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ACL Operation coming up ....scared!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I know i'm being a baby but i am having my ACL reconstrcuted on 2 may and I am scared about the operation and the rehab afterwards to the point where i am questioning my decision to go through with it...even though its a mess on the MRI, the lachman test was grade 2 and i heard a snap when i fell and broke my leg in January ...is there anyone out there who can give me the positve vibes i seem to be lacking Sad x
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Big marker pen arrow towards knee requiring repair.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Should be fine then.
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ha ha at least that made me laugh Very Happy
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@Skiingruby, sorry if it's a stupid question (it most probably is) but, have you tried a non - intrusive method first?
I just read a study which claims that partial ACL tears (rare as they are), used to get treated almost exclusively by way of surgery.
However, latest studies have shown that partial tears, when treated conservatively, in 60% of athletes (!) have healed strong enough to enable them to return to their sport without any limitations.
Just a thought...

Also - have you heard more than just the one opinion?
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@Skiingruby, it is nowhere near as scary and bleak as it seems right now, I promise. I'm so glad I had the op and there are a few people on here who managed without one for a while and then have said they were glad they got the op done. A May op means your new ACL will be good enough to ski by the start of next season.

6 months of recovery and rehab sounds really long and difficult but it's actually nothing like as bad as it sounds and it flew by much faster than I had anticipated - really, the stuff you read makes it sound so much more arduous than it actually is! Don't focus on the 6 months bit - by 3 months you feel much more 'normal', even though you have to wait another 3 months after that to do things like skiing.

The main thing I would focus on is planning for the first couple of weeks post-op to make sure you are as comfy as possible. My surgeon gave me this: http://www.vivomed.com/en/IceBand-Knee-Brace/m-7562.aspx and I found it really, really useful. It's a comfy and easy velcro bandage that fits round your knee (you can walk around with it on so you don't have to sit still while icing your knee) and it came with 2 soft plastic inserts that fit in the ice box of the fridge. I wore it pretty much permanently day and night - rotating the inserts from ice box to knee - as icing really helps with swelling and numbs discomfort. This bandage is inexpensive and very convenient so I really recommend getting one in advance and using it straight away.

I was not shy of taking painkillers and for the first week at least I took them routinely and never waited to let the pain start before taking them - as such it was pain-free for me and I don't see the point in being "brave" on that unless you have problems with taking painkillers. (Do you need to stock up in advance in the UK, as they don't allow you to buy more than one or two packs at a time?)

Have you got a walk-in shower? I put a plastic chair in mine and was able to shower independently straight away, with a bin bag taped round the bandage. If not, maybe plan now how you will be able to wash most comfortably.

They recommend you have your leg elevated at night, and I found it most comfortable elevating the bottom of the mattress by propping it up with big sofa cushions and then lying on my side with post op leg resting in front of me on pillows. If you have trouble sleeping at first if you are uncomfortable, maybe download some audiobooks to listen to so you don't have to sit up to read or put the light on.

If you have to do stairs to get to your kitchen, maybe think about having bottles of water + kettle etc. by your bed or upstairs or whatever - stairs aren't great for the first bit so it is good to be able to make yourself a snack or a pot of tea whenever you want without having to bother with stairs too often if possible.

Box sets, books, films... try to enjoy the fact that you've got a good excuse to spend a few days in bed doing nothing! The downtime goes more quickly than you expect...
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Thankyou very much miranda , that really helps ...as for non - invasive option its not really an option as I have had previous surgery on the same knee - microfracture because of OA, and a menisectomy so its a bit of a mess inside lol ..so surgery best choice as I want to ski again next year and am very active with two large dogs to walk for miles every day lol. i have ordered the iceband today so thanks for the tip and am downloading books on Audible !

thanks as always you guys are awesome ! Very Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I was not offered reconstruction on the NHS as l was deemed to be too old(61) I went down the private route as l was not ready to get my knitting needles out! It was no picnic but l saw each day as one day nearer my goal, to walk my dogs again(starters) to skiing.(10 months later) ok l was warned that the problem with skiing would be in my head and it was. I booked a sympathetic ski instructor who took me from the nursery slopes to skiing resort runs very quickly. I had my op in July and skied in April. Good luck, you will not look back. You cannot live life waiting for your knee to collapse. I also subscribe to Audible Very Happy
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Ha ha ...you are right ...sometimes when I've been sitting down for too long I have to push it back in to place lol....2 weeks to go downloaded all ththe steig Larson books ...that should be enough of a distraction lol x
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@Skiingruby, I had an ACL reconstruction in Jan 2015 and the rehab wasn't too bad. I was road biking within a few weeks which was great for getting out and strengthening legs. Maybe worth considering. Skiing hasn't suffered. Best of luck with it!
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My DH had his ACL done last September so missed this years ski season Crying or Very sad . He did really well with little pain and was up and around, pain free, within a few weeks. One of the most important things he did was work really hard at "prehab". In other words getting physical therapy pre-op to strengthen the leg and start getting used to the various exercises that will be done post-op. We live in USA so may be different in UK but he had PT three times a week post-op which really got him moving and kept his leg strong. He is a bit "older" as well and we had to shop around for a surgeon but it all went well and he feels his knee is now better than it's been for years. He just started training for a marathon!
Good luck - it will be worth it!!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Mrs Ski has done both knees...We still ski, and she's learnt to tele since the ops. There is hope !
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It is a long road well travelled. Everything Miranda says I would second. You feel you should be doing something but ignore that. Stay with the pain killers as the flexion hurts otherwise. RICE to get the swelling down above everything else (other than flexion exercises to prevent scar tissue forming). You want to be at good flexion with little swelling after a few weeks to get onto the next phase. That's it. Oh, and you might get some weird sensations from your hamstring when moving around - that's normal and nothing to worry about.

