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Thread: Tore my ACL

  1. #1
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    Tore my ACL

    I was riding at the skills area in North Park last month. I went off one of the smaller drops, landed a little funny, and fell over. It wasn't a bad crash at all. I just rested a for a minute, pedaled lightly for a few, then went on with my ride. My right knee ached a little, but I didn't think much of it. Well, later that night it was killing me and the next morning it swelled up pretty bad. It was still hurting and swollen a few days later so I went to the orthopedist. He thought it was a torn meniscus and sent me for an MRI. After my MRI he was on vacation for a week, then I was on vacation for a week, then he was all booked up, so it took forever to get the results. I finally saw him last Friday and my ACL is completely torn. Funny thing is, it doesn't even hurt much anymore. It's just unstable from side to side. The doctor says it's not an emergency, so I think I'm going to put surgery off until the fall. That way I can still enjoy the summer and with a little luck be back to normal by spring.

    I'm still riding my bike now, but staying away from the technical stuff because another crash could be bad. It's really a bummer because my skills have improved so much since last year and I was really looking forward to getting out on group rides this summer.

    Has anyone else here dealt with a torn ACL?

  2. #2
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    I can sympathize on that feeling. Last year I stepped in a gopher hole while on a night ride and tore up my knee bad. ACL,& MCL. I couldn't walk for over a month. There isn't much that you can do for that injury except possibly do a heat therapy. Or a heat n cold on n off 15 min each. Another thing to do is after a shower slap on icy hot, tiger balm or Tylenol precise as soon as your out and if you can tolerate it wrap saran wrap around your knee and get a good heavy duty support brace 2 wear. The kind with the side support springs. You will need to wear that 4 awhile n definitely use it when riding. After about a month or so the pain should be about gone. You will just need 2 b extra mindful 4 the rest of the season till its healed

  3. #3
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    Tore my ACL

    When I used to ride bmx I partially tore my acl and ripped my meniscus. Unfortunately it was in the middle of track season. I kept doing simple exercises, bike, stepper, elliptical. Keep the muscles strong. That helps alot. Other than that take it easy, treat everything you do with extra care. Even walkin down steps or gettin in and out of a car can be enough to do you in. Carry on with your life, just be careful.

  4. #4
    dru
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    OP you are getting some good advice and some not so good advice here....

    If you have a completely torn ACL it will not heal as it is torn in half.

    The only solution is surgical repair/knee brace/modification of your activities.

    I tore up my knee back in '85 and had the ACL transplant in '90. In between I dislocated the knee 5 times, shredding more and more of the meniscii each time.

    That is the danger if you elect the no surgery route.

    You can wait, no doubt but you need to be extra careful. One wrong move and that joint will dislocate and you'll be on your butt with even more damage to deal with in the future.

    I got to the point that I could dislocate my knee just to gross people out (carefully, without weight bearing on the knee).....

    Pre surgery and sports?

    Get a brace designed for ACL injuries.

    No amount of physio or gym work will prevent dislocation if your ACL is severed.

    The surgery is proven and works fantastic. The gold standard is still the patellar version.

    Post surgery you need to be careful for a year.

    Lots of posts on the subject, do a search.

    Good luck!

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  5. #5
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    Sorry about your knee, it's no fun. :-( Tore my right one Aug 2010 when I stalled and side-stepped off a trail bridge while riding. It was little too far to the ground and I ended up in a heap. Fortunately, the knee didn't swell too bad and I got a cadaver replacement within a month. Did quads sets and seated (on the floor) leg lifts 2-3 times a day working to prevent muscle atrophy pre-op. Worked diligently postop. Out of any real action for 9 months postop and missed the best ski season in New England in years (sigh and cry). My outcome was great, though. Keep the swelling in check, no additional injury, and work to keep those quads as strong as possible until surgery, I think. Stay safe and best of luck with your surgery and recovery!

  6. #6
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    I tore my acl completely back in 87 playing soccer. I played thru high school, college and some semi pro. Finally had surgery in 95. Patella tendon grafts with 3 screws holding it all together. Played for a few years after and took up golf as well as mtn biking. Knock on wood i bike 3-4 times a week, golf, ride atvs, and never wear a brace for anything. If therapy and rehab done right you should b ok. I dont even think about it. I ride ne pa with lots of rocks roots and techical stuff. Have the knee repaired. Do rehab and build it up. I was about 100 percent aftr about a year. You will still hav plenty of riding time. Good luck
    LOVE THE RIDE!

