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Author Topic: Post ACL reconstruction progress concerns  (Read 1255 times)

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Offline Sbrade

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Post ACL reconstruction progress concerns
« on: June 12, 2014, 11:34:52 PM »
Hello everyone,

      About two months ago, during a softball game in my senior year, I took a turn on my left leg. While my whole body shifted, my knee decided to stay in place. There was a pop and for the rest of the game it kept giving out. The next day, I woke up with a swollen knee, making bending impossible. About a week after, I went in for an MRI and later that day, an ACL tear was confirmed as well as a slight tear in my meniscus. We decided on surgery so I could continue my active lifestyle. As far as I know, surgery went well. My patella tendon was used for my graft and my meniscus was "cleaned up". When I woke up, I was in a full leg immobilizer and was on crutches. The first week I only did my exercises occasionally, which is now making me nervous looking back. I've been in the immobilizer and on crutches for 4 weeks, with little weight bearing allowed.

      Physical therapy was started a week after. My physical therapist only started bending it my 3rd week after the operation. It was done by hanging my legs of the table in a sitting position, and so far we've got passed 90 degrees. My concerns so far is that I was just recently allowed to walk without crutches while still in the immobilizer. I can straighten my leg out still and have gotten to 0 degrees, but other people I have known with ACL reconstruction started bending a week after the operation. There is little pain up until 90 degrees, a little discomfort passed that, but that's as far as my therapist brought me. Is it normal that I can't slide my leg back as far as we pushed it when we let it dangle? With the assistance of gravity, my hand and my other leg bending isn't complicated. When I try to slide it by itself across the ground, it feels impossible. Is this normal? And am I so behind on bending it because of the meniscus problem? Because I started bending so late, will it affect my ROM?

     If someone could explain why my bending process was held back so long and why I'm still in this immobilizer it would be extremely helpful! I'm scared that because of this, I will never regain my full ROM. If anyone could help or relate, feel free to reply. Thank you for listening!

Offline Kaputt_Knee

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Re: Post ACL reconstruction progress concerns
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2014, 06:40:10 AM »
There are as many different variations in the rehab protocols as there are patients as well as doctors . I've had different rehab protocols for the same procedure by the same doctor!

The only person who can answer your questions really is the surgeon who ordered this as they know why they choose this method. It could well be because of the meniscus tear which they repaired rather than trimmed and they are letting that get a headstart before beginning the more aggressive mobility work.

The fact that you are now able to fully extend the knee is way more important at this stage as it means that as soon as you are freed from the immobiliser you will be able to use a normal gait, i.e. no limping.

I know it is frustrating but you will regain full ROM even though it feels unlikely at this stage. My first ACL reconstruction left me in a backslab plaster in bed for 5 or 6 weeks, then a full length plaster for 3 months! My leg, when it finally emerged from this, was like a stick and as for the muscles, what muscles? I was back skiing the following season, all be it at the end rather than the beginning.

Talk to your therapists about your worries and then try to see your surgeon to get them to explain their rationale for this protocol.

 :)
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

Offline Sbrade

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Re: Post ACL reconstruction progress concerns
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2014, 01:34:36 PM »
      Thank you for sharing this with me, after hearing everyone's stories about bending a week after their operation I was scared to death, haha. I will be sure to take this up with my doctor, but for now, atleast I know I'm not the only one who had to be immobilized so long after an operation. I'm glad you're back to doing what you love, and thank you again for the advice! :)















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