worked. But then again you used your hamstring and I didn’t. What did your PT say?

    The soreness/stiffness is almost gone. Even after being on my feet for 12 solid hours, it’s minimal now.

    Suz

  467. Deb,

    I also thought that I “should” be doing this or that within a specific timeframe comparing to what I read on this blog – but …it’s true that everyone is healing and recovering differently.

    WRT not being able to bear weight on your leg – it might be just psychologically. It was for me.After my first post-op appmt (6days after OP) the doc told me I could dump the crutches that I should just walk. I thought he was crazy. No way I could do it. And then I figured that he’s in the business for life and should know what he’s talking about – so first I started with just 1 crutch at home a few steps at a time…and -Oh wonder – could fully bear weight on my leg. And the next day I was able to walk – hmm “walk” is maybe pushing it. I was limping around without any crutches.
    And after that I would only use crutches when outside with lots of people. And now (6weeks) I walk without a limp. Just try it while holding on to something and you may be surprised -.

    Hope this helps,

    Micky

  468. Suzanne,

    thanks for your reply on my stiffness or soreness issue. I will “submit” this problem to my PT. Maybe she can give me some tricks to deal with it if it happens outside. When I am at home the rolling pin sounds like a good idea and I will try it when it happens the next time.

    But good to hear that it will disappear over time.

    Thx,

    Micky

  469. Hi everybody,

    I’ve enjoyed looking at this forum while I’m going crazy in my house! 12 days post op from acl reconstruction with hamstring graft and a “trim” of 50% of my meniscus. Three days before my fortieth birhday I tore a big wedge of my meniscus and then discovered that I haven’t had an ACL for 24 years (due to injury playing lacrosse in high school). That whole time I’ve been an avid rock climber, runner, hiker, snowboarder, cross country ski, etc, etc…with only a few minor tweaks, until now.
    Anyway, surgeon seems to think I’m doing well – have 110% of flexion and can almost hyperextend the reconstructed knee. Now I’m worried because my hamstring is barely firing. No one, including my PT, seems worried, but I can’t bend my leg behind me at all! Anyone having or had similar problems?
    After reading things posted here about hamstring grafts, I’m even more concerned…although of course it is too late to take it back now!
    Also, walking with crutches, but no brace, is super intimidating!
    Thanks,
    Stephanie

  470. Hi everyone
    I tore my ACL and MCL on june 6th 2009 at a karate tournament, during a fighting match. Before the the tournement I was trying to do the runners stretch and was unable to full stretch the left side. I guess I should have known that something was wrong. I was able to see the doctor that monday the 8th and get an MRI on that wednesday. It was pure agony waiting for the doctor to call me with the results, I got them on the folling tuesday. He told me that my ACL was completely torn and I had a grade 1-2 mcl tear, which was expected on the day I saw him. My doctor sugessted getting PT for 2-3 weeks and we would discuss surgery after I got some ROM and decreased the swelling. Well I started PT last friday and Had 69 degree flex in the knee. On monday after doing the exercises given to me for the weekend I as up to 99 degree. I have been working for a week now and finally I feel a little better and have 115 degrees in the knee now, however my calf is really sore has any one experieced that. I hope to have surgery july 17th after I take my children on vacation to disney world. Any suggestions for a nerveous lady. I should be well prepared I work as a corculating nurse in the Operating room.

  471. sorry about all the typo’s I have been typing all day at work, as they let me come in with restrictions. I wish I could be working at my second job in labor and delivery but I can’t chance falling down with one of the newborns.

  472. hi everyone hpe your recovery is going well

  473. Hey, Shawna! Sorry to hear about your injury. I understand you being nervous, I certainly was, but you’ll be okay. I’m 15 weeks post op and it’s going very well. Fell down the stairs the other day (interesting how many of us have done that) and didn’t do any damage. My knee is feeling good and pretty stable and I’m finally able to break a good sweat at the gym (feels so good!)
    Hang in there, this is a great place to put your fears to rest. You are not alone!
    Stephanie, it’s very intimidating for awhile without the brace, I had to wear mine for 6 weeks and I was completely paranoid without it. It gets better and your confidence will slowly increase.
    Good luck, everyone and happy healing.

  474. Shawna, I can tell you that the first week is the worst so far. I’m at 15 days now and pain is greatly reduced and I can get around pretty well with one crutch, even though it is a pretty intimidationg!. Seems like every day I feel a bit better and I rode for 20 minutes on the stationary bike today, granted slowly with no resistance. Good luck!

  475. Shawna, soooooo sorry to hear about your injury. More power to you for proceeding with Disney—keep
    your brace on—don’t further injure your meniscus. You’ll be fine it just takes time. Have a great time
    at Disney. Ice it every chance you get though. From a fellow RN.
    Suz

  476. Greetings all. Guess I’ll join the ACL reconstruct party. Had my right knee repaired with allograft on the 25th w/ no femoral nerve block. So far so good. Only took one pain pill today. Hoping I’m through with that. OS said no CPM is necessary as it really doesn’t accomplish much. I do have a cold water therapy machine (set at 43 deg F) which helps tremendously.

    I tore my left ACL in ’02 and chose the allograft with that as well. It has held up very nicely.

    Anyone taking any supplements to facilitate bone regrowth where the tunnels were drilled?

  477. Hi Ken,

    I took calcium, an amino acid complex plus my usual multivitamin, and B100 complex. Not sure if it helped, but thought I might as well do it. I’m also trying to eat more protein than I usually do. July 6 will be 4 months and my knee almost feels “normal” again. I’m riding my bike a lot (60 miles yesterday) and beginning to run again (up to 3 miles now).
    Good luck on your recovery! How did you tear your ACL’s?

    Bari

  478. Hi Bari,
    1st time: In the military jumping through a window during training. Landed on left foot, buckle, pop.
    2nd time: volleyball.

    I’m definately increasing my protein intake and reducing carbs. I hope to not gain too much weight.

    4 days post op now with no need for pain meds. I’m pretty close to full extension. Placing pillows under the ankle, and not the knee, if key to achieving this.

  479. I tore my ACL mid April (soccer), no other damage and had surgery less than two weeks ago. Hamstring graft. Not much pain at all, reached 90 flexion day two in therapy, and less than 1 degree to full extension. Current hold up is a knot at the base of my quad which is causing quite a bit of pain beyond 103 degree flex. Any ideas, suggestions??

  480. Welcome Ken and Joanie! Great job on your immediately recovery. I’m taking the same vitamins as Bari suggested and making sure I’m hydrated. I remembered swelling more if my fluid intake was low. I was the same way post-op. No CPM and loved my ice machine. Still do.

    As for pain 2 weeks post-you kinda expect it because of the swelling. Ice it daily and elevate. It just takes time.

    Suz now 3 months post ACL repair

  481. Hello everyone,

    I tore my ACL in February playing indoor soccer. I had ACL reconstruction with a hamstring graft May 12 and a Meniscus repair. My ACL rehab hit a snag after I had a hard time achieving full extension and could only flex about 90 degrees. Last week I had a procedure known as a lateral release to remove scar tissue and make the rehab process easier. Has anyone else has this procedure? It has been a week and I am up to 93 degrees and almost full extension but this procedure makes my knee hurt more than it did after the ACL reconstruction. Thanks for the input. Hope everyone else is doing well.

  482. Hey Warren, sorry to hear about your troubles. I did not have a lateral release (just an ACL repair) but my daughter had one done two years ago. Her knee was not tracking properly and she was constantly popping it out. She seemed to be in significantly more pain after the lateral release than I was after the ACL repair. So now with what you’re saying, I guess I need to apologize to her for calling her a wimp! I’m sad to report that it’s popping out again and she is looking a more surgery. She had to quit TaeKwonDo when she was just two belts from her black.
    Anyway, just wanted to let you know you were not alone with the pain and her rehabilitation took longer than mine seems to be taking. She had a very hard time achieving full flexion, but she did after much work. Hang in there!

  483. Stephanie, I think you and I had surgery within a couple of days of each other. I finally got on both feet about 5 or 6 days ago – forced myself to do it. Amazingly, I one-crutched for about a day and a half and then ditched it. Even though I was limping like crazy, it was great to be on both feet again. Then . . .

    I just had my first PT today. All I can say is “OWW!” My continual issue of not getting my leg straight came to a head! I was 13 degrees from straight when I arrived, and apparently that’s incredibly bad. There was major shoving and pushing at his full weight, and I was there over 2 1/2 hours, but got it to 3 or 4 degrees off by the end of it all. He said I did great, but I can now understand why everyone has talked about the work just starting after surgery is over. I didn’t like it, but I feel better that I can now walk so well! Thanks for the advice, Micky!

    He also mentioned that my calves and IT bundle are incredibly tight, and I’m still having issues with the aftermath of crutches on my nerves in my arm. He strongly recommended massage therapy to loosen up those areas and get the blood flowing better. Will probably start that soon.

    In any case, I’m enjoying reading about all your stories and learning how to manage my recovery better.

    Thanks!

  484. Deb,

    Sorry to hear about your struggles!!! I guess I’m very fortunate regarding the straightening! My surgeons instructions were, brace when sleeping or walking, only off when at PT, icing or showering. I was at 8 degrees first PT visit, one hour, and reached 1 degree by the end, 2nd PT was at 1 when I got there, and less than 0 when I left. I do the excersices ALL the time, watching TV, icing, and in bed with the brace on. Flexing is my issue, got to 90 2nd visit, then 103 independently 3rd visit, beyond that…..OUCH! The best excercise was the leg press, from straight to bent felt good, otherwise alternating caused stiffness and a little pain, especially after the straightening with the Therapist doing the stretching, to then switch to the flex stretching, was definitely NOT fun!!!

    I wish you the best on your progress!

  485. Deb, Thanks for the encouragement. I’m on the one crutch program now and am taking a few small steps without. I can’t believe that you can forget how to walk! Slowly I’m feeling a little more confident, but I’m a long way from walking normally. Kicking back is pretty hard, I think because my hamstrings are so weak.

    I think people have mentioned this before, but passively straightening your leg, with heel on a rolled towel or bolster works really well for extension. I did this ten minutes out of every hour the first week or so after surgery and still do it multiple times a day.

    Good news today was 30 minutes on the stationary bike. Felt great to do something normal, even if I was pedaling incredibly slowly.

  486. I had the allograft in late Jan 09 and am running/sprinting without pain. I was walking without a brace 4 days after and was surprised at how solid the knee was. I chose the allograft because I’m 44 yrs old and plan to play it safe from this point on. To compensate for the theoretical weakness of the allograft, I requested a much larger cadaver tendon. The tendon we received was 11.5 mm and had to be cut down to 11 mm because the drill used is only 11 mm. Average tendon size is 8-9 mm. The doctor was very pleased with the results after surgery and during the first 3 months, saying that we were way ahead of schedule. Maybe it helped to have the larger tendon. Recovery and rehab was easy compared to other sports training. Hope this helps someone…

  487. Kevin,
    WOW! running after 5 months! That’s awesome! I sure hope to be that successful, I’d love to be back on the field by the next season!

    I’d heard that recovery was much easier with a cadaver tendon, but I opted for my own tissue (hamstring) at the suggestion of the surgeon based on his experience with female athletes, and the choice of tendons. Although the rehab has been a bit difficult because of the graft choice, I’m much more comfortable with my own tissue as opposed to someone else’s! Most of my teammates have had this surgery previously, and some had the donor, some hamstring, overall, the donor recipients recovered more quickly, but aren’t at full capacity even more than a year after surgery, but the hamstring recipients had longer success and are at full strength. I am 16 days post surgery, 103 degree flex independently and 0 straight, am able to walk with one crutch (albeit slowly) with a funky gait, still having difficulty bending enough to walk normally. Teaching myself to walk again sure is frustrating! No pain at all even the day after surgery, but SOOOO stiff from therapy! LOVE my ice machine, especially after therapy! Surgeon has me on the sports rehab protocol and so far I’m ahead of schedule. Therapist expects I’ll be off crutches and out of brace a week ahead of schedule, so I’m thrilled. Keep us updated, it sure inpsires me!

  488. Joanie,
    I’m developing a knot as well at the base of my quad right where the incision was. PT said keep the ice on it.

    Went to therapy today and gained 15 more degrees of flex from 2 days ago. Up to 90 now exactly 1 week post op. Met a guy today who had a 6 inch incision in a S shape along his knee. Could be alot worse for all of us.

  489. Hi Ken,

    My PT said ice too, seems to be working well, the tightness is reducing, and I started icing for 20 right before I leave for therapy and that helped a lot, got another 11 degrees more than yesterday! At 114 now, 14 days post op. At 0 for straightening, but having trouble getting any hyper extension right now. Off the brace during the day, no crutches at home, and actually “walked” unassisted for the first time! Felt sooo good to finally move somewhat normally! Very bizarre to have to THINK about HOW to do something that is normally so natural. You are so right about it being worse, I have seen many people at pt with full replacements, and have learned that I really have nothing to complain about. Keep me posted, seems youre about the closest on the path.

  490. wow – quite a few new “members” in the ACL club.

    Joanie – like your idea about the icing before going to PT. It’s true it’s always quite stiff right when I start Pt and then after a while it finally loosens up and I get more ROM.

    PT explained to me that my stiffness and swelling is due to “overdoing” it. Too much walking and standing as if nothing has happened – and I caught myself running (kinda) 4 times and PT and Doc said I should not do it.Oups!!!

    It just – like everyone else – feels so good to get the feeling to do things “normally” again. And to the point that some of you made – to think about the “how-to?’ of something as simple as “walking” and “flexing” your knee. I seem to be getting to the point (almost 8 weeks post-op)where I finally start forgetting from time to time that my knee is still recovering…and I do everything like before. But I do pay the price later when my knee is so swollen that I cannot bring it to full extension and /or flex.

    The magic word is ICE. I even started to carry the “fashionable” re-fillable ice pack from walgreens in my purse so when I’m out for Dinner or Lunch I just fill it up and put it on the knee.

    I agree with Joanie and Ken – there are way worse knee surgeries out there. Met also 2 people with knee replacement – OUCH!!! I guess I can consider myself “lucky” to have had just my ACL & Menisectomy.

    Question to Bari – you said that you increased your protein intake and added other supplements. Did you come up by yourself with it or did your PT or?? recommend it???
    I have been wondering for a while if I could add something to my diet to accelerate the healing process.I might just try your method – can’t hurt.

    To all of you a fun 4th of July weekend and Good Luck with your recovery,

    Micky

  491. MIcky,

    I came up with the supplements myself through a book called “Nutritional Healing”. I’m not sure if it helped but can’t hurt to try. I also took glucosamine chondroitin for a few months. For the increase in protein, I don’t really eat enough protein normally, but found my body craving it, so upped my intake of meats (usually I rarely eat meat, only seafood). I think someone else on the blog’s PT told her to eat more protein as well.

    I’m at 4 months today and I feel great. I finally have my energy level back. The knee feels “normal” – I can run now without feeling like someone beat my kneecap with a sledgehammer. I have almost full flexibility (been doing a lot of stretching around the running). 2 months to go before I get the hall pass for full activity level, but did get clearance to start some light hiking.

    Good luck!
    Bari

  492. Well its official I will be having surgery on the left knee on July 17th to reconstruct the ACL . I have chosen the allograft because I want to keep the strong ligaments intact, also with my famiys history of knee problems, I didnt want to risk getting pataller tendonitis which is common when they tak the patellar tendon. My hamstring tendon is the strongest thing I have so I wish to keep those intact as well. I found out theat not only is my ACL and MCL torn but my PCL is frayed as well not sure what else he will find during the arthroscopy. I have been swelling a lot the last couple of days in the back of the knee. Did anyone chose the femoral block for surgery if so how idi you feel and could you handle yourself. Thanks to all of you who commented on my status keep me updated

  493. by the way I have 117 degree flex and 3degree straight after a couple of weeks of PT I hope that hving the physical therapy before surgery helps after surgery.

  494. thats true about the supplements you should be taking them to promote healing, I have a hard time getting enough protien in my diet to as I dont eat a lot of meat. My childhood I was burn out on beef as my mother always got steak from the meatman so I like chicken ,some white fish and turkey

    I will be working hard to increase the meat and beans after surgery to get the most protien i can.

  495. Hi Shawna,

    Sorry to hear that you have to have surgery. I had a femoral block before surgery and also anesthesia – I didn’t want to be awake during the surgery. When I woke up, I still had some pain in my knee, so was happy that I’d had the block. You can’t put weight on it the first day anyway, but didn’t have any problem using the crutches. The block wears off by the evening or next morning.

    Bari

  496. thanks bari for the information, how your recovery going

  497. SHAWNA

    I WAS OUT, NO FEMORAL BLOCK, SURGERY TOOK 90 MINUTES, I WAS AWAKE 30 MINUTES AFTER….AND DYING OF THIRST!!!!HAMSTRING GRAFT…I REACHED 1 DEGREE STRAIGHT ON MY SECOND PT VISIT AND 90 DEGREE FLEX, BY THE 3RD VISIT 0 AND 103, 5TH .0 STRAIGHT AND 114 FLEX…AFTER 6TH…OUT OF BRACE DURING THE DAY…(DR REQUIRES SLEEPING WITH IT FOR 4 FULL WEEKS)…..20% WEIGHT THE FIRST WEEK, THEN WEIGHT AS TOLERATED AFTER THAT, I’M ALMOST THREE WEEKS POST OP, AND AM STRUGGLING WITH INCREASING FLEX. I’M 42, AND HAVE BEEN PLAYING SOCCER MY ENTIRE LIFE. FORTUNATELY MY MUSCLES WERE STRONG AND I HAD NO OTHER INJURY, MENISCUS/CARTILAGE – IN TACT, NO OTHER LIGAMENT TEARS, AND ALTHOUGH THE FIRST FEW DAYS WERE TOUGH ON THE HAMSTRING, IT’S COMING BACK VERY QUICKLY AND I’D RATHER HAVE MY OWN TISSUE THAN SOMEONE ELSE’S! I WAS GLAD TO HEAR HIS ADVICE. THE CADAVER THING GAVE ME THE CREEPS…BUT I HEAR THAT RECOVERY IS MUCH QUICKER AND EASIER AND LESS PAINFUL.

    MY SURGEON GAVE THE FOLLOWING INFO TO ME: CADAVER: EASIEST TO RECOVER FROM, BUT THEY ARE TREATED, AND HAVE A TENDENCY TO FAIL OVER TIME RISK OF DISEASE. PATELLA – TEND TO STRETCH OVER TIME FOR ATHLETES WHO PLAY A LOT. HAMSTRING BEST OVERALL RESULTS, AND EASIER RECOVERY THAN PATELLA. SINCE HE’S ON STAFF WITH TWO MAJOR LEAGUE SPORTS TEAMS, I FIGURED I’D TAKE HIS ADVICE! AND I LOVE MY ICE MACHINE!!!

    TO BE HONEST, A YEAR AGO, I HAD A PARTIAL ACL TEAR IN MY OTHER KNEE, AND ARTHRITIS IDENTIFIED….THE ARTHRITIS WAS MORE PAINFUL THAN THIS! KEEP US POSTED!

    JOANIE

  498. Hi Joanine + all others,

    Had a pretty good weekend. Having a good ol time doing heal slides and leg lifts. 10 days post op now and swelling is noticeably decreasing with along with an increase in ROM. Going to PT after work tomorrow so I’ll see where I’m at flex wise.

    Shawna,
    I think you made the wise decision to go allograft given your family history. I had an allograft in ’02 on my other knee and so far no problems. Be mindful of the extra time it takes to ensure the graft is firmly anchored in. Elevate with plenty of ice and by day 3 post op you will notice a great improvement with the pain. Just repeat to yourself “make it to day 3″ over and over again.

  499. Thanks every one for the advise, I went to the doctor today you all know that I have been doing PT for the last two week, he told me that we will forgo the surgery at this time because it seems to be healing itself. The doctor said that he has only seen this one time and It was a detroit lion who healled on his own and went on to play football if thats what you call it,those losers. but I am considered his grey area and I will cont with therapy to regain all of the flex I can and we will evaluate in 4 weeks. I went from a MRI complete tear to I dont know, but PT also was baffled by the diagnoses after the second week of therapy. So I can go back to work with modifed restrictions and a don joy knee brace which I hope to have before we go to florida this friday. Im waiting for the rep to call me and come out to measure me. I will keep everyone posted, now I have to get pass 117 degreesflexion and 3-6 degrees on extention.

  500. im thinking of giving up karate especially if i dont have the new graft placed its not worth the trouble, i was 1 year away from my black belt

  501. Hi All,

    My PT said something very interesting at my last visit and I wanted to pass it along. He told me that no matter what type of graft has been used to replace your ACL, all will be at their weakest at between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 months out. Just when you think you’re about to be almost normal, that’s when you need to be most careful! Hope this is helpful.

    Take care!

    Deb

  502. Deb,
    Mine says the same. I’m at 4 months and feel more “normal” than I have in a while. Have to remind myself to be careful!
    Bari

  503. Bari – thanks for your answer. Started increasing the protein intake, but …I just can’t help it -don’t like meat that much …so Tofu it is.Will see if I can tell a difference. My Kickbxg Sifu also mentioned glucosamine chondroitin – so I guess there is some truth to it!!!

    Shawna – very interesting and exciting that you are healing so well…and could escape surgery…for now.Good Luck to you!

    I am now at 8 weeks post-op and finally had full ROM a few days ago. I guess it helped to ice the knee before PT – the swelling was definitely holding me back. And it is hard to stop several times a day to ice the knee once I seem to have gotten back into my usual daily rhythm. But now that I have seen that I am at full ROM I will make a point of taking the time to ice.

    But the knee is still visibly swollen – will see what the PT says on FRI. At least I can do stairs up and more importantly down like a “normal” person.

    It is absolutely painfree …unless I have been “over-doing” it and I’ll start limping again a bit (unconsciously it happens all by itself – too weird).

    I will keep in mind the info about the weakness at mth 3 1/2.

    I seem to get anxious if I am in crowded areas (concerts in parks, Symphony, sport events- you get the picture) – what if someone bumps into me and makes me trip. Anyone experienced the same thing? I don’t even know if anything could really happen, but…! The mind is one powerful instrument…!

    And on another note – has anyone been flying 2 months post-op?? I have a 6hr flight coming up next week and was wondering if anyone could share some tips…

    Thanks,

    Micky

  504. Micky, I have flown several times and for a long one, I asked the flight attendant for some ice in a barf bag. She was very willing and offered to refill it without my asking (Southwest Airlines). It was water-tight and worked great!

    I have a question for all you healing. I am at 138 degrees flexion and my pt says that’s normal and I shouldn’t expect anything further. However, my good knee’s normal flexion is 145 which she says is not typical so I shouldn’t be shooting for that. Has anyone else been told this? What is everyone achieving there? I want my knee to be just like it was before the injury but maybe this is unrealistic?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  505. Shawna,
    Wow..interesting but good news. Have you considered a 2nd opinion just to be sure?

    Renee,
    I just hit 102 degrees flex 10 days post op. My goal (and the OS) is 150 which means I’ll be able to touch my heel to my butt. You may want to work with a different PT if possible for a few sessions just to get his or her feel on your progress.

    I saw a different PT yesterday (same office). He had me lay on my stomach and really stretched me good. He said he doesn’t want to see a distinct lack of progress or huge strides in flexibilitiy from week to week…just steady increases in flex.

  506. Hello all,

    I am having ACL reconstructive surgery on Tuesday. I completely tore my ACL playing rugby and this is my first real injury. I am 21 yrs old. I am also having my meniscus repaired. What should I expect with surgery? I decided to use my own tissue–just feels like the right decision for me. I am nervous and want to do everything right to be back playing sports ASAP.

    Thanks!

  507. Welcome Emily!

    Relax! I TOTALLY understand where you are at! I’m 42, and this was my first ever injury too. I tore my ACL, but had no other damage. I had my surgery 3 weeks ago, and I too, plan to be back on the field ASAP! In fact, my beach soccer team is at our annual July tournament this weekend and I’m soooo mad, because I was going to play, but got injured TWO days after I booked my hotel and paid my fees!! I was totally freaked out before surgery, so I can relate. What to expect: First of all everyone is different, every surgery is different, so whatever info you get, remember, all or NONE may apply to you. Depending on what graft is being used will direct your PT afterward. Has your doctor discussed/explained all the types? If not, ASK, and if you don’t understand something ASK. If you look throught the posts, you’ll see every surgery/graft/recovery varies from another. I am 3 weeks post op, progressing ahead of schedule with PT, but honestly, my fears were much worse than reality. You’re an athlete and you’re young, you will likely do much better than I! Keep us posted.

