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Author Topic: ACL Rupture Questions + My story  (Read 901 times)

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Offline Jonah18

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ACL Rupture Questions + My story
« on: May 25, 2014, 01:46:36 PM »
Hey guys.  My name is Jonah, I am 17 turning 18 very shortly and I managed to rupture the ACL in my left knee in a football match in a bad tackle. Warning, this post will be long, but if you take the time to read it will be greatly appreciated.

 At first I thought it was a muscle tear, as I sprained a muscle in a hip years earlier in tennis and heard a similar pop, and was back and better than ever within a few months. I did not think much of it, the pain was similar, if not as much. I went to the hospital after my injury as a precaution. I had an x-ray, no broken bones. Things were looking good. The doctor continued to assess me and thought that it was nothing too serious. Maybe a torn muscle. I was feeling pretty good. I walked out the hospital on crutches and was advised to have an MRI for further safety. No problems. I'd rather know everything was ok. The MRI was booked a few days later. My knee was very swollen and was in some pain, but I was walking and had a tubi knee brace. I was getting better slowly. It was a bit of a wait for the results to come back, so I patiently waited for a few days, with my knee getting better bit by bit. It didn't seem too bad.

Shock. I was told by my GP I had ruptured my ACL and Fibular collateral ligamanet and that I'd need surgery. This was by far the worst news I could've received, especially know doing my final year of school. I felt like breaking down and crying. I consulted my physio, who said he was unsure but began me on strength and movement exercises (stationary bike, leg raises). A few days later I booked a specialist appointment with a very good surgeon (on paper) but he seemed really good and had operated on some high class Australian athletes. He examined me and said after two and a bit weeks I was walking well, as he suspects my LCL (Fibular collateral) was intact and ok, as I showed no pain in that area.

We decided on a hamstring graft (he does both) but recommended it as it was better long term, as many seem to get knee pains after a patellar tendon graft. He'd be taking the graft out of my hamstring and it would regenerate. At this stage, I was feeling pretty down and that I'd never be the same. He assured me saying that unless I was the best athlete in the world and I was at my 100% physical peak, I'd notice a difference. And not a big one at that.

It's now been exactly 3 weeks since my injury (4/5/14) and my operation is booked on the 12th of June.

I'm a person who cannot take being less than perfect, in my mind being able to do less than what I was previously capable of will haunt me for the rest of my life. I love sport and I am very active. I was playing football, tennis, swimming and going to the gym all at once. It was a great way for me to keep fit, be happy and generally feel good.

This injury has really put me down, I've felt like committing suicide, literally just wanting to amputate my leg if it won't be as good as it once was. I wasn't a professional player, I had no career in my sports. But in all I participated at a high level, state competitions etc.

As of now I've lost most muscle in my left quad and left calf, I can see the size difference. I'm following my physio's orders  of strengthening my knee before surgery and seeing him once a week for an hour doing exercises in his gym.  I am very nervous, yet anxious for my surgery so I can begin the rehabilitation and healing process, I can't really stand being like this. Currently I have a full range of motion and about 110-120 degrees of flexion, which is apparently very good thus far of the injury.

My biggest fear is that I will re tear my ACL and never be as good as I once was after the operation. I have fears already of jumping after my operation, of jogging or ever sprinting again. I might completely stop all my sports except swimming and continue with gym, lessoning my chance of another tear. I am a very determined person. If I want something, I will try my best to achieve it at all costs. My goal, in theory, is to be in better physical shape than I am now, and have an even stronger knee. I also want to competitively compete in swimming again. Will this be possible? Can anyone get rid of my negative thoughts by being able to tell me this is possible? I know my knee will never be the same in full potential, but will it ever be able to be better than it once was? That's my biggest fear and it kills me everytime. I want to be able to "live" without fear of retearing it and know that it won't be fragile or weak. The chances of retearing it are about the same as a good ACL, but is it possible to get it to an equal chance by putting in hard and treacherous work?

