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Author Topic: 6 years since ACL Recon; Haven't been able to gain full knee Extension  (Read 566 times)

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Offline Rayrayman

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My issue is I have yet to get back full knee flexion in my Left knee.  I had ACL reconstruction and some meniscus debridement about 6 years ago following a basketball injury.  I have always been a very active guy, yoga, Basketball, Football, Jui-Jitsu, Muay Thai, body building, Marathons.  I now no do alot of the high impact activities due to back pain, but I do yoga everyday, Jumprope & weight lifting 4-5 times a week, martial arts and short distance running periodically (1-2X per week).  Needless to say I'm still pretty active.

I have never been completely pain free since the surgery but the levels are tolerable and don't really limit me from participating in all my activities.  I have complete extension in my affected knee but lack full flexion by probably 10-15 degrees roughly. That missing 10-15 degrees at full knee flexion end range limits me in alot of my activities, such as body weight squatting (full depth), a fair amount of seated Yoga poses and Jui-jitsu. 

I'm just 35 and would like to get that extra range back in my knee, so that I can continue to live a healthy lifestyle and also train with my son who also does jui-jitsu.

Any info or insight would help tremendously.  Thanks.

Offline HobbledGirl

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I had a severe tibial plateau fracture which frequently limits range of motion. I was bound and determined that this wouldnít happen to me! Hereís what I did:

I wrapped a heating pad all the way around my knee and cranked it to high. Once my knee was nice and toasty, I wrapped a cloth belt around my ankle and pulled my heel toward my rear end, trying to keep my whole leg in the same plane (ie, not pulling my knee and calf to the side). Every day I took a picture of how close I got, and worked it the next day to try to get it to that same distance or closer. This was a real motivator for me, and the end result was maximum flexion.

Note, I didnít move quickly like in yanking it back, it was more relentlessly with the thought Iím going to keep pulling and see how close I can get without damage. Lots of holding it as far as I could get, then trying for a little bit more.  I usually did this on my back in bed. As I recall, I didnít use heat every single day or more than once or twice a day, especially if it was swelling up. I often used the belt sans heat for a few minutes here and there throughout the day, say if I was watching tv or reading a book.

Good luck! I hope this helps. My doctors were amazed.
1-4-17 accident on Segway in Madrid.
3-4-17 flight to US w/ full-length plaster splint & crutches I can't use. 😂
6-4-17 surgery for highly comminuted, 1.5 cm depressed Schatzker II TPF.  ORIF: plate, 7 screws, allograft.
29-6-17 WBAT, almost full ROM, -2 mm lateral plateau
16-7-17 Heel met behind

Offline mestope

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I would like to hear more about when your range stopped and what it felt like, as I am 3 months post ACL op and lacking ~3 degrees of extension. I went under again at month 2 for arthroscopic debridement to break up scar tissue and I gained a few degrees (was previously at 5) and a good amount in flexion (from 100 to 125). I have not been able to gain on my own, no matter how much PT and force I put into my leg.

I am still worried about my extension, as it's painful to straighten and I feel like the scar tissue or whatever is limiting me is coming back. I want to get back into yoga and climbing, but am concerned as you said about seated yoga poses and walking with a limp for however long.

Does your knee still hurt now while trying to extend? What extension have you reached? Sorry I don't have tips on getting your leg straight now besides the exercises I try to do all day (leg hangs, weighted gravity extension, etc), but would love any extra information. Thanks!

Offline HobbledGirl

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Mestopinal - I hope you donít mind me butting in, even though your comment was meant for Rayrayman.

Have you tried elevating your heal while hanging the rest of your leg in space? I had a sturdy bed tray thatís about 8Ē high and would put some cushioning on it and just hang there watching tv or reading a book. I usually put weights on it just above the knee (first I just used hand weights and a belt, and situated one hand weight on each side of the knee inside a closed belt with the loop hanging on my lower thigh, then I bought ankle weights). This worked great for me, although it could be very painful, especially moving out of the position. The pain never lasted beyond a minute or two moving out of the pose. I did this multiple times a day, but didnít use weights every time.
1-4-17 accident on Segway in Madrid.
3-4-17 flight to US w/ full-length plaster splint & crutches I can't use. 😂
6-4-17 surgery for highly comminuted, 1.5 cm depressed Schatzker II TPF.  ORIF: plate, 7 screws, allograft.
29-6-17 WBAT, almost full ROM, -2 mm lateral plateau
16-7-17 Heel met behind

Offline mestope

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Hi HobbledGirl, thanks for the advice! I sit with my leg up at work every day (desk job - realistically maybe 4-5 hours of this), sometimes weighted and most of the time I just let gravity do the work. This hasn't seemed to do the trick just yet, although I try to be diligent. I experience something similar, where the pain doesn't last too long coming out of the stretch, but I do get into a spot where I feel more comfortable with gravity doing the job after about 10-15 mins.

Doc is now talking about dynasplint, which I'm hoping will make some sort of improvement.

Offline HobbledGirl

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Hi Mestope-

I hope the dynasplint will work well for you. Other things you could try are heating the joint with a heating pad (I used to do hot yoga, I had no idea I could become so flexible!) or getting ultrasound which can heat up the joint capsule. For me the weights worked really well, but I did use them earlier in my recovery than you are which usually makes it a little easier.

Best of luck! Donít give up!

Karen
1-4-17 accident on Segway in Madrid.
3-4-17 flight to US w/ full-length plaster splint & crutches I can't use. 😂
6-4-17 surgery for highly comminuted, 1.5 cm depressed Schatzker II TPF.  ORIF: plate, 7 screws, allograft.
29-6-17 WBAT, almost full ROM, -2 mm lateral plateau
16-7-17 Heel met behind

Offline cmp12123

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Rayrayman, I'm in a similar situation. I just posted my own topic on it. I had a serious meniscus repair two years ago and never regained full extension. I'm also having slight gait issues. My healthy leg hyper extends a few degrees and my surgery leg is about 0. I never thought it was a big problem until I started reading about it. Look at this post about low-load long-duration stretching:

https://mikereinold.com/assessing-and-treating-loss-of-knee-extension-range-of-motion/

I just ordered a 15 point ankle/thigh weight from amazon. I plan to do this along with a heating pad for 15 minutes twice a day and see what happens. Hopefully it's not too late for us to regain some extension.















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