  7. #7
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    Yep, tore my ACL last May, right in the beginning of the season...I was sooooo bummed! Dr. Said I need surgery, but since I'm an avid mtn biker my leg muscles where super strong and with an athletic acl brace he said I could get through the season with the torn acl. I like you avoided some of the more sketchy stuff but overall I did well all season. I had the operation Jan, 15th of 2013 and was back on the bike in 3 weeks. You'll be fine as long as your cautious and if your able have him prescribe you a script for an athletic acl brace. Mine fit great and wasn't much of a bother to ride with. Hope this was a bit of encouragement to you.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    The surgery is proven and works fantastic. The gold standard is still the patellar version.
    Well I had the surgery back on 11/8, patella tendon graft. The first few weeks were rough between the pain and not being able to do much myself, but now I'm feeling good and I started to ride my bike around my community for 20-30 minutes at a time (with the blessing of my physical therapist of course). If we have some decent weather in the next couple of weeks, I hope to do some rail trail type riding, and then maybe some low risk real trails in February. If things continue to go well I should be back to riding the fun stuff by mid to late summer.

  9. #9
    dru
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    Glad to hear you got it fixed! Hurt like hell at first didn't it? Being you are out riding now, make sure you set your cleats really loose (clipless) and don't fall!

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    Glad to hear you got it fixed! Hurt like hell at first didn't it? Being you are out riding now, make sure you set your cleats really loose (clipless) and don't fall!

    Drew
    Yeah man, it did hurt at first. I talked to a few people that had the surgery and they told me it was going to hurt, but I thought they were just being wimps. I didn't think I'd need painkillers or anything, haha. I definitely wasn't prepared for how much it was going to hurt.

    It's crazy thought that now, not even two months later, it feels great and at times I even forget that my knee isn't 100%.

  11. #11
    dru
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    MY 1st was '88 before they had a fix, so they cleaned up the meniscus a bit and I woke up fine with very minimal pain. I was coughing a bit because of the pipe they shove down but that was it. About an hour later I walked out with crutches and I was weight bearing within a day I believe.

    The '91 acl job was a whole other matter. I woke up, and instantly puked, while at the same time dealing with waves and waves of pain. I mean the worst pain in my life by far. The nurses were basically knocking me out with Demerol every 3 hours. I'd get a shot, stay awake for about an hour, fall asleep, and an hour later I'm pressing that button 'BRRRRRR', to get them to come. I was only supposed to have a shot every 3 hours so I was bugging them quite a bit.

    That agonizing pain only lasted about 2 days, thank god, and I was riding 3 weeks later.

    Hey, did they have a pump in your knee, draining out blood and fluid?

    For me that too was quite painful, since removing the tubing was done with a nice sharp 'yank'...
    occasional cyclist

  12. #12
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    I tore my ACL and meniscus skiing in January '12 and had surgery 2 months later. I also had a patella graft. I was able to ride my bike on basic xc stuff that summer without much pain, but I didn't go to any bike parks. I started skiing again in December, and it took about a month until I was able to go pretty hard and hit bigger jumps again. A lot of it was just getting my confidence back, and my leg was still feeling weak. Even though I was back to squatting over 300 lbs, my leg got tired very quickly, and it was still noticeably smaller than my other leg.

    By the time summer came around, which was about 14 months out of surgery, I was back to riding bike parks, but my knee was still getting tired/sore. It felt great when riding stuff that required a lot of sitting, but it was getting really tired on the DH stuff. I would have to sit down for like 10 seconds out of every minute, and this would start on my first run. I found out that if I warmed up by jogging/riding around the parking lot/stretching/using some icy hot or tiger balm, it helped prevent it from getting tired so quickly. Any time I forgot to warm up, the soreness/tiredness would start on my first run and bother me the whole day.

    I know the icy hot/tiger balm thing might sound stupid, but it honestly helped me a lot. I've been doing olympic lifting for a little over a year (started about 9 months out of surgery), and I used to only get about 2-3 heavy lifts before my knee started killing me, and this was after doing a lot of warm up exercises. I started putting icy hot or tiger balm on it and wearing knee sleeves to keep it warm, and it made a world of difference. Then again, it may just be that my knee was just getting better over time, and all that other stuff was ********.

