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Author Topic: Living without an ACL  (Read 18929 times)

Offline MomOfTwo655

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2009, 03:05:36 PM »
Just wanted to provide an update on my ACL-less life!  (In the event anyone cares  :-\

It's been 2 months since I tore my right ACL. I am now walking up stairs (foot over foot, the 'normal' way) and walking with barely any limp at all. I still have minor knee pain/discomfort and some swelling by the end of the day. I've started biking for just about 30 minutes per day and it feels great! 

My ONLY concern is that my knee still will not extend fully! I can get it to 0 degrees when I sit down and put gently pressure on it or apply heat for a fee minutes. It won't hyperextend / lock like my left, however... and the doctor says it should. It won't stay at 0 degrees when I stand. It POPS OUT to about 5 or 10 degrees, which is what is giving me my slight limp.

I hoping to be back to normal by Christmas.  I hate the thought of having a bent knee forever or a slight limp forever.  Woe is me....
ACL & MCL Tear - - Right Knee (July 2009)

Offline MomOfTwo655

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2009, 03:15:08 PM »
Hi folks!  Just wanted to provide an update for all those living without an ACL... It's been about 3 months since my injury. I believe my MCL is about 95% healed. I have a small amount of pain in it every few days, especially when stretching or walking long distances (over 1 mile) but otherwise, it's fine.  My knee, generally, is feeling much, much better!  Very little pain on a day to day basis. In the morning, it still gets a little stiff and swells very, very (very!) slightly after a really long day of walking and chasing my kids around.

But, overall, I feel like I'm (almost) completely healed!  I am wearing low heels (only about 1.25 inches) today for the first time in 3 months and I LOVE it!  My knee feels great but my brain is a bit nervous.  Anyway, I continue to do my quad and hamstring strengthening exercises and walk for cardio more and more, faster and faster.  I can go up stairs with little problem though I try to take it slow. I go down stairs just holding one railing now, instead of two, and again, try to take it slow... so I don't fall again! That's how I got in this predicament anyway.

I'm determined to live my life without an ACL and live it to the fullest.  Several ACL-deficient friends have been my inspiration.

Hope everyone else is doing great and looking forward to the coming fall and winter seasons.

Until later...
ACL & MCL Tear - - Right Knee (July 2009)

Offline mollyc

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2009, 03:20:01 PM »
Glad you are on the road to recovery! How is your extension?
Ski accident 2/14/09
Ruptured ACL, MCL sprain, bone bruise
ACLr allograft 5/27/09
Knee now 100% fine...skiing and playing tennis regularly

Offline MomOfTwo655

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2009, 04:55:13 PM »
My extension is perfect (can hyperextend normally) when sitting or doing strengthening exercies. When walking, however, I'm not sure that I hyperextend...but I definitely get to zero degrees with no problem. So, all in all, the extension has come along just fine.  Flexion, I'm probably about 125 or so, which my OS says is just fine.

Thanks for asking!   :)

ACL & MCL Tear - - Right Knee (July 2009)

Offline TennisFanatic

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2009, 01:36:39 AM »
Mom of Two, I am glad you are doing well and feeling good.  I am 41 and lived with a partially torn acl for over 20 years (and didn't know it although I should have guessed as my knee would give out from time to time).  I had allograft reconstruction last year after finishing off what was left of my acl - my kids were 10, 8 & 5 at the time.  I don't have family living close by but my husband was able to take a few days off from work and I had some great friends to help me through the first few weeks (I couldn't drive as it was my right foot).

I won't tell you it was easy (it wasn't) especially with three very active kids but I wish I knew about the partial tear as I would have had the reconstruction done many years ago (the younger you are the easier the recovery and muscle rebuilding process).

After I learned about the acl and minor meniscus tear it took me just a couple of days to decide I wanted the surgery (and it wasn't just that I was a tennis junkie and wanted to play as I have a friend that is older than me that uses a brace and plays tennis and skis without an acl).  The deciding factor for me was reading about arthritis and meniscus damage that could occur with the instability that comes from an acl deficient knee.   

My two cents:  You don't have to make any decisions now but keep an open mind for the future (you don't want to wait until you are 40. :)


vinnic

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2009, 11:48:32 PM »
Hey MomofTwo, glad to hear you're getting along nicely these days.  It sounds like you've heard both sides of the story on whether or not you can live without an acl.  Obviously it's a personal decision that depends on what type of activities you like to do, but it also depends on how your knee is holding up in daily life.  For me, I had a partial acl tear at 24 and chose to modify my activities and use a custom knee brace - and got along just fine for my particular lifestyle at the time.  However, my original surgeon did advise me to keep up with my physical therapy exercises to keep my leg strong and that I still might face surgery down the road in 10 to 20 years.  Well, he was right on the money because I simply stepped back from putting something away in a cupboard when my knee suddenly gave out and caused me to lose my balance and fall - twisting my leg and tearing the acl completely (with other damage too of course - medial meniscus, mcl, plc, tpf, bone bruising...).  My new surgeon cleaned out my knee last summer and started me on a good therapy routine, but I still experienced daily episodes of the knee cracking, shifting, or giving out - especially going down stairs.  So, I was all for the aclr and couldn't be happier with the results at age 36!  (I think I probably do more now than I've done in the past twelve years combined fitness-wise).  So, do what's right for you but be sure to keep an open mind to all possibilities!  Best of luck!     

