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Author Topic: NewB!  (Read 187 times)

Offline CMG

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NewB!
« on: October 06, 2017, 05:20:24 AM »
Hi, I'm new here!

I'm 32 and tore my left ACL and menisci on Feb. 22, 2017 (less than two months after getting married and moving into our first home in a new city  :'( ). Also, I own a ballet school so this whole thing has just been devastating professionally.

I had ACLr on March 8th with bilateral menisci repairs. I was non-weight bearing and restricted to 60 degrees flexion for 1 month po.

From the second I was allowed to bear weight again, things were all wrong. I couldn't, for the life of me, get off my crutches. My quads were completely shut down. Also, my leg was stuck (flexion wise). At the time, I had 0 degree extension. I gradually lost my extension too, despite doing hours of heel props every day.

Over the next few months, I struggled and struggled. I went to PT 3x a week for a minimum of 2 hours a session. I had an awful experience with my PT. I actually feel like I have post traumatic stress disorder- is that even possible? My PT from April-July kept telling me that all my problems were in my head and I was just too scared to walk/bend my knee/ or basically do whatever we were working on. She also resorted to crazy methods to try to get my leg to bend. She would sit me on a bench, tie my ankle, pull the band under the table and pull on my leg despite excruciating pain. Every session was her trying to force my leg to bend, telling me it was just in my head that it wouldn't. I would cry through entire sessions. She would sit there and insinuate that I just have a low pain tolerance (I actually have a very high pain tolerance- I was a professional ballet dancer).

One day, she even tied me on my back to a table and pushed it up against the wall. She had me put my foot on the wall (like heel slides). She had another woman come in and hold the table against the wall so I couldn't push my body back, and then proceeded to put her entire body weight on my leg to try to get it to bend. It was more excruciating than the surgery! The next time I went in, she acted like I overreacted and it was all in my head, she didn't hurt me, and I was just being a baby. I started having panic attacks about going to every PT session.

Finally in July my surgeon started taking me seriously when I told her my leg was stuck. At that point my ROM was 11-73. Every step hurt, my limp was awful, and I was at the end of my rope. She finally sent me to a new PT who confirmed what I thought- my leg was actually stuck. The relief I felt in that moment, after being told for four months that it was in my head, was surreal.

I had a scope clean out and MUA on August 1st. In the surgery, my doc was only able to get my leg to 0-125. My leg felt amazing for 3 weeks. I could walk without a limp, my quads were working, etc. My PT gave me a ridiculous home PT plan- I had PT everyday the first 2 weeks and additionally I had 40 minutes of exercises (ROM) that he had me do every hour on the hour. I slept in a CPM at night. I spent an entire month at home, by myself, just doing my PT exercises. I was lonely and isolated, but it didn't matter if I was going to get better.

Then, all of a sudden, my leg started feeling sticky again. My first indication that something wasn't quite right was when I stopped having an easy swing through when walking. Clinically, I was measuring the same ROM so my PT was skeptical, as was my surgeon. Within two weeks, however, I began losing ROM. Now I'm at 8-100. The pain is back. The limp is back. I can't take it anymore.

I had an injection 2 weeks ago that has helped with comfort- the doc struggled to get it in past the scar tissue. She was basically like "well, we can't do another clean out" and she was ready to send me to a PLASTIC SURGEON because she didn't know what to do with me.

Luckily, once I realized my 2nd surgery was unsuccessful I started doing my own research. I learned about arthrofibrosis, how difficult it is to treat, and found that one of the doctors often recommended (Dr. Singleton) is in my insurance network even though he is 5 hours away from me!

I went to see him last week. He thinks he can help me. It will be a long road to recovery. One surgery to deal with scar tissue, capsule, remove acl graft, lengthen quads and patellar tendon. Another one a year later for another ACLr. He's hopeful that when all is said and done, I will have normal function of my knee again.

In the meantime, I feel like this process will never end. I cannot have surgery until June because of work. I am going to have to sell my ballet school, which is the career I have wanted since I was 4. I am so tired of being in pain every single day, and I'm so mad that my husband and I haven't gotten to enjoy being newlyweds. We wanted to start a family. This has pushed us so far financially, emotionally, etc. How much can one person take?

Anyways, that's my story. I look forward to getting to know all of you!

Offline Brandon123

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Re: NewB!
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2017, 09:40:12 AM »
Hi CMG,

Sorry to hear about your knee problems. I cannot really comment on the injury and all that, but I can say that 1) I do think it is possible to get a type of PTSD from traumatic experiences with an insensitive and unprofessional PT, and 2) being in a somewhat similar age and life situation, I understand your frustration and pain. After fighting hard to build a career, I have been forced to pass on several (dream) job opportunities due to my ongoing knee problems (cannot travel or relocate easily). The feeling of being stuck and held back in your personal as well as professional life because of one stupid damaged knee is frustrating to say the least. As many have said in different threads on the forum, the mental game is key here. It is important to try to not get beaten down mentally and emotionally (even though it is very easy). Most likely (with healing, treatments etc.), we have much better days ahead, even though it is difficult to remember in the midst of a knee (life) crisis! Try to stay positive about your future and vent here on the forum, it helps :)   

Offline Navtinho

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Re: NewB!
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2017, 08:53:19 PM »
Hi,
Really sorry to hear about your ordeal. I can understand your anguish and frustration to some extent. I was also really passionate about being physically active when I tore my ACL. I can only imagine how it feels when that passion is also your career.

I had to wait a year to have my surgery and because of this I also had my surgery only a few months after getting married and moving into our first home (was 26 at the time) I remember feeling really depressed cos I couldnt do as much as I wanted to for the first few months. So I feel you on this one.

My recovery was not as challenging as yours  and your situation is very different in many ways, but for me the mental part (my own confidence in the knee) was and still is a bit of a challenge (7 years later). The one thing I learnt was to listen to my body and respect the signs it was giving me. If an activity/exercise didnt feel right or hurt more than normal, go really slowly or do another movement that can accomplish the same goal, knowing that you can always try the other activity again at a later stage ie. ease yourself back into it.
I do think that it is good for the Physio therapist to push a little, condsidering that we would naturally have a reluctance, but I think that yours took it too far ! You actually need someone to listen,motivate and support you through the process which is the complete opposite of what yours accomplished.

Regarding the surgery I had a hamstring graft, but judging from what you describe I suspect you had the Patellar tendon autograft right ? I know that surgeons usually suggest the patellar graft for active individuals, but there is the higher risk of issues with anterior knee pain and scar tissue afterwards.
Out of interest, I dont think you mentioned, but did your physio do any massage therapy after the scope clean out ? Maybe intensive massage sessions would have prevented the scar tissue from reforming. Maybe you could even go for some sessions now while you wait ? It might be a good idea to check with your new surgeon.
You also mentioned another ACLr, does the surgeon intend to remove the old graft and do a new one ? Why does he want to do this ? Is the existing graft torn or stretched ? What type of graft does he intend to do. I think you should ask as many questions as possible. You need to understand all the implications and possibilities.

On the positive side, it really seems like you are steering yourself onto the right track. I also think that reading up and educating yourself on the situation is excellent.
I can only imagine how dissappointing it must be having to sell your ballet school, but I think you should focus on your knee for now, you've been through quite a lot already, I am not a professional, but I would say that you would only be able to reasses the knee and its performance, a year from now at best. Just keep positive and keep posting !


 















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