  508. Emily, One more thing, make sure YOU are secure with whatever graft is recommended. Cadaver, hamstring, patella all have different risks and different recoveries…

  509. Joanie,

    Thanks for the info. It was reassuring! I’m sorry to hear about you missing your sporting event. Luckily ( if you can say so at all) I was injured during my last game. However, I’m still out for the Fall season completely so I’m bummed. I am using my Hamstring tissue. I hear it may be more painful but I feel more comfortable using my own tissue. Also, going under always makes me nervous. I’m sure it will all be fine. The athlete in me will be ready to bounce back in no time. 5 days!

    Thanks!

  510. Hi again Emily,

    I was injured the last game prior to playoffs of our last season, so I missed the semifinals and finals (which my team won!). My OS recommended the hamstring as well, and I was worried about the pain, but truthfully it really wasn’t that bad, felt like a sore muscle after playing too much, sitting was uncomfortable, and going to the bathroom was difficult, but not as bad as I anticipated. He said the hamstring was the most reliable long term, using my own tissue eliminated the risk of disease, and that the recovery (time and pain) was easier than using the patella. I’ve had friends that used a cadaver, and their recovery was easier and no pain, but long term many have failed due to the treatment of the ligament for disease and the lack of effective rehab. I did the countdown too, so I’m with you on that!!! I had 10 days after school ended to do my “freaking out” and driving my kids nuts, and then they took care of everything for me for the next week or so, including cleaning, cooking, catering to me, and helping me shower. Now I’m able to do everything myself again (wish they’d still do all the cleaning though!) and I get in the pool daily, feels so good to work on the ROM, and it’s easier in the pool I couldn’t take the pain meds because they made me so sick, after I stopped (i took them initially out of fear of feeling pain if I didn’t), I realized I didn’t have any pain, except the soreness of my hamstring, and only took aleve. My ice machine became my best friend!!! One thing I did was started icing right before I left for therapy, it helped tremendously with my progress. I have actually had more pain during the stretching part of therapy than ANY thing else! Keep me posted, I have your surgery date in my calendar so I remember to check up on ya!!! You’re going to be fine!!! Jot me an email and let me know how you’re doing. leiajesnme@aol.com

  511. Hi all,

    I am one month post-op today from a hamstring graft and meniscus trim.
    Emily, I was super nervous before my surgery too, but it was actually the easiest part! First three days were the worst for me, but then it gets loads easier. Take those pain meds. I haven’t taken anything for the last two weeks or so and don’t really have any pain.

    My biggest issue right now is walking. My gait is super funky, esp. the kicking back part,
    and I feel nervous without the crutches (don’t have any kind of brace). All other aspects of rehab seem to be on schedule, but I feel like I’ll be on these crutches forever!!! Any tips?

  512. Hi Stephanie!

    I hear you about the gait!!! I’ve been using a 3 lb wait while walking for about 5 days now and it’s helped tremendously! I’m religious about doing the PT at home too, facing a wall and bending up with the weight on, then without to see what if any progress there is.

    Hopefully others have some additional ideas! I’ll do anything to improve!!! Good luck!

  513. Thanks, JOanie. Impressive that you are doing hamstring curls with weights – I’ve just been lifting my foot! Can’t wait until I can get in the pool because I’ve heard that that helps alot with gait. I still have a few lingering steri-strips and I’m under strict instructions not to pull them off. I’m sure the wounds are closed but they must have cemented those things on.

    Also, has anyone done acupunture to help with healing and swelling?

  514. Hi Stephanie!

    I hear you about the steristrips! I still have some tagalongs myself! I figure by 4 weeks they’d all be off! The pool is awesome, I have a mesh “chair” I sit in and I’m able to flex much further than I do out of the water, and my gait has improved a lot.

    EMILY!!!!!!! HOW ARE YOU DOING?????

  515. Hi all
    I read all info posted by you all – great to know.
    I had my right ACL reconstructed using my patellar tendon in December 2007 and did all my PT stuff. It got better and I was walking fine except not running well on my feet for about 6 months. I didnt played any sports until last week (July 2009). The top portion of my shin was hurting bad whenever I make sudden stops and turns in the soccer field. Today is the 3rd day after the soccer and it still hurts a bit.
    Any hints please…thanks.

  516. Joanie and all,

    Thank you for your concern! I had post-operative problems with breathing so they admitted me. I stop breathing in my sleep apparently so I am unable to take narcotics often and have been on tylenol pretty much. I had a nerve block ( he needed to drill my bone, do my complete reconstruction of my ACL and stitch up my meniscus.) I’m using the CPM now and just got back from the hospital so I’m pretty much just going from couch to bathroom and back. Anything I should be doing at this point? Anything to help with pain–my nerve block is starting to wear off and I’m really starting to feel it–they used my hamstring–apparently my grafts were ok not great.

    Hope everyone is doing really well!

  517. Emily!

    Sorry to hear about your difficulties! The couch to bathroom time is frustrating but will improve each day, just rest and ice, it’ll get better in time.

    I had my 4 wk follow up yesterday and I’m officially out of the brace and off the crutches!! I’m soooo happy about the brace thing, sleeping in it was NO fun! My ROM is 0-130, and my gait is improving daily. Doc apparently knows “my type”, he specifically stated the following “walking, talking, eating and breathing, are ok, no dancing, running, or soccer” while looking me straight in the eye with one eyebrow raised and that “do you understand me young lady?” look, which he held until I looked him straight in the eye and “yes, sir, no problem, I’m following directions, because I WILL play beach next year”…

    keep in touch!

  518. Hi Emily

    I’d say the biggest thing I did after surgery that helped was to prop my heel on a towel frequently to stretch my leg and get full extension. I NEVER propped anything under my knee, only my heel. I also practiced my “quad tightening” from the day of surgery onward, so by the third day when I was cleared to walk, I could control my leg. Good luck!

    Bari

  519. Thanks to all of you for your advice! I’ve postponed my surgery TWICE – and at one point was throwing darts labeled “Hamstring” or “Cadaver” at a dart board in my office lounge! It was sort of a joke, but not entirely.
    Well, I’m rescheduled for surgery Thursday the 23rd and am going with the Allograft! Definitely not going to change my mind again. Definitely…….. ?
    I’m planning to go back to work on Monday the 27th. Hope I am able to get around. My fiance is going to do the best he can to take care of me. However, he works two jobs also – and can’t afford to miss any work. When I had my Patella graft in 1990, I spent 5 days in the hospital. They did ask me if I wanted to go home on the 3rd day, but I asked to stay. I explained to my surgeon that my parents (who were alive then) lived in a 3 story house and since it was right before Christmas, I knew my Mom would be too busy to take care of me. So, they let me stay. I was uncomfortable enough to be happy to stay there, too. Although, the day after sugery, PT had me walk up and down 7 flights of stairs, and I got to plastic wrap my knee and take a shower the second day, too. I do remember my knee felt solid as a rock from the minute I woke up from sugery and that was a good a feeling I had been missing. I am missing it again in my right knee, now, so I am looking forward to that solid feeling again!
    Thanks again for all of your advice. I’ll keep you posted on how allograft feels vs. patella…..
    Also, Micky, I still have strange pains in my left knee from time to time. Cold, wet weather gives me strange bone aches…… and I’m 18 1/2 years out from surgery and had an excellent recovery.

  520. http://www.acl-repair.com/using-a-cadaver-graft-or-allograft-for-acl-reconstruction

    Hi all. This is a great site and full of information I so desperately need. I snapped my knee backwards playing basketball in high school (1978) and was told that my basketball sized swollen knee only had some minor torn ligaments, take some asprin and stay off it for 6 weeks in a straight brace, no pt, no nothing.

    June 2, 2009, 31 years later I fall in the rain and received a grade 3 bucket handle medial meniscus tear and complete ACL tear, or so we thought. My surgeon decided to fix the bucket handle tear first as my knee was locked. He noticed while doing the meniscus repair/removal that my ACL was not there anywhere. I have always had trouble with the knee since the initial injury in ’78, but didn’t imagine that it had disintegrated in the meantime.

    Anyway, my surgeon did a “repair” of the meniscus as it occurred in the “red” zone and wants to go back into the knee in 6-8 weeks to see if the “repair” worked and to fix the ACL. I have been using crutches, non-weight bearing on my left leg since Jun 2, 6.5 weeks. The surgeon said if the repair took, great, we’ll just fix the ACL. If the repair did not take, then he will remove the meniscus and then still repair the ACL. Pray for the repair to take, please.

    OMGoodness. 6.5 weeks and 3+ more weeks of non-weight bearing to go just to talk to the surgeon again about the ACL surgery, all the time wondering if my meniscus is healing or simply going to be removed after all of this. argh. My upper arms are getting huge on top of it! 8-)

    So I’ve been walking around for 31 years supposedly without an ACL in my left leg. Does anyone know if I really need to have the ACL repaired/replaced? I stopped playing sports years ago because of the unstable knee and lower back issues, but that doesn’t mean I don’t crave playing volleyball or basketball anymore. I do a lot of garden and lawn work and work out at the gym mostly now.

    I think I have decided on the allograft is for me just because I’ve been down so long I want this to be over with. I have a friend who is very athletic and he had the patellar graft back in Feb 2007. He is still having shin, knee pain which he attributes to the graft site.

    Sorry to ramble on, but I have been on the couch all summer and am going stir crazy. As my friend put it, I’m a handicapped prisoner in my own home. I’ve been out of the house 8 times for Physical therapy and twice to the surgeon’s office in the past 6.5 weeks. It is just so hard to get around, always afraid to put weight on the wrong foot, screwing up the “repair” job, waiting around for the ACL surgery.

    I won’t even be walking when they do the ACL surgery. Will this hurt my recovery? The surgeon says I can probably start walking immediately after the ACL surgery. But I won’t have walked weight bearing for 8+ weeks.

    Any words of wisdom would be appreciated. I promise to make the next post brief! ha

  521. Laurie,
    I would check your surgeon’s credentials and then I would find a surgeon who operates on professional football and soccer players with successful outcomes. I had an arthroscopic knee surgery in 1988 that set me back 2 years! I had meniscus damage and removal, and I was weight bearing and had full range of motion the day of the surgery. I did have a lot of pain about 6 weeks after surgery as scar tissue built up. Every body is different and reacts differently – but 8 weeks sounds crazy to me.
    Next, I would be doing some strength training on that meniscus repair and be weight bearing with full range of motion (any natural hyper-extension you may have and also bent back as far as you can your other leg.) BEFORE you get ACL surgery. It is important to be able to bend and straighten your knee as soon as possible after surgery (like the day of – they will have you do straight leg raises in the bed and have you sit on the side of the bed and bend your knee. I did 6 months of hard core pt and weight lifting before I had my ACL surgery. I have also been doing PT for about 6 weeks in prep for my right knee ACL surgery.
    If you don’t have a full range of motion prior to surgery, you run the risk of having the joint freeze up from scar tissue and requiring more surgery.

  522. Hey Laurie,

    Your situation sounds very similar to mine. After recently injuring my knee and having an MRI, I had a bucket handle tear, but also discovered no ACL!! I’m positive that I tore it in high school – 24 years ago.
    Since then I’ve been running, hiking, rock climbing all the time, snowboarding – all without an ACL and very few problems. In fact, I didn’t even remember what knee I injured in high school.

    Anyway, long story short the consensus was that without part of my meniscus, I really need an ACL and now I have a new one (hamstring graft). I think you’ll have a good outcome by staging the surgeries, even though the waiting is terrible. I actually didn’t have complete range of motion before my surgery, but close enough that my surgeon felt that he could do everything at once. Am currently 5 weeks post-op and I do think that my walking is coming along slowly because of the fact that I wasn’t walking well right before the surgery. Everything else is progressing normally with my extension and flexion (with lots of pt of course!) so hopefully it will all work out.

    That said, I hope your repair works. Repair seems way better than removing it and is worth the wait.
    Can you work on range of motion now or do you have to wait for the repair to heal? I felt like maybe I didn’t need an ACL either given my long history without one, but I was the only one who thought that…so I figured I’d trust all the surgeons and PTs.
    Good luck and try to be patient…I’m working on that one too!

  523. Hi, thanks for the responses. Stephanie seems we are in the same boat. I had 8 sessions of pt and am doing all my exercises at least 3 times a day. I’m up to 100 straight leg lifts (easily) and do all the quad flexes that I can. I’ve always had strong legs so am vigorously pursuing the exercises without overdoing it. I’m at 0 degrees extension (whoo hoo) and around 87 degrees of flexion. My doc wants me to continue everything as is for two more weeks to fulfill the 6 weeks repair rule, then start 60-80 lbs of weight on a bathroom scale until I see him again. Then we’ll discuss the ACL.

    Just a note on my 1st post, the reason I’m non-weight bearing for 6 weeks is that the meniscus was repaired and has 4 sutures in it. If I were to put weight on it, it would essentially squish the meniscus in all different directions and it wouldn’t heal (not exactly what would happen but sort of). We are praying it heals and remains intact. I can see how it looked like my doc was crazy because I didn’t explain it fully. Had he removed the meniscus, he would have waited 3-6 months to replace the ACL after the knee was good and healthy. Sorry for the confusion.

    This blog is wonderful.

  524. Hi Laurie,

    It’s not uncommon to be on crutches for at least 6 weeks with meniscus tears. I just had the ACL reconstruction myself so was able to bear weight right away post-op. The way my surgeon put it, the more unstable your knee is (as in unrepaired ACL over the years) the more damage you are doing on not only your meniscus but your cartilage as well. If you are fit and up to the challenge of PT post ACL repair, I suggest you just get it done and over with.

    As for the rest of the newly repaired ACLs, it’ll get better soon. I’m now close to being 4 months post ACL reconstruction and boy do I feel good. I’m so tempted to run on it but my surgeon is very adamant about waiting until 6 calendar months. I did cheat a little and ran on the mini-tramp for 15 mins x3 days and paid for it big time. My knee was super sore and I sort of freaked out thinking I messed it up. After leaving it alone for a couple of days, my knee feels super again. Is this normal? Hey Bari, does you knee ever give you grief after your runs? Anyhoo, PT once a week now. Can’t wait until September. Good luck to all.

    Suz

  525. Good morning all… it has been a while though I do follow your posts. I was in Bari’s “class” of ACL and meniscus repairs. Am now 4 months out and feeling very good! I was immobilized in a brace and on crutches for about 6 weeks post op and wanted to throw my crutches and brace in the ocean by the time I was done. After immobilization PT and rehab. became my job and it really didn’t take long to start seeing progress. My surgeon kept my activities very limited, elliptical and exercise bike only with stretching, squats and lunges of every type imaginable.
    Just had my 4 month functional test and passed easily. The surgeon has now cleared my to do most things including golf, running, horseback riding, climbing, yoga, and all exercise machines. I am still not cleared for tennis or skiing (until the 6 month mark) and he asked me to wait one month to white water raft.
    Most days my knee feels fantastic. Every once in a while it gets a kink but never any swelling or pain. My PT did tell me to ease into all of these activities starting with 2o minute increments over time.
    So, to all of you who feel there is no end, there is an end and you will be surprised how quickly time goes by.
    Suz- my knee feels funny while running, and then a little creeky after running… just cut it back a little.
    Best of luck to all!!

  526. Hi All!

    In answer to Suz’s question – yes it does give me problems when running, especially right after I first started at 6 weeks. I had to back off. It would feel like my kneecap had been beat with a sledgehammer. The PT gave me a bunch of stretches, which seemed to get the kneecap tracking properly, and I’ve been able to build up my time and mileage. I did 6 miles on Wednesday, which was too much. My knee has been sore again. 4.5 miles feels comfortable right now.

    I’m at about 4.5 months post surgery and realize it is important to keep doing the lunges, squats, etc even though I’m running and cycling so much that I usually feel too “tired” to do my PT exercises. They are important because they build supportive muscles that the other activities do not.

    Laurie, my surgeon said that I could have opted not to replace the ACL, but that would have meant limiting my activities. Without an ACL you are much more prone to meniscus and cartilage damage, as well as arthritis. I’d say do it! Maybe you can return to some of the sports you gave up.
    But, it’s your own decision. I’d advise talking to your surgeon about all the possibilities as well as maybe getting a second opinion. Definitely from someone who specializes in this kind of sports related injury.

    Bari

  527. Tammy,

    Thanks for the support! I had a meniscus tear as well and my surgeon is most concerned about getting that healed. I am only 4 days out of surgery and already tired of not being able to do stuff. I am able to put extremely minimal weight on my leg with crutches only. I am using my CPM machine and am up to almost 60 and advised not to go past 90. My pain is manageable. I am most scared of re-injuring. My doctor says the hardest thing with me and other athletes is getting us to take the time to recover. I play rugby and want to be back out there ASAP. At this point I’m still no weight, on crutches, trying to get sleep. Hopefully it does get better soon!

    Also, I used my hamstring for a graft–anyone else? Any suggestions for getting that leg back up to par ( or I guess post surgery care)? My doc said a year for full recovery and muscle regain of that. Also, anything at this point I can be doing to protect my meniscus repair–the doc said he did what he could but at this point it’s up to G-d and nature.

    Thanks everyone!

  528. Hi all,

    It is great to hear how well people are doing at 4 months!! Progress seems slow and frustrating sometimes and it is hard to stay positive, so it is especially nice to hear about good results.

    Emily, I had a hamstring graft also. Don’t freak out if it feels super weak for awhile. One week after surgery I couldn’t even lift my heel behind me (like a hamstring curl) but it gets better. The graft site takes a little while to heal (8 weeks??) so I am supposed to be careful about straining it during that time.

    Tammy, I was excited to hear that you were cleared to climb after 4 months. That is my main sport so I would love to hear how that goes for you.I’ve been climbing avidly for 17 years without an acl no problem. Of course, now that I have one it seems like I could hurt it doing anything! Strange how the mind works :)

  529. This forum is amazing! It helps so much to read your comments above. I’m scheduled for ACL surgery next Thursday. I tore my ACL completely, and have a large tear in the medial meniscus. I’ve opted for allograft, being one not able to bear physical pain well. I’m in the nervous stage right now, thinking about post-op pain. Will keep you posted!

  530. Sarah-

    I am also having my acl reconstruction surgery next week – actually on Monday, Aug 3.

    Like you also having a allograft. Finished PT today and will resume a week or os following surgery. I know what you mean about nerves……

  531. KennyT – you’re having PT? my doc didn’t prescribe that for me. do you have a link to the home exercises i should be doing to prepare for the surgery? i’ll definitely keep you posted on how it goes since mine is a couple of days before yours!

  532. Yea, have had PT for 4 weeks now since my injury. I don’t have a link to the prescribed exercises as I go to a PT clinic. Every week is different and at different levels. They have been working me hard to get my quad’s back and my hamstring back on my right leg before surgery. That has involved a series of various stretches to regain my extension and flexion back. There must be a site to describe this – sorry I don’t know a good one. Some of my exercises have included a type of marching where I extend my knees up during a walk. Also, squats (very tough at first), things like that plus more.

    My extension has improved to approximately 1 degree of normal and my flexion has increased to 134 degrees. That being said, without my ACL brace, I have great difficulty walking for any distance however, short.

    kt

  533. Hi Sarah, welcome to the site. I just found this last week and have gotten some great info. I too have a complete ACL tear and had a medial meniscus tear (bucket handle tear that locked my knee) that I had surgery on June 17. Been non-weight bearing since (tough). I go in for ACL consultation Aug 6 and when he does that surgery, he will see if the repair worked, if not, he will remove the meniscus (NO, that can’t happen, please heal! 6 weeks non-weight bearing for naught? I think not!)

    I went for physical therapy 2 days after the meniscus repair surgery for 8 visits and continue to do the exercises 3 times a day (two to three times the reps prescribed). I think the biggest thing is to keep your quads strong. My therapist told me to do quad flexes in the recovery room after my ACL surgery. It’s strange he didn’t prescribe PT.

    All of my exercises were isometric ones as I could not bear any weight because of the repair. If when the surgeon got into the knee and the meniscus was going to be removed, we were going to wait 6 months to do the ACL so that my knee and leg was healthy and strong. But, since he decided to try and save the meniscus, stitches, we are waiting for the healing process to work for at least 6 weeks before performing the ACL. I hope and pray it heals.

    Are you putting weight on your injured leg? I think the exercises would be different than the ones I am doing. Do an internet search of isometric exercises for knee. This is link to excerpts from a book that has some good info. start on pg 848. It’s a little dated, but again good info. The second link is another book, again dated, but good info, the scan wasn’t very good though.

    Good luck.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=snfZl1KxHA0C&pg=PA848&lpg=PA848&dq=non+weight+bearing+quad+exercises&source=bl&ots=brJmoox81X&sig=rweTp-d83P33DTzIVK3G7_Bq6hs&hl=en&ei=bhliSozCHeaStgf7qamyAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7

    http://books.google.com/books?id=uzPwfNYyjjUC&pg=PA123&lpg=PA123&dq=isometric+exercises+after+medial+meniscus+repair&source=bl&ots=o5M13TxiA9&sig=NpTQ1eo7u3uPULDPW1RvuN0V4XU&hl=en&ei=3mRWStn2LIHCNuD78Z0I&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1

    Good luck next week

  534. Well, I’m at 4 weeks post op (allograft) and progress is going well. I’m at full extension and 140 flex. The recumbent bike has been a great tool to improve flex.

    I still ice as there is some swelling still, especially at the incision located on my lower thigh.

    Back to more leg lifts.

  535. I had my allograft surgery on Thursday and came thru with flying colors. I’m allergic to anethetics and have a lot of trouble with waking up and nauseau. This time, they did good and I woke up right away and I had NO Nauseau!
    I’m bearing partial weight on right knee with crutches, have about 120 degree flexion and am about 5 degrees off in extension. I am hoping to get the go ahead to walk with out crutches in PT today. It’s not that I CAN’T walk without crutches, it’s that the Doc doesn’t want me to. Stopped taking pain meds yesterday, except at night and am doing really well!

  536. Hi all;
    This site has been awesome for me to read as I have gone through recovery following an autograph (patellar tendon) ACL reconstruction on March 30. Because of the small size of my knee & an extra washer that was used besides my screws for the surgery, I was considered to be at risk for a fracture and had to wear an immobilizer on my leg for six weeks–except when I was taking a shower or in PT. Because of the immobilizer, my recovery has taken a LOT longer than everyone else seems to recover on this site–but I wanted to weigh in tonight, because I am finally excited about my progress at Week 17/Month 4. Since the 4th of July, my PTs and I are noticing considerable progress–and so did my PA on Thursday. I wanted to weigh in to let those of you who have had complications of any sort and haven’t progressed according to plan to hang in there and keep up with your stretches and physical therapy programs. My PTs have been awesome and I could not have done this without them. My goal for the New Year was to end 2009 in better shape than I began; my ACL tear and surgery put me behind initially, but I think I am going to come out of this much stronger and more active. I am starting to believe I will ski again by February 2010, a year after the accident–and I was fearful 2 months ago with the initially slow progress. Keep icing!!!!!!!

  537. I can’t wait until I’m at week 17. Seems like a long way off.

    Had my 1 month post op check with the OS today. He did the normal femur/tibia manipulation and
    everything is nice and tight. Zero pain which is nice as well. The brace is permanently gone but no running for 10 more weeks. I am working hard on rehab, however, I am truly amazed regarding how I’m progressing.

    Range of motion is key. Keep doing your heel slides and work on the bike.

  538. Sarahdippity-

    Good luck on your surgery on Thursday. Let me know how you are doing.

    thanks

    kt

  539. Ken,
    Got my heel to my butt! Now I’m going to work on getting it past my butt like my other leg and like this leg used to be.
    Thank you for encouraging me to keep going.

  540. Renee,
    I have about 10 more degrees to reach your level. How many weeks postop are you?

  541. Thanks all for being an inspiration for me to go ahead with my surgery. I’m 47, tore the ACL completely (no other damage), and had allograft reconstruction 12 days later. My doctor’s great and very aggressive – started me with the CPM at 0-60 deg, increasing 10 deg each day. I was at 90 three days after the surgery but I’ve been resisting pushing to 100 and 110 since I read somewhere that one needs to be conservative with pushing allografts past 90 too quickly. Anyone know what the appropriate flexion should be on the CPM in the first week post op?