Offline blueberry09

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2009, 05:04:50 PM »
hi

great news things are coming on so well, and that your extension is ok now again too.

best wishes
x
blue
acl tear skiing end of dec 08
mri - complete ACL rupture, tibial contusions, menisci ok, some plc soft-tissue damage.
ACLr 12th June 09 (hamstring graft)

Offline nick2941

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2009, 08:42:16 PM »
Glad to hear you are doing well.  I think that in general there is a lot of pressure to get surgery rather than healing just because of the time involved.  You really have to give your knee 3-6 months to see if it will heal on its own and then if you need ACLr that adds another 6 months or longer, so then you could be away from your life for over a year!  That is what kind of pushed me towards surgery; however, my second and third opinion OS rec. to wait and see for surgery.  I have gone back to my main sport of kiteboarding and am back to 100% preinjury levels 2.5 months after my injury.   If you knee is stable in your activities I think you made the right choice.  After seeing all the OS I saw and having 6 radiologists look at my MRI, I think it is pretty scary the differing opinions.  I started to scare myself into thinking I better get it or I may damage meniscus, but both surgeons said if I was true to myself and recognized my knees giving out I would not likely damage meniscus.  Also, my mental state had a large effect on how I felt, my knees would feel weak or strong depending on the last OS I saw...My personal opinion is that if you have no episodes (0) of your knee giving out you should wait and see...

Offline UK Girl !

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2009, 09:37:18 PM »
ruptured mine when I was 18 - never had it fixed and continued with all the sports except gymnastics that I did before - including running a half marathon!  (ignore the fact that I have had a knee replacement - that was down to arthritis from no cartalidge !)

Keep the muscles toned and you should cope fine x
1978 - ruptured acl and all cartalidge removed.
several debridements over years
TKR 10TH JULY 2006 http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=28257.0  Aug 07 patellar maltracking - more physio! Still pain - but so much better !
BIOMET AGC  TKR  (with 10 yr warranty !)

Offline RyanP

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2009, 12:32:46 AM »
I thought about living with out the surgery too.  I hyper-extended my knee and tore my ACL in Sep. 08 and had no insurance so I hoped it would heal like the doctor said it might.  I never had an MRI.  I started to get better but the knee was unstable and the muscles really never came back.  A few months later I annihilated any hope of healing, when a car pulled out suddenly and I had to stop jogging on a dime, and it went backward again.  It was far more painful than the initial injury.  With a compromised knee, I think it is inevitable that it will be injured worse in the future.  Finally had surgery on Oct 9 09 and I can already feel the effectiveness of the surgery.  My knee felt like it wanted to hyperextend until the surgery. Now only 12 days later it feels so much more stable, especially when the PT does the stretch for full extension.    Looking forward to the possibility of finally getting back to some of the things I miss. 

In any case, good luck and be careful.

Offline Sondra

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2009, 09:27:46 PM »
I destroyed my ACL 23 years ago in a gymnastics class. It was extremely painful, but I was so relieved when I was able to limp to my car that I believed I had escaped permanent injury and would soon be back to normal. As I expected, my knee slowly got better, although I occasionally had twinges of pain that let me know I had never healed completely.

I didn't dance as much as previously for about ten years and then started taking classes as often as seven days a week. If I hadn't put my knees through so much, I might never have re-injured the torn one and had the MRI that said it had no ACL and a large tear in the medial meniscus. A few years later I started getting occasional sharp pains that made me think I was re-tearing the meniscus, but I cut back all actvities, including walking, and the pains went away. I took water aerobics classes at a therapy place that helped.

My knee has never given way and I seldom have twinges. I come back to this site on occasion to see if there are any advancements in treatment, because I will always be at risk for re-injury.

Offline MomOfTwo655

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2010, 02:08:07 AM »
Thanks for everyone's responses, suggestions, and interest! Now that I'm about 6 months out from my injury... I have to admit, I am much more open to the idea of ACLr... though I am still declining the surgery for now! My knee seems very stable. I've been trying to run but (1) I'm scared, and (2) I still have some stiffness. I can run but I'm like limping-running! It's very funny.

I'm able to wear low heels most days (no more than 1.5 inches) and have virtually no issue going up and down stairs. Honestly, going down can be a bit 'limpy' but it's no problem. Occassionally, my knee feels a bit stiff, nothing major. I assume that it hasn't healed 100% and perhaps it never will.

