The WAITING ROOM => GENERAL KNEE QUESTIONS and comments (good for new threads) => Topic started by: soccermom on July 22, 2004, 06:30:21 AM

Title: Re: Why wait so long to Walk ?
Post by: soccermom on July 22, 2004, 06:30:21 AM

Wow, those pictures are pretty impressive. You must have been in alot of pain!

To answer your question, it is quite normal to be non weight bearing for 5 weeks. You are right it is a long time ;) You want to protect that meniscus repair. It takes about 4 months to heal completely. Take it easy during your recovery but remember to be faithful with your pt exercises at home. Ask your pt about patellar mobilizations ( moving knee cap back and forth so it does not get stuck in place by scar tissue) also do your heel slides, straight leg raises and quad sets faithfully. They are important to keep your knee moving and to keep your muscles strengthened.

Hope you recover well and soon!

Christina ;)
Title: Re: Why wait so long to Walk ?
Post by: Gab on July 22, 2004, 08:55:15 PM
The reason he can't walk at all is not the ACL reconstruction, it's the meniscus repair. There is only a limited amount of blood supply on the outer part of the mensicus, therefore it takes a long time for the suture to heal properly. Walking on it too soon would put unecessary stress on the repair.

My friend, hockey teamate with whom I was playing when my ACL snapped in two is also a PT and he also said that ACL reconstruction patients were is favorite! His reasons is because of the fact that we are so messed up after surgery and they can see us go from struggling to walk to a full return to sports. It's the feeling of accomplishment :)
Title: Re: Why wait so long to Walk ?
Post by: Heather M. on July 26, 2004, 12:38:36 AM
I know you've had a bad experience in the hospital with your son's surgery, but many of the things he is experiencing right now are completely normal.  It's important not to get too upset or nervous about swelling, pain, and lack of muscle strength after a major surgery like this.  It's going to take time to get better, but he will.  Over 4 million people each year have knee surgery and the vast majority recover without incident.  But it will take time.

The best thing you can do is to sit down and read through the Cruciate ligaments section.  Read all the posts and see what others have gone through as they recover from ACL reconstruction.  Bob's ACL board is a good resource as well.  If you read through these posts you will see that most people have a three steps forward, one step back experience in rehab.  Try not to get upset at every perceived setback and focus on how much better he is now than on the day after surgery.  Look at weeks, not days.  You may even want to keep a journal of how the knee feels, what he did during the day, what exercises irritate the knee, etc.  Also keep a list of your questions and concerns and if they haven't resolved by the time he sees the doctor next, then bring them up.

Here is a good resource on ACL injuries:  

You will find a lot of ACL specific questions on this board:  

As you read through the posts you will be assured that what your son is experiencing is normal, and things will begin to improve rapidly now that he is in PT.  Each week or two you will be able to look back and see that he is getting better and making progress.  But it's going to take more time.  This is especially true because of the meniscal repair.  4 weeks non-weight-bearing is NOT unusual after a repair like he had.  On average, it will probably be 6 months--and maybe even 10 to 12--before he forgets that he had knee surgery.  

An important part of the recovery process is having appropriate expectations.  If you expect him to be walking around or even weight-bearing right now, not taking pain meds and able to do straight leg raises and such, then you are going to be disappointed and upset.  That's because these expectations aren't reasonable at this point in the post-op process.  He had two major things done, and each on its own is a big deal.  Together it means that he's got a long rehabilitation period ahead of him, but his knee should be stronger than ever because of the ACL recon and the fact that he has all of his own meniscus.  This is good!

I feel so bad for you that your doctor didn't adequately prepare you for the realities of the rehab process, but if you read through the experiences of other people you will be able to readjust your expectations and see that things really are going to be all right.  It will just take time and hard work.  I remember when my roommate had her ACL repaired and at three months post-op she wanted to do a charity 10K walk.  She had to drop out after 2K and I backtracked to find her sitting on a bench sobbing because "something terrible was wrong with her knee."  I made her call the OS and he assured her that it is perfectly normal to not have enough stamina to do a 10K walk less than 12 weeks after surgery.  He had a long talk with her and was honest (probably for the first time!) about the limitations she was going to be experiencing over the next 9 months or so.  After that, she was much calmer and this adjustment of her expecations was the key.

Please read up on meniscal repair (you won't find lots, but there are a few stories here) and ACL reconstruction.  That should help you understand what you're in for.  It's a long and painful process, but hopefully it will leave your son with a strong and healthy knee.

Title: Re: Why wait so long to Walk ?
Post by: Heather M. on July 26, 2004, 01:09:24 AM
While looking up information on cartilage restoration, I found these general principles for rehab following ACL reconstruction and meniscal repair.  These are general, and you should always follow your own doctor's program.  But this should help give you a general idea of timelines and what the expectations are at each phase of rehab.  And remember that some people go through phases faster, and some slower, than the average patient.