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Author Topic: Full extension after acl reconstruction  (Read 1799 times)

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Offline liam111

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Full extension after acl reconstruction
« on: December 30, 2014, 12:58:29 AM »
Hello,

I had my acl reconstructed and meniscus repaired on October 6th, exactly 12 weeks ago. Unfortunately I was unaware of how important it was to keep the knee extended(no pillow underneath) in the early days and weeks.   
Because I had my meniscus repaired as well, I was told by my surgeon to do nothing for 2 weeks. My knee became incredibly stiff, and and I am still experiencing stiffness. I can achieve full extension after warming up the knee and using a ten pound weight to force it down while my heel is lifted up, but that is the only way. I've heard people say that after the first month or so it is impossible to regain full extension (-5 degrees). Is this true? For the past month I have noticed barely any improvements as I am still slightly limping and unable to fully extend the knee at all times.

The other problem is that my knee cracks like crazy all the time, especially when I straighten it. It somewhat locks right before reaching 0 degrees, and then when I push it past it makes a cracking noise. My physiotherapist is not worried because there is no pain, but does not have any ideas of what it could be. If anyone has any experience with this please let me know! Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Liam
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 03:44:17 AM by liam111 »

Offline garsonk

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Re: Full extension after acl reconstruction
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2014, 06:56:46 AM »
Hey Liam,

I had a similar surgery to yours about 7 weeks ago, except I had a menisectomy instead of a repair.

I have the same cracking noise when I extend my knee as well. But I am finding as my knee gets stronger, especially the VMO muscle, the cracking is settling down and becoming less frequent. My physio said it could be due to the work done on the meniscus and muscular imbalances; things are just sitting as smoothly as they were before.

For your leg extension, I would focus on that and keep doing sets of quad contractions, that's what helped me the most. I did 100's throughout the day. Good luck!


Offline Kaputt_Knee

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  • [Ed: Sue sadly passed away in 2016]
Re: Full extension after acl reconstruction
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2014, 07:17:55 AM »
Hi Liam,

I was in a similar situation after being in plaster for 3 months following open knee surgery. The plaster had a slight bend in it "for comfort" and when I came out I continued with the bend with a cushion pillow under the knee because it was more comfortable! Disaster Central.

Subsequent operations on that knee taught me the importance of getting full extension before worrying about flex. Quad contractions are part of the story to getting full extension back but there are other tricks. Passive hangs - lying on your stomach and letting your knee and lower leg hang over the edge of a firm surface. This can progress by hanging a bag off you ankle and placing weights of some kind in there - I used bags of sugar, small sacks of potatoes, that sort of thing.

In the end it was the simplest of tricks that restored my full extension - I would sit with my feet on a stool and my legs unsupported hung between the stool and my armchair/sofa. I still sit like this watching TV or reading as I've become accustomed to it. My subsequent operations have resulted in full extension within a few days using this technique. I am eternally grateful for this simple tip from a PT at the BRI in Bristol after she fought with my problem knee for several weeks.

It complies with the non-weight bearing command, you are not weight bearing! You can elevate the feet and ankles to help with the reduction in swelling as long as there is nothing under the knees at all.

Good luck - full extension means no limp and you can start with strength gaining exercises sooner rather than later!

Sue  ;)
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 liam111

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Re: Full extension after acl reconstruction
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2014, 06:08:29 AM »
Thanks for the replies! I'll try to keep my knee extended at all times until the full extension feels natural.

Offline K9Sport

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Re: Full extension after acl reconstruction
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2014, 04:26:17 PM »
I would sit with my feet on a stool and my legs unsupported hung between the stool and my armchair/sofa. I still sit like this watching TV or reading as I've become accustomed to it. My subsequent operations have resulted in full extension within a few days using this technique.

Does anyone have patellar pain when they do this?  I also was in an immobilizer for 6 weeks, so my knee is super stiff and I can get to 0-83 now with 3 weeks of PT, but when I try to get past 0 or if I'm even a t0 I have patellar pain... it feels like I am hyper-extending...
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 12:40:11 AM by K9Sport »
11/2014 - PHMM Root Ligament Repair (failed)
6/2015 - revision of PHMM Root ligament repair, LOA, Chondroplasty