  542. Ken, I’m WAY ahead of you in weeks so you are ahead of where I was at your stage! Had my surgery March 11. Knee feels pretty good but my pt was trying to say 138 flexion was “normal”. I appreciated telling me I can do more and I went ahead with it. I have since stopped going pt consistently ($30 a pop was getting old) and am going it alone with occasional pop-ins for progress checks.
    Looking forward to that six month mark in Sept. when I will be cleared for everything!

  543. hey everyone, its me again remember i told you guys about three weeks ago that i would not need to have the surgery. Well a lot has happened since then while on vaction with the children in Florida i slip with the good leg on the wet pavement. It hurt a bit but not for long. the other day i was at work sitting in a chair when one of my co workers clipped my foot with his big foot and twisted my knee. It hurt like a bitch and i left work crying. I called the doctors office and was given an appointment for the next morning, when i told him of the two reinjuries and he tested my leg he said it was time to fix this problem. The knee has become unstable again this after 7 week of waiting for the MCL to heal and my muscles to get stronger around the knee. I have a lot of pain now after the second injury and i’m glad to finally get this problem resolved. I will be having the surgery on Aug 7th to fix the ACL, Drain the fluid fron the PCL and see of the meniscus is now torn. He said he doubts he will have to fix the MCL and doesn’t want to, but who knows whats going to happen when he gets in there. I am buying my cold therapy from donjoy and will have it and my defiant brace before the surgery, i will be wearing that brace when ever i get back into karate for at least 6-10 months until i know that knee is totally healed. I have a question how long did you all have to wear the postop donjoy brace? sorry for such a lenthy post. wish me luck

  544. i have a quetsion: Why do orthopedics have different interpret MRI’s different?
    I popped my left inward and then popped back into place, i iced it for 7 days+motrin every 4hrs+ always elevated (7dys). Went to get an MRI cause i already had an ACL reconstruction on my right knee before so i knew something was wrong.
    First orthopedic told me ACL was torn completely and needed surgery, but second orthopedic said that MRI could be wrong and that i need a few weeks to heal it with light exercise and no operation needed. Both doctors saw the MRI but had different interpretations WHY? So who do i trust? The older doctor that said no operation, or the young one saying that i need the expensive ACL operation?
    thank you for any help.
    ps: I am 37 in ok shape and play soccer twice a week and want to continue playing, hurting was on the inside part+back part of the knee. Both orthopedic did the pulling and pushing test of the leg also.

  545. Hi All!

    7 weeks out now and really starting to enjot myself again! Cleared for just about anything I want to do except twisting activities. Biking, walking, swimming, even running if I feel up to it! There is a large bright light at the end of this tunnel! Woo-hoo!!

    Just one question of you veterans who may can offer advice. I remember someone mentioning that you developed a popping or catching in your knee sometime and I’m wondering about that. I have started getting a pretty painful catch just above the kneecap every so often, and I’m not sure if it’s something to worry about. It’s painful to straighten my leg, then it pops, then it’s okay. Is this normal, or should I check with my PT about it?

    Thanks again for all your help and support!!

  546. Hi Deb,

    I have some of that catching also. Feels like it is on the outside of my knee. I talked to my pt about it and she said that it might be some scar tissue catching and she did some manipulation of my kneecap and scars just yesterday. It didn’t solve it, although I think it might be a little better. Not much to go on, but hopefully others have some suggestions!

  547. Hi guys!

    I just had my surgery yesterday. The pain is worse today than it was last night when I came home. Guess because I was pretty drugged up and plus the doc might have given me a few numbing shots right after surgery. I’ve been surviving all night last night and all day today with the ice machine hooked up continuously. Doc’s instructions are to run it for 30 mins, rest 2 hours, then start again. But I’ve had it on 24/7 almost. It helps so much! If you’re not sure if you should get the ice machine, I say YES! You’ll be so glad you did! For pain relief, I have Motrin and Percocet. Been taking 1 or the other around the clock. I try to stay ahead of the pain, but sometimes it catches up unexpectedly before its supposed to. I slept well last night because the Percocet knocked me out. Not sure about tonight. The leg is throbbing more right now.

    I was on the sofa all day today with nothing to do but watching TV, so I blogged about the surgery yesterday. If you’re interested in reading more, it’s at http://loveyourknees.wordpress.com/.

    Will keep you posted on how things go with the knee tomorrow via the blog! :)

    Sarah

  548. [...] Using a Cadaver’s Graft or Allograft for ACL Reconstruction [...]

  549. Hello, and Peace be upon you all.

    I am 21 years of age and have played basketball competitively throughout my life. In August of 2008 I tore the ACL in my left knee. Initially not knowing it was an ACL tear (my first doctor said since nothing was fractured in my bone according to an xray, my knee should be fine in 3 weeks), I went months without even considering surgery. About 3-4 months later I went to an orthopedic with an MRI I had gotten, in which case he “rudely” told me to get surgery. The fashion in which he dealt with the situation made me uncomfortable and I denied the option of surgery, thinking that I would be back on the basketball court by July of this year. July came, and I played basketball and on a play involving lateral-movement, I “tweaked” my knee (or ACL?) really bad and could not bend it for about 2-3 days. The worst part about this was that I could not physically do the motions of sitting in prayer, and prostrating my head to the floor :(

    It has been roughly 11 months since this initial incident and I have another MRI scheduled on the 4th of August (to see if anything else has happened to my knee since the initial injury) and surgery scheduled for August 21st. My NEW orthopedic has proposed the idea of having a surgery involving an allograft cadaver replacement. I am not too sure about this now that I have read the various opinions and experiences posted on this blog. This is because I would ultimately like to play basketball at a competitive level again, God-Willing.

    Should I ask for an autograf instead?…..What do you guys think?

    -Ali

  550. Sarah,
    After 3 days post op your pain level should noticeably decrease. Just make sure you don’t elevate your leg with a pillow directly under your knee. That will hamper getting your knee to full extension. Good luck with rehab.

    Ali,
    It will take longer to get clearance for b-ball using the allograft.

  551. Ali – Through my research, it seems that autograft is the option for more serious athletes, especially if you’re younger than 40. I think autograft will be the stronger candidate than allograft. You may want to get a 2nd medical opinion on this before going ahead with surgery. Good luck with surgery!

    Ken – Thanks for checking in with me! I woke this morning with a throbbing knee. It felt like there’s an alien inside my knee trying to get out! I know too many Ripley Alien movies! I took 2 percocets, and now feeling much better. I was 15 minutes behind schedule with my pain killers and boy! Was that a mistake! :( Going on Day 2 after surgery now.

    Sarahdippity

  552. ali – its spoke to two docs about the allograft procedure and they told e that the sucess rate is far better with the autograft, and on top of that one doctor told me that if something went wrong with the allograft (like infection, body rejects it, etc) that i would have to get maybe 3 more surgeries to fix it! needless to say at 37 yrs old i will get the autograft soon.

    this is from: http://www.genufix.com/acl_inform.htm

    In order to avoid so called “donor morbidity”, allografts have been advocated as a potential source of the ACL replacement. A tissue is harvested from a cadaveric donor (a dead person), and is harvested in a sterile fashion to avoid contamination by bacteria, and is then frozen. The donor is screened for historical risk factors for such infectious diseases as hepatitis, syphilis, and AIDS. Furthermore, the donor’s blood and tissues are tested for these diseases. All donor material must test negative.
    In order to avoid so called “donor morbidity”, allografts have been advocated as a potential source of the ACL replacement. A tissue is harvested from a cadaveric donor (a dead person), and is harvested in a sterile fashion to avoid contamination by bacteria, and is then frozen. The donor is screened for historical risk factors for such infectious diseases as hepatitis, syphilis, and AIDS. Furthermore, the donor’s blood and tissues are tested for these diseases. All donor material must test negative.
    Transfer of the AIDS (HIV) virus from tissue donors to recipients despite negative tests, according to reports by the CDC in Atlanta and by the Red Cross, is an extremely rare phenomenon. Testing has improved substantially, and thousands of allografts have been done safely. AIDS IS CERTAINLY A SMALL BUT THEORETICAL POSSIBILITY, with risk estimates at 1 in 800,000 to 1 in a 1,000.000. Another concern about allograft is the potential for tissue rejection. Unlike the heart, kidneys, and other transplanted tissue, transplanted bone and tendon is froze, thereby eliminating its “antigenicity”, which is the capacity to induce a rejection by the host. Therefore, fresh sterilely harvested and frozen allograft tissue appears to be a safe and effective form of ACL reconstruction, with an acknowledged risk for potential of transmitting infectious disease including: AIDS, hepatitis, syphilis, bacterial infections, and a minimal risk of rejection. Studies to date appear to show allograft tissues are strong and heal in a fashion similar to autografts, but perhaps more slowly and incompletely. They may stretch out more, and may take longer to heal.

    hope this helps

    will

  553. Sarahdippity

    Glad you made it thru your surgery Thursday. Sounds like you are doing as well can be expected.
    Mine is coming up Monday – not sure if I am looking forward to getting it over with or not. Are you having to elevate your knee at night? Do you use crutches to get around during the day?

    thanks

    Ken T.

  554. Sarahdippity thanks for letting us know about your surgery and recovery period, it looks like you are doing as good as expected. Did you get the femoral block, that is an option they do now for knee surgery that would have kept you comfortable for about 8-12 hours. I will be having my surgery on Aug 7th and i’m nervous as hell about the recovery process. It doesn’t help that i’m a nurse in the OR and do knee scopes with ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair on a daily basis. I will be praying for a full recovery for you. I will be buying an ice machine from donjoy to use since the game ready is a $250 rental cost for two weeks only. I got injuried on june 6th and thought that i had by passed the surgery until one of my co workers caught my foot with his and twisted my knee to the side. Its hurting more now then the original injury. I understand what Ali is going through it hurts. I also think i have a bakers cyst on the PCL that is now preventing me from flexing to my 128 degrees due to the reinury of the MCL and twisting of what ever else. good luck guys and i will keep you posted on the progress.

  555. Hi Shawna!

    Good luck with your surgery on 8/7! Sorry you’re going through all that pain now. I was going to suggest taking some ibuprofen but remember that you’re not supposed to take it at least a week before surgery. Yes, the ice machine will be a life saver! You’ll be so glad you have it!

    Ken – wow your surgery is tomorrow! Good luck! The best thing you can do is to relax and trust your surgeon. (Someone told me that and it’s true!) As to elevating my knee at night, no. My knee hasn’t been elevated since I came home. Mostly, it’s just laid straight out, not bent, not elevated. And yes, I have to use crutches to walk around. I can’t put any weight on it yet. Here’s a list of what I’m to do post-op from the doctor, in case you’re wondering: http://loveyourknees.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/post-op-instructions-from-the-doc/

    I went through Day 3 today with a bit of progress: http://loveyourknees.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/day3/

    Hope that helps! Good night everyone!

    Sarah

  556. Acl blog

    Shawna. Wow a nurse who works around this all the time. I’d love to ask a few questions. I’m 47, don’t do sports anymore, but a lot of gardening and landscaping and work out at the gym. I fell on June 2 resulting in a bucket handle tear of the medial meniscus. June 17, surgeon repaired meniscus as the tear was in the red zone and was a clean tear. He also noted that my ACL was not there, like it had disintegrated, probably from 1978 injury.

    4 weeks of PT got me 87 flexion and 0 extension. I continue to do all my PT exercises 2-3 times daily, mostly 3 times.

    July 16 surgeon states that he would do the ACL reconstruction and look at the meniscus to see if it had healed, if yest, GREAT, if not, he’d remove it (ugh). He told me to start bending the knee past 90 degrees but not to push it, and on July 30 (6 weeks post-op) start putting 60-80 lbs of weight on bathroom scale.

    I have tried for 18 days to bend my knee past 90 degrees and can’t seem to do it, there is so much pain and still some swelling. Should I push it more? I just started putting weight on the leg last week and that seems ok. I meet with the surgeon Thursday to talk about the ACL surgery. I can’t walk, can’t hardly put weight on the leg, and can’t bend past 90 degrees.

    Is it normal not to be able to bend the knee past 90 after 7 weeks of repair surgery? or should it really really hurt in doing so?
    Which donjoy ice machine are you looking at and do you have a good place to buy it?
    Which knee wrap would you recommend?
    and lastly, have you ever seen/used the cyrocuff autochill system?

    http://www.hat-trick-sports.com/item–Cryo-Cuff-Knee-with-AutoChill-System–CryoCuff_Knee_Chill

    thanks for your input and for all that are going through this, good luck.

  557. laurie i think you should be getting more flex then you currently have and you should be able to walk on the leg by now. What is your therapist saying about the flex and extension. Knee surgery adn recovery is no picnic of walk in the park it reguires hard work and dedication. I think you may be exericing to much two to three times a day. You should be icing the knee every day several times a day if you have a lot of swelling. I’m getting the ice machine from a don joy rep who takes care of southern michigan, he came to measure me for a functional brace before we decided to do the surgery. My doctor was impressed with the progress i was making, this before my co worker cought my foot with his and twisted my knee as my foot drug to the side. I know that your tear is different from mine, but at 7 weeks you should be doing better. Please get a second opinion and get the knee fixed right, it could be scar tissue that is hindering you or a baker cyst in the tibia, PCL or somewhere in the bak of the knee. i believe that cryo system has been around for a long time, but i don’t know much about it. I like the game ready system but is ifs too epensive. the donjoy system is $180 to buy and i know i will need the ice macine for quit some time. We are all predisposed to arthtiis and swelling after working out. I wish you much luck in your recovery and diecision to get the ACL done. The people on this site have been great and if you read the post from them you can learn a lot. After a patient has his/her surgery i dont see them anymore, so i am learning from experience and hopefully i can help give insight a little better. I see my co workers in Labor and delivery giving advise to women having babies and they have never been preganant, so i will be able to tell you more when i experience the surgery for myself, which is coming up on friday. I got 128 degrees flex with my PTs help

  558. I’m 12 days post surgery with allograft! Thank you to all of those who talked me into the allograft! This has been a piece of cake. I went back to work on day 4. Quit using crutches on day 4, quit taking pain meds as of day 4, and have resumed yoga as of day 11. I am walking up stairs using ‘bad’ leg first for strength exercise, and am working on gently being able to cross my legs indian style again. I have been going to therapy only one time each week and they are telling me to ‘hold back’ and not stretch out graft. So, I am trying to be very careful not to push it. I am one degree off in extension from my left leg and have regained 140 degrees flexion – which is all my flexion and am able grab my heel and pull it to my buttock like my left leg.
    I still have some pain, weakness and swelling, but all is going well. I got my sports brace and am wearing that now to work, and out gardening and such.
    I guarantee all of you I will have all my extension back by next Monday, and will continue to stay off the horse and not trip over my dog!

  559. [...] subscribed to The ACL Repair Blog and read this inspiring post from Katherine who is just 4-month post-op and yet is doing so much [...]

  560. Surgery is tomorrow, i’m very excited to be getting this problem fixed, my patella has been killing me, since i got injuried. has anyone experienced that with their ACL tear.

  561. good shawna! let us know how you’re doing post-op!

    katherine – would you share how you’re able to recover so fast and so nicely? i love reading your comment and even blogged about it bc its so inspiring!

  562. Shawna, thanks for all the info to my questions, some of your answers were right on the nose. Saw the Dr. today and he agreed that my flexion should be much better and probably is due to scar tissue, so I start pool therapy tomorrow.

    Good luck tomorrow and keep us posted on your recovery. :-)

  563. Hello All,

    I’m back. I had surgery July 14th and it seemed to have gone well—until it went septic. Since then I’ve been in the hospital for 2 weeks ( just home 2 days ago) and had 2 more washout surgery. I have a PICC line and require IV antiboitics twice a day for 6 weeks. Anyone else go through this??? I’m hoping it doesn’t interfere too much with my knee–which my surgeon says despite all odds, seems to be healing well. I’m in my CPM up to 90, and walking on crutches. I’m supposed to rest according to my med doctors and walk and move according to orthopedics.

    Anyone have any experience with this?

  564. HI Emily!

    I’m sorry you had to go through that experience. It’s supposed to be very rare that there’s an infection after ACL surgery (something like 1%). How long after 7/14 did you realize that you had an infection? I read about Tom Brady’s ACL surgery and how he had an infection about 10 days after. I’m also nervous about it having had surgery 8 days ago on 7/30. So far I seem to be recovering as scheduled, but having heard about yours it gets me a bit more worried. After I saw your comment, I googled “septic” incidents and found a few links:

    http://orthopedics.about.com/od/aclinjury/f/infection.htm
    http://www.revolutionhealth.com/blogs/jamesherndonmd/infection-after-acl-s-16518

    Keep us posted of how you’re doing, Emily. Best of luck to you! Hope all will be well soon for you!

    Sarah
    http://loveyourknees.wordpress.com/

    (I tried to keep a blog on my ACL recovery, hopefully it’ll help everyone who is going thru something similar. Plus it’s therapeutic for me!)

  565. Hey everyone, i had my surgery 5 days ago and i’m doing about as good as expected. I have a lot of pain in my thigh at this time and some knee pain. I have pretty good quad control and can but is scared to walk without the crutched, but i did take off the hot donjoy brace, i just couldn’t take the heat. I was suppose to go to therapy today but my PCP didn’t get my referral on time so i will try again tomorrow. I went with the fem block and the cont infusion of rupivacaine through the catether in my groin for two days, and i went to sleep with propafol and i was good to go. I got some good drugs for pain which i try to take the least amount of like night time only and i use the ice machine all the time. My three small scope incicsions look really good and i go in on friday for the stitches to be removed(which I can do myself) but I guess they need to take an x ray to see how everthing is. I tried to flex the knee and can get only 40-50 degrees before the swelling stops me from bending. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but the last time i had PT I did it and fast so I think I will do well, and hopefully have 117 degrees by next week maybe better then that. I will keep you guys posted on my sucess, and I am so glad that I had this done, so I can have my life back.

  566. laurie
    I am so glad that the Doctor is working to get you going, what does he plan on doing about the scar tissue? Did he do passive ROM to see if he can break some of the scar tissue up. I hope they don’t have to go back in for your sake, to remove the scar tissue. Good luck and keep me posted on your progress.

  567. Hi Everyone,

    Unlike a lot of you, I’m not athletic and unfortunately, I need an ACL replacement,& meniscus repair. Surgery is August 18th. I’m a bit nervous. I torn my meniscus in 2006 and two Saturdays ago, I re-injured it while rushing down the stairs for the train. I stepped the wrong way trying to pass someone going really slow in front of me.

    I have to have the allograft as my patella tendon is already weak and my doc fears weakening it further and putting me at risk for further damage and needing full knee replacement later on. I’m 40 and I’m a little concerned about the recovery. As I’m not physically fit, my doc did caution me that my recovery may take longer. I live alone and my sis will come over to help me. I was wondering how long until I can be independent again? I’m taking two weeks off from work.

    How long did you need to stay at home? I’m wondering if it’s better to take a 3rd week off or just get right back into it? My doc says well have to see as it happens. I was wondering how bad the first week of PT is?

    My doc has a different method then a lot of you describe. He recommends no PT after surgery for about 2 weeks. He said it’s more important to deal with any inflammation then rush to PT. Inflammation causes pain. So get the inflammation down as much as possible. He feels that his patients recover quicker. He recommends this to all the pro and non-pro athletes he treats.

    He also gave me a cooling machine and some type of exercise machine and of course a very attractive brace.

    I’m really grateful for this site and have enjoyed reading everyone’s post. There’s a lot of great info here.

    -Joanne

  568. Dear Joanne,
    I disagree with your doctor’s protocol. You really need to get most of your range of motion back with in two weeks. To not do so will delay your recovery. I had my left knee acl done in 1990. I injured it severely enough that I required PT prior to surgery. (Which, by the way, you should also be doing.) I saw a lot of women in PT who had the ACL surgery and were in worse shape than me. I decided to NOT have the ACL surgery, as I was in better shape than these women (some college scholarship athletes) without an ACL. As time went by, my knee got worse and worse. I was at a college party and met some scholarship athletes who were still playing with ACL scars on their legs. I asked who their surgeon was. I got the same name.
    So, I went to him, had a very successful ACL surgery, and just had my right knee done (allograft this time) three weeks ago today. I was off crutches in 4 days, back to work in 4 days. I had my full range of motion back within two weeks. I am virtually pain free now. I have some medial-collateral weakness, and do not begin weight training for 10 more days, as my graft is too new.
    The point of all this is: your surgeon is the most important aspect to a successful outcome in ACL surgery. You need someone – or a group of doctors, who work on professional athletes. If they can get athletes back to playing professionally in running and cutting type sports, they can get middle aged ladies like myself back up and running.
    Katherine

  569. Hi Joanne!

    I opted for allograft too for my surgery which took place exactly 2 weeks ago on 7/30. I’ve been working from home ever since. I think to be safe you’d need at least 2 weeks off from work to recover well. If you feel like you need to, a 3rd week home is also helpful and less stressful for you. As to when you can be fully independent, I’m not sure yet since I’m not quite there yet either. Though I’ve improved a lot since the surgery and can now walk around the house on 1 crutch and am able to carry a few things with my free hand!

    Your doctor sounds like a very conservative doctor. Having gone through surgery just 2 weeks ago and am in the recovery process, I feel that the sooner you’re able to start PT, the better you will feel. With the swelling, yes it will hurt more when you exercise, but the result will make you very happy because PT makes you much stronger than no PT! And I’m speaking totally from personal experience! I’ve felt so much better ever since I started PT (about 5 days post-op). The first PT session is probably an easy one in which the therapist will show you the exercises you need to do at home.

    Hope this helps a bit, Joanne! If you want more info, I’ve been blogging on my ACL surgery and recovery at http://loveyourknees.wordpress.com. It’s therapeutic and I hope will also help others who are going through the same thing as we are. :)

    Let me know if you need anything else. Good luck with the surgery! Once it’s all over, you’ll be so glad you have this done now because it will make you stronger later! :)

    Sarah

    -Joanne

  570. Katherine dear,

    I’m still in AWE of how fast you’re recovering!! I can’t believe you were off crutches 4 days post-op! That’s amazing!! Keep us posted on how you’re doing please! You’re an inspiration! :)

    Sarah

  571. I’m 3 weeks post surgery TODAY. I am pretty much pain free, and am able to lock my knee in full extension as of yesterday! I have been unable to do that, due to the torn ACL forming a ‘cyclops’ at the base of my knee cap and preventing me from having full range of motion prior to surgery. I did PT before surgery, but was unable to get my leg completely straight.
    I have to say that not being able to lock my knee was less obtrusive to my life than my 1988 ACL injury. Then my knee popped out and hurt like #$@@!!%#$*&!!!@#! (Fill in with your own choice words!)
    Joanne, I had surgery in 1988 on my left knee that set me back two years – until I get my ACL repaired by someone who knew what they were doing in 1990! That’s why I suggest you research physicians and options in your area. I was 19 and SUPER FIT and athletic then – and had a bad result. Having two surgeries for the price of one REALLY stinks! I learned the hard way!
    Good luck to all and happy healing!
    Katherine

  572. Joanne, this blog “Yes Knee Can” helped me a lot during my surgery/recovery period. You may find it useful too! The blog author said her friend took of 3 weeks from work for her recovery. You may want to do the same just to be on the safe side?!

    http://yeskneecan.com/

  573. Btw, I’m 2 weeks post-op today! Walk with one crutch, and no more brace! I’m so happy about ditching the brace! PT twice a week with my wonderful therapist, and twice a day at home. I love PT. It helps me so much to get my life back, albeit a bit slowly, but still mini-steps forward!

  574. Hey guys I went to PT for the initial visit post op. My therapist said that i was doing well and I have 90 degrees flex and 10 extension today, i hope by next week i will be at 110 dreggre flex and 6 extention on monday when i return. My knee is hurting a lot 7/10 on the scale but i have been making the best of it. ON friday i got for my first post op visit to get the stitches out but all the scope incisions look great. the swelling is problem but i am icing the leg and elevating ost of the time. My quads are firing and i have a little strengh in those and hope to be walking without crutches next week. I got rid of that hot brace the second day post op, when i got the feeling back in my foot, after the fem block. Joann keep working hard doing leg lifts and kneew bends, and leg press downs, and dont forget to ice, but you should have started PT 5-7 days after surgery and going 2-3 times per week for the next 6 weeks min. good luck with everything

  575. Thanks, Katherine. I actually got it wrong. I will be off from work two weeks but going to PT after 1 week. He’s giving me the CPM machine too to exercise.

    I’ve been going to PT prior to my knee injury for my shoulder, but have been continuing to go 3x per week until the surgery on the 18th. He wants me to strengthen my knee and quads as much as possible before surgery. I’ve been doing the stationary bike for 15 minutes and I’m back to taking stairs up and down. But I’m being cautious as I still feel some tenderness on the inner side of my knee which is the meniscus.