My plan is for the first maybe 9-10 months to just completely work on rehab while continuing going into the gym. Some swimming too, but nothing to push myself, or my ACL for that matter. How long will it take for me to wean into swimming in a squad again? Will I be able to swim as good as I could before? Would I be able to sprint as fast as before, squat or leg press as much?

I need some inspiration, if I know someone has been able to do it it'll liven me and let me know I can too. If anyone could provide me their story that would be amazing and I'd really appreciate it.

Ok here are some questions.
Will I be able to return to my sports at the same level if I really work at it?
Will my knee ever be as strong or possibly stronger than it once was?
Should I be afraid of tearing it again if I swim?
Can anyone provide me with a good and intensive rehab program? (my physio should provide one too)
Any certain things I should know?
Has anyone torn theirs again and how?
Is it fragile, do I need to take care in everything I do? Or can I not worry about it?
Around a year is for it to be almost as good as new correct?
Any advice you guys can provide?
And finally what are some positives to look at to hopefully cheer me up. Sorry for the wall of text!

Thankyou, Jonah  :)

Offline Jonah18

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Re: ACL Rupture Questions + My story
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2014, 12:45:49 PM »
Bump? Help guys, please?

Offline Kaputt_Knee

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  • [Ed: Sue sadly passed away in 2016]
Re: ACL Rupture Questions + My story
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2014, 05:53:47 PM »
OK first calm down, you are not the first to bust your ACL and you most certainly will not be the last!  ;)

Take a look at professional footballers (soccer players if you are an American), it is a professional injury and the clubs to do not kick out anyone who has this injury! Take a look for Michael Owen's fall (against Sweden in the opening match of the 2002(?) World Cup, horrendous tackle/fall, terrible injury but he returned to full professional level, even though he was already a bit long in the tooth for the Premier Divisions. Plenty of World Cup professional skiers have suffered multiple ACL tears and returned to top level competition - Lindsey Vonn is a current example of an athlete returning from an ACL and tibial plateau fracture and had to undergo an ACL revision because she retuned too soon trying to compete at Sochi last February.

Now for your questions:

Will I be able to return to my sports at the same level if I really work at it? Yes, but it is a long haul for non-professionals and you have to do a lot of work on your own!
Will my knee ever be as strong or possibly stronger than it once was? Yes - see above
Should I be afraid of tearing it again if I swim? No, swimming is often incorporated into your rehab program BUT avoid frog-kick (Breatstroke)
Can anyone provide me with a good and intensive rehab program? (my physio should provide one too)
Any certain things I should know? Wait and see what you are given. Every surgeon has their own protocol
Has anyone torn theirs again and how? Yep, I've done my right knee twice 3xACL recon) and had a revision on my left knee
Is it fragile, do I need to take care in everything I do? Or can I not worry about it?NO, just follow your surgeon's and therapist's protocol and always ask before you expand/extend the exercises
Around a year is for it to be almost as good as new correct? Everyone is different as are the demands of your sport. I returned to skiing 5.5 months after my last reconstruction but I was very careful and did not do too much
Any advice you guys can provide?Read the Cruciate Ligament primer in the Information Hub here on this web site. Prehab as hard as you can under guidance so you have as much strength and ROM before the reconstruction as possible.
And finally what are some positives to look at to hopefully cheer me up. Sorry for the wall of text!Set yourself small achievable milestones, agreed with your therapists. These are easier to aim for than something vague like "play footie again in xyz months"

Hope that helps! A busted ACL is a pain in the proverbial, but the end of the world as you know it, it ain't  ;)

Sue  ;D
1989 big trauma R. knee - sorted
1990-2004 3ACL recons and 20+ arthroscopies -RK
3/06 LK ACL torn!
4/06 ACL recon, kneecap broken
09 &10/06- 2x meniscus trims
3/07 - Notch Plastic & Lateral Release
14/8/08 complete revision ACL plus LCL/PLC recon
6/2/09 returned to skiing! Whoopee















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