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Author Topic: How long did it take for YOU to walk normally after an ACL injury?  (Read 18698 times)

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Offline KristinS

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I went to the ER and they told me that they think I have an ACL injury. I have to wait another week to see an orthopedic surgeon. I have been on crutches for a week, its still very painful to walk on. It still swells a couple of times a day. It feels almost like its coming in and out of joint, or like my knee cap wants to go backwards? I feel crunching, and it almost feels as though there is bubbles moving back and fourth underneath of my knee cap. I cant put very much weight on it at all. Extending it to a straight position, or bending it completely is horrible. Number one - does that sound like an ACL injury? Number 2- how long did it take for YOU to walk on your leg after an ACL injury?

Offline eaglemom

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Re: How long did it take for YOU to walk normally after an ACL injury?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2010, 04:27:59 AM »
Oh my I'm sorry to read about your injury. But I think you really need to be seen before you start asking more questions.  Are you icing? Make sure your knee/leg are above your heart - that should help some with the swelling.  What about anti-inflammation meds? Can you take them, or are you taking them?  Crutches aren't fun - but go slow while waiting to be seen.

Offline Audice

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Re: How long did it take for YOU to walk normally after an ACL injury?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2010, 12:19:25 PM »
No fun, Kristin, being in continuous pain. Since there was a lapse of time between my injury & my visit to an OS, I just took things into my own hands. I wasn't offered crutches but did use a cane the first couple of days when every movement meant misery. Thereafter, although my knee would buckle occasionally I started walking & concentrating on not limping. I iced a great deal & elevated the knee.

I couldn't straighten it even at the time I walked into the OS's office two weeks post injury but I was walking w/o a limp & 2 weeks beyond that I was back to riding my horse - the cause of the injury in the first place.

My knee swelled for months & even now at night there's some swelling. But I think I was walking slowly & w/o a limp quite shortly after the accident happened. I'm not saying I was w/o pain at that point but the pain wasn't severe enough to cause me to limp. Wishing you well...Ellie
April, 2005 - ACL rupture, medial meniscus tear within posterior horn to articular surface, abnormal signal within lateral meniscus, partial tear MCL, bone contusions tibia/fibula, Baker's cyst.
No repairs.

Offline mollyc

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Re: How long did it take for YOU to walk normally after an ACL injury?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2010, 09:47:23 PM »
I'm sorry to hear about your injury!

I could put weight on my leg immediately, but walking was really more like shuffling. Huge, pronounced limp that lasted for several weeks. When I finally saw a knee specialist (took 4 weeks, although saw a doc within a couple days), he was very irritated with me for walking on my knee in that condition. Apparently, it's better to use crutches until you are at a place where you can walk without such a pronounced limp cause you can cause injuries to other parts (hips, for example) by limping.

I had major, major swelling of the type you are describing for at least three weeks and swelling didn't subside enough to do any real pre-hab for surgery until 6 weeks. From reading the board, that's a long time. I think it depends a lot on the nature of the initial injury.

In the meantime, though, you should ice like mad (20 minutes, every 2 hours, both sides of the leg), elevate as much as possible, and take anti-inflammatories. This will help with swelling and pain. 

Oh, and you should start working on straightening the leg.  Do this by NOT putting a pillow underneath the knee. Put the pillow underneath your foot or prop your foot up on a chair without support under your knee to work on passive extension.  I know it's uncomfortable, but extension is extremely important to regain and will be harder to regain the longer you wait (joint gets stiffer and stiffer, which makes it a more painful process overall). Good luck!
Ski accident 2/14/09
Ruptured ACL, MCL sprain, bone bruise
ACLr allograft 5/27/09
Knee now 100% fine...skiing and playing tennis regularly

Offline Snowy

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Re: How long did it take for YOU to walk normally after an ACL injury?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2010, 12:44:31 AM »
I'm so sorry to hear about your injury. I'll cross my fingers that it turns out to be something other than an ACL tear.

Quote
It feels almost like its coming in and out of joint, or like my knee cap wants to go backwards?

This instability, along with the pain and swelling, does sound fairly typical of an ACL injury. That said, you never know for sure until you've had the appropriate tests and scans.

I was on crutches for three or four days after I ruptured my ACL, but walking was very uncomfortable for a while and I had a bad limp for about three weeks. I also had awful swelling that took a long time to go down, and walking didn't really start to improve until the knee was less swollen. It felt like it took forever for things to start moving, but once I finally started seeing improvements things progressed very quickly - I went from not being able to bend the knee enough to turn the pedals on my bike to being able to go out and cycle for an hour a week later, and ride in a 100k road ride a week after that. (I actually found cycling much easier than walking for a while!) I was lucky in that I had an isolated ACL tear; the folk I know who had meniscus or MCL damage along with the ACL had a slower recovery.

Molly C's advice about icing and straightening is excellent; you can also work on quad flexes (sit with the leg straight out in front of you on the bed or couch, and clench the quad muscle over and over) to help keep the quads firing while you're on the crutches.

Best of luck with your recovery, and with the appointment.



Mar 11: R Biceps femoris tear (skiing)
Jul 10: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Mar 10: L ACL rupture (skiing)
Feb 06: L partial ACL tear (kickboxing)
Dec 03: R bone edema (motorbike)
Jan 01: R patellar chip (motorbike)
May 93: R ACL sprain (hockey)
Ongoing: bilateral PFS and OA

Offline KristinS

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Re: How long did it take for YOU to walk normally after an ACL injury?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2010, 02:04:37 PM »
Thanks for the info. I have done everything that you have said to do. I follow the R.I.C.E regimen, and I take motrin. It seems to keep swelling. It seems to work. Its kind of aggrivating. Its crazy how a slip in the grocery story can lead to such horrendous pain!

Im 1 week 2 days post injury, and it still feels like the day it happened. Sheesh.
Orhtopedic surgery appointment is on the 20th... Im counting down the days!


Oh my I'm sorry to read about your injury. But I think you really need to be seen before you start asking more questions.  Are you icing? Make sure your knee/leg are above your heart - that should help some with the swelling.  What about anti-inflammation meds? Can you take them, or are you taking them?  Crutches aren't fun - but go slow while waiting to be seen.















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