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Author Topic: Has anyone ever benefited from therapy for a torn ACL instead of surgery?  (Read 1242 times)

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Offline wikedorinnocent

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Ok, I found out that I tore my ACL on July 19th. I also have chondromalacia patella and my meniscus is stretched out causing bone rubbing and i have degenerative arthritis(unless thats the same as Chondramalacia patella). I have been in immense pain since the injury. Not sure which is causing the pain. I am on meds for arthritis and anti inflamatory meds ect. I have been doing water therapy( I weigh 350 #). My range of motion is 92 degrees in my bad leg. I cant complete therapy without crying and have seen very little to now improvement with therapy. Some of the things are to painful even in water. Dr says they won't consider surgery until my ROM is 120, but bc of the fat behind my legs, my good leg doesn't even go there. Now, if I can avoid surgery I want to, but I am seeing no change from therapy and have gained weight(have thyroid problems) since injury due to inactivity. Will therapy work or should I go to another Dr? I need to be active so I can work on losing the weight, but everything I do is painful. I only have a chondramalacia patella brace so far. Would an ACL brace help more?

Offline Linds

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Re: Has anyone ever benefited from therapy for a torn ACL instead of surgery?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2006, 08:31:27 PM »
Oh my... it does sound like you are in quite a situation... kind of a vicious cycle.
What about a second opinion. Everything I have ever been told, is that if you are in that much pain doing physiotherapy, you probably aren't going to gain much in the way of ROM or muscle strength/tone. 
You might want to ask for an ACL brace. I partially tore my ACL 4 months ago... and they got me an ACL brace a month after the injury and it was a huge help.  I just felt so much safer and was able to get around alot better.

But I think you might consider a second opinion if it's an option.  How are you to get your knee into further flexion.. if it just naturally doesn't go there. I had a problem like that with one of my PT's and she thought that there was no issue with my extension after one of my knee surgeries... because my leg looked normal to her. But my knees naturally hyper extend so for me, I was missing quite  bit of extension. I had to change Therapists....  You might consider another surgeon. If it's that painful I can't imagine it's doing anything beneficial for that knee of yours.

Hope that helped

Linds
1997 Scope RK
2002 LR RK
2002 Scope and hematoma evac RK
2004 LR LK
May 06 Fall from Horse, partial ACL tear and meniscus injury, Tibial plateau injury
2007 Scope, Plica Excision and Debride LK
2009/2010- Possibly Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Offline mannav

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Re: Has anyone ever benefited from therapy for a torn ACL instead of surgery?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2006, 09:48:10 PM »
Hi,

I feel sorry for u, and feel u need a second opinion. I had ACL reconstruction with meniscal partial excision done 9 days back. I saw PT today and my range of flexion is 90 deg, but it is early days and I can extend but need to hyperextend. I had a torn  ACL lig 10 yrs back and managed fine without an ACL for this long. But in July I came down 2 steps instead of one at night and the knee gave and i got meniscal injury , therefore had the surgery done as the knee was painful on walking. i had no degenerative changes and it seems i have good quads. The pain in ur case could be due to degen changes in meniscus and having a torn ACL doesnt help. Therefore considering surgery that I had can be an option but u should see an experienced orthopod. I am no expert in this field.also find out from ur GP if ur orthopd is mainly a knee surgeon,and how many ACLs repairs does he do every week. Have u had a MRI scan.
Good Luck

Offline wikedorinnocent

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Re: Has anyone ever benefited from therapy for a torn ACL instead of surgery?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2006, 01:18:58 AM »
I have had an MRI, that is what diagnosed it. All the therapists assumed I was going straight into surgery because I was having so much pain too. But when I got to my appointment, that was the news I got. It probably made me look like an idiot bc I started crying that here I was gaining weight and getting depressed. I teach baton twirling and can't stand long periods of time without pain. I expressed that I thought maybe another brace would help and they blew me off. The worst experience was lately when I was walking from the front of a store to the back and felt as if I had lost my leg 5 times. Seriously one right after another. My upper leg and body just kept going and the bottom went the other way. I was so sure I was going down and that's a lot to pick back up. I want to look into a second opinion, but not sure how to go about it. Do I tell them my diagnosis or let them figure it out for themselves? I guess I am to the point where I really dont want surgery by any means...BUT if surgery is gonna start to fix me and I can do therapy after that to continue to fix the prob..then great let's do it. I am so confused.

Offline raquetball1

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Re: Has anyone ever benefited from therapy for a torn ACL instead of surgery?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2006, 06:32:16 PM »
Hi,

I'm really sorry to hear about your situation.  Re your question on second opinion:  bring all your records, ortho., mri etc with you to another orthopod, but, other than the mri, I wouldn't share the other records until the second doc gives his diagnosis, prognosis and possible course of action.  It's kind of a rule in medicine that once you've already seen another doc's opinion (or lab tech's etc), your mind will expect to see what that doc saw.  You want a mind with a clean slate, other than objective mri results.  Re acl brace:  I'm not sure if your current brace is similar to brace for patellofemoral syndrome where it has a sort of half circle mechanism that "pushes" your patella medially????   If that IS the type of brace you have, Breg makes a combo custom acl/pfs brace.  I haven't tried this brace.  I just tape the kneecap into place and wear a custom multiligament deficiency brace (same as acl brace) over the tape job.  I found self-taping easier to control, pressure-wise, than the Breg "half circle" deal.
autopatellar acl recon Nov. 2004 at age 51

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Offline ODEN

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Re: Has anyone ever benefited from therapy for a torn ACL instead of surgery?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2006, 06:43:52 PM »
When I first tore my ACL I did intensive therapy (about 3 months - 3 days a week) and found it a great benefit.  I was able to put off my ACL reconstruction for 10 years until my knee became very unstable.  Many people go through life without an ACL and have no problems.

Good Luck!
June 2004 ACL Reconstruction/Meniscus Repair
Nov 2004 Meniscus Repair
Aug 2005 Right TRK & Lateral Release
Dec 2005 MUA & Scar Tissue Removal

Offline Arnoldplum

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Re: Has anyone ever benefited from therapy for a torn ACL instead of surgery?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2006, 08:05:00 PM »


               That sounds completely horrendous...
                       In a similar situation, as i tore my cruciates recently. And yes its the loaded question that seems to call in many variables for the consultants to decide " do we operate or not" variables in terms of phisiology, age, life style, and other heath factors.. what im confused with is one assumes that this is the decision for consultant, yet one often hears about individuals making the choice themselves. I guess its a thing of people opting for private surgery when their heathservice is not offering it as an option....
                 In light of this, i think its reasonable to take this approach... If doctor say no we think that surgery is ill advised on this occasion then what hard evidence supports this descision with all the above taken into account.
                  Im now in the process of doing my fizz, and i need a positive outlook with that; having faith that this can be enough to bring my knee back to health. Having said that i wont be happy if a non opperative route is decided upon without objective evidance that its in my best interests....
        Tell me im asking for too much!! Arns