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Author Topic: ACL Advice Please!!  (Read 994 times)

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Offline FionaMcFaul

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ACL Advice Please!!
« on: June 20, 2006, 08:51:41 AM »
Hi there people - what a great site! Have only been a member for 10 minutes but I'm loving it already! I posted this twice cos I'm not too sure how to work these thigns so feel free to delete one of the posts if it's in the wrong place!

OK, my problem is - I'm a 24 year old Irish female and I partially tore my ACL 4 years ago whilst skiing. I then tore the remainder of it 12 months ago whilst playing soccer. I am booked in to get an ACL Reconstruction next month (July 06) and I would love to know a little bit about what exactly will be involved in my rehab and physiotherapy. I really wanrt to go on holiday to Spain but unfortunately, due to work commitments, the only week I can go is 5 and a half weeks after surgery.

Is it unadvisable to fly this soon after surgery due to risk of clots and things? Also, if it is OK to fly, would I miss out on intensive physio whilst there or is it something I can do by myself on holidays? DO I have to wear a knee brace all day every day and if so, for how long? I'm planning to lie on the beach all day but obviously if I'm in a knee brace this may not be practical!

Any advice at all would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance,


Offline kneefizzio

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Re: ACL Advice Please!!
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2006, 11:53:40 AM »
HI Fiona,
I am a physio specialising in ACL rehab. The first 8 weeks are critical - no major rotation of the knee is wanted during this time. Work will involve range of movement exercises to ensure a straight leg and improving knee bend. Strength of whole leg is important at this junction. I strongly recommend you see a specialist that has facilities to push you rather than someone with a small room and an up down plinth only. Regards your holiday. You will be able to fly if your early effusion has settles. You should be walking around easily by week 2. no crutches, cycling, rowing etc. The crucial time is week 6-8 as the blood supply to the new cruciate is embedding at this time and torsion that tears it will cause the graft to potentilly loose blood suply and die. So no excessive rotation eg dancing at this time. Weeks 9-16 is the really intensive physio therapy period. Dont be on holiday at this time as you should really work hard on your rehab. We get people back between 6-7 months post op dependant on their motivation asnd pre op fitness levels. Some exercises used are seem on our video on my website
Good luck and let me know how you get on
Any more questions i am always happy to answer.
Physio Graham

Offline r_k_thompson

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Re: ACL Advice Please!!
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2006, 09:37:02 PM »
Hi there,

Perhaps my story can help you plan: -

I had ACL reconstruction and some work to fix a tear in the medial meniscus on 2nd May 2006.  The plan was that I would be walking, probably without crutches, after a week or so.  On this basis I booked a holiday (Spain & Morocco with planes, boats, cars and trains, so not an easy trip!) starting around 2 weeks after my surgery.  The additional work on the meniscus tear was unexpected and did mean I had to spend 2 weeks following surgery in bed in a splint, thereby delaying recovary and wasting more muscle away.

Lesson 1 - leave a little more time that you might expect after surgery for unknowns.

So, I went to the doctors to have staples removed and went to the airport with my DVT sock on and crutches in hand, no chance of walking at all at that stage.  Flight was okay as I made sure of an aisle seat, but geting around was a little difficult with bags.  The holiday was generally hard going, but moderated as I didn't plan to do too much more that a little sightseeing and eating.  By the end of the trip (4 weekas after surgery) I was just about walking without the crutches and feeling confident about getting around, though it was still quicker with the sticks. Getting in small taxi's was hard as well, less than 45 degree knee bend makes most things tricky.

Lesson 2 - Don't plan a holiday that is going to involve activities that you cant easily avoid, you want the option to just chill and move around at your own pace.

The surgery was worse that I had expected personally.  Overconfidantly, I thought I would be up and about right away as I'm in good shape- proven wrong there alright.  Suggest that you give yourself plenty of time and perhaps make sure you can actually walk before you go away.

I'm now around 8 weeks after surgery and getting along nicely, back at the gym and walking reasonably well, so no major setbacks taking a holiday.  What I found I missed out on was the physio support while away; those 2 weeks were the times when I should have been pushing for more motion of the knee, but did not do enough as 'it hurt a bit'.  What I needed was the physio to push me harder that I would myself (talking about leg lifts, bends etc), once that happens you improve so quickly.  I would say this set me back a little, but not overly and am probably ahead of the curve now.

Lesson 3 - your the boss, go for it, but please don't get drunk and fall over.

Anyway, hope this helps and you have a good operation and holiday. Do watch out for the tan marks left by any steri-strips though.