    I totally agree with what you’re saying. I did research my physician and he was a team physician for the PGA, LPGA, AVP, USBL, ABA, NFL, New York City Marathon and Olympics. He still takes care of pro athletes. He also takes care of broadway dancers, ballerinas and other entertainers. A lot of organizations have voted him top doctor…etc. I like that he’s conservative and not surgery happy.

    Wow, Katherine, you’re really recovering fast, off crutches after 4 days and back to work too.

  576. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the website. It is very helpful.

    I think I may go for the 3rd week off as my boss is very “funny” about sicks days. So it’s best for me to take a block of time off then need one here and there. It would be less stressful too as I live in Brooklyn, NY and would have to commute on the train for about 45 minutes to Manhattan. My office wasn’t very comfortable for me with just the knee injury. I was able to ice, but I could get my leg elevated to a comfortable height as nothing around me worked (step stool, boxes…etc). I think this way I can concentrate on PT and just work from home.

    That’s good that you are able to walk now. My PT told me today, that the hardest part of recovery is being patient and letting your body heal. But I’m scheduled to go back to PT 3x a week after the 1st week of surgery off. My doc is conservative, but also he seems very involved in trying to find solutions and inventions to make patients heal faster.

    I was joking with my doc today, as his office is also shared by the PT, that I’m feeling better and maybe I don’t need it. He winked at me and said I’ll see you Tuesday. You’re going to be fine just trust me and follow what I tell you. So I guess that’s it.

    Thank you, good luck with your recovery too. I’m more worried about recovery and feeling helpless, then the actual surgery. I’m sure I will be better after it’s all said and done, but it’s just getting to the finish line. Right now it seems it will take forever.

    -Joanne

  577. Hi Katherine,

    That’s wonderful after 3 weeks to progress so much. What ever you are doing is working! I am working my knee as much as possible, on on the bike 2x per day now.

    I had a cousin who had numerous knee surgeries from about 15 – 20 years ago and the technology has advanced so much since then. Her surgeries didn’t end well for her, as she also had Lupus, which affects the joints very severely. Unfortunately for her, the pain was so great even after all surgeries that she opted for amputation of both legs just above the knee about 15 years ago. So even though I don’t have Lupus, the thought of her issues is kind of in my brain and I’m trying not to think of that.

    I feel very motivated to get into better shape then I was originally in pre-op. I was talking to my regular doc and told her that this surgery and recovery is probably what will finally get me into shape after all these years. I had lost 40lbs over the last year and a half, but not with much exercise. So it’s like the last hurdle I need to get over to finally reach my goal of being fit.

    -Joanne

  578. Hi Sarah,

    Congratulations on ditching your brace. Thanks again for this site, http://yeskneecan.com/.

    I’ve been to San Fran and know that exact hill the woman had to climb. I think I’m more inclined to take the 3rd week off and not have to stress.

  579. Hi Shawna,

    Thank you for the advice. Yep, I’m doing PT 3 per week pre op and the same 1 week post-op. My doc recommended depending on how I do, about 3- 4 months of PT. I think he’s trying to get me fit too. The PT guys I have are great and they are very motivating and he’s making a fitness plan to get all of me in shape. So I have a good support team.

    I can do leg lifts. I’m afraid to try the knee bends and leg presses. I still have some tenderness on my inner knee even though I sill ice several times each day. I’ll ask the therapist tomorrow. They were happy I could do the stationary bike.

    I bought protein shakes to have the week after surgery. I’m so afraid of gaining any of the 40lbs I lost back. I still have a good 50 lbs to lose. :-)

    Good luck with your recovery. You’re doing great.

  580. Hi Joanne!

    Don’t worry about PT. The pain is minimal compared to the gain you get after each session. I’m totally serious! I love my PT sessions because I feel stronger because of it! It also helps me heal faster and helps give back to me my normal life. I’m 2 weeks post-op and am feeling great! I’m able to drive now and walk on only 1 crutch. The therapist said by next week, she will try to take away the crutch completely! I’m so excited!

    For me the worse part of this entire process was my nervous anticipation of the surgery (not knowing what to expect) and the post-op pain level. Once the surgery is over (you won’t feel a thing during because you will be sleeping), the first few days will be the next hardest because that’s when you’re at your most helpless. The best thing to do then is to take the pain med regularly to keep you feeling comfortable throughout the day/night, and rest and keep your spirit up because 50% of recovery is mental! After about day 4, you will feel much stronger and can get about a bit to begin PT. After that first session of PT, you will start recuperate at a much faster speed! You’ll be amazed at the all the little things you can do after PT that you weren’t able to (or were too afraid to) do before! Mostly in my case it was because I was afraid to push myself thinking I couldn’t handle it. I was wrong!

    Until the surgery, don’t worry or think about it too much, Joanne! (Easier said than done, but if you can do that it’ll help so much!) Just get your post-op camping ground station ready! Stock it up with favorite books, magazines, snacks, TV remote control, stereo remote control, phone, etc. Get a good night rest before the day of your surgery, and go in remembering that after that day you will only just get better! :)

    Hope all this makes sense! Happy Friday!

    Sarah

  581. Hi Joanne!

    Don’t worry about PT. The pain is minimal compared to the gain you get after each session. I’m totally serious! I love my PT sessions because I feel stronger because of it! It also helps me heal faster and helps give back to me my normal life. I’m 2 weeks post-op and am feeling great! I’m able to drive now and walk on only 1 crutch. The therapist said by next week, she will try to take away the crutch completely! I’m so excited!

    For me the worse part of this entire process was my nervous anticipation of the surgery (not knowing what to expect) and the post-op pain level. Once the surgery is over (you won’t feel a thing during because you will be sleeping), the first few days will be the next hardest because that’s when you’re at your most helpless. The best thing to do then is to take the pain med regularly to keep you feeling comfortable throughout the day/night, and rest and keep your spirit up because 50% of recovery is mental! After about day 4, you will feel much stronger and can get about a bit to begin PT. After that first session of PT, you will start recuperate at a much faster speed! You’ll be amazed at the all the little things you can do after PT that you weren’t able to (or were too afraid to) do before! Mostly in my case it was because I was afraid to push myself thinking I couldn’t handle it. I was wrong!

    Until the surgery, don’t worry or think about it too much, Joanne! (Easier said than done, but if you can do that it’ll help so much!) Just get your post-op camping ground station ready! Stock it up with favorite books, magazines, snacks, TV remote control, stereo remote control, phone, etc. Get a good night rest before the day of your surgery, and go in remembering that after that day you will only just get better! :)

    Hope all this makes sense! Happy Friday!

    Sarah

  582. Ok, Joanne. That’s good to know about your Dr. You’ll be fine.

    I’ve got two exercises for you that really help – and they are easy and you don’t have to do much of anything – except lie in bed.
    1.) Lie on your back in bed with your legs stretched out above you and your feet on the wall. (I wear socks for this. Hate foot prints on the wall LOL). Walk your feet down the wall as far as you can go and work on getting your heels down onto your buttocks and then work on holding up to ten minutes.
    2.) Lie on your bed on your stomach with your legs hangin off the bed above the knee. Allow you legs to relax and get knee fully extended. Work up to holding for ten minutes. 1 month after surgery – you can add a weight to the leg you are rehabbing. You can do this one before surgery, too – to make sure you have full range of motion prior to surgery.

    Good luck. You’ll be fine.

    By the way, I went to the State Fair last night. My brace had to be refitted, so I had no brace and no crutches. Yesterday was 3 weeks to the day post – op. I walked around from 4:30pm til 11:00pm with little kids cutting in front of me – etc. I would like to have the brace on – just in case somebody bumped me. No sense in tempting fate. But, I really wanted to go! No pain and had a great time!
    Happy Healing!
    Katherine

  583. Katherine – you are WONDER WOMAN!! :)

  584. Thank you Katherine and Sarah.

    You both are my inspiration. I’m very grateful for all your advice, tips and exercises. I was able to do about 20 minutes on the bike and then another 15 on the treadmill today. I’ll let you know how it goes. I wish the surgery was tomorrow, s o I can start being better. Please keep posting on your recoveries too. It’s very helpful and inspiring.

    -Joanne

  585. hey everyone
    I went to the first PT session and did pretty good, I thought I only had about 40-50 degress flex but find out I had 90 degrees I have been working since the 2 nd day post op with the leg lifts and knee bends. I hope to get to the 100′s by monday the 2nd day PT. I also had my one week post op visit the doctor was glad to see I am doing so well. I found out my entire procedure, because I have been having a lot of pain and I am no baby when it cames to pain I can usually take it. The doctor had to fix my meniscus as well I have a small Medial Meniscus tear he didn’t fix, but the larger Lateral Meniscus tear he did fix, he did the ACl reconstruction with aloograft two anchors and titaniunm button in the tibia that will stay forever. He also did a debridement of the medical condyl (shaving of the bone). I looked at the pictures he gave me and my ACL was a mess all twisted and torn up in the knee. I hope to get my life back soon I only need to get to 130 degrees to match the other side and I think I can do this in the next 4 PT visits, its the strenght that i worry about, that quad is not as strong as I would like it to be. I’m still icing and using at least one crutch when up and around, i ditched the brace on the 3rd day post op it was too hot for me, I do have a functional brace which i will start wearing until I get adequete quad control. JOANNE YOU WILL BE FINE, AND YOU WILL BE GLAD THAT YOU HAD THE SURGERY, WILL BE THINKING AND PRAYING FOR YOU MY SISTER.

  586. Joanne
    By the way I was driving on day 4, I have taken my car to the shop and back and forth to therapy and doctors appts. I have four children 11, 9, 9, and 2 and they have been helpful. My 73 year old mother thinks I should not be doing anything, but i need to move around. I was nervous before the surgery even though i knew what to expect i see knee scopes and repairs all of the time. My blood pressure was very high, but I couldn’t worry about that I had taken my medications and they have stuff for BP at the hospital anyway. Take a good book or crossword puzzle with you to the hospital while you wait and a good driver someone thats not going to worry you while you wait. I took my cousin she was great and had me laughing. Get rest before the surgery and write down any questions you may have for the surgeon, he should see you before the surgery. If you need to know like i did ask for a copy of the scope pictures, take them with you to your first visit and ask for them to explain. If the hospital offers a femoral block get it, that will help with the pain for 12 hours, more if you get the continues infusion like i did, i could have been numb for 4 days thats how much ropivicaine i had in the machine. And try to take your surgical staff something good to eat like baked cookies or something, they take really good care of you when they have food. I took everyone a bag of pecan brittle that was to die for.

  587. Thank you so much Shawna! I really appreciate all the good thoughts and prayers. You are also doing awesome with your recovery. You give me a lot of hope.

    That’s a good idea about getting pictures. My doc said I would have two screws in me permanently to anchor the new tendon. We actually didn’t discuss the fem block. But I will see him before the surgery.

    Yes, I have my ipod ready, crossword puzzles,books, movies…etc. I just need to have the surgery. I just want to get it over with so I can start the recovery. Right now, I’m doing my routine house cleaning and getting all my laundry done. I have to take my dogs to the vet for the annuals tomorrow and I’ll be ready for surgery.

    I’ve been doing my exercises, plus, I have a stationary bike at home so I’m doing that too. I wish I had more time in a way to get my legs stronger, cause my quads and inner thighs are mush. But I’m less worried today about the surgery and recovery, than when my doctor first told me. I do believe this will be good in the end.

  588. Hi All,
    I’m scheduled to have ACL reconstruction with autograft of hamstring on my left knee this coming wed, aug 19th. I’m feeling extremely anxious about being put under, anyone out there have any suggestions. I have an irrational fear of not waking up!! I know it’s silly, but I can’t help it. I have a history of being somewhat borderline hypertensive(high blood pressure), but never enough to be on medication. I guess i’m worried how that might effect me on the day of surgery, since i’m sure my nerves will make my blood pressure high for sure!! Any suggestions out there on what might help me be more at ease??? Thanks for any and all advice.

  589. Hey everyone,

    I’m one month post surgery and my surgeon just gave me 40 degrees of bend on my brace. I’m also down to one crutch instead of two. Does anyone have any suggestions of how to get my leg stronger to walk without any crutch and also when I will know I’m ready to ditch the crutch? Thanks!

  590. Sandals,
    I had a spinal (with epidural follow-up if needed…it wasn’t) along with a femoral nerve catheter bock and a sciatic nerve block. No issues with pain and I stayed awake and watched the entire procedure. If interested, ask for someone with nerve block experience when you discuss your anesthesia options at the hospital. -Kyle

  591. Hi Sandals,

    I would talk about your concerns and options with your regular doctor, surgeon and anesthesiologist. I think they should be able to calm your fears and as long as they know your medical condition and any medicines or supplements you take, all should be fine. I was told for me most of the anesthesia is local and then they give you something to make you fall asleep. I had anesthesia once before and I had no problems even though I’m diabetic.

    My sister had an epidural for child birth. The procedure was fine but she does have some after affects from it. Even though it is 13 years since she had it, she still feels her back aches in that spot where the epidural was placed, when it rains and when she overdoes it (physically). Research your options and definitely talk about it with your doctor.

    I’m having surgery the day before you. Good luck. -Joanne

  592. Hi Emily,

    I’m just over 8 weeks post now, and I asked the same thing about when to ditch the crutches. Most everyone said you just have to bite the bullet and do it. It’s mostly in your mind that you can’t so you hesitate and don’t go there unless you have to. I made myself get off mine at about 2 1/2 weeks, and have never looked back. It was the best thing I could have done. I didn’t have any meniscus damage, though, and if you do have some, weight bearing may be something to discuss with your PT or doctor. In any case, I’m much better off because I decided I was tired of the crutch. Some people are off theirs in less than a week, so I have to believe it’s a matter of how much swelling you have, and how much patience you’ve lost.

    It feels really weird when you first go without it, but it’s worth it in the end. The freedom without the crutch is amazing!

    Good luck!!

  593. Sandals
    I won’t to wish you much luck and sucess on your surgery, I told the MDA i did not want a endotracheal tube down my throat because every general i have waken up with a sore throat for 4 days. I am also hypertensive since the birth of my first child 12 years ago. It usally undercontrol with the small dose of medicaine i take. But on the day of the surgery it was extremly high from the time i walk in pre-op to my discharge and a few days after surgery. I was talking and joking with the staff and i dont think it was nerves but who knows. I had the fem block and sciatic nerve block and a little propafol to put me to sleep for the procedure, i felt fine after, the block had me so numb i didn’t know i had a leg. I also has the cont catheter in the groin releasing ropivicaine a numbing medication which i has 400 ml it would last you for 4 days if you want. but don’t step on the numb foot or you will fall, i lost my balance 2nd day and fell backwards onto the couch, glad that couch was there, but i didn’t feel a thing and i had on my brace thank God. I hope all of this info helps you but know that it is you and the anesthesia that determines how you will be for the surgery. there goal is to make the procedure safe for you and to keep you pain free for as long as possible. I had awesome Doctors at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak , MI and my surgeon takes care of the Detroit Lions, red wings and the Detroit Shock, he did an awesome job. I posted my pictures on Face book any of you on FB

  594. Thanks to Shawna, Joanne, and Kyle for all your feedback. My understanding is that the ortho surgeon I’m going to does general anesthesia and a nerve block (not sure what type specifically) for all ACL surgeries. He basically said it would be to my benefit for the purpose of least amount of pain possible. I shopped around before I decided on this surgeon, so I trust he has my best interest in mind. He was the team surgeon for the 1996 US men’s olympic team, as well as for the Houston Rockets during their championship years. Also while I doctor shopped and spoke with as many others about their ACL surgeries, it seems most do or had general anesthesia that I have spoken to.

    Joanne, I particularly appreciate the feedback you gave on the cons of an epidural as your sister had. My mother had one during childbirth, and she too has the same problems even over 30 yrs later! It helps to know you’ve been under anesthesia w/no problems in the past even with a pre-existing medical condition. Good luck to you on your surgery as well!!

  595. Sandals that is a good choice the general with the fem nerve block it will help with the pain if you get a sciatic nerve block it will help with the pain in the back of the knee, the fem block does not do that. so good luck my dear you are going to be fine.

    Hey everyone the second day at PT and i have 104 degrees flex was able to get on the bike today to warm up, its still very stiff and sore and my therapist was digging into my incisions and messaging them that hurt a lot. I amm trying very hard to get rid of that darn swelling its holding me up with the ROM. Thanks all for the encouragement and thoughts.

  596. Pt told me to ditch the crutches at home and at therapy, but use at least one out in the streets, so that people say away from me and i don’t get tripped up or bumped. they were very surprised that i didn’t have hte brace on the first day i came to therapy. will keep you posted

  597. Shawna,
    I always have done that with one crutch. I use it like a Shepherd’s staff to herd rambunctious children away from me! :-)
    I did risk going to the State Fair last Thursday w/o crutch or brace. (3 weeks post op to the day.) I don’t have my brace, as it had to be sent back to be re-fitted. I missed the crutch that day, but was more mobile not dragging it around.

  598. Sandals,
    Not to scare you, but I am allergic to anesthesia. My first outpatient surgery, I woke up seven days later – and puked for another week or 10 days after that. I was lucky to wake up at all. If you have any sensitivity to pain medicine, or sensitivity to anything that says “may cause drowsiness.” For example, if I were to take an over the counter cold medicine that says ‘may cause drowsiness’. I have 20 minutes to get in bed…..and I’m gonna be there for a while. I always say, “May cause Coma.” I just learned that because I have bad kidneys (which I didn’t know until about age 33) that most of the drugs they give you metabolise in the kidneys. Generally, the medical field will protect the liver over the kidneys. For me, this last surgery, they gave me drugs that metabolised in my liver and I woke up right away and had no nausea either. THAT was wonderful. So, if you get nauseated w/ pain meds – mention that to the anesthesiologist, or sensitivity to anything that causes drowsiness…tell them that, too. The downside is, you will have more pain if you are less stoned……but I hate being stoned!
    Good luck, and you’ll be fine.

  599. Thanx for the info Katherine. I have gotten nauseated with Vicodin numerous times in the past, so good to know I should mention this to the anesthesiologist. I too can be sensitive to drowsy inducing meds, but not quite as sensitive as what you described. Nevertheless, I will be sure to mention all this! Thanks again

  600. thanx shawna for the well wishes, i’ll keep you guys posted on my progress post surgery!

  601. Good luck Sandals and to everyone, keep up the excellent progress!

    So I found out my surgery is at 7:30 am tomorrow and I have to be there at 5:45AM (what??). That’s means I have to get up at 4am and get a car service in.

    It’s such a weird feeling for me to be up and walking now, knowing tomorrow I will be either in pain, some what bed-ridden and hobbling around afterwards. Well, I will post as soon as I’m able to and let you all know how it went.

  602. oh, ps: Sandals:

    I never had any issues with vicotin, percset or any other pain relievers, even over-the-counter. I had told the anesthesiologist before the surgery, that I did not want to wake up with the tube in my throat and I didn’t. I woke up within minutes of them bringing me into the recovery room.

    Wow, katherine that is extremely scary. Lucky you now have another type of anesthesia to use. It’s very good to know about the different medicines that metabolize in the kidneys vs the liver.

  603. Joanne,
    I’ll have u in my thoughts tomorrow….i can relate to the early morning surgery, mine will be 8am on wednesday morning, and i have to be there at 6:30am!! I can totally identify with that feeling of being able to walk around today, knowing you’ll be down the next…..however, try to remember the positive thing is that once you recover, you’ll have full use of your knee again!!! Take care.
    Sandals

  604. Good luck with your surgeries Joanne and Sandals! I was really scared before mine also, but turned out to be wasted energy, since that was the easiest part. The nurse even gave me a valium while I was waiting before surgery and that took the edge off :) I found the first three days to be the worst in terms of pain but after that it gets much, much better.

    I am a little over two months out and finally feel like a normal person – not sports normal, but still pretty good. Rode 20 miles on my bike yesterday, balanced and did squats on a bosu ball today in PT, knee feels stable and muscles are coming back. Had a hamstring graft and still working on strengthening that area.

    Hang in there everyone…there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if you feel like your recovery is going slowly, you will get there.

  605. Thanks for those validating and comforting hopeful words, Stephanie!! It’s nice to hear you felt the same way and to hear you’re doing great now!! Sounds like you’re definitely on the road to recovery! Best of luck the rest of the way!!
    Sandals

  606. Why is the devil always trying to keep a person down. I had the surgery on Aug 7th and i still have numbness in my left foot i dont know if it is from the blocks or from the knee surgery itself. All i know is that i am suffering from peronal nerve palsy at this time and its getting on my last nerve(no pun intended) I had my 3rd PT visit doing marches forward and backward,calf streches,and stool scoots forward and backward, the total gym and calf raises, I do the other exercises at home leg lifts and knee bends using a towel. I have gain another 5 degrees on the flex and can now feel the back of the table with my knee. so now at 109 degrees the progress is slowly coming. I dont know if the progress is slow because i’m almost 40 years old in SEPT or what but i thought i would feel better then i do by now. I hope you guys a recovering better then i am at this point, i just wish i could feel my foot and the burning at the top of the foot would stop. Help has anyone else experienced this?

  607. to shawna. Hi. I had a meniscal repair back on June 2 and am awaiting to fully recover to have my ACL reconstructed. I too had/have foot and toe numbness, especially just around the big toe nail, painful at first touch, but then it kind of subsides. It was really bad the first month and is just a little tingly, a little numb now. I attributed it to the nasty uncomfortable brace, but I stopped using it after 1 week and the numbness continued. My surgeon was not concerned as I have feeling in the foot. I will ask my primary doctor about it next week.

    Stephanie- good to see you are doing so well. If you look back, our situations are similar, but I am still waiting to have the acl and have had quite the time trying to recover from the bucket handle tear meniscus repair, very slow indeed. I am now doing aquatic therapy and it is wonderful. I went from 95 degrees flexion to 118 (with help) in 6 days. Yea. There is hope! Just sitting here, however, I can squeek out about 100. Unfortunately I am still using crutches, one part time. Who knew getting old would be such a pain (at only 48!).

    I hope to have the ACL surgery this year as my out of pocket $ is nearing it’s limit. That would be nice.

    good luck to all and happy rehabbing

  608. Shawna,
    That is horrible. Must be a horrible feeling. I only can tell you that I had a baby tooth filled when I was 5 (one of the ones that stays until your are 12) and the numbing stuff lasted for over a week. It was so horrible. I could not feel my mouth and talked funny. I was in Kindergarten and got lots of fun poked my direction. Later in life, I learned I was allergic to anesthetics – including any of the ‘caine’s’ that were used in dentistry.

    I wish you the best of luck and would talk to your surgeon ASAP!

    Katherine

  609. Laurie
    why did they do the meniscus repair and not the ACL reconstruction on the same day, i went in for a ACL reconstruction and has that and mus\ch more, my meniscus was torn in two areas the medal and lateral the lateral area was the worst and that is what he shaved down, and sont think he did anything with the medal tear which was very small, but i am glad i had everthing done in the knee. I dont know why my foot is tingling and sore to touch it could have been the sciatic block and a reation to that, i was told its not that uncommon to have some numbness in the lower extremity and my doctor thinks it will clear up in a couple more days. I will keep you guys posted on the progress.

  610. I had a meniscus tear and a patella to bone graft repair, as well as tightening of my Medial – collateral ligament and lateral – collateral ligament all at the same time in Dec. of 1990.

    I question the decision to do only the meniscus tear as well.

    Katherine

  611. hi, the reason he wanted to separate the two surgeries (large meniscus tear repair with stitches, ACL) was when I fell, the bucket handle tear (BHT) meniscus folded over and locked my knee, it would not bend. Then after two weeks of it being locked, (initial dr. visit, mri, followup, schedule surgery) we had to wait until he got into the knee to see if it was repairable (favored) or if it was to be removed ( total meniscectomy). If repaired, it required that I not bear weight on it for 4-6 weeks so that the stitches and meniscus could heal without damaging it. Had he removed the meniscus (or a large portion of it) he would have performed the ACL surgery at the same time as removing the meniscus. The removal of a meniscus is a much simpler procedure and you can walk on it the next day. I’ve been told and have read many articles stating that the ACL needs to bend and stretch and have weight on it near immediately to get good results.

