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ICLIMB76
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ICLIMB76
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PostThu Oct 29, 2009 10:07 am 
Has anyone here had a ACL reconstruction surgery? I ask because I will be getting one soon and I'm wondering how bad the recovery is.
Thanks.

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BirdDog
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PostThu Oct 29, 2009 11:17 am 
I had my ACL reconstructed in 1995, took two years to get back to 95%. However, I had mine done using the petalla tendon method, most ACL's now are done with the hamstring method; and recovery is much quicker. I've know two people who have had their's done recently and the recovery was very quick; both were skiing with braces in under 3 months.

Try to get your leg in as good a shape as possible before surgery; makes recovery much easier. Cycling is great for ACL's.

Good Luck!

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"There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country."
Teddy Roosevelt August 6, 1912
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chiwakum
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chiwakum
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PostThu Oct 29, 2009 12:55 pm 
I had mine reconstructed in Sept 2000 (skied by December) using my own patella. Recovery was fast and essentially painless (no pain killers needed because I had it iced for the first 48 hours or so using a bladder setup at time of surgery). I did not use a brace and used crutches for just for the day after surgery (I'm not normal). I did have patella tendinitis from where they took the graft for about a year but otherwise no complaints. My wife had her's done with a hamstring graft and used a brace and crutches. I think the primary difference is the patella graft starts out stronger (hence no brace and faster initial recovery) but there are more issues with tendinitis. I would make the same choice again.

And I agree with BirdDog. Get your leg as strong as possible before surgery. And get on stationary bike ASAP after surgery. I never really lost much range of motion which really helped with recovery.

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ICLIMB76
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PostThu Oct 29, 2009 2:42 pm 
Thanks for the info. It looks like my normal winter season of snowcamping may be out but hopefully I can hit the slopes in spring if there is any snow left.

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Wazzu_camper
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PostThu Oct 29, 2009 4:24 pm 
Nate Burleson had his torn, was out for the season last year frown.gif. 11 months later he was back on the field in full practice, granted he has the benefit of the best trainers the Seahawks can buy, but he claims he is back 100%.

He is an extreme case, plus 100% for a professional football player is a little different as he will be stressing it a hell of a lot more than any of us.

From what I have heard, usually 3-6 months of physical thearapy. Which I have recently discovered is pretty important to go through, though I can't think of any more boring exercises.

Anyways, good luck on your surgery and I wish you an even speedier recovery.

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Bedivere
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PostThu Oct 29, 2009 5:17 pm 
Ruptured ACL and tore meniscus in my right knee in February '96.  At that time it was still somewhat common for the repair surgery to involve opening up the leg with a long incision.  Fortunately my doc was a little more up-to-date and he did a good job of patching me up with a hamstring graft and arthroscopy.  Two small puncture scars and two 1-1/2" incisions.  For me the initial recovery was extremely painful for some reason but fortunately the bad pain only lasted about a week.  After that I was able to get around on crutches okay.  Doc had me on a PCM machine immediately after surgery, no physical therapy. The PCM machine helped me regain range of motion and I started riding my bike again as soon as I could.  Felt pretty much normal in about 3 months and spent 6 days traversing the Alpine Lakes High Route that August.

Last year something got buggered up in there again, I think I might have damaged the meniscus again but it hasn't been bad enough to prevent me from hiking and skiing, just gets sore and stiff after a long day, especially after skiing.

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grannyhiker
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PostFri Oct 30, 2009 12:12 am 
I completely ripped apart my medial-collateral ligament (inside surface of knee) and both cruciate ligaments in a very minor X-C skiing accident (I couldn't have been going more than 2 mph).  Reconstructing these involved, for starters, taking a chunk of my patellar tendon for replacements and screwing them to my kneecap.  By the time the surgeon got to that point I decided I'd rather not hear any more!  That was in the spring of 1988.

I worked really hard at all the exercises they gave me.  Bicycling was the best, but I couldn't bend my knee enough to do it for almost 5 months.  I would say it took 18 months for me to recuperate completely.  Well, almost completely.  I still can't run more than a few steps without pain, and I still can't bend the knee fully enough to do complete squats.  I still wear a knee brace for steep downhills or when carrying a pack of more than 25 lbs.  (Fortunately, I can go out for 10 days starting with a 25-lb. pack these days.)

Do remember that my knee was pretty thoroughly dismembered!  For one cruciate, recovery time should be a lot less.  A friend tore one cruciate, had surgery in the early fall and was back playing softball in the spring season.  He did a lot of stationary bicycling in physical therapy, too.

I agree that the more muscles you can strengthen before surgery, the quicker will be your recovery.  Just don't injure the knee any worse!

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
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HitTheTrail
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PostFri Oct 30, 2009 1:19 pm 
I had a knee with a torn meniscus that they were going to repair in place. To make a long story short, they screwed up the entire procedure and took the meniscus completely out in a second surgery.

I have recovered rather quickly  and almost completely from all that. I was doing normal walks in a couple of weeks and now I go on 10 to 12 hour hikes with a 20 to 25 lb pack on all the time. It seems like the more I get out the better it does.  JUST KEEP MOVING!!!

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ICLIMB76
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PostFri Oct 30, 2009 5:10 pm 
It's good to see that everyone who has a major knee injury is still out doing what they love. It would kill me if I couldn't go climbing,hiking, and skiing. Hopefully I will have a quick recovery and be back out by spring.
Thanks everyone for all the info and support.

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antje23
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PostFri Oct 30, 2009 6:19 pm 
I had arthroscopic surgery twice on the same knee within the same year, and in both surgeries the recovery was relatively quick.  For the first surgery, I was put at a 50/50 chance of improvement, and I fell on the positive side of that.  I think if you stick to following the PT exercises, and continue to exercise any way that you can it helps with recovery.

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Traildoggie
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PostMon Nov 02, 2009 11:16 am 
Had an ACL  and meniscal repair 5-6 yrs ago using the patellar tendon. It wasn't bad.   got on a stationary bike  36 hrs after surgery . ... pretty carefully ..... but without significant discomfort.  started with 5 minutes, and increased as long  as no pain or swelling.  I started PT in two weeks and went  maybe 15 sessions.

I did very small hikes with the ACL brace (poles too)  in  about  a month.  kept to  level, even terrain  and short distance ... helped psychologically.  Used the crutches   minimally, they didn't help much but wore the brace religiously.  I wore the brace for much of  next season's hiking and for xc skiing the first winter.  My surgery  was in   late september so I'd have the winter to recover.  Was not allowed to run on the treadmill until  almost 3 months  out but could use  other equipment  & exercise.  I had a 100% recovery . I'd been hiking  for years unknowingly with  an absent ACL, so  it was a huge improvement and worth the discomfort.

Keep in mind everyone is "connected" differently, surgeons differ,  and   everyone won't  heal  at the same rate.  If you push too hard too soon you can set yourself back  to square one.  listen to your doc and PT person about what's appropriate at what stage.

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