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Author Topic: ACL Rupture - long term damage question?  (Read 980 times)

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Offline sussexstu

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ACL Rupture - long term damage question?
« on: September 10, 2010, 03:27:04 PM »
I ruptured the ACL in my right knee around 8 years ago and had the ACL reconstruction completed in 2004 (open knee method).

I play competitive football regularly and have noticed over the last year or so that the next morning my knee aches and doesn't always feel that strong.  What I am keen to find out is if I continue playing and accepting the pain, is there likely to be any long term damage being done to the knee joint (i.e, general wear and tear)?  I am confident that the ligament is still fairly strong but the joint intself aches a lot.  You hear of ex-sportsmen hardly being able to walk as a result of the injuries when they were young.  Any help would be much appreciated.

Offline arthriticknee

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Re: ACL Rupture - long term damage question?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2010, 10:27:33 PM »
Hi Stu,
Like many things in the medical world there are  many factors at play that affect the future of your knee.
An ACL rupture has been shown to increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Although it makes sense that having a repair should be better than not having one when it comes to future arthritis, reconstruction surgery has not been shown to help a great deal in decreasing this risk. Maybe this is because it allows you to return to activity you would have untherwise found impossible, increasing the workload the joint does over its lifespan (this is pure conjecture on my part though).
Other factor that come into play are the state of your medial meniscus (often damaged at the same time) and the presence of any angulation through the knee.
You could discuss your knee with your doctor. A plain x-ray in weight bearing should be enough to detect  joint space narrowing that would be indicative of osteoarthritic changes. Getting an idea of the current situation will help you make an informed decision on how wise it is to continue your current level of activity. I am generally extremely reluctant to tell people to give up something they love unless there is strong evidence they are doing lasting damage.
You did yourself no favours rupturing your ACL and it doesn't hurt to be monitoring the situation. Build your quads and hamstrings as much as you can to support the knee and find out exactly what is going on in there.

Good luck.

Go the Mighty Wolves!  ;D
Remember that any advice on an online forum is of a general nature.
You are always advised to be assessed by a medical professional so your individual situation is addressed.