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Author Topic: Post ACL Reconstruction Concerns  (Read 1457 times)

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Offline Shawn.W

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Post ACL Reconstruction Concerns
« on: February 29, 2012, 01:33:03 AM »
Hi,

I have been reading topics on this board(which is very helpful by the way) and I have finally decided to post.  I am about 13 days post ACL reconstruction/minisectomy on my right knee and I find myself questioning every little pain and movement related feeling to do with my operated knee. I don't see my surgeon until March 2nd to reassure me about my recovery so I am becoming a victim of internet access and too much time on my hands.  I am also driving my girlfriend nuts because I ask her about her ACL reconstruction and what she went through,but it was 8 years ago and she was 17 so she does't remember alot of specifics. So, I was hoping that in the meantime maybe anyone with more recent memories of their ACL reconstruction or knee knowledge could help answer whether my experiences are normal.

There is one event I am particularily concerned about.  Five days post op I was sleeping lying on my right side(operated side) knees bent with a pillow between my knees and was having a pretty intense dream and kicked something in my dream.  I woke up immediatelty and had a sharp pain in my knee.  It went away after a few seconds, but I'm hoping I didn't do any damage/stretch the graft.

Another experience I had a few days after that was that I had lifted my knee up to remove an icebag underneath it and I allowed it to drop (down onto a pillow) a little roughly and my knee felt slightly crampy inside for a little bit.

Once, while I was extending my knee from flexion into extension I felt a crack almost like when you get a back adjustment or when a joint cracks when you are stretching out. I read up on this and it sounds like what happens when scar tissue breaks up.  About an hour prior to that I had felt a slight pain or cramp when I was doing crutch assisted walking I am not sure if it's related at all.

 I also feel a little bit of pain/discomfort in the joint when I am moving my knee from being elevated to the side of the bed or just when repositioning my knees. I think it might be a litlle bit of tenderness from where they removed the meniscus.

Has anyone else on here had the same experiences of being concerned about every little pain and unexplained crack in the knee post op or am I just freaking out? Should I be concerned about my sleep kick?

Thanks,

Shawn.W

Offline emergRN

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Re: Post ACL Reconstruction Concerns
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2012, 02:42:34 AM »
You actually sound like you are doing pretty well to me!  The graft isn't that delicate, and won't tear or stretch by what you are describing.  You graft will be at it's weakest point around  weeks post op!  Yes, it is completely normal to over analyze every pain.  The crack that you felt could have been your patella moving into a correct position.  Sometimes when the swelling decreased, things start going back into their correct position.  I don't think that you would have enough scar tissue built up at this point. 

Have you started your physical therapy yet?  I am sure that this will put your mind at ease with regards to being afraid of hurting the graft!

The internet is both a blessing and a curse when recovering from these surgeries.  It is great for helping you deal with boredom, but Googlitis runs rampant!  Don't scare yourself with all of the information out there.

You are going to feel all kinds of aches and pains that you never felt before for quite a long time.  I would say that for most people to feel completely healed after this surgery, takes about a year.  You will be back to full activities long before that, but the healing process does take time.

You are in the very early days of recovery yet!  Take a deep breath, and try to relax...and YES....we all do get paranoid about our grafts.  That will wear off in time! 

W

Rt.knee scope-1990-91Dx with Partial ACL tear
Rt. ACLr with hamstring graft-2010
Rt. knee scope- partial lateral menisectomy and plica excision 2010
ACL revision quad tendon graft- 2011 
Rt. Knee partial lateral menisectomy, debridement 2012
Rt. knee partial lateral menisectiomy, debridement 2014

Offline Shawn.W

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Re: Post ACL Reconstruction Concerns
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 05:28:19 AM »
Hi EmergRN,

Thanks for your response it helped put my mind at ease till Friday when I visit my surgeon.  I start physio on Monday which I look forward to as I haven't even tried to start walking because I wanted to get the all clear from my surgeon first.  I did read that the graft was at its weekest 8-12weeks post operation and I am hoping not to return to work till then because my work involves kneeling, crouching, crawling, ladderwork etc..  I can't wait until a year passes by so I can get back to normal however I am in need of an ACL reconstruction on my left knee some time in the future so maybe I will start this process again in a year.

Thanks again,

Shawn.W

Offline Himself

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Re: Post ACL Reconstruction Concerns
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2012, 01:21:37 AM »
I was the same way, I thought every little mistake I made was going to tear the graft.  Remember that your knee is hypersensitive right now (and very swollen) so little things will set it off.  Nothing to be concerned about.  Be careful walking down hills and on slippery surfaces for the next 4-5 months, that can cause trouble if you are not careful.  Those grafts are stronger than you may think.
8/2000: ACL Patellar Autograft/ Meniscectomy
8/2010: Meniscectomy
12/2010: ACL Patellar Allograft
7/2011: Allograft Articular Cartilage Transplant (Denovo NT)

Offline emergRN

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Re: Post ACL Reconstruction Concerns
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2012, 01:57:42 AM »
I don't know what happened to the "6" that I put in my post.  I have been told by both of my surgeons(I have had this done twice) that 6 weeks is the weakest!  Then again at 8 weeks, it probably won't be much stronger!

It sounds like your job isn't very knee friendly!  I would go for the 12 weeks if you can get it!

I think that you will be quite surprised about what your knee can handle when you start PT!  The first couple of sessions will be tough, and part of that is psychological.  You have to teach your body to overrule your brain!  I can pretty much guarantee that you will be on the bike during your first session!

W
Rt.knee scope-1990-91Dx with Partial ACL tear
Rt. ACLr with hamstring graft-2010
Rt. knee scope- partial lateral menisectomy and plica excision 2010
ACL revision quad tendon graft- 2011 
Rt. Knee partial lateral menisectomy, debridement 2012
Rt. knee partial lateral menisectiomy, debridement 2014

Offline Shawn.W

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Re: Post ACL Reconstruction Concerns
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2012, 03:15:44 AM »
I am starting to realize now I can move my knee without the graft stretching/rupturing. I suppose I thought that with the quads not firing right yet and having one of my hamstrings taken out that the graft didn't have much support when the knee was moving. I defintely will be very careful for the first year until my graft reaches full strength. Hopefully by the time I am out and about more there wont be any snow or ice left.  Funny thing is that lacking the ACL's wasn't really a big issue day to day at my job, but actually the buckethandle tear of my miniscus caused more issues because whenever I would kneel down the cartilage would get caught in the joint and eventually my knee got locked.  I am going to ask my surgeon if he wants me to wear a ACL brace at work for extra support. I have a stationary bike at home that I can use, but just like trying to walk I have been waiting for my surgeon or physio to give me the go ahead before I get started.  Till then I am just icing and doing ROM exercises waiting to start physio.


Offline 2020

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Re: Post ACL Reconstruction Concerns
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2012, 07:07:02 PM »
I am told that the surgeon puts the newly grafted knee through its full range of motion intraoperatively so it has to be strong enough to handle that.  My meniscus bothered me more than my ACL pre-operatively as well.  Yes, its normal to be afraid of re-injury.....just stick to the schedule you are given, don't try to get ahead of the rehab.  Ice, ice & more ice for many weeks will help with the swelling which has a tendency to wax and wane.  Best wishes to you!  What you are going thru sounds familiar and not out of the ordinary.