Other advice - stay on the forum or get the contact details of others that are at a similar stage for support. Not essential but really encouraging.

My physio gave me a very good bit of advice. The only thing that matters is where you are at nine months. It is not a competition to compare what others are doing in the first few months as each person's rehab is very different.

I had the same doubts. I'm sure many on here did also. It is a long road but you will get back to full performance if you want to. On that basis, no other decision will give you such certainty.

Good luck, follow the process and you will be back as good as before.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Skiingruby,
It's normal to be anxious about going ahead with anterior cruciate surgery.

Were you offered a non operative option, you certainly should have been especially if the knee is already showing signs of wear.

You should have been offered a brace option as well. It doesn't suit everyone but can be effective for sports that happen infrequently.

It can be helpful to chat to your physio about your anxiety as they will have seen that mny times before

Jonathan Bell
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Miranda's timescale aligns with my experience and absolutely no regrets despite some post op complications. Rehab actually ends up bring quite fun once you are fully mobile and the joy when you nail the first run at 100% normal or I guess chase the dogs is a worthwhile payoff.
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I know exactly how you feel skiingruby. My op is in the morning, done lots of rehab and knee currently feels really good. Not looking forward to going backwards before going forwards! But I'm sure it's the best long term decision.
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Hi kits23 , I hope your surgery went well and you are comfortable and indulging in all those books , box sets you want to catch up on but never have the time lol ..my op is next Tuesday so nerves are kicking in but I am looking forward in a wierd way to closing the whole broken leg, torn ACL saga from this season . I have done something I've always wanted to do as won't be swimming for a while and had the top of my ear lobe pierced ...ha ha ...wil buy myself a pretty earring in a few weeks and think of it as some thing positive to come out of it all xx thanks everyone for the tips and hints as always ...no doubt I will be back on post op rosie xx
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Ps looking forward to being able to run again .....so I can chose the hounds ! They are my sanity buddies x
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@Skiingruby, I had mine done a few years ago and TBH I cannot recall any serious pain or difficulty now. For some reason the surgeon didn't want the leg weight bearing for 6 weeks so I was on crutches. My GP wouldn't give me a sick note either so 3 days after the op I was back at work.

That leg has been absolutely fine ever since. It was a good decsion. You have probably made the right decsion.

As a tip if on crutches when it comes to going down stairs put the crutches down first.
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Always29 has most likely done hers. Will be watching with interest as we're still at the diagnosis stage. Ultrasound and MRI yesterday at Wimbledon Knee and their associate place over in Weybridge. Certainly meniscal layer damage (it's gone, although probably folded back on itself...) whether ACL is bruised, bent, bust or bugg'd is still out for review.
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I snapped mine last year
Never had the op, did loads of physio and now ski with Donjoy Armor Forspoint braces on both knees.
I wouldn't want to ski without them, even if I had the opp I'd still use them.
They take a few goes to brake in but after that you don't know your waring them.
Lindsy Von still skis with one.
I suppose it depends on how hard you ski.
I've been on two trips this year and have been glad of the strength and confidence they give.
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Wish always29 a speedy recovery ....I'm absolutely sure we will all be good to go next season .....all I have to do now is decide which box set
. Lol
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I had ACL and meniscus ruptures done 3 weeks ago. It seemed like a big deal for me but the surgeon reassured me it was fairly normal stuff these days. One thought to consider - I decided to have the spinal sedation rather than a GA. I was also sedated and slept very well throughout. No consciousness of what they were doing. It means you breathe on your own, there is less stress on your heart and the recovery is much faster. Downside is you need a catheter for about 36 hours (because nothing below the waist works) - a first for me, but it was removed by a pretty nurse. No room for dignity in a hospital. Good luck.
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I had a spinal block for my recent hip replacement - I honestly could not recommend this procedure highly enough - It was fantastic. All worn off within a few hours, no catheter required and none of that hideousness that often accompanies deep general anaesthetics.
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I had meniscus tear repaired 6 weeks ago. It took 1 year to diagnose i had to beg GP for MRI scan etc. During that year i could ski and run no bother, although with pain. I was discharged last Monday, surgeon said my knee is perfect -but it doesn't feel perfect!!! still uncomfy, painful when running. Now, i slowly getting back to fell/trail running although it is still sore... time will tell. good luck with your op @Skiingruby !!! you will be fine!
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@kedsky, have you seen a physio? I had a lateral meniscus tear trimmed last September on the NHS but there was no referral to physio following the operation. I skied at New Year and the knee started to swell after about three days of skiing as it did following the initial injury, prior to the operation. I decided to see a physio privately and this helped with the removal of scar tissue/adhesions around the site of the injury. Also, advised to do lots of stretching/strengthening/foam rolling and balance exercises on the injured leg. This all paid-off as two weeks of April skiing resulted in no swelling or pain for the first time in ages.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Tue 2-05-17 0:56; edited 3 times in total
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@Kelskii thanks for that. I had 2 after op physio appointments and was advised to take it easy and listen to my body, no specific exercises, though.I agree (with Mrs Ski ) that additional physio is advisable, thanks for advise and confirmation , it is difficult not to run...
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Defo PLUS ONE for the icing treatment as I said in another thread, it's money really well spent - both for post injury as well as the all important post op - to reduce swelling - I've lost count of the friends I've lent it to - it now travels with me - and after I strained my knee badly earlier in the season (pinned to a tree in an avalanche) it again helped tremendously - CryoCuff Knee - Ebay / Amazon etc basically fill the container up with water and ice and that feeds into the brace and lasts along time, then when it's no longer cold via gravity water from brace goes back into the container, wait ten mins and then place container above brace and gravity fills the brace back up with ice cold water.