    Oh yes, my acl is not there. It was injured in 1978 and the technology was not there to determine what was wrong (rural Iowa). I was told to take some asprin, wear this velcro straight brace and don’t walk on it for 6 weeks. Nothing more. 31 years later…

    On one hand meniscus removal – shave – clean up the rough edges:
    Pros: short rehab, combined surgery, walk within a week.
    Cons: long term outlook poor as the knee is now more susceptable to arthritis, joint pain as the cushion has been removed, need for knee replacement much more common

    On the other hand, meniscus repair (stitch the edges back together):
    Pros: healthy meniscus, healthy knee, arthritis risk significantly lowered, no tissue removed

    Cons: LONG rehab, non weight bearing 4-6 weeks, then 4-6 weeks pt +.

    I wanted the removal since it was the easy route, but I prayed for the repair so that my chances of a long term relationship with my knee would be possible.

    I have every faith in my surgeon as he has worked with many Houston Rockets and Houston Texans players,and is considered one of the premier surgeons in our area.

    Thanks for your comments.

  612. I’m 4 weeks post op today. I’m trying to remember 1990 and if this surgery really has been so much easier than the Patella graft in 1990. I actually had put my lower leg ‘on the backside’ at that time. That is, I was lying on my face in the dirt and my foot/calf from the knee was rotated out and my foot was pointing to the sky.
    At that time, I had a Dr. who set me back – prior to getting on the right track – and getting the meniscus repaired and all the ligaments. So, the initial injury was much more traumatic and painful. The injury itself was a lot worse than this right knee injury I did in May. However, I know in 1990, I walked with crutches only for support the day of the surgery, and the second day, they had me go up and down stairs in PT. I definitely had more pain w/ the patella graft, but it was tolerable w/o pain meds most of the time after 3 days.
    Anyway, funny how we forget pain and recovery….
    I walked my dog today and forgot to wear my brace, which I just got back yesterday, after having it refitted. I walked for two miles just for fun – and because my poor dog hasn’t been walked enough. I didn’t think much about my knee. I did weigh myself today. I’ve lost 6 pounds since July 19 (my surgery was July 23), and I am SURE the weight loss is all muscle. Mostly in my leg. I am still doing yoga with no twisting moves. I’m walking up and down stairs alternating legs like normal people walk. I’m just waiting for the release to begin weight lifting on Aug. 31. Weight-lifting is my favorite exercise. Not fun sport – like horseback riding – but my favorite exercise. I just hope a year from now this cadaver graft is as wonderful as my patella graft was after 1 year. And 15 years. And 19 3/4 years……
    I still have a very long way to go. I was trying to get to my phone quickly at work – and I cannot run. Found that out! :(

  613. [...] copying and pasting below another update from Katherine, taken from The ACL Repair Blog. She’s one of my big inspirations to get this knee back into shape fast! Author: [...]

  614. katherine, that’s awesome that you can walk your dog for 2 miles. again, i’m totally inspired by how strong your recovery is. hope you don’t mind, i’m blogging about it on “love your knees” again. :)

    http://loveyourknees.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/update-from-katherine/

  615. katherine i have been trying to run since i got injuried on june 6, i have been caught in rain storms and everything because i couldn’t get shelter, it is crazy not to be able to run. becareful katherine you don’t want to mess up your great recovery. Has any one had any problems with numbness in the feet after the meniscus repair?

  616. shawna, my heel did feel a bit numb right after the surgery. rather it had a dull ache. it went away after a few days. i told my doctor about it but he didn’t seem concerned. hope you feel better soon!

    sarah

  617. sarah i just went on your site , the burns on your legs may be from the bovie pad, it has a lot of adhesive in it and your could be allergic,bovie pad is a pad that is uses to divert the electrical current from traveling through out the body, it is a cautery pencil used to burn the skin or tissue to keep from bleeding. another thought if it was the operative leg it could have been the dressing or some kind of tape burn, it looked like a blister so i thinking an allergy to tape or something in the dressing. Let me know what the doctor says about that. cover the blister if it burst and put so bacitracin ointment or neosporin on it to keep form getting infected after a couple of days let it heal to the air remove the bandaid.Shawna

  618. Bike wreck–yikes! Put foot down. Knee went one way, body went the other. Completely torn ACL. Partially damaged MCL and LCL (healed on their own). Minor to moderate medial and lateral meniscus shredding. Wreck May 15. Surgery June 30. Sooo…

    I’m at 7.5 weeks post op, seeing my PT once a week, and have been back at work for three weeks. Had a hamstring graft and medial and lateral meniscus minor to moderate trimming (not repair since they were shredded). Harvest site is a little sore (they said it would be). Knee is still somewhat swollen internally even though you can barely see it externally, a little painful once in awhile, a bit gimpy walk sometimes (especially at work), but other than the above I think it’s getting better day by day. I can go down stairs one after the other now… carefully. Up stairs was no problem from about 2 weeks. Still using ice 2-3 times a day and sometimes at work.

    I’ve hit a bit of a plateau. I was expecting it, but I’d progressed so quickly at first that I’d hoped it would continue. I haven’t stopped progressing. Just a bit slower now.

    Here is a question. Well, first an explanation and then a question… I’m sitting at work 8 hours a day, 4 days a week, up and move around once every couple of hours. I have my leg up on a stool and wiggle my foot around quite often. Not the most comfortable position so I put my foot down, put it back up, down, up… you get the picture. By the end of the day my ankle and foot are pretty swollen. Not sure quite what to do about it other than elevate and ice at night. Any suggestions? Anyone else having this problem? I told my PT about it and she said as long as it was going down overnight it should be OK. I don’t go back to my OS for another couple of weeks.

    Thanks for any input. I just came to this forum from another blog and am really getting a lot of benefit from reading everyone’s stories and all the help we get from one another. Good to be here!

    Diana

  619. Hi everyone,

    Had surgery and it’s been rough. it’s my 3rd day post op and I’m finally feeling a little better. I had the fem block and general anesthesia. When I woke up after surgery I was in a lot of pain. I think they should have also given me the syiatic block, as the back of my knee hurt and so did my ankle. Dr said surgery was more extensive than he first thought. I had a lot more damage to knee cap and cartilage. Surgery took 2 1/2 hours as opposed to 1.

    They had to given me so many pain killers after surgery, they were surprised how well I tolerated them. No nausea. When I went home that same day, Dr wanted me to use the CPM machine since I had the fem block. I got up to 106 and then next day was 42, yesterday was 70. I’m working on getting higher today. The Aleive with vicodin have been helping alot. I find it hard to walk with crutches or “sticks” as my nephew calls them. I have no upper body strength.

    I have my first post op visit on Monday. My doctor wants me to rest this week, but use CPM at least 6 hours a day. Last night I slept with it on and didn’t feel as sore or stiff this morning. I can’t wait to be independent again.

    Shawna, your’re doing well. Don’t lose faith. I feel a little tingliness too. It probably is from the block.

    Good luck everyone as we recover. I’m very grateful for this blog.

    -Joanne

  620. joannne
    i am so glad that your surgery went well, its very tough at first and we all can have a textbook recovery, the point of this site is to share information, but know that everyone will react differently to there recovery. Yes you should have problably had the sciatic nerve block it takes care of the back of the knee, something the femoral block doesn’t. Has for pain pill i am still taking mine and i don’t consider myself a that bad with pain but this hurts worst then the 9lb 3oz delivery i had 12 years ago. i hope you cont to do well and keep with the contiuned passive motion machine as it will help keep it loose. I sometimes use heat on my knee to help with muscle tightness and swelling. My PT is trying to kill me, the stretches that is the only thing i can not tolerate in PT. she added some more exercises today so i was glad about that. I hurts like a bitch when i try to go up and down the stairs going up is better then down though so she added step ups in PT today maybe it will get better. I am about to put the shower chair to rest as i can get in and out of my high ass tub the tub comes up to my knee now i can get in and out with out scooting onto the chair and out of the chair. the tub is so deep and i wish i had never seen that jet tub in the first place.

  621. can i ask you guys are your co workers or friends as supportive as you thought they would be as you recover. I have a bout a handful of true friends that know how hard it is for me to get around, who have been there for me. I am very disappointed with the Dojo how they handled me getting hurt at the tourniment, no card visit or anything. I am also diappointed with my co workers they suck i worked for 5 weeks doing whatever i could to help out and keep working, and i didn’t get one card from them after i went in for the surgery. This people are healthcare professionals how can they treat their own employee or co worker like that. It makes me sick to the stomach ,me someone who is not a slacker at work very productive and hardly ever calls in, when i got hurt initally i was made to take the two weeks off, but begged to go back. Tell me what you thing about that? Am i just complaining because i miss working. i feel sad

  622. Hi Shawna,

    Yes, I agree this recovery so far is a bitch and not being able to take care of myself is just hard. I’m so not used to it. I only have pain meds thru Monday. I hope he gives me more as mornings are rough. I’m afraid of my first PT sessions as I’m sure they are going to hurt. But I want to be independent again and normal so I will do what they say. I too have a high tub. I don’t have a shower chair either. I think I may need one.

    I know what you mean about co-workers. They should send a card or maybe when you return do something. My boss and co-workers wanted me to call after surgery and let them know I’m okay. For me, I find sometimes they may be a little too intrusive. I left a message when I knew they weren’t there, cause I know they would have asked me a million questions and I wasn’t in the mood at that point. My coworker and boss keep comparing me to someone they know who had it and are like judging why do you need 2 weeks when so and so was back to work in a week…etc. It’s like everyone is different. I’m not an athlete. They are.

    Don’t stress ’bout you’re co-workers. Like you said, you know who you’re friends are. I just wouldn’t go out of you’re way for them. Ppl just don’t get what it’s like to not have mobility. We take it for granted. Don’t be sad, you need to concentrate on you. Work will always be there.

    keep strong.
    -Joanne

  623. Hi everyone,

    I wanted to ask how do I get up and down stairs with crutches and a locked brace? My first post op appt is Monday. I’m wondering also when I’m back at work in 2 or 3 Mondays from now, how to navigate the bus. It’s 3 steep steps. I think I can make it up. but how do I go down with out falling?

    Thanks,
    Joanne

  624. ok joann i dont know what your surgeon has told you about the brace and if you need to keep it on until you see him. Most doc have you wear the brace until you have good quad control. I told you i took mines off after the third day post op. I couldn’t come to my house for the first days because i was so numb i couldn’t get up the stairs, i had to sit down and scoot up the stairs at my cousins house and scoot into her kitchen she helped me get into the shower chair and i got up on crutches from there. i still have trouble going up and down the stairs normally, i do the one leg thing down with the crutch first and then the bad leg ( operative leg) and then the good leg, repeat i don’t alternate yet i doing that in PT now and i tried the bottom step and it hurt like crazy telling me i wasn’t ready for that. to go up the steps up with the good leg and drag the bad after that always use the crutches. ok so you are 4 days post op all the numbness should be gone, while in the bed start doing the straight leg raises to strenghthen the quad and the try to bend the knee up and back down that is called heel slides. Look at your instructions does it say can take brace off when you had good quad control if so try it in your room only or near a chair and get up with the crutches, if not keep that brace on and stay away from the stairs, please have someone with you when you go up or come down. Thanks for the comment about the co-workers/employer. I hope this helps. if you need some moral support my email address is shawna.murry@yahoo.com. Oh by the way get a shower chair it is a big help i put the back of the chair toward the shower, scoot on to the chair and i can put the operative leg on the back of the tub. I was glad to have a 72 year old mom who had the stuff i needed to aid in my recover for at least a few days.

  625. i was concern about going down and went to my PT before surgery the trick is to have the strong leg hold you up so the bad leg and the crutches go down first and then the good leg.

  626. Thanks, Shawna.

    My surgeon told me to only use the brace when walking. But in bed, I can take it off. I have 4 steps to come in my house. I did them when I came home from the hospital, but my brother in law held me from the back and kind of lifted me a little as I took each step. It was hard as I felt my bad leg would give in.

    I have my sister and brother in law taking me to my dr visit. My sister had suggested to ditch the crutch going down and hold on to the railing and go with the good leg and swing the bad leg. I’m not sure that will work, as I can’t bend the bad leg with this locked brace. I will try how you said. But they will be with me. I figured worse comes to worse i would do the scoot as well and just sit down and go that way.

    My dr, didn’t want me working on strengthening this week. He felt it was more important to get the swelling down, which would reduce the pain and heal faster. Who knows. The only exercise was the CPM machine and exercises flexing the foot back and forth. He also recommend putting my ankles on two pillows and let my knees drop down, so the tendon would fall into place. I felt it was better to do it on the CPM. So I set the CPM to -2 on EXT (extension) and gradually got to -6. It feels like a good stretch. I’m up to 90 degrees on the CPM.

    My email address is dolce0301@optonline.net.

  627. Joanne,
    You stand on your good leg and hold your braced leg in front of you. You put your crutches down on the step in front of you. Transfer your weight from your good leg to the crutches. Then, step down with your good leg, supporting yourself with the crutches and holding the bad leg raised slightly in front of you. They should teach you how to do this and help you practice a few times.
    Katherine

  628. Joanne – My PT gave me these little words of wisdom when tackling stairs.

    Up with the good (leg)
    Down with the bad (leg)

    I find myself repeating it every time I get near steps.
    Go up the stairs with the good leg, do down the stairs with the bad leg.

    I use one crutch and the handrail when possible using the formula above and keeping the crutch on the same step as the bad leg. One step at a time.

    I have used both crutches but seem to feel like I might lose my balance, it’s ok if someone is there to assist you though. I even tried both crutches on one side so that I’d have both at the other end. THAT was NOT a very good idea and don’t recommend it!

    good luck.

  629. Joanne
    hope the appt went well for you today, keep with the CPM machine as directed, i didn’t have a CPM, i guess they don’t do that here in michigan because most people i talk to have PT right away like 5 days post-op. Hope all of the advise worked from me, Laurie and Katherine. Good luck talk to you later by the way i am up to 113 degrees flexion and 0 extention. Progress is slowely coming this friday is 3 weeks exactly
    Shawna

  630. Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I tried the way Katherine suggested. It worked, but I don’t think I would do that when I’m alone just yet. Too scary. My brother-in-law stayed in front of me and my sister next to me and we went down one step at a time together.

    Thanks, Shawna My appt went well. He said he normally sees patients after two weeks, but he’s going on vacation next week and he didn’t want me to have to wait till third week. He took off the bandages and he was happy with my progress. He told me to keep it up and that I can start PT on Thursday. He joked with with me how I was walking w/ the crutches. He’s like “what are you doing? Get the crutches out your armpits, stand up straight, swing both crutches with the bad leg and take step. See now you’re walking normal.” I was like what the hunched over, little old lady style wasn’t working. Oh well.

    He wants me out of work for an additional two weeks. Since it was more involved, he doesn’t want me to commute to and from work, just yet.

    I feel better to have the heavy bandage off. But my incisions are a bit tender. He covered it with tape (butterfly stitch) to be safe and a lighter bandage. I only have to wear the brace outside for now to be safe. But he adjusted it and made it a flexible brace. :-)

  631. Shawna keep up the great work!

    Every dr and PT are different. I wouldn’t question it. My dr. did say that conventional medicine is getting ppl to PT 5 days after surgery. He just doesn’t a different way.

  632. Hi All,
    I initially tore my ACL 5 years ago playing soccer and went through all the necessary physio to regain strength in my knee. However I opted not to have surgery. Life continued as normal and I could do most things like swimming, running, cycling, but i could still not play sports with fast change direction ie. soccer.
    I made the decision this year to go under the knife and have the surgery.
    The specialist i saw recommended the hamstring graft (which is from the same injured leg) and I took his advise and went ahead with the surgery.
    I must say I was suprised with the results.
    I was on crutches for no longer than 3 days and was walking around (gingerly) as I was told that the quicker you start walking on your own the better. I was back at work after 2 weeks. I had no pain whatsoever and had not been on pain killers at any stage post op. Swelling was also very minimal and no-where near the same amount of swelling as from the initial injury. At no stage have i worn a knee brace and i have iced it as much as possible. All follow up appointments to GPs and physio were pleasantly suprised with the progress within the first 2 weeks.
    I am at 2 months now after the surgery and have continued with physio twice a week. My knee movement is at 90% range and I still have some minimal swelling in the knee. Hamstring has been in reasonably good throughout.
    It is important to do the exercises immediately after surgery (flexing the quad and pushing your heel down on a flat surface).
    I highly recommend getting your leg as strong as possible before surgery to give you a faster recovery time. Obviously a great physio helps to get you back to normal and ask as them as many questions as you can think of regardng your recovery. Also a great surgeon who specialises in knee reconstructions makes the surgery as less traumatic as possible.
    Good luck to all.

  633. Hi Michael,
    My story is alot like yours -except my left knee was patella graft and my right knee (4 1/2 weeks post op) is a cadaver graft. Guys almost always do well with this surgery – it’s the women who have problems due to the hips and knees not tracking straight – like guys. We have alot more pressure on our knees due to physiology.
    You’re two months post op – don’t be surprised if you have a plateau in your recovery – just keep on working thru it and you will continue to get better. It’s fun when progress looks like a jet taking off……..but it doesn’t always go that way all the time. I know I’ve had a much easier time than most people with these surgeries – and yet I still have had plateaus in recovery. They can be a real downer…….don’t let them get you down.
    Katherine

  634. Good luck Michael, sounds like you are doing awesome. Keep it up.

  635. Peace be upon you all :)

    Last Friday (the 21st) I underwent ACL surgery on my left knee and got an allograft, All Praise is due to God. The first few days of pain were really bad….I took vicodin but eventually stopped because I hear its a bit strong and some people even get addicted? Anyways, I have been wearing an extra-bulky brace and within it my knee is enwrapped with a bandage. Today I went for my first visit since surgery and the Doc unwrapped the bandage and removed the knee brace. To my surprise my knee wasn’t as swollen as I thought it would be but there were many incisions made, at least 5-6 from what I can remember.

    The doc wrapped my knee back up and put the brace back on. I asked him when I could take it off and he said the next time I see him, which is next week. I was surprised when he told me this because I’ve been reading the recovery stories on here where people say they got rid of the brace within the first week and started therapy too. Either way I’m gonna go with what my doctor says and stick with the brace. He also told me that the knee looked clean and things were going well.

    Also, today I started to put some pressure on my left leg and it wasn’t too bad at all. The only thing that hurts is when the brace drags down (when im standing up) and pulls on the staples/stitches inside. That being said, any recommendations or headsup?

    Thanks!
    Ali

  636. Hi Ali,

    Welcome. I only have 4 incisions. Yes, pain is bad the first few days. It’s important to distinguish between pain and soreness. I took the vicodin when I had pain. I took about 4 a day for the first 2 days and then 2 a day to nothing for the past 3 days. I don’t feel I need it anymore. I don’t miss it. You can get addicted to it, but I think that’s only if you misuse it.

    The brace is annoying. I was told to wear it when walking the first week. But I do not need it if I’m on the couch or in bed. Right now, I’m 8 days since surgery and I do not use it in the house at all. I only have to use it outside. It seems like every doctor has different opinions. My dr had also said if I was able to put weight on my bad knee and walk with the crutches that it was fine to not have the brace. Once I can walk with out a limp, I can ditch the crutches all together or only use one crutch.

    The brace does slide down and it really irritates the incisions. I would suggest making the first strap on your thigh a little tighter to help it stay up. There really isn’t much you can do to completely stop it from sliding.

    Good luck with your recovery.

    -Joanne

  637. hey everyone just wanted to update you on my progress. I went to PT today ached all night and during the PT session, however i pushed through the pain and worked it out. I have 0 extension still and 120 degrees flex which i think is great. I asked the therapist when will i be able to get on the elliptical machine and we might try it on friday or in next weeks sessions. As for work she said that i wouldn’t be ready until maybe the 1st week of October, i will probably ask to go and work in Pre-op and Post -op instead of the Operating room until i have more strenght, so we will see. i know my job is not interested in having back if i have to work with restrictions again, we did that when i first got injuried and they didn’t have enough stuff oto keep me busy pass three weeks and i worked for five. so i guess i will try to get it together and start walking like i should so i can get back to circulating in the OR. She did say i could play the wii fit with the children and to work on the balance games.

  638. BTW i only have three small incisions, i am completely happy with that, my therapist loves to push and message my incisions, which hurt like crazy but they will do that in PT. They do this to keep scar tissue build up under the the incisions. Good luck with that. I had to get rid of that hot donjoy brace but i do have a post op brace i will start wearing when i get back to work, it is a defiance brace that they make to fit your leg only and you can get it in any color(i got pink) I will wear as need for my job of course since nurses tend to pivot a little more and for karate when i go back, tiger woods wears his when he golfs.

  639. hello all
    I got to 124 degrees flexion today at PT, i can get up to 129 with a little push from the therapist, it didn’t even hurt that much, i wonder if it is more flex because it is that time of the month for me. I am very happy about my progress, but i know i have a long way to go. I tried to do one of my karate katas and i can’t jump at all so i backed off and will cont to do what my therapist says. It like when katherine tried to run to the phone at work we can’t do these things yet. I started playing the wii with the kids, they are excited that mommy can play with them again.

  640. Hey everyone….so i tore my acl back in may on my left knee. At first the MRI wasnt clear so my surgeon (who is on the baltimore ravens sports medicine team) couldnt diagnose it. He said it looked as if it was some injury but not torn. well after having a few falls without warning and pain i went back and had another MRI. This time he told me that It was my acl that was torn. I chose to have allograft surgery and its scheduled for september the 10th. Im really not sure what to expect…..i work a sit down job so im only taking about 5 days off thinking I should be able to go back to work and sit there…..can someone please help. im so confused and debating on if i should just cancel the whole surgery or just get it over with……it seems when i walk now my knee will move the wrong way and i hit the ground….and my knee gets soo tired. especially when walking stairs…..

  641. Hi Shawna,

    wow, 124, that’s excellent. You’re progressing so well. Keep it up.

    -Joanne

  642. Hi Chrissy,

    I’m happy I did it. I tore my ACL, meniscus and had a lot of cartilage and bone cleanup. I would definitely do the surgery as soon as possible. Your ACL is your stabilizer. It’s what keeps your knee from wobbling. You have a higher chance of re-injuring yourself if you don’t. I got arthritis, because my injury damaged my knee cap and my dr had to shave all the bone spurs and smooth it out. Being that you keep falling, you are risking more damage to the knee. My dr told me the more our knees buckle, you get bone on bone with causes the damage to the knee, in the form of arthritis. I would just get over with. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can start recovery.

    It’s hard to say how long you will need. It depends on how fit you are now and how much damage you have to your knee. I did the allograft. Most ppl recover quicker with it. But if you are highly athletic, some have suggested the autograft, your own hamstring tendon or patella tendon is the way to go.

    I’m out 4 weeks, as I have had a lot of damage to my knee, plus I’m not athletic. But maybe you could do a work from home if you need more than 5 days. I highly suggest going to physical therapy before your surgery and get your quads as strong as you can. That also can cut down on the length of time you may need. Speak with your doctor. How long does he say you need?

    I know from my experience, I could never have gone back to work 1 week after surgery. I could hardly walk far with the crutches. I had a hard time with steps and sitting for more than an hour. My commute to and from work is lengthy. I have to rely on public transportation. Also, at the office, I found that it was hard to properly elevate my leg when I injured it. I was very uncomfortable. But everyone is different.

    I hope that helps. Let me know how it goes.
    Good luck
    -Joanne

  643. chrissy please go ahead with the surgery, if you are that unstableit is time. I was trying to becareful and fell a couple of time and when i finally did have my surgery, i had more damage then expected. I completely tore my ACL and had a grade 2 MCL tear i did in a karate tourniment. I was told to do PT for a few weeks and then reevaluated by the doctor. I went back to work and got my foot on the injuried leg swept by a co-worker and i had torn my meniscus it was painful, i still have a lot of pain now in the front of the knee at this point , but i am so happy that i got my knee fixed its been three weeks since surgery adn the surgoen did a lot of work in my knee, recovery is going good but i have a long way to go, to learn how to walk properly, jump and run i cant even cross my leg over to tie my shoe, but it will come in time. Get you knee fixed if you keep falling your meniscus could be in danger and your healing time will increase, like mines did. I can now bend my knee on my own 124 degrees, i need to get to 130 like the other leg, so good luck in your decision keep us posted regarding the surgery schedule Sept 10th. Btw i am still off of work, i am a nurse and stand all day it is no way i can go back to work sitting again so i’m trying to heal right, so that i can return. take as much time as you need, i think i might go back to work at the end of Sept only 8 hr days, not 12 hours. I did the allograft also didn’t want to risk taking my strong ligaments and doing the autograft to many knee problems in my family.