    I had my surgery at massachusetts general hospital. I'm sure you already have a rehab program, but this is what I followed religiously.
    http://www.massgeneral.org/ortho/ser...20protocol.pdf

    I was back to doing whatever at 9 months, but it took me about 18 months until my knee started feeling really good again to the point that it stopped getting sore and tired easily. The recovery process is obviously different for everyone, but this is my experience with it.

  13. #13
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    Maybe we should start a Pennsylvania Knee Injury Support Group.

    I wearing an immobilizer as I type this from a patellar dislocation (and accompanying ligament/tendon damage.)

    Hopefully surgery wont be necessary.

    I've come to the conclusion that the design of the knee has a very limited shelf life. Back when the average lifespan was 40 years old it was probably perfect. You ate poison berries or were killed by a sabre tooth before you ever had to experience knee deterioration. Ahhh...the good old days.

  14. #14
    psycho cyclo addict
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    I tore my right ACL completely playing soccer back in 2004. Orthopedist was awesome. He said if I wanted to remain active, do the replacement surgery. If not, I could have some instability but many go the no surgery route.

    Based on the fact that I enjoy playing tennis, skateboarding, snowboarding and mountain biking, seemed like surgery was the best choice. I had a patellar tendon graft with a couple of Ti screws zipped in to hold it in place a few months later. Rehab took almost a year. I'd do a cadaver ACL replacement if it happened again to lessen the amount recovery time.

    It's been fine ever since. I feel the hardware a bit the first time it gets cold out after a warm stretch otherwise, s'all good. I do not run anymore mostly because the orthopedist said my cartilage was ~50% worn and if I kept it up, pain would come sooner or later.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by edubfromktown View Post
    I tore my right ACL completely playing soccer back in 2004. Orthopedist was awesome. He said if I wanted to remain active, do the replacement surgery. If not, I could have some instability but many go the no surgery route.

    Based on the fact that I enjoy playing tennis, skateboarding, snowboarding and mountain biking, seemed like surgery was the best choice. I had a patellar tendon graft with a couple of Ti screws zipped in to hold it in place a few months later. Rehab took almost a year. I'd do a cadaver ACL replacement if it happened again to lessen the amount recovery time.

    It's been fine ever since. I feel the hardware a bit the first time it gets cold out after a warm stretch otherwise, s'all good. I do not run anymore mostly because the orthopedist said my cartilage was ~50% worn and if I kept it up, pain would come sooner or later.

    Pretty much right on the money. I've had both of my knees surgically repaired after ACL total breakage, with meniscus tears.

    My first knee (The Left) I tore playing football in high school. They used a cadaver ACL to replace mine, and I was skiing in 6 months, with hard core religious Physical Therapy.

    My second ACL failure, was once again playing football, you would think I would have learned. This time in a charity game about 5 years ago. This time I elected to use a graft from my own patellar tendon. This repair took longer to heal, and still gives me some pains, but is really solid and sturdy now.

    I will echo what Edubfromkto said about being active. If you really enjoy the outdoors where you will use your knees and flew them and do all the stuff most of mountain bikers do, take the time and get it fixed. Especially if you're younger.

    I remember when I did the first one, the Doctor telling me the same thing. I was 16, afraid to have surgery, and wanted to just play more football. He essentially told me, if you don't fix it, expect it to hyper extend frequently and to have more issues as you get older. I will never forget the pain when my ACL's blew apart, and I did not want to experience that again, so under the knife I went.

    But the bottom line is, if you want to stay active, do yourself a favor and fix it right, and follow through with the PT....IMO the PT is more important than how good the doctor drilled and tapped your Femoral and Tib to feed the new one through. You will have severe atrophy in your leg, but you can get it all back, with a lot of hard work.

    Good Luck
    Climbing Builds Character

  16. #16
    Nickel Havr
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    I feel ya... I've torn all the ligaments in both of my knees on multiple occasions.
    The good news? The can repair or replace them!

    There is a ton of good info here and the best peice of advice is.... Get it fixed right by a specialist and do your Physical Therapy.

    My last knee injury was in 2010.... I was snowboarding at Big Boulder and hit my knee on some solid ice at 20mph. Tore my LCL and ACL and fractured my Tibial Platteau.
    LCL and ACL were a quick fix and were healed in 6 weeks.... But the tibial platteau took 2.5 years to heal.


    Tore my ACL-41006_147984655226914_6846273_n.jpg

    Tore my ACL-45471_147984861893560_6638730_n.jpg

    Tore my ACL-46123_147985301893516_5101433_n.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by William Blake
    Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street .

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