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Author Topic: Does a new ACL graft get loose / torn/ shift from its position after traveling  (Read 144 times)

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Offline Gaurav

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History :After getting discharged from hospital and by taking doctor permission,  I went to my home town by car, sitting with straight leg, the journey is of 8hrs, I got doctor approval, so at that time i think there won't be any problem, but during journey, due to potholes & speed breakers,  I got some impact on my knee, knee moves up & down many times and when I reached at home,  there is lot of pain on operated leg. Next day I feel like my knee movement is more flexible compare to day before traveling. So is there any impact of traveling on the newly reconstruted acl graft? Is that new graft get loose or shift from its position? Or is there any impact on the fixed screw or pin due to traveling? Please suggest me what to do in this situation!

Offline BornToRun

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Hi Gaurav, I really wouldnít have thought so. You should ask your surgeon just for peace of mind and/or your physio if you are seeing one. But that sounds very unlikely. The graft actually starts life quite strong, stronger even than your native ACL. Then it starts to weaken at around 6 weeks, before strengthening again from 4-6/9 months. You should obviously still be very very careful because the tunnel fixations are vulnerable to start with, the muscles are weak, your balance is very poor, etc. But I doubt a jolt in a car could do anything. If itís any consolation though, I was very paranoid about that as well whenever I was in a car, even with my leg straight on the back seat.
The pain could just be the 8 hours of being immobile. Thatís a very long time!  With flex, I found it sort of came and went from one day to another. Could be for no reason at all.
As I say, do check for peace of mind, but donít panic too much.
Good luck and keep us updated!
6 Mar 2018 - skiing fall, ACL rupture, MCL and LCL sprain, lateral meniscus tear and bone bruising
13 Apr 2018 - ACL reconstruction with hamstring autograft, small meniscus repair

Offline BornToRun

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Also, as my physio always tells me, ACLr has a high success rate (90%ish). If a jolt in car was all it took to tear the graft, no one would make it through it!  :)
6 Mar 2018 - skiing fall, ACL rupture, MCL and LCL sprain, lateral meniscus tear and bone bruising
13 Apr 2018 - ACL reconstruction with hamstring autograft, small meniscus repair

Offline Gaurav

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Thanks for resolving all my doubts, I discussed with the OS he said nothing to worry about. And at the time of traveling when I got discharged and came to my native place ,  I took the permission of OS. But before Journey I felt like  there won't be any problem, but as i began its terrible experience, and next day I am really worried that is there any thing wrong with new graft because of sudden mobility and fkexation.

I also want to know that after how much time, we can feel comfortable, that is living normal life, doing daily activities etc.  It would be very helpful for me if anyone had done acl reconstruction and share there personal experience after surgery to there road to recovery.

Thanks!

Offline BornToRun

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Hi Gaurav, I understand exactly what you mean. The first few weeks are so filled with paranoia and worry, you over analyse every move and you worry that it might have harmed the graft. The fears do ease off though as the knee gets more comfortable and bothers you less.
In answer to your question, it's really annoying when people say "every recovery is different" but honestly, I think that's true. It varies so much depending on your build, muscle mass, other injuries you had along with the ACL, how active you were pre-op, and simply how quickly your body heals. As a woman in her thirties who never had huge muscle mass, but always had problem hamstrings, my recovery is slower than a 20 year old rugby player male. I was always active, ran, did weights, etc. but maybe I didn't pay lots of attention to exercising all the right muscles properly.
I'm at three months in, I do my physio exercises religiously and follow what my physio tells me to the letter. I'm getting more and more days when the knee feels like it's my own, the stiffness is easing off, the swelling is almost gone, I can sleep comfortably, sit with my knee bent for long stretches with only a bit of stiffness, etc. I have full extension, and almost full flexion- though I'm not allowed to push that to heel to butt until the 6 month mark as it can stress the graft apparently. My programme includes 80 squats, 80 lunges, 60 one legged hamstring bridges, 40 hamstring curls, squat holds, abdominals and 20 minutes bike intervals 5 days a week, and I see my physio once a week- now moved to once every two weeks. I can do the exercises with decent technique (says the physio) and without pain in the operated knee. That said my gait isn't yet perfect when I walk, there's a small hesitation still when I tread on the operated side, though most people wouldn't be aware of it. I think it'll be another few weeks before I'm allowed to add weights to my exercises, and a couple of months to running. My physio is quite conservative compared to others though, which I'm actually happy about. I don't feel the need to rush it. You'll hear of others who start doing these things sooner though.
That said, there really are good days and bad days, steps forward and steps backwards. After a good few days, I've now had soreness in my hamstring harvest area when I'm walking for the last few days. I think it's because I'm working it very hard at my exercises, plus I'm walking and standing with better gait so using it more (I was letting my knee cap sink inwards before). When that happens, it can be frustrating, and upsetting- you feel like you've gone backwards or you worry you've messed it up somehow. You think it'll never get better. It's important to try to remember that it's not a linear process, you do have worse days, but ultimately you are moving forward and it will get better. I also found that it moves forward in 4-5 week increments. You plough at it for weeks and nothing seems to happen. Then suddenly you turn a corner and feel lots better. I had moments like that at 3-4 weeks, 7-8 weeks, and 11 weeks. Interestingly I've heard other people say similar things about that, including the timings.
The most important thing I think is to find a good physio who has experience of rehabbing ACLs, and follow their programme to the letter. Do exactly as they tell you, no more, no less. Don't try to do anything they don't allow you to do- it's a delicate process and the graft and knee are fragile for the first 6-9 months. But don't slack off your exercises either. If you don't complete your programme sadly the joint will not get better by itself..
Very best of luck, keep us updated. And don't be afraid to come on here and vent/share/ask for support. It's a mental process as much as anything and it can be hard and a bit lonely at times. Hope that answers your question, sorry for the long post!!
6 Mar 2018 - skiing fall, ACL rupture, MCL and LCL sprain, lateral meniscus tear and bone bruising
13 Apr 2018 - ACL reconstruction with hamstring autograft, small meniscus repair

Offline Gaurav

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 :) Thank you so much for sharing your road to recovery in detail,  it is very helpful for me!

Offline BornToRun

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How are you getting on Gaurav? Hope you're doing OK.
6 Mar 2018 - skiing fall, ACL rupture, MCL and LCL sprain, lateral meniscus tear and bone bruising
13 Apr 2018 - ACL reconstruction with hamstring autograft, small meniscus repair