  644. Hey everyone
    i went to PT today, had a bad weekend i guess because it was so cool here in Michigan. iI had a lot of discomfort. I did manage to work out at the gym on saturday. I found a zumba gold class that i could attend, because i heard it was a great way to lose weight the gold class is for seniors and people with physical disabilities the therapist said that i should be able to take the regular zumba class at the end of october. I got to 125 degrees today, next monday i will be trying to run on the treadmill, she is doing everything according to protocal that is going to be scary. I hope that everyone else is doing good in their recovery. I will keep you posted.

  645. Tomorrow is 6 weeks post op. I started weight lifting on Monday (5 weeks 4 days – if you are counting….. :-D ) Anyway, I’ve had all my flexion back since week 2, and all my flexion back save 1 degree – until I got measured on Monday and I’m perfect now.
    Megan, my ATC started me doing single leg extensions and hamstring curls at #40 and #30 lbs respectively. Well, my leg is a little weak and I thought that was sort of rough. I was able to do 6 reps x 3 sets each, and probably could have done more – but why push it? Then, I tried #40lbs and #30 lbs respectively with my left leg and was practically doing it with my big toe. So, that made me think I better push it. I’ve always lifted weights, but haven’t been doing the single leg method for about 18 1/2 years, and haven’t been doing it all all for about 4 months. I forgot how much weight I was working with. Having decided I had my work cut out for me, I have already worked up to 10 reps x 3 sets. I will bump up the weights a week from today.
    Also, I am consciously making the decision to walk up and down stairs alternating feet like “normal people”. I was doing two ‘injured knee’ style and 1 normal knee and worked up to 1 and 1 and now I am just doing it the ‘right way’ all the time. If I need to cut myself some slack, I do it going DOWN STAIRS. I learned from my first knee injury that going down is harder than up. My father, who was in the front lines of Korea (and got shot and lost his leg) said that was true. Marching in the Mountains of Korea, uphill was preferable to downhill.
    My Doc said I could resume horseback riding, and then said your horse is calm and quiet, right?” My reply, “Uhh, no. She’s affectionately known as ‘Killer’, and she’s been off work for almost 4 months…” So, we agreed I would stick to longeing my mare and ride lesson horses for now and not my dressage horse. I’m still doing yoga and exercise bike. Not doing treadmill or pilates. I have been swimming several times in pools. No kids and no waves. Also, I’ve been motorcycling. I have no trouble holding the bike, even with my bad leg. (By the way, motorcycling is a ‘safe sport’ compared to horse back riding statistically. There are at least twice as many people riding motorcycles as there are riding horses, and yet equine accidents are twice as likely to be fatal than motorcycle accidents. So, buy your kids dirt bikes! :) (But, horses are way more exciting and fun.)
    So, now the weight lifting and the real rehab begins.

  646. Oops, I meant all my “extension back – except 1 degree……”

  647. Katerine
    you are doing such a good job on your recovery, i just don’t know what to say about your rehab. I can even catch up with you right now, but you are my inspiration. I went to PT today almost 4 week post-op and i think i am doing pretty good, i have all of my extention, but my flexion is only 125 by my self and 132 with the help of the therapist, i just think it is my quads not strong enough yet. the thing i worry about the most is the balance, mines suck and i was pretty good in karate, so that is what i am focusing on this week. I started some new more difficult exercises and not looking forward to the treadmill, the steps are tough but i mix it up and do normal sometimes, don’t want to tear something else. I started doing machines also with a small amount of weight 25 lbs, i will go up maybe next week.

  648. Shawna
    How do you not fall off a treadmill? I’m not even going to walk BY one!

    My surgical leg is pretty weak. I was visiting my best friend’s new indoor arena for the first time and walking in the sand on on the new gravel drive – I had problems. I have trouble in my yard, too, because my Maltese thinks he’s a terrier and digs little holes covered by the grass that I can’t see. I had a lot more trouble with this with my left leg back in 1990 and it was a good two years before one day I realized I was just walking and not thinking about any uneveness to the terrain. For now, I will stick to walking the dog on pavement and staying off the grass.
    I’ve got a long way to go.
    Katherine

  649. Shawna
    How do you not fall off a treadmill? I’m not even going to walk BY one!

    My surgical leg is pretty weak. I was visiting my best friend’s new indoor arena for the first time and walking in the sand and on the new gravel drive – I had problems. I have trouble in my yard, too, because my Maltese thinks he’s a terrier and digs little holes covered by the grass that I can’t see. I had a lot more trouble with this with my left leg back in 1990 and it was a good two years before one day I realized I was just walking and not thinking about any uneveness to the terrain. For now, I will stick to walking the dog on pavement and staying off the grass.
    I’ve got a long way to go.
    Katherine

  650. It is a long way to go Katherine, we have to learn so much, like running for instance and jumping. I would like to get back into karate. Before the surgery I got on the treadmill and did the incline, I only went 1-2 mph but it felt great to be on there,my therapist thought I was crazy. But this time I will wait for her to put me on it, she stated that i would be jogging. I don’t even run on the treadmill on a good day lol. I wonder if they have ever messed up someone new graft by pushing so hard? Sometimes i leave out of therapy hurting like crazy. I have uneven terrain in my back yard I have been out there but walking very slow. I still can’t get the steps going up is ok but i feel a little heavy on the bad leg and coming down is crazy. Any suggestions?

  651. Shawna,
    No. Just keep doing it a little of whatever makes your leg feel wierd – without pushing it. I have the ‘heavy leg’ feeling going down stairs, and when I first get up in the morning. My old trainer told me w/ my left leg to always do what you’re going to do as if that bad knee will be there for you and support you.

    I also know with my last knee surgery, that about 9 months out – I went on a vacation to the beach and the tide and shifting sand really helped my knee. I wouldn’t recommend playing in the ocean until 8 or 9 months post op – though. I know people who blew their knees out getting hit by a wave.

    I’m not ready for any shifting, sucking sand right now. In a couple of months, I’ll put on my brace and walk my dog on some loose gravel, though. :)

  652. Hi Ladies,

    Well, I had a little set-back. I went to PT on Tuesday and that night my steri-strips came off on the middle of knee. The incision hasn’t fully closed and is still a little split. It was also a little red and had some oozing of clear liquid. So I emailed my doctor and he put me back on antibiotics. I’m grateful that he’s always available by email, even while he’s on vacation.

    I’ve been cleaning the incision with peroxide and putting Neosporin on it. I’m glad it’s not the big incision on the leg. But being on the knee, I can’t go to PT this week per Dr’s orders.

    It’s little bit of a bummer. I was doing really well at PT on Tuesday. I took the express bus by myself and everything went ok. I was on the stationary bike for 5 minutes and then 5 minutes on the treadmill. The PT aide stayed with me while I was on the treadmill. I went slow and he was there in case my knee gave out. I felt great after I left.

    -Joanne

  653. I actually tried walking my two dogs to the mailbox yesterday, which is probably 150 feet away. But they pulled the whole way and went in different directions. So I won’t be doing that again with both of them. I think I will try one at a time. I find that my dogs listen to me less since the surgery.

    I know what you mean about walking on uneven surfaces. There’s a lot of potholes and sidewalks that are not completely flat. I find I’m always walking looking down. I was at a diner, and they told me it would be easier walking down the ramp. That would be a no. It’s harder as the decline makes you feel like you’re going to fall.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel very vulnerable walking by myself with the crutches. I feel like a target.

    -Joanne

  654. Greetings and peace be upon you All :)

    I am 2 weeks post-op and today I got to remove my brace for good and the staples were also removed from my knee. It felt so weird to take the brace off and walk around…my knee doesn’t really hurt (minus some of the incisions) but I can’t stretch it out fully, this is because I am scared to make it completely straight.

    Anyways, the doctor suggested that if I had access to a pool, to go in it and stretch out my knee/leg. I am wondering, can I do this in the Jacuzzi as well or is it too much because of the jets?

    God-Willing, I will be starting PT next week.

    Hope all is well with everyone else. May you have a speedy recovery, God-Willing :)

    ALI

  655. Hi everyone
    @Joanna sorry to hear about the infection in the knee incisions, i hope that the antibiotics work well on that, make sure that you take your temp and check for fever. Yes and please watch the dogs if they are big dogs they can drag you up and down the street.

    today I went to the Michigan State Fair and walked around for 3 1/2 hours, I did take one crutch unlike Katherine when she went because the terrain was too uneven to chance it without. i thought i would be sore and stiff but to my surprise i feel great. I wanted to go to the fair as this is the last year that we will have the fair, it may be a meijer in the next few years. I will ice well tonight and do my thing in PT tomorrow.

  656. Okay, this looks like a pretty helpful chain…ACL completely torn 5 weeks ago. Been in PT 2 times a week for the last five weeks. It’s been somewhat of a nightmare because my office is in Seattle but I live in Southern California…hence I am on a plane every week…in fact, I was on a flight 3 days after the injury in the full brace (first class upgrades are a real blessing when dealing with this injury). Here are my quesitons.

    1. I have opted for the allograft. I was referred to my doctor as being the best OS in Newport Beach for ACL, and apparently he does all of the reconstructions for local physicians that suffer the same injury. He is a strong believer in the allograft…he himself had a patellar tendon reconstruction 10 years ago and said that it is a perscription for arthritis in 7-10 years. However, I have read the same articles about the potential failures of the allograft in active people in my age group (30). I am an avid snowboarder, golfer, and general outdoorsman…and I don’t have time for round two…

    2. Recovery – While I am able to work from home I need to be able to travel as quickly as possible. As you may know, airports on crutches are simply impossible…right after the injury I navigated O’Hare, Seatac, SFO, Orange County…none of which were easily managed. Surgery is on October 8th. I would perfer to lay off the travel until I don’t need the crutches at all…what do you estimate the down time is??? I hear feedback from 1 week to 3 weeks…

    3. PT – Post op – how quickly were you in PT? How many times a week did you go?

    4. Continuous motion machines – did anyone use one of these machines?

  657. Hi Shawna,

    I’m doing great. I don’t have an infection right now. My dr put me on antibiotics just for precaution. My dogs are small. But I have one that loves being outside and the other that’s afraid of everything. They both are pulling in different directions.

    I’m actually walking normal and I’m only 18 days post op. I don’t need the crutches in the house. I got up to 120 on the CPM machine. I go back to PT next week. I can’t wait.

    Have a great weekend.

    Joanne

  658. Hi Keith.

    It’s a tough call. Right now, I’m not very athletic. But for me the allograft was the best choice, as it offered less recovery time and I couldn’t afford to weaken my patella tendon. I’m 18 days post op and walking normal. I only need 1 crutch for outside just in case my knee gives out and to keep ppl from bumping into me.

    It seems most athletes go for the hamstring tendon graft. Maybe ask your dr or get a second opinion. Snowboarding is really tough on the knees. It’s a tough call.

    The CPM machine -(Continuous Passive motion) is great. I would suggest it for atleast the first week. It helps get your flexion back to normal. It gentle guides the leg up and pulls it towards the chest. It definitely keeps the knee loose and limber after surgery. I used mine for 6 hours + per day for 10 days. I mostly did it when I was sleeping as it gets pretty boring.

    My dr is a big believer in not going to PT right away. I didnt start PT until 10 days post-op. He does this with all his patients (athletes and non-athletes). It helps to lessen inflammation so the swelling does not flood your quads. But most doctors will send you to PT within 5 days.

    I will be going to PT for 3x per week for at least the next 4 months.

    Good luck with surgery. Let us know what you decide.

    -Joanne

  659. Hi Keith,
    So sorry to hear about your injury. I’m now 5.5 months post surgery and my allograft is strong. I’m pretty athletic myself and am a very strong 42 year old. Even my PT says I compare to his strongest male PTer. Anyways, I didn’t use a CPM at all and didn’t hinder my flexion at all. I was easily at 90 a week post with full extension. I didn’t do any PT prior to surgery but did wait 8 weeks post injury before surgery. I tore my MCL and completely tore my ACL. I didn’t do any PT at all prior to surgery but did get on a stationary bike and did exercises on my own. If your insurance is pretty good and allows you more that the normal 20 visits a year, I would definitely do the PT prior to surgery. Needless to say, I think my quick recovery was because I was very active prior to my injury, my quads came back pretty fast. I started PT approx 10 days after surgery and went 2x a week. After my 4 month check, I went once a week just bec I was seeing a lot of progress in my strength and I liked knowing my boundaries with regards to what kind of exercises/movement I can or cannot do while the graft is getting stronger. Mind you, I was warned by my OS that it will take a full year to get to a 100% and 2 years for the allograft to fully mesh with your body. Just words of wisdom that I definitely take to heart. Like you, I don’t ever want to do this surgery again.

    As for back to work, it took me 6 weeks to get back to work. Again this is because I don’t have a sit down job. I’m literally on my feet walking for 12 hours (no joke). I was walking without crutches by 4 weeks. Back to work at 6 weeks on my feet walking for 8 hours. It was tough but it’s doable. It was 8 weeks before I could walk 12 hours straight without it killing me.

    There’s a lot more to share but don’t want to overwhelm you. It’s going to be a process and it does take time. I worked very very hard to get my quads back quickly and it definitely paid off. It’s still at 90%. Good luck and take your time healing.

    Hey Bari-are you still there? Are you having problems with patellar tendonitis after you run? If not, what did you do to make it go away? My OS said to lay off running until it goes away.

    Suz

  660. Hello everyone
    I had PT today and my therapist wouldn’t let me do the elliptiacal machine, she just didn’t know that the holiday weekend i went to the gym and did the stationary bike for 10 minutes, while eyeing the elliptical. I did the elliptical for 10 minutes and it felt great, i know that it is a gamble but something told me i could do it. I did the 20 minutes on the bike today and some additional exercises today and did pretty good, my therapist said that i am already two weeks ahead of schedule. She had me doing a very fast walk today to see how steady i was, it felt funny at first, but the more idid the fast walk it started to feel like my leg again. Why does it feel like one leg is shorter than the other, i did still have the limp even with the fast paced walking. I think she is going to start more fast paced exercises this week, along with the other things that i am doing. I am still off form work because i too like Suz have a standing only job, i need to be able to stand for at least 8 hrs with out difficulty and then move up to 10 and 12 hours at least 3 days a week. So i go to see the doctor on Friday to see if or when I can go back without restrictions.

  661. BTW i hated the stool scoots so i asked last week for an alternative exercise and she gave me seated leg curls with weights a few days later she added seated leg extentions with weights, that one is the hardest for me. The new stuff for the day ball assisted wall squats; step downns with eh operative leg on the step and the good leg touching the floor: and the sliding board with a added weight in the arms going up. I have a lot to do before i get my balance back.

  662. It’s rained the whole holiday weekend! It’s been raining off and on today. I just wanted to say that I can feel each little pin and screw in my bones. (Even in my left leg 19 years and 9 months post op). My right leg really, really aches today. I feel very stiff and old! :( I think I’m going to take a hot bath before and after working out today……….

    I just wanted to whine……

  663. oh no Katherine
    that sucks, its been raining allday here as well and my knee has been hurting since i left PT. I just went to Target and pick me up some motrin, that seems to be the only thing that works for me. I hope i don’t get an ulcer. try taking the motrin maybe that will help for you as well.

  664. 5 week doctors appt i am clear to go back to work in two weeks 6-8 hrs standing. I do however have abakers cyst on the back of the knee that is putting a lot of painful pressure on the back of the knee. The doctor tried to take care of it in surgery but it came back. I am waiting on the cyst to burst on its own theat is the only way i can be rid of it for good. If not i will have the doc drain it for at least some temp relief

  665. Hi Shawna,

    Sorry to hear about your cyst. As if you don’t have enough to deal with. I would drain it. Pain must be alot.

    Tomorrow, will be my first day back at work. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve been getting pain from my sciatic nerve when I sit too long, so I have to remember to move every half hour. It’ll be weird to be back. I’m sure I have hundreds of emails to sift thru.

  666. Good Luck today Joanne everything will be ok, make sure you stretch out you hamstring and quad muscles throught out the day.

  667. i went to my first Zumba gold class everyone, i an so excited. I am now off the bike at PT and on the elliptical, i think i am going to start waslking on the track daily to get ready for work in a couple weeks.

  668. 11 weeks post op and now running (in a straight line). Running mile and a half at a time and it feels good. Doc said no pivoting for awhile. I am really grateful that the recovery has been textbook. Really work on that range of motion for the first month. Then, you can work on the strength. Good luck to all.

  669. eggman that is so great, i want to be able to run, i am 6 weeks post op my therapist will start me on the treadmill next week. I have to be able to go to work amd i am a nurse so i stand a lot. i just started the elliptical this week so that is a good thing.

  670. Eggman,
    Which surgery did you have? Just wondering.
    I’m 8 weeks post op today and in just the past two days I have been able to kneel AND sit back on my heels. Getting on my hands and knees – I’ve been able to do for a couple of weeks – mopping the floor – taking care of animals, etc. But couldn’t close that angle with weight on the front of my knee. This may sound silly to you, but I garden – so it’s a big deal to me. Plus, I like to crawl around on the floor and play with my pets (and clean up after them, too!) The ground has been far away for too long! I think I’ll crawl around and vacuum baseboards this weekend! Yippeee!
    Katherine

  671. Hi Everyone,

    I’m 14 weeks out now, and trying to get back on track after taking a couple of weeks break from PT due to illness. Seems like I’ve lost lots of muscle in that time period, since Ii’ve also lost a few pounds of weight. Really, since my surgery, I’ve lost between 10 and 15 pounds. I think it’s mostly muscle I’ve losts. So getting back on schedule and staying on that schedule is even harder now.

    I started a pilates class, which my PT guy wasn’t happy about, but the instructor is very aware of how to accommodate my knee issues. She has been incredibly aware of it and makes sure that I don’t do any moves that will hurt my knee. My PT told me to be very careful, and gave me extra exercises for my back to help with the pilates class.

    I’m doing sprints on the mini tramp, lots of balancing on the bosu ball and lots of gym ball exercises now. If I could just get on a regular schedule (I’ve never been good at that) I think things would go much faster. The biking, walking, etc. is really boring for me, so I’ve started getting books on CD at the library to help me get through those. I’m also going to get out on the road with the bike now that the weather is cooler too.

    Anyway, I hope everyone has a great week and weekend. Take care!

    Deb

  672. Katherine,
    I had the autograft. Sounds like you are at full range of motion?

    Shawna,
    I’m extremely happy with the progress. When you start running you will mentally want to favor
    your good leg. I’m just focusing on striking the heal and rolling forward off the ball of
    my foot. Don’t plant and pivot yet :)

  673. This is an excellent blog. You guys really provide a lot of valuable info. I just found out two weeks ago, after being tripped up by a wave in the ocean (yes embarrassing) that I have torn my left ACL for now the third time. I tore it 10 years ago, playing college basketball, went ahead with surgery, rehabbed, came back next season and was only able to get through a few games. After having it scoped looking for cartliage damage, they discovered ACL torn again. I went through the surgery again, rehabbed, and in the middle of jogging on a treadmill 2 months out, my knee locked at 90 degrees and would not budge. No pain, but wouldn’t move. MRI revealed a screw came loose from previous surgery and floated into my joint. That required a quick 15 minute surgery to remove. So after 4 knee surgeries and nine years since the last one I thought I was good to go. I’ve remained active but did leave the college level after the 4th surgery. I went to the doc this past Friday to discuss which graft we would use, but it depended on the size of my previous tunnels which were evaluated with CT scan. I’ve already used patellar and hamstring from left leg, so my option is hamstring from my good leg or cadaver. Both the surgeon and I prefer hamstring. Found out my tunnels had shrunk in some areas and expanded in others. Now I’m looking at TWO more surgeries. The first which will be on the 22nd of October, will be to remove all old hardware, the frayed ACL and then a bone graft to fill tunnels in. After that procedure, I’ll wait 8 weeks to have my ACL surgery. Has anyone here had to do the bone graft? I’ve gone through the other stuff before but this is something new for me. What about using the hamstring from the good leg. My doc said it IS going to hurt for a while having both legs opened up like that. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  674. Eggman,
    Yes, I am full range of motion. I had that all back within 2 1/2 weeks. I’m weight training now, and have been told I can ride ‘gentle, quiet’ horses. Which means I can’t ride my own horse for now.
    I’m almost forgetting my knee these days. It’s a little weaker, and every once in a while I have one of those mondo bone aches…….feels like I’m getting drilled on again….then it goes away.

  675. Hello everyone
    i hope that everyone is doing well in their recovery phase. This is the first week that i have felt great. I am walking better and faster, and i love being on the elliptical machine. I got on the treadmill this morning and actually jogged with out having any pain. I am 7 weeks post op and getting stronger everyday. I was a little upset last week because my job wouldn’t let me come back with restrictions. I asked my doctor to lift all restrictions for me to go back to nursing in October. I just started my functional exercises last week and i think everything is going well. I tell you the side shuffles are a killer, it goes to show you how out of shape i really am. But i am determined to get through this recovery and back to normal. As for Karate i am not sure what i am going to do, i can’t chance blowing this knee or the other one out again. I may just go back to dance or concentrate on health and go to Zumba classes which is latin dance. This week end is my birthday and i will take a break for therapy, the house and the children and go on a little trip. My plans are to take on Traverse City , MI and let loose and have a little fun. Good luck everyone I will keep you all posted on the progress. Thanks for your support
    Shawna

  676. I am back from Traverse city, everything went well, the hotel had a nice workout room and i got a little workout by walking a round a lot. I did go on the beach and walked in the sand and that felt great, i thought i was going to have trouble. I did a little jog across the street also just to keep from getting hit by a car, surprisenly it was not that bad, i almost feel normal again. this Friday coming will be 8 weeks

  677. Hi all,

    I am 4 months out from ACL reconstruction, hamstring. I wish I had found this site sooner! I would have had many questions.

    I’ve been doing well with rehab and have gotten really fit as a result, but recently my leg has gone cold and numb. I took a 3 hour flight a few weeks ago and the sensation seems to have begun around that time. Has anyone had any experience like this? I try not to sit for long periods of time and keep up with stretching and working-out. (I made an appointment to see my surgeon this week.) -k

  678. Hi every one I had my surgery in March 09, acl repair.. I still have an enormous amount of pain. Is this norma?

    Thanks

  679. Dear Linda,

    No. This is not normal. Unfortunately, your surgeon can make or break you. If your surgeon doesn’t have a history of returning professional athletes to their sports – you may want to seek another surgeon who does. My first surgery in 1988 was a complete disaster and I was crippled from 1988 to Dec. of 1990 (ages 19 to 22) when I had a re-reconstruction done by a surgeon who repairs the knees of professional football players, soccer players, and other athletes.

    I had my right knee done 11 weeks ago yesterday and I have been mostly pain free all along. I am running and lifting weights now 4 to 5 days a week.

    Katherine

  680. There are certain advantages to using allograft to reconstruct your ACL. First, the time to perform the operation is decreased, and there is no harvesting that needs to be done on the patient before performing the actual surgery. This means there are smaller incisions made and pain after the operation is minimal. Another advantage is that if the allograft fails, a patellar or hamstring graft can be attempted using your own tendons. The only disadvantage to this option of ACL reconstruction is infection. However, infection is a possible risk regardless of the option chose to reconstruct the ACL.

  681. Hi Everyone,

    Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’m now just shy of 8 weeks post op. I feel great. I walk with no limp, my only issue is going up and down stairs. I don’t have a fluid movement and feel like my knee is going to snap going down the stairs. My PT says it;s lack of quad strength so I’m working on strengthening them. It feels like its taking forever. But I go to pt 3x per week and do exercises at home.

    I hope of you are doing well.

    -Joanne

  682. Hi James,

    There actually is very little risk of infection from the allograft itself. My dr told me ,when the graft is harvested it’s actually put in different solutions and then frozen.

    The risk of infection is mostly do to being opened from any type of surgery, but not the graft itself. There is also little chance for your body to reject the graft. It’s not a living organ.

    I would totally recommend the allograft. Healing time is great. If I would have been athletic prior to surgery I would have gained my quad strength back quicker.

    Good luck.

