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Author Topic: 15 y/o soccer/softball daughter new torn acl, meniscus...help!!!  (Read 997 times)

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Offline tiredmomt

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 ???Hi there- I have a 15 year old daughter who is a verydedicated athlete. She plays HS soccer and softball and club soccer. She's played sports since she was 5. In her words, it is her life. She is a very good student as well, but she'd rather be known for her athletic talents. Last Tues. she collided with another outfielder during a game- the girl apolgized saying she heard her call the ball but didn't think she could catch it... and now she has a complete acl rupture and torn meniscus. Needless to say she is a bit devastated. She starts therapy to reduce swelling and regain motion on Thursday and will hopefully have surgery in 3 weeks. I'm in need of some realistic expectations of the next several months and some good advice of how to help her through all of this. As we speak she is talking to her soccer coach to see if she will remain on the roster or not :'(. BTW- when she did this, I was not at the game because I too have a knee problem and was having an MRI done. My MRI was "normal" and apparently I have arthritis and was given a prescription for meds and told this is the way it will be for me. I was a swimmer through college and had a lateral release and scrapping etc. on each of my knees 25 years ago. I think I may get a 2nd opinion, but that may not be for a while. Meanwhile I guess I will keep Motrin in business!

Offline Heffelz8

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Re: 15 y/o soccer/softball daughter new torn acl, meniscus...help!!!
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2009, 06:18:24 PM »
First off, sorry to hear about your daughter's injury.  I too was a avid sportsman myself before my injury a few years ago.  Things have calmed down a bit since then.

As for your daughter and her injury, everybody has a different healing time.  However, the recovery time can be complicated by many different factors.  I'll list a couple major contributors and they you and your daughter can make some more informative decisions.

  Type of graft will affect what type of recovery time there is.  The patella allograft is a good choice for athletes, but there is a good chance she will have pain at the donor site after she is done healing.  The hamstring graft is almost as strong as the patella, but then she has to rehab her hamstring as well as her knee.  The other option (that I know of) is the cadaver graft.  This would enable her to walk sooner after surgery, but it would be a more prolonged period before she could be involved with sports again.  Meaning 12 months or maybe more.  The other two she might be able to get back into the swing of things within 9 months.  This surgery requires a great deal of healing time and it shouldn't be rushed.  She needs to take her time and rehab the right way instead of trying to rush through it.

The first 4 weeks will be easy to deal with.  This is when she will have her leg up and will not be able to do much of anything.  After the 1 month mark, she may want to start walking around a bit, which is normal, but again, don't let her rush it.  This is a very important time to take it easy, remembering that she may only be thinking about next softball season.  Realistically, she needs to prepare for the rest of her life.  Mistakes now could possibly lead to more pain down the road.  Rehab, rehab, rehab.  Get that leg and knee as strong as possible.  Get the range of motion up as high as it can go.  Only then would it be ok to get back into sports.

Let me reiterate something here.  I am NOT a doctor.  Although I did suffer an almost identical injury that you daughter did.  This is accumulated advise that I have obtained throughout my last 3 years.  Get the leg strong and your daughter will be better for it over the next 50 years of her life.
ACL Rupture 07/06
ACL Reconstruction Patella graft 10/06

Offline tiredmomt

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Re: 15 y/o soccer/softball daughter new torn acl, meniscus...help!!!
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 09:38:24 PM »
Thank you for your advice. Our dr. said that he would prefer to do the cadaver graft because my daughter has very loose joints and is hyperflexive thorughout her body. He is concerned that the hamstring muscle may be more likely to stretch and fail sooner and he would need to eventually do the cadaver. He did not say anything about the healing time being longer and her return to sports later with this. I'd like to find out more about this. Do you have any good sources to research the grafting options? I can only imagine how hard it will be to keep her down because she is already very restless and frustrated and we're only 1 week post injury! It's hard to stand on the side lines and watch your team.... We're ready to hold the line though because she wants to play in college an more importantly we want her to be able to be pain free for many years to come! :)
Thanks again for your time-

Offline Heffelz8

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Re: 15 y/o soccer/softball daughter new torn acl, meniscus...help!!!
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2009, 01:04:17 AM »
Hi again, so I wanted to talk about the healing time being a bit different.  So, for lack of better terms, let's jump into it. 

    Any time you have a complete ligament replaced, you have certain factors that affect healing time.  There are two main things you can do, so let's discuss the first one.  The allograft.  This is whenever you, or your daughter, has a graft taken from her own body and is implemented/manipulated to work on another part of the body.  All of the cells in the graft are familiar to the body, as they are originally from the host body. 
     The patella allograft takes a while to heal, however ends up being the strongest, as it is anchored better in the tibia and femur.  It is a bone-tendon-bone graft.  This is what makes it so strong.  This is identical as to what the normal ACL is.  It heals better, typically, and will therefore usually be stronger than the other grafts.  But, there is a chance for frontal knee pain or tendonitis.
     The hamstring allograft.  This takes a similar time to heal as the patella graft with the exception that it does not contain bone.  This equals a longer healing period.  The hamstring graft is also easier to harvest= less pain.  The holes that are drilled in the tib/femur are smaller too.  Again, the smaller the incision, the faster the heal time and less pain and also the less pain there could possibly be.  The downfall is that you lose roughly 10% of the strength in that hamstring.  Most athletes will never notice this, and your daughter being younger she will have a good chance to close that gap even more.
     The cadaver graft.  Good option if she wants to walk sooner than the others, but a bad idea if she does not rehab correctly.  This is my only option, as I need another replacement after I screwed the first one up.  The upside to this, there will be no harvesting anywhere on her body.  But the fact that it is still somebody else's ACL, the body will take longer getting accustomed to the graft.  Intern, walking sooner but running later.  This might give her a false sense that she is healing faster than she really is. 
     If this truly is the option you are going with, she must take it slow.  Even though I am not an OS, I know better than to run on a sore knee.  Your daughter needs to realize this too.  Another thing to keep in mind: they won't give you daughter a graft out of a 50 year old person.  They will match up with her age and body type the best they can.  These grafts really work well.  You can look at Jeremy Maclin out of University of Missouri.  He is going to play pro american football this year, and he had the same graft done on his ACL.  Tell your daughter that she has to take a break for a minimum of 6 months.  That is the bare.  9 months would be better.
     Good luck, I hope this helps a bit more.  I'll see if I can dig up more info if you need it.  Take care and wish your daughter the best of luck from me. 

          Steve
ACL Rupture 07/06
ACL Reconstruction Patella graft 10/06