It feels good to feel like I've escaped ACLr... for now... but it's also nice to know that if I ever change my mind, I'll be in good company and have many options to choose from.
ACL & MCL Tear - - Right Knee (July 2009)

Offline brady004

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2010, 06:42:30 PM »
Hi momoftwo,

Your ACL will never 'heal' on it's own if has been completely torn.  A lot of my stiffness I think is due to a chronic effusion (fluid) in my knee.  I do have a fissure in my patella, too which may be the cause of that.  It sounds like you are doing great.  My injury was over a year ago and I believe in keeping my knee limber by doing a lot of stretching and working out the leg muscles that support the knee.  Remember that you can always RICE, too if you feel you've overdone it.  Just make sure that your ROM stays good and good luck! Thank for the update!
11/08: complete ACL tear during Tae Kwon Do
3/2/2010:  hamstring autograft ACLr

Offline thorick

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2010, 04:28:52 AM »
Hi,

I just noticed this thread and thought that I'd related my story.
I tore my ACL 10 1/2 years ago participating in martial arts tournament.   After going through the months of recovery from the tear I opted not to get the ACLr done, mainly out of fear/aversion of going through another long period of downtime recovering from the surgery.

I modified my life and refrained from doing things involving lots of jumping or running and things went mostly OK.   Minor knee pains from time to time that went away with 'taking it easy'.   This all changed after I took up dancing 3 years ago or so and the lack of an ACL was starting to make itself known..    HipHop and 'Modern' dancing was fine, but going to more technically difficult styles like Jazz were starting to push the limits.  It all came to a head when I started taking Ballet a year ago.   My knee just couldn't take the strain.   Dancing has become a very important hobby for me, so at 55yrs old, I had the ACL repaired (allograft) along with a bonus meniscus repair this last November.   When all is healed and rehabbed.  I'm looking forward to the best 10 years of my life:  dancing !

Best of luck to you in whatever path you choose...

Thanks everyone on this forum.   Reading everyone's posts really helped me out before and after the surgery !

=thorick

Offline tez27

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Re: Living without an ACL
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2010, 07:33:20 PM »
I have been reading this forum for some time and eventualy decided to join in hope nobody minds not sure how to start a new topic but as my prob is similler to this one thought i'd tell my story here, and ask for some advice, sorry this will be a long post.
It started off a year and a half ago, on my way to work walking down some shallow stairs on a hill I slipped and fell landing heavily on my left knee, as i hit the ground my weight went forward causing my knee to twist, very embarresd so picked myself up and limped down the rest of the stairs to work, knew I had done somthing to my knee but not sure what, I work as a hairdresser in a very busy salon and this was the busyiest time of the year so limped around unabel to bend my knee for about 5 or 6 days slowly that improved but still hurt pretty badley, I also couldnt sleep at night so eventualy went to my gp not a big fan of doctors so that took alot of bullying from my husband well she had a look did a couple of tests and said a mcl sprain sent me to p.t eventually got an appointment.
The p.t worked with me for a couple of weeks and then said he thought i had meniscus damage and wanted me refered to an O.S. after he had a look was sent for an M.R.I  when the results came back was told there was some ware and tear but that was all. By this time It was about 8 months since injury I still had a lot of pain on the medial side of my knee especially when ther was any inward pressure even moving my knee slightly there was pain still couldnt sleep very well was taking tramadol and cocodamol to help with the pain and to try to get some sleep anyway put up with this for another couple of months then went back to g.p who refered me back to the O.S waited another couple of months for app when I eventualy saw him he took me through the m.r.i and noticed a couple of pockets of fluid round my knee and decided to get the knee scoped well that was a week age came round from the anasthetic to be told by the surgeon that I had ruptured my cruciate ligament at the time of my fall,and he removed a band of fiberous tissue that had grown over the freyed edges, he said because I am 48 and not into serious sport I would not need to get the ligament replaced he hoped by removing the fiberous band that would get rid of my pain so a week after surgery i have not noticed much difference in the pain i'm hopeing that will get better as time goes by. My question is can i still do my job without my cruciate ligament i stand for 9 hours a day 5 days a week I'm not into a lot of sports but I walk my dog [well i used to] every day and swim now and again I have read other posts saying that you could damage other parts of the knee without, it my knee feels pretty stable a few wobbels now and again so its only the pain that bothers me.My other question is why was a ruptured cruciate ligament not spotted on an m.r.i .
I have an appiontment  with my O.S next thur and would like a few ideas before then of what to ask him, I feel that because i'm 48 and a slightly overweight mother of 2 that he will write me off  any help or advice will be appreciated       
L K injured 25th June 2008
scope Jan 5th 10
diagnosis ACL rupture
fiberous band excised from acl
ACLr July 19th 2010  scope on 24th Sept 2011
ACL has failed incorrect tunnel placement
23rd July 2012 1st stage of a 2 stage ACL revision
10th May 2013 2nd stage ACL revision