    -Joanne

  683. Hey Everyone
    I am almost 3 months post op, and i have had my ups and downs with the recovery. I think my problem is that i tried to do too much to soon. I just started working 12 hour shifts by the time i get home i am very sore. the Dr. did so much more to my knee then and ACL reconstruction and i have pain plain and simply. I recently lost my main job because the Dr. kept putting me on 4 or 6 hour restrictions, well when you work in a hospital as a nurse they won’t let you come back on restrictions even limited hours. I am so happy that my job lost was due to the fact that my personal leave was up and i couldn’t return to full duty then for my performance as a nurse. I look at it this way when one door closes another will open, i lost my job on Friday and on Monday i was being offered full time at another hospital doing what i like to do best Labor and Delivery. When we post things on this site it is a guideline for people to go by, but remember everyone is different and all recovery periods are not created equal. It also depends on what the surgoen did to your knee i had more then just an ACL reconstruction, i had other ligaments involved , a bakers cyst and serve meniscus damage and arthritis which is the worst of all. All i can say to everyone is to try your best and do all that you can to strengthen your muscles around the knee and stay warm. @ joanne i still have trouble with the stairs, but i can run on the treadmill and stand/walk for 10-12 hours.

  684. Thanks Shawna for that bit of encouragement. I’m nearly 4 months post op after the hamstring autograft, and meniscus trimming (both medial and lateral). Also had a bit of arthritis in there. Had torn my MCL and LCL vertically at the same time as the ACL-severing injury but those healed (or are healing) on their own without surgical intervention. The doc says I’ll have pain / swelling / popping / grinding for 6 months to a year post-surgery. He is the OS for two local university football teams so I know he has tons of experience and is great at what he does. And yes, everyone is different in progress, healing time, genetics, age, PT… everything. We’ll all get there. Time, patience, ice, therapy, exercise, determination, and faith has been seeing me through. Hang in.

  685. Thanks Diana i have my good and bad days and i think the heat is working for me at this time, but i will use ice from time to time. You really messed up your knee i didn’t tear the lcl of the pcl so i am blessed the acl and mcl amd medial and lateral meniscus that is a different story. good luck witht he recovery

  686. What type of heat are you using Shawna? Yeah, really messed it up but I am also blessed because it could have been so much worse. My husband and I were on a remote paved bike trail. We could have been anywhere along it, on a bridge, inaccessible, etc. but we were only about 1/2 mile from the ONLY town along the trail. The restaurant had just opened, a nurse was there, they had an ambulance service, the ER people in another dinky town were great, I got in to my own doc’s office just before they closed, the ARNP there was super and called to get me in for an MRI early the following week (some folks have to wait a couple of months), the OS saw me the following week, and the rest is history. My guardian angel had extra duty that day… take care and heal well. D

  687. Hello everyone.. I tore my acl a couples months ago playing basketball. But decided not to get surgery until december(15) because i couldnt afford to miss school. I go to a big university and it requires alot of walking. So the problem im having is deciding on picking a graft. Autograft, Allograft, or hamstring. I know this is a very common question but any information would help. Ive heard that there is a risk of infection when using the allograft?? Im very active 21 year old male who loves to play basketball. And i really hope to get back out playing soon. Im not on a team but just love playing for fun so there is no time limit for when i have to be back. I just want to eventally play again at a competitive level. So anyone with any information I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks

  688. Hi Tim!

    My doctor recommended allograft for me. He also said he recommends it for most of his patients. It’s less taxing on you because the recovery period is shorter with allograft and the post-op pain is less. But then at 21 and being very active, you’re a great candidate for autograft too should you go that route. The risk of infection is less with autograft since you’re using your own graft. For me, even if the doctor didn’t wholeheartedly recommend one way or another, I probably would’ve chosen allograft anyway. I’m not good with too much pain and like the shorter recovery period. :)

    Good luck Tim! I’m sure either you choose, everything will work out great! Once the knee is fixed, there’s no way to go but back UP! Mine was so loose pre-op, it’s scary! Now I’m walking around with just a slight limp and am doing great. It’s just a matter of time (up to a year) before the knee is 100% good. I’m doing PT 2x a day each day. It helps so much!

    Keep us posted!

    Sarah

  689. James,

    I too went the allograft way and am very happy with everything. Of course I’m only 3-month post-op. But so far so good!

    Good luck with the surgery! Let us know how you’re doing now and then!

    Sarah

  690. Tim,

    Btw, I’m sure you’ve done lots of research on the allograft v autograft issue, but in case you need one more, I wrote about my research in this blog entry: http://loveyourknees.wordpress.com/2009/07/18/autograft-vs-allograft/ . Hopefully, it’s help too!

    sarah

  691. Sarah

    I appreciate all the information and the time you put into answering my question. Im still deciding on which way to go but i have some time before I have to let my doctor know my decsion. But I have two more question for you or anyone on here that would have some type of knowlegde on this topic. If I do decide to go with the allograft… 1) would I be able to be as active as I once was?? Because I heard that choosing the allograft was a way to go if you were not going to be as active. 2) what are the chances of infection from allograft (HIV,Hepatitis, etc…)??

    Again thank you for your time. It is comforting knowing that there is a site out here with so much help when needed.

  692. Tim,

    1. That, I’m not sure. I used to play volleyball and hope to get back into it in a year. My doctor said I should be able to. So I hope he’s right. I definitely will not put 100% into playing again. Guess I’ll always be afraid to hurt the knee once more so I’ll probably play at 50% effort. But that’s just my own fear.

    2. My doc told me the chance is 1% – something very small. But I guess it’s there. He said he’s done mostly allograft ACL surgeries, and so far so good with all his patients.

    Take your time deciding. I think if you don’t mind the extra pain and the extra time it takes to recuperate, autograft would probably ease your mind more? I did mind them, so I took the other option.

    Ask your doctor all these questions, maybe he can give you more detailed responses than I can. :)

    Good luck Tim!

    Sarah

  693. Hi Tim,
    I reccommend that you find a surgeon who works on professional athletes and has a team that does all three types of surgeries.
    I had a patellar-bone graft in 1990, at the age of 22 and an allograft in July at the age of 40. I can tell you that the allograft is A LOT easier to come back from. I will also tell you that I was in college in 91. I had my surgery on Dec. 17 and returned to school on Jan. 6th. I lived almost two miles off campus, didn’t have a car, and went to a large university, I.U. Frequently, I had nearly a mile or more to walk between classes. I did it, so you can, too.
    At your age, your doc will probably reccommend the Patella graft, but I am still very active and am VERY happy with my allograft.
    The risk of infection is about the same between all types of grafts, with the autografts actually having a higher incidence of infection than the allograft.
    You do have to baby the allograft longer, even though you’ll feel like doing stuff sooner. You won’t feel so much like doing anything with the patella graft for a while. :)
    The most important aspect of your recovery is your surgeon. If he has athletes returning to professional soccer and football – then you can trust him. Also, be sure to get a sports brace and you’ll be able to do some things sooner, while protecting your graft.

    Good luck,

    Katherine

  694. Katherine

    My surgeon worked for the Chicago Bulls during the mid 90′s and currently is working with the Chicago Wolves hockey team). My surgeon actually recommended the allograft, so I am leaning towards going with his recommendation (since he has worked with athletes such as Micheal Jordan). I feel like I am putting to much pressure on myself trying to decide on which graft to use. So im just going to go with what he recommends and wish for the best. Thanks for your input on the subject. I really appreciate it.

    Sarah
    Thank you also for all your help. Both you and Katherine have helped made my decision much easier.

  695. You’re welcome, Tim! I was in your shoes not too long ago too! Know exactly how you feel!

    Let us know how the surgery goes! The first 2 weeks post-op are the hardest. After that, it’s much easier! I also heard that men recuperate faster and with less pain than women too! Just not fair. :)

    Sarah

  696. Tim,

    Short and a quick because I am still working: Two weeks post op at this point…

    30 years old – Snowboarder, softball, golf, beach volleyball, biking….very active

    Doctor – Top doc in Newport Beach..operates on athletes and other docs….he himself had an autograft (pat tendon) and said that if he could do it again he would go allograft…so I followed his lead. He is also very active.

    Two weeks post op – Off crutches by end of week one, used pain killers moderately for the first four days…no need to be in pain if you don’t have to….Had surgery on thursday and was back at work on Monday. Still kind of painful…but not bad at this point… PT is a pain in the a@@…mainly because I work 1000 miles from home and have to fly every week…this means that I have to go with a Monday and Friday schedule that is inconvenient.

    Long story shory…easy recovery with allograft..and I plan on giving it a run for its money once I have fully recovered. Don’t stress…just get er’ done and get on with life…really not a big deal. Good luck…I did the same thing you did and reasearched all of these blogs…they are very helpful…but once you have it done you realize that it was really nothing at all…good doc and your good to go.

  697. Hi Tim,

    My doc is also a sports doc, worked for football teams and PGA. I had the allograft and I’m 2 months post op. I feel great. I walk with no limp and have absolutely no pain. I’m just working on getting my quad strength back. Going down stairs still is not fluid, but I need more quad strength.

    My doctor explained to me that there is very little chance from infection from the Allograft. Even though it is from a cadaver, once it is harvested, it is put in solutions and then frozen. It’s not living like an organ or tissue transplant would be. So infection from it is extremely slim, as well as your body rejecting it. The main chance for infection is from just having surgery and being opened up, just as in any other surgery.

    Don’t sweat your decision, go with what your doctor recommends and most important is if you can strengthen your legs prior to surgery, you will recover faster. Ask your doctor about PT prior to surgery as well as after.

    Good luck, let us know how it goes.

    -Joanne

  698. Tim,

    I just had an ACL PCL allograft on 10/8/09. It is definitely the way to go. I did an autograft several years ago which was not only incredibly painful but slow to heal and I ended up with blood clots. I think it’s all about your doctor and trusting your doctor’s recommendations as everyone has stated. I had 2 failed surgeries with my previous doctor when I decided to seek out another doctor. I’ve been seeing the new doctor for the last 8 or 9 mnonths waiting for my season (racing) to be over so I could have the surgery. I left a lot of the decisions to him as I completely trust him. When I went in for the surgery, he was not even sure at that point exactly what he would be doing until he saw my knee. My doctor is very conservative and didn’t think I could get back in a race car for at least 3 or 4 months but I know I’ll be ready to go by next month for our testing at Daytona. I’m only a week and a half into my phsical therapy and already feeling great. I was back to work in a couple days and other than just dealing with the bulky brace, I’m thrilled I went with the allograft.

    Good luck to you!

    Laura

  699. Hi,
    I am just about 4 months post allograft repair and just found this site. Have appreciated reading of everyone’s experiences and wonder if anyone might be able to comment here on mine. I am unfortunately having to go back to surgery to have two tibial securing screws removed that are about 5 and 3 mm too long. I was told at my post op exam ten days out that they were left “proud” but shouldn’t be a problem. If they do become a problem, then they will just go in to remove them. I was still in so much pain at that point that I never thought I’d walk normally again anyway so I didn’t really analyse the conversation then. Well, this whole acl experience has been a lot more than I had ever imagined with the most intense swelling and pain with revcovery. I cannot fully squat down or rise up on the affected leg, yet and stairs are still an issue. Figures also that I am feeling some discomfort in my calf at the point of the proud screws . Since my insurance will run out at the end of the year, my orthopod said they should go in to remove the screws as soon as we can to just solve the issue of my slow return to function and associated calf tenderness. Problem is that my insurance is not going to fully cover the second surgery and I don’t think I should be responsible either. Battling insurance for the first is still ongoing as well. Does anyone know why the screws chosen to secure the graft were longer than the diameter of the tibial shaft? Is that normal? Was the surgeon in a rush and couldn’t find the right sizes? Couldn’t they have trimmed them before they closed up just in the chance that they would be problem? The seceond surgery inclusive is to be around $4000. The first totalled out around $27,000. Yikes. Insurance is only covering 60% if anything which is a bummer. Although, the recoup after hardware removal will be nothing like the first, I am still nervous. I didn’t do well with anesthesia and pain meds are a nightmare. I also would like to be able to dance at my upcoming wedding in two months and am getting kind of freaked out about everything aside from just being plain frustrated.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts or comments……

    Christie

  700. Hi Christie,
    I had an issue with a screw after my second acl reconstruction. However mine was a mistake on the doctors part. They thought the screw went out through suction but it didn’t. One month after surgery it locked in my knee joint. I went in for surgery within two days and the rehab for it was hardly anything, I was walking the next day, and back to my regular rehab within 3 days.

    Also being I work for an insurance compnay, you need to make sure your doctor states that it is medical necessity. Chances are you will have to send it through the appeals process.

    And just for the record, I had those surgeries 9 years ago, however in a fluke accident i tore my acl for a third time just over 6 weeks ago. I’m one week post op of my third acl reconstruction. The first one i used my patella tendon, second hamstring tendon, and one week ago did the allograft option.

  701. Sorry for the late reply but Im appoaching the last month of the semester of school so Ive been busy. Just wanted to thank everyone for all the info. And I had a few more questions as I appoach my surgery date. 1) Why are they taking chest x-rays…. 2) and what exactly is the blood test for?
    3) are these tests just for allograft patients or all acl procedures?

  702. Those test are just pre surgery testing. Its because they will be putting you under. Just precautionary stuff.

  703. Hi Tim,

    They do all that testing for any kind of surgery. It’s totally normal. They want to make sure you don’t have any underlying conditions that have not been diagnosed that could complicate surgery. They’re just trying to make surgery as safe as possible for you.

  704. Hi everyone,
    My son, 16, tore his ACL in a high school football game. He is a very accomplished athlete and looking to get better and get back to sports as soon as possible. So we are debating the allograft v autograft procedure. Any advice for someone his age who is a college sport prospect? He is a baseball player as well and hoping to come back in 4-5 months. Any chance for that time frame? We have seen 3 accomplished doctors in the DC area and have one allograft, and one autograft w hamstring as the strong opinions so far. So we are really struggling with the decision. Any advice would be appreciated.

  705. Steve, I can just tell you my story. I was a college athlete, basketball, 10 years ago. Tore my ACL during a game. Team doc at the time recommended Autograft using patella, so I did that. I was able to start playing by about 5 months, but not real competive til 6 months. Which was in the summer, by the time season started I had all kinds of problems and found out it had retore/failed. We had a new team doc this year, who did an autograft with hamstring. It went well. It held up for 9 years, then I just retore it a few months ago, which was a fluke accident. I ran into the ocean and a wave hit me….no one can explain why after 9 years something so minor retore it. I’ve stayed fit and active, but not at college level performance. I have the same doc and we were going to do hamstring from other leg because she doesn’t like to use allografts in people under 40…I’m 29. We scheduled that appointment and a few days before surgery she called me and after discussing with several other surgeons, she decided to opt for allograft ONLY because this was a revision surgery. I will be 4 weeks tomorrow and I’m doing well. The pain has been a little less than the hamstring, but I’m progressing at about the same pace as I did 9 years ago. I personally would recommend hamstring since this is his first reconstruction. It really wont make a difference in how quick he can come back, because all three options have about the same time frame. You have to be careful because the graft is at its weakest I think around the 3 month mark give or take…its when you feeling good and think you can do anything. I highly recommend taking your time coming back to competive levels. He will only get strong and make his knee more stable. That’s my two cents!

  706. Hi Steve,

    Whatever decision you make be aware of one really important concept that you must understand to reaqlly know when your son can get back on the field.

    First, no matter what graft tissue you choose, it dies within 2 weeks and the body begins remodeling new tissue around it. The graft tissue becomes weaker and weaker over time, and the new live tissue becomes stronger and stronger over time. There is a point at which the overall strength of both combined makes the joint incredibly weak, and this point is at about 5 1/2 months out from surgery. Most people have built up the muscles around the knee to protect it enough from injury at that point, but there can be delays in muscle development, and this causes many people to trash the joint all over again at about that point.

    Not trying to scare you, just want you to be aware of trying to get back to full bore too soon. Just remember to be cautious about getting back to “normal” by a certain date, because it can come back to haunt you in a big way. My 6-month anniversary was Nov. 11, and my inside quad is still not firing properly. I’m really bummed, too, because I really wanted to get back out on the slopes this season.

    Good luck with your son’s surgery. Keep us posted!

  707. Hollie and Deb,
    Many thanks for your posts. We decided on the hamstring autograft today. Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday as Tyler has a reasonable range of motion and the swelling is not excessive. We all feel much better now that the decision has been made. Since the pop, his pain level has only been 1-2 out of 10. What should we expect post op?
    We will heed your warnings about coming back too soon. It will be tough to keep Tyler from overdoing it. He has a huge tolerance for pain and a great work ethic. 24 hours after the accident I found him in the basement doing bench presses. What are some of the signs when you are doing too much in rehab and what are some of the signs where you finally feel comfortable that you are ready to come back to full speed. He wants to set target dates for milestones to achieve on his road to recovery. Do you have a resource that might help in that regard?
    Thanks again, I want to be Dad that deals with this only once. Best, Steve

  708. Hey Steve,
    As far as pain goes, he’ll be the most uncomfortable the first 24-48 hours. Nothing major though. I took pain meds as prescribed during this time and did just fine. Have they mentioned giving him a nerve block for the surgery? That will keep his leg completely numb for about 12-24 hours afterwards which was hugely beneficial in my last surgery. My second surgery we had some complications and I ended up spending a couple nights in the hospital and getting the nerve block the next day. Complication he wont have to worry about. It was due to having two reconstruction within such a short time frame and then finding out I was allergic to morphine, and a few other painkillers, so they couldn’t control my pain. I dont remember much cause they kept me doped up on other stuff. But my other two went great, and the pain was minimum. My actually hurt more tearing it.

    Make sure he tries his best to get all the Range of motion back he can before Tuesday, it makes it easier afterwards. As far as setting milestones, every doctor is different as is every physical therapist. There are many sample protocols online if you want to start getting some idea, but ultimately he will need to work very closely with his physical therapist and they will give him exactly what he needs to do and where he needs to be at certain points. As far as over doing it, one of the first and most noticeable things will be swelling. Once the swelling is under control after surgery, any time he over does it, it will swell. Plus there may be some pain and soreness.

    I know it’s scary anytime you think of a reconstruction surgery, but all and all, ACL reconstruction isn’t as bad as it seems. You just have to be dedicated to getting back to whatever it is you do, which doesn’t sound like he will have a problem…and most importantly be careful. Trust me its no fun doing it over and over again. :-)

    Best of luck!!!! Keep everyone updated on his progress. He’ll only be a little over four weeks behind me, so we can compare stories.

  709. Hey Steve,
    As far as pain goes, he’ll be the most uncomfortable the first 24-48 hours. Nothing major though. I took pain meds as prescribed during this time and did just fine. Have they mentioned giving him a nerve block for the surgery? That will keep his leg completely numb for about 12-24 hours afterwards which was hugely beneficial in my last surgery. My second surgery we had some complications and I ended up spending a couple nights in the hospital and getting the nerve block the next day. Complication he wont have to worry about. It was due to having two reconstruction within such a short time frame and then finding out I was allergic to morphine, and a few other painkillers, so they couldn’t control my pain. I dont remember much cause they kept me doped up on other stuff. But my other two went great, and the pain was minimum. My actually hurt more tearing it.

    Make sure he tries his best to get all the Range of motion back he can before Tuesday, it makes it easier afterwards. As far as setting milestones, every doctor is different as is every physical therapist. There are many sample protocols online if you want to start getting some idea, but ultimately he will need to work very closely with his physical therapist and they will give him exactly what he needs to do and where he needs to be at certain points. As far as over doing it, one of the first and most noticeable things will be swelling. Once the swelling is under control after surgery, any time he over does it, it will swell. Plus there may be some pain and soreness.

    I know it’s scary anytime you think of a reconstruction surgery, but all and all, ACL reconstruction isn’t as bad as it seems. You just have to be dedicated to getting back to whatever it is you do, which doesn’t sound like he will have a problem…and most importantly be careful. Trust me its no fun doing it over and over again. :-)

    Best of luck!!!! Keep everyone updated on his progress. He’ll only be a little over four weeks behind me, so we can compare stories.

  710. Full tear of the ACL playing soccer (no impact, just bad plant & pivot) on 11/15, confirmed torn on 11/23, surgery scheduled for 12/9 – Allograft. Doc says he thinks I have a minor meniscus tear too, but the radiologist didn’t pick it up.

    Some things I’m curious about –
    1) Can I do any type of cardio between now and 12/9? This is a rough time of year to be sitting around doing nothing.

    2) My doc says I will be at PT the next day. Anyone know why some docs wait 3 weeks or more?

    3) My doc says I should be on the crutches from now until the physical therapist says I can be off of them. Is this for real? I don’t have full range of motion, but I can walk fine with a mild limp. I can’t imagine being on the crutches for two more weeks before I even have surgery. Is there risk of damaging my knee furthur?

    4) Surgery is on a Wednesday. When is a realistic time frame to be back at work? (I have a desk job, but typically need to walk around a lot…and I sit on the 2nd floor and the elevator is really far away).

    Thanks!

  711. Hi Mary,

    Welcome to the group.

    I too had a meniscus tear along with ACL, plus cartilage debris and he also needed to shave bone spurs on my knee cap caused by the injuries. I had a meniscus tear back in 2005, but didn’t require surgery. I tore my acl sometime in between that MRI and the one taken in August, after I further tore my meniscus. My doc believes the ACL injury wasn’t recent. My ACL was not completely torn. I had the allograft and my doc recommended PT prior to surgery to strengthen my quads. I had no trouble walking prior to surgery ( so no crutches) and knee was feeling better. I did not go to PT right after surgery. I only had pain for 6 days after surgery with each day being less and less. I started PT 10 days after surgery. I had very little inflammation when I started PT and have nothing now. My surgery was 8/19.

    To answer your questions:

    1. I would think the only cardio you can do would be the stationary bicycle. But you need to speak to your doc first. See if he is being overly cautious or if you really have a serious injury that any exercise would make worse.

    2. Conventionally thinking is to get right back to PT after surgery. My doc believes in allowing the knee to heal a little to greatly reduce inflammation. He feels that when you start PT right away, the inflammation in the knee just floods into the quads (causes pain..etc). I was in PT 10 days after surgery and no inflammation. The day I came home from surgery my doc had prescribed a CPM machine and told me to try to flex my knee as much as I could. And keep doing it everyday until the machine goes back (3 wks). Plus he prescribed a cooling machine, that I wore most of the time that kept swelling in check (2 wks). He also recommended light exercises, while lying down, like leg lifts.

    3. Your doc is probably recommending crutches now until surgery because you have a full tear of the ACL. This means your knee is not stable and can give out unexpectedly. He’s trying to limit further damage. I would follow his orders. The fact that you have a limp will cause your body to shift and other muscles to compensate. Talk to your doc further. Make sure he’s top of the line and deals with Professional athletes.

    4. I have a desk job too. I took off 1 month, mostly because my surgery was extensive and I live in NYC and need to commute to work via the subway. It would have been too much for me to do 3 flights of stairs to and from the train. The extra rest did me good. I stopped walking with a limp 2-3 weeks after surgery. I didn’t need the crutches after 2 weeks, but took 1 with me if I was outside and even when I first went back to work. It was more to keep ppl at a distance, so they would not accidently bump into me.

    I listened to my doc’s orders to the T and very grateful I did. I have no limp and the only thing that gives me slight trouble is when I try to go down more than 3-4 flights of steps. I’m still going to PT and working harder to get really fit. I’m not athletic and wasn’t prior to surgery. The fact that you are, you will bounce back quicker. But don’t rush it too much. Treat your new ACL with care and make sure you get a really good physical therapist to help with your recovery.

    Remember your new ACL will not be considered completely healed until 1 year after surgery.

    Good luck, Let us know how it goes.

    -Joanne

  712. I have a desk job and took off 2.5 weeks. I have a nice little walk from the parking garage and then to the elevator. My doc took it slow this time and I didn’t start PT until after my two week check up. Also, keep in mind this is my ACL reconstruction. Well one reconstruction two revisions. So Ihaven’t had all the options, patellar, hamstring, and now allograft. Take the time between now and then to focus on getting as much range of motion back, and do light exercises to build/keep your quad built up (leg lifts, quad sets, etc.) It helps make things easier after surgery. Best wishes. Its not a fun surgery, but if you are determined, you should bounce back just fine, and make sure you have a great physical therapist.

  713. Thanks for all the info! I guess I will be taking it really easy for a while & keeping my crutches with me.

    2+ weeks! Yikes! I guess that’s why they make sick time…

  714. Hi
    Had ACL done on right knee in 2001 (hamstring graft). I play badminton. Slipped on Monday in a match and twisted knee. Now fear have blown ACL again. Cant wait bear yet, on crutches, no bending. Just wanted to hear fromanyone who has had a second ACL recon on same knee having first had a hamstring graft. Did you go for Patella graft.Not ssure about donated graft due to disease spread?? Sitting here with leg elevated really bored and frustrated but glad found this site. talking helps. Hopefully will get to see my surgeon next week when I can at least get out of the house. Its been just over 48 hours now and the swelling is coming out now. Im from the uK and will be grateful for any responses.
    Thanks Mark

  715. Hi Mark from the UK!

    A few people in this forum entry have gone through similar experience as yours. If you read above entries, you’ll find them. I had mine done with a donated graft because my doctor recommended it, also because I didn’t want to go through more pain than necessary. I’ve been keeping a blog ever since the injury and surgery – hoping it’ll help others who are going thru the same thing.