And this is my blog when before and after my surgery http://www.anotherharddayattheoffice.co.uk/aclknee.html

Really hope all goes well for everyone having an op or who are in the process of rehab / prehab - it is worth putting the effort in before and after though it must be harder for those that maybe are not used to the discipline of regular training.

But as I used to nag my daughter who did hers and is far from sporty, brush your teeth with your eyes closes standing on one leg!!!
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@Skiingruby, wishing you the best - you will be fine!
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Weathercam wrote:

brush your teeth with your eyes closes standing on one leg!!!


Tried that. Toothpaste goes everywhere wink

Decathlon do a nice wooden, friction-topped wobbleboard for about £15. Great for strength, balance and general boarding and skiing training too. Also a cheap blow-up Swiss Ball (£7 ish off EB or Decath do too) will be very useful for rehab and strength exercises. I used to laugh at them; stiff-kneed and ligament-less, I am now a convert.
Good luck.
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Hi there , back from
Surgery a few hours ago had trouble getting pain under control post op but morph is my new best friend😀ACL was completely ruptured and flapping about so today and is day 0 so onwards and upwards for downwards next
year xx
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@Skiingruby, exactly - it all starts now!
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@Skiingruby, glad to hear it is done, best of luck with recovery and physio
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@Skiingruby, everyday that passes is a day nearer to Complete recovery. It won't be too long before you are putting your best foot forward. Good luck
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@Grizzler, you're STANDING on a swiss ball?!? Tried that once, did not end well and my knee components are all in reasonable order...
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@Skiingruby, best of luck, and don't overdo it! Look after your new little precious wink and no open-chain exercises, no doubt (from what I understand that means always keep your feet pressing against something).

@Richard_Sideways, did I say stand? Though it is very good for balance, of course... And easier than a snowboard Laughing No, what it's great for is when you can't easily lower yourself to the floor to do a lot of trad exercises (push ups, planks, sit ups, etc, etc), and for leg presses (ball against wall), for hamstring/glute bridges (heels/feet up on and rolling ball), for squeezing between knees or thighs, and many many other things. Physio showed me many exercises with it. Also make a nice comfy bouncy seat when on phone or computer.

Stretchy Therabands are also good idea; again, easy and cheap to buy.
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Like the idea of a Swiss bouncy ball .....home now and sitting on the sofa with ice pack ....one really good thing is that I had been having horrible top of foot pain where my tendons were sore from limping and walking strangely after the fracture , but a night with a massage, air cast thingyon it has done wonders ...who'd have thought it ...now where's the exercise sheet ...hugs to all xx
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@Skiingruby, well, the worrying and the most painful bit is now firmly behind you; you are now at the summit. In skiing terms - it's all downhill from here Smile
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@Skiingruby, lovely to hear you sounding positive. Expect a couple of bumps emotionally over the next couple of weeks (just as you're feeling like you're making really good progress you might suddenly realise you're limited than you thought and feel set back/upset/frustrated for example) but they don't last long and I really do think a positive mental attitude helps with recovery.
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4 weeks on ..all good ...walking without a limp and can barely see scar....bruises now a good shade of yellow so almost gone ..went to New forest today for a short walk and it was lovely ..think my hound remember me now lol ...big hugs to all xx rollon next season xx
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