    Perhaps you just sprained the ligament and didn’t completely tear it? You never know!

    Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck Mark!

    Sarah

  716. Hi Mark,

    I only tore my ACL once. But I just wanted to comment on the allograft, in regards to disease.

    My doctor told me there is such a small chance for disease or your body rejecting the graft because when the graft is harvested from a cadaver it is put in all kinds of solutions and then frozen. It’s technically dead and viruses and bacteria can’t survive on it. Its a different process than an organ transplant, which must be kept alive for it to work and carries a high risk of disease.

    We have more chance of getting infections, just from being opened up as in any normal surgery. My doctor gave me antibiotics, not for the graft but for surgery.

    I could do patella tendon or hamstring as both were weak and my doctor said especially he wouldn’t do the patella on me, as it would further weaken my knee and I would need a full knee replacement in 5 years. So he chose allograft to hopefully put off forever needing a knee replacement.

    Good luck,
    Joanne

  717. Wow alot of great information. What would you do autograft or allgraft for your 14 year old daughter? She is very athletic and tore ACL while playing basketball last week.

  718. Hi All,

    Just an update on things. Just had my 6 month check, and I’m cleared for everything except the two things I really want most – skiing and tennis. Doc says the allograft takes a bit longer to incorporate than autograft, so wait at least 2 more months for anything that twists the knee so much.

    At least I now I feel comfortable starting to push the knee harder and can put on more muscle before doing those.

    Thanks to all of you for your support! It’s been a blessing to me and I’m incredibly grateful!

    Take care all —

    Deb

  719. Hi everyone,
    Just had surgery on the 15th… I was wondering how long should i keep the brace and ice pack on??? And what about the ACE wraps??? Should I take those off to let the knee breath?? I’m calling the Doctor in the morning but just wondering what everyone else did. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks in advance..
    Tim

  720. Ali,
    I was wondering how your recovery is going. I am a high school basketball coach and my daughters have all had acl repair surgery. My youngest daughter just underwent acl repair and wants to return to play as she is being recruited collegiately. Why did you choose allograft? Was this an MD reccomendation? What type of allograft was used? My daughter’s repair was hamstring autograft assisted with post tibial allograft. We are trying to learn what we can expect from your experience. Thanks.

  721. Hi Greg,

    I had my surgery in August and went to physical therapy for 6 weeks. Since then I have been working out my quad, hamstring (very little) and thigh muscles on my own at the gym. It has been about 4 months since the surgery (achilles allograft), which my doctor specifically recommended I get. I also felt like going with the Allograft because although I played basketball in highschool for 4 years ( I am now in my 4th yr in college), being a guard my leg muscles were not too strong and my legs are small in general. I did not want to have to take any muscle out of my right leg for surgery, as this would have made recovery difficult for me. I feel pain somewhat in my knee, particularly if I do not work it out for long periods of time, but this is due to my lacking work ethic.

    I feel there is progress in my ACL healing up, but I am psychologically scarred from my past 2 experiences of tearing/reinjuring it. Insha’Allah (God-Willing) withing a 9-12 month span it should be strong enough to play on, assuming I consistently work my leg out and wear a protective brace.

    Good Luck with your daugthers’ recoveries.

    Ali

  722. Hi guys,
    I was wondering have any of you experienced your knee feeling numb around the incision sites. I have about 6 incisions and on 3 of them, the area that surrounds it is numb. If anyone can help I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks
    Tim

  723. Hi Tim,

    Numbness around the knee and the incision sites is normal. They cut through your nerves, which is what causes the numbness. I had surgery in March and I’m still a little numb in places, although much better than at first.

    Bari

  724. Ali,
    What type of graft did you have when you injured your knee the first two times? Is it the same knee that you had revision on?
    Greg

  725. Hi Greg,

    I originally partially tore my ACL in August of 2008 and did not get surgery. The ACL healed slowly over time but was still somewhat torn. I did not take this to account when I played basketball again in July of 2009, when I reinjured it and tore it a 2nd time. It was then in August of 2009 that I had my first and only surgery, Alhamdulilah (All Praise is due to God).

    I went with an Allograft that the MD said was an achilles.

    If you have Anymore questions I would love to be of help.

    Ali

  726. Hello everybody its been a while since i last posted something. Just wanted to update you on whats going on with me. I am 4 months postop and still having pain. The surgoen did a lot of work on my knee ACL reconstruction, meniscus repair and i also had chondromalaysia. He is a good surgeon working with the detroit lions, tigers and the pistons. I have been having trouble going up and down the stairs since October and now I am going back to PT nd getting synovial fluid injections to lubricated the joint. I hope this works and that i wont wipe out as the weather is starting to make me afraid to go outside. I hope you all are recovering better then I am and I wish you a Happy Holiday.

  727. Hi Everyone!

    I tore my left ACL two weeks ago in an indoor soccer training session, and just found out that my surgery is scheduled for Jan 21st. I’ve been trying to google and research on which type of surgery I should get (allograph or autograph) but it’s not as good as hearing it from others who have been in the same boat. I play soccer for WMU, i’m a 20yr old female, and i’m extremely active, so I want the best outcome in the long run, but also, I want to be ready for fall season which starts in September. I’ve been leaning more toward and autograph just because i’ve heard it’s a little bit stronger and better for young athletes, but I would REALLY appreciate some input on what everyone else thinks! Thank you!

    -Gilly

  728. I’ve torn my ACL three times in the last two years: my right knee senior year of high school, left last January, and left again this past fall. I have my third surgery this Monday (1.4.10).

    I was a highly competitive college basketball player and this third injury has forced me to retire, unfortunately. But I am an extremely active person and desire to continue to be so after this surgery.

    My 1st surgery= patellar autograph
    My 2nd surgery= hamstring autograph
    This coming surgery= allograft

    I’ll soon have an unique perspective because I will have undergone all 3 types of surgeries!

    I agree with many of you, It is extremely frustrating how diverse the opinions are on the “right choice” of graft are…especially coming from doctors, when medical world is by nature a concrete, scientific field. I’ve visited many doctors, read tons of articles, read online forums (including this entire thread), and have deemed my findings somewhat inconclusive. I do, however, have my experiences to share.

    In short, my patellar graft was EXTREMELY painful but I got back in 3 months and had a great senior basketball season, and it has held up the last 2 years. Psychologically, really tough, though. Hamstring graft on my other knee was way less painful and I felt “back to normal” sooner, but this could have, in the long run, hindered me because I tried to get back to sports before my leg was truly ready. It’ll be interesting to see how the allograft compares…it’s not my first choice, but I’m running out of harvesting options! HAHA.

    Let me know if any of you have questions…I’d love to help! This way all the pain, disappointment, etc. I’ve gone through these past two years will not be in vain.

    What a great conversation we have going on here! So glad I found this blog.

    Wish me luck on Monday, any prayers would be appreciated!

    Gilly-I’m so sorry girl! I would say go with the autograft at this point, but either way you go, the most important thing is that you get your muscles back to full strength before you go back. Work out like crazy this summer and ensure you are ready before stepping back on the field. Best wishes, and if you have any questions feel free to ask.

  729. Ali Mae G,
    May I ask where you play college ball and why you chose allo over using your patellar tendon on your reinjured knee, in that your patellar graft has held up on your right knee? I am a high school coach and my daughter is being recruited to play collegiately and is recovering from acl surgery.

    Greg

  730. Hi-

    I tore my right ACL a few weeks back while skiing, and am undergoing surgery in about 3 weeks. My doctor first told me that i should definitely go with a patella tendon autograft, but after I told him I have knee pains in my patellar tendon after skiing and long car rides, he recommended an achilles tendon allograft. With past knee problems, my doc thinks that I might develop tendonitis in my patella tendon, with considerable pain. He alluded to slightly higher re-tear rates and the risk of infection, but left it up to me to decide.

    I am almost onboard with the allograft, but the one snag is the risk of disease (HIV, Hepatitis). All the research I find online is fairly outdated (10yrs old), so i was wondering if anyone can provide any input on this topic… What i have found is that the risk of disease has lowered considerably, but is still there.

    Also, does the allograft hold up over time (10-15 yrs later)??

    Thanks.

  731. Hi Demian,

    I had an achilles tendon allograft this past August. I feel great. My doctor explained to me the risk of infection from the graft itself is minimal.

    The cadavers are screened for diseases. Once the grafts are harvested they are placed in liquid nitrogen and frozen. During surgery the doctor has to thaw the tendon out and cut it to fit you. Since the tendon is not living, like an organ transplant would be, the risk of contracting a disease or risk of your body rejection the graft is 1 in 2 million.

    You can get infections from having any surgery. My doc put me on antibiotics for a week after surgery. I’ve had no issues. I wasn’t concerned about the risk of diseases from the graft or surgery. I just wanted to be able to walk well and feel no pain.

    My doc said there is no reason the allograft can’t last over time. He said the key is staying fit and keeping your quads and legs strong. I’m still going to physical therapy 2x per week. I feel I need to, as it keeps me on the right track.

    Good luck.
    -Joanne

  732. I haven’t blogged in a while. I’m now 9 months out from surgery. Like you Demian, I tore my MCl and ACL last Feb while skiing. I had a cadaver allograft and have no regrets. I no longer wear my brace but would when I play basketball with my kids until 2 years post. I’m 90% back. Pain lingers around the area where they inserted the drill. Something to do with bone growth-that’s what I’ve been told. It’s amazing what I can do. Again, lots and lots of hard work. I recently joined the local YMCA and can now single leg press 30 lbs x3 reps. My favorite is Zumba! I wasn’t worried about bacterial infection at all. Agree with Joanne. I’m glad I didn’t use my hamstring since I’ve met a few people who did and they still can’t do low squats even after sev years. You need to pick a really good surgeon. His technique plus where he gets his grafts, in my opinion, will dictate reconstruction success and longevity. Do your homework, work hard pre and post-op and you will do well. I was filled with angst before surgery but it wil get better. Good luck.
    Suz

  733. Hi,
    Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences on here. I completely tore my ACL back in July 2009, had surgery end of August so I am a little over 4 months post-op. I chose the allograft and am satisfied with my choice. I didn’t really want to take another part of my body away and deal with another area having to heal. Speaking with my doctor and discussing pros and cons, I felt comfortable with the decision. One issue I have been having is the area where the tibial screw is. Sometimes I feel a catching of the skin in that area – my doctor says that he didn’t put the screw all the way in because my bone structure is smaller , he didn’t want the screw going into the joint space. I would have to wait a year then he could go back and shave it down. I was just wondering if anyone else has had issues with this?
    Good luck, everyone with your recovery. It’s a process but it does get better as time goes on!

  734. Well, I’m 39. Been playing soccer forever and at my indoor game on Nov. 14th tore my ACL, MCL, Lateral and Medial Meniscus. Found out today that they are going to do the surgery on Tuesday and I am scared out of my mind. I’m a chicken with this kind of thing. I also am still trying to decide on either having the allograft or the autograft done. I have read the blogs and I appreciate everyone on here. It’s been helpful. Still trying to decide though, but thank you!!!!

  735. Thanks for all the responses. My surgery is scheduled for Jan 21st, and I will meet with my doc one more time to discuss what I should do. I’m still leaning towards an allograft, but we’ll see. All the comments on the blog have been very helpful.

  736. Hi Demian and Carolyn,

    Good luck with your surgeries and decision. I think you are both doing the right thing by getting as much info you can and speaking with your doctor.

    Carolyn, my surgeon, schedule surgery only 10 days after my injury. It felt like everything was going so fast. But the quicker you get the surgery over with, the sooner you will start your recovery.

    Let us know how it goes and what you decide.

    Best of luck to you both.

    -Joanne

  737. Hi Jane,

    I also had my allograft in August 2009. I do not have any issues with the tibia screw. My scars still feel tender when pressed but no issues with skin catching the screw. I wonder if tibia screws come in different sizes. Curious, why he wouldn’t shave the screw to fit you before he put it in.

    -Joanne

  738. Joanne,

    Thanks for the feed back. I will let you know how it goes and what I decided to do. I go in on Tuesday at 6:00 a.m. Still nervous but looking forward to starting the recovery process.

    Demian,

    Good luck to you as well. Let me know what you ended up deciding to to and how it goes for you. Good luck.

    -Carolyn

  739. Just had my 6-month checkup. I now don’t have any restrictions on exercise! Before this point it was to get stronger and able to run straight lines. A few “hopscotch” type PT exercises, too. And lots of stationary bike!

    Hang in there folks. It DOES get better.

  740. Hi im 16 years old and am a basketball player. I had an allograft surgery on Monday, and am feeling very well. So far I have not really experienced any pain, and I am already off crutches, although still wearing the brace. I can now bend my knee to 117 degrees, and the day after surgery could bend it 100 degrees. My doctor told me that my gradt looked very good and all went well. I am hoping for a 4 month to 5 month return to sports and will keep working hard every day to get there.

  741. Daniel,
    What type of allograft was used? May I ask why you went with the allograft over autograft?
    Greg

  742. I think it was a pataller tendon and I chose allograft simply because of the doctors reccomendatins. I fully trust him and he has far more knowledge as does any of us who have not gone through medical school, so I decided to go with his advice.

  743. Daniel,
    Thanks, I wish you the best in your recovery. Has your doctor given you a returning time frame?? My daughter is 6 weeks out of surgery and is a basketball player as well. Good luck

    Greg

  744. Can anyone out there tell me when the swelling after surgery went down? How many weeks post op did this occur when you felt the swelling was all but gone?
    Greg

  745. Greg,

    I had very little swelling because I followed dr orders. And I had a lot done to my knee (allograft, meniscus repair, shaving of bone spurs and cleaning up of cartilage and debris).

    As soon as the dr finished my surgery he slipped on a cooling sleeve over my knee and then the brace so I could go home. I was released same day, 2 hours after surgery. Dr told me to use a CPM machine when I got home from surgery. I got up to 100 degrees of flexion. I kept the cooling pad on 24 hours for 8 days. I had only minor swelling 1 week after surgery and I didn’t start pt until 10 days after surgery. I only did the cpm machine daily for 2 weeks. At 1st PT session, I had little to no swelling.

    Some dr will send you right away to PT. My dr doesn’t believe it does any good. He said you need to get inflammation down before you start PT. Inflammation = pain and when you start PT too early, the inflammation floods into the quads.

    -Joanne

  746. yea my doctor said that he thinks i should be good at around may. i too use the cpm machine but i dont think for much longer as i have already maxed it out at 120. The interseting thing about my situation is that I actually patially tore my ACL in September but tried to continue playing on it up to now in basketball and the doctor said I have a great advantage because of this as I was in far better shape and s\conditioned better than most people.

  747. I just met with my doc for the last time before surgery. I decided on the allograft because of chronic patellar femural pain. I guess this can get really bad after surgery if you go with the patellar tendon graft. The fact that my doc does allograft surgery 70% of the time really re-enforced it for me. I go under the knife on the 21st.

    Anyone have a good estimate on when i’d be good to travel- walk and hike lightly? I was told somewhere around 2 months to do that and 4-5 months to be fully active again.

    Thanks all.

    -Demian

  748. Demian,
    I tore my acl in football and played with it torn, due to that I had a bucket handle tear of my miniscus. I could not walk for 2 weeks after surgery because of the damage to my miniscus. Depending on what your doctor does with the surgery, he may or may not put you in a brace. I have a donor graft that was originally a tendon along the tibia in someone else. My doctor said if i did not have the serious miniscus surgery i would have been walking (with help of crutches) the day after the sugery, no brace or anything! If you do your rehab exactly the way your PT tells you, i would say you could walk and travel in around 2 months without any problems! The more you do your physical therapy, the faster your knee will heal, but also listen to the knee if you are pushing yourself too hard, trust me you will know.

  749. im back posting a week out of my surgery and everything is going fantastic so far! Got my stitches off yesterday and my knee is looking pretty good actually, with barely any swelling. The doctor is extremely pleased with the surgery so far and says my knee is excellerating at a far more faster rate than most, and syas he actually may need to slow me down in the future at this rate.

  750. Daniel,
    Good to hear! Just be sure to follow doctors orders because you don’t want to have to go through the whole thing again! I think one time is enough for me!

  751. Daniel,
    Good to hear! Just be sure to follow doctors orders because you don’t want to have to go through the whole thing again! I think one time is enough for me! :)

  752. Daniel – Congrats. I am glad your recovery is going so well.

    I had my surgery 9 days ago and finally decided to go with the allograft. I think that I am glad that I chose that way. I am recovering nicely and my doc did a great job. I had complete ACL reconstruction, MCL repair, Lateral and Medial meniscus repair and I only have two little holes below my kneecap and about a 2 inch line below. It looks great.

    I started therapy already but because of the extent of the damage I am not allowed to put any weight on my leg at all for 6 weeks. AHH!!!!!!!

    I am off the pain meds and have been for about 5 days.

    Did anyone else find a comfortable way to sleep with the brace on? Right now, that is the biggest issue I am having. Everything else is great.

    I go back to the doc today so he can tell me if he thinks my process is on or needs improvement, but I am feeling much better.

    Good luck to anyone who has an upcoming surgery. Really and truely, the first week is the hardest!!!

    Hang in there everyone.
    Carolyn

  753. wow! 6 weeks you cant put any pressure thats a lot. I also had like a 4 or 5% tear in the meniscus which they just cleaned out as well. also, the scars on my knee are also tiny, main one probably an inch long and twoo meniscus ones about 2 or 3 centimeter. i acatually stopped using crutches on about my 3rd day out of surgery and now my brace is fully unlocked and can walk pretty good now, in a couple of days i will take my brace fully off beccause my doc said as soon as i can walk a full day with brqace unlocked you can take off brace , and i have done this 3 days in a row, but am only a week and a couple days out of surgery so im not trying to push it yet lol. i really just cant wait to get to the level where i can start sports again i would say in about a month i will start running and continue it from there keep you guys posted

  754. I just had an ACL donor graft surgery yesterday. Turns out i tore about 2% of my minisucs, which the Doc said really isn’t a big deal. I’m in a CPM machine, at about 75 degrees movement. I made it to 90 this morning, but that was because my leg was still numb from the femural nerve block that I got pre-surgery yesterday. PT starts on monday, after a follow up with the doctor.

    So far everything looks good, and i’m in not too much pain. Minimal weight bearing with crutches. Hopefully I’ll get better everyday and be able to travel in a few (short) months.

  755. first day today without wearing brace anymore less than 2 weeks out of surgery. was of crutches in like 4 days after surgery

  756. Hi Everyone!

    I just had surgery on Thursday and I went with a patellar autograft. I’m still in a LOT of pain. I’ve been using my CPM machine 24hrs a day and have a cold therapy pad on too. I also had a femoral nerve pain pump in, but it was too painful in itself so we had it removed. I’m also taking percoset which help with the pain, but i’m still not finding any comfort…

    I was just curious as to when I will start to feel some sort of comfort and relaxation?! I get to remove the dressings on Tuesday, and i’m hoping that will give me some sort of relief!

    Any input would help :) Thanks!

  757. Hi Everyone, my first post here!

    I had an allograft ACL reconstruction on 1/20/2010, and the doctor said it went well when in the recovery room. I am a 23 year old male and even though I am an avid skier, hiker, and wake boarder, I went with the allograft since I could not find medical journal articles that show that they are not as strong as the patellar graft (only hearsay articles). There are four incisions, two on the bottom of my kneecap, one 3 inches above and one 2 inches below my knee. The graft was a from a 60 year old, which I am really shocked about since it will be 120 years old when I’m in my 80s! Anyone else know the age of their cadaver?

    There is the background, now the recent stuff. I can’t bear any weight, and whenever the knee is below my waist there is an excruciating pain from just below the kneecap and a little to the left. This pain brings me to near tears each time I crutch back and forth to the bathroom from bed. This pain slowly fades once back in bed over 10 minutes. I have PT tomorrow and that will be painful but maybe informative. Will take a lot of pain killers. Has anyone else experienced this pain? I believe it is the connection point for the ACL into the tibia? Everyone else that has had the allograft has not mentioned this pain. Please let me know if you did and that everything turned out alright! Thanks,

    Drew

  758. Daniel – You do know that we are all jealous, right? Congrarts on the great progress and recovery.

    Gilly – I had surgery on Jan. 12th. I was in a lot of pain when I went back to see my doc two days later and even had him give me a refill on the percoset. I ended up not refilling it though and I felt better a couple of days later. It does get better. Just watch the amount of percoset. I don’t know how it affects you, but it stopped me up. Add lots of fruit to your diet. LOL! Don’t worry. It gets better. I can’t put any weight on my legg for another 4 weeks. I had ACL reconstruction, MCL, Medial and Lateral Meniscus repair. Doc is playing it safe. Good luck and keep us posted.

    Drew – You can check out my previous posts but I too had a lot of pain just getting to the restroom. Believe it or not, the P.T. will help with that. Not sure why that is. I have been going to P.T. for about a week now and mine are great. There are a few exercises that hurt a little, but I always feel better after I have been. As long as I put ice on my knee when I get home it’s great. FYI, don’t over do it though. On Saturday, I went to my son’s soccer game, out to eat, moved back to my own house, went to my nephews soccer game, and back home. My knee is still swollen so now I am back to lying around until the swelling goes down.

    If it hasn’t already, the pain should start to go down in the next day or so. It might also be easier for you if you take your brace off when you travel to the restroom. Mine is heavy!

    Good luck guys and let me know how it goes. It’s an encouragement to me to read everyone’s post. THanks.

    Carolyn

  759. Gilly – Sometimes its the dressing that hurts cause it’s pressing on the area. You’ll probably feel better when its removed. Are you also doing the cold therapy 24 hours a day? I found that helped me and also kept the inflammation down. I used to sleep with the cpm machine on all night and it kept me from being stiff in the morning.

    Drew- That’s a good question. I never asked my doctor but I will. It does sound surprising that they would use a 60 yr old, but if it’s the achilles tendon, you should be fine. I got an achilles tendon and the dr said that was one the strongest tendons to use.

    So your 4 days out of surgery, are you icing and doing the CPM machine? You should be icing as often as you can. (20 minutes on and 20 minutes off ). A cooling pad works best as you can keep it on 24 hrs.

    You need to probably relieve inflammation to the area. Inflammation makes the area more tender, which could also aggravate where the tibia screw is. PT will help because they will massage and make you move, which will move the inflammation away from the knee and make you feel better.

    Good luck all,
    -Joanne

  760. This is definitely a very informative blog!
    I torn my ACL on December 6th and due to finals and Holiday travel I wasnt able to get the surgery right away. The pain was very minimal as well as swelling. I was able to move it a few days after doing pre-rehab. I honestly thought it wasnt a bad tear, that maybe it was MCL, but MRI showed a clear torn ACL. Right now, I use a brace because where I live I have to walk a lot and to prevent any major problems before surgery. I havent taken any meds in a month or so though but, I have a bit of swelling since I can feel it around my patella.

    Im a professional water polo player, which luckily doesnt required much impact as it would with soccer, basketball, etc. Im schedule for surgery this Wednesday Jan 27th. Apparently, me and my surgeon had a little misunderstanding and although I was thinking about getting a cadaver allograft, I sort of had decided on using the hamstring. I called my doc today to get a few last minute questions answered and because I had a gut feeling that something was not right. Well, I was right, all this time he is prepping for an allograft and have been mentally prepping for hamstring autograph.

    I will be liying if I say that I am not a little freaked out since I only have tonight to think about wether canceling the surgery or go through with it. My trainer thinks I should cancel and go with the hamstring because my muscles are very strong and he cant stop thinking about the possible complications of an allograft (disease transmission, rejection). But, after reading this blog and everybody’s experiences with allograft I may just do it. My surgeon is the doctor of doctors, so apparently, and from what I have read, he is very good.

    I have a very important tournament coming up at the end of July that I would really like to play in. I know I shouldnt be rushing but in a way it would be about 6 months after the surgery and, dont forget, is a water sport that receives very little impact in the knee (the only bad thing is the constant egg beater motion we have to do).

    If anybody has any last minute suggestions please let me know!
    Thanks! and good luck to anybody recuperating out there.