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No ACL and doing fine?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I agree with @Weathercam, I do not see the Mojo as a brace. Perhaps it helps some knee problems by reducing some strain upon the knee or effort required in or through the leg muscles, but to my mind it's an entirely different device for different purposes.
Braces are, supposedly, specifically designed to give support or protection or prevention of certain movements (e.g. lateral twist, hyperextension) needed for different injuries or disabilities: ACL, LCL, MCL, PCL (and combinations thereof), OA, other knee pain or structural problems.
Donjoy are just one brace manufacturer/supplier, albeit a well-known one. They have a vast range for different needs and different grades of support or protection needed, some simple designs, some quite complex and adjustable in many ways. I would not describe the braces as "simpler" as you do: differing in design due to purpose.

It would be interesting if there was a full knee support/protection brace which also provided real support and relief for struggling and easily-tiring leg muscles (associated with knee problems perhaps, although there are other conditions where this is an issue), but we're effectively moving into the realms of personalised assistive equipment for disabled skiers. Of course, depending on how it affects you, I suppose without certain knee ligaments, someone can be classed as disabled to some degree or other; but not really a discussion or need really relevant to this thread, perhaps.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Someone on one of the threads asked how my knees were getting on, so an update (1 year and 7 months now).
I think we have settled into a pattern: I take them for a long walk on rough or very hard terrain, I do lots of low knee bend exercise or I do reasonably aggressive or skiddy skiing (spent yesterday doing lots of short turns in a dome) and use drag lifts and something consistently hurts on the outside, joint line, of the knee. No one can tell me what it is. Skiing, and some dancing I found, sets off the right one most, the left might join in the next day a bit. Walking sets off both equally. There's some stiffness to fully flex the knee or kneel, some associated pain and annoying deep muscle type pains above and below the joint line area.
Start feeling some of this discomfort several hours into skiing, so am still respecting what the body's telling me, but I think I'm slowly building up time and strength: not able to get to a gym so my exercise is just everyday activities, a bit of countryside walking and some squats, lunges, static cycle and hammy exercises at home, when I find the time in a non-routine life at present.
The left knee has adopted some kind of delayed post exercise restless leg, deep outer foot, calf and thigh ache and constant tight feeling behind and above the knee.
Have developed an extra sensitivity to uneven surfaces, even just inside on old floors, although the balance seems good; still a bit cautious walking on slippery mud, ice etc - but getting less so I hope.
We live with it, hope it doesn't get worse, hope it'll get better. Still feel protective of them, but slowly gaining confidence that my knees can be used as normal and as before, except my muscles tire more easily and have this highly annoying itchy deep ache come pain. They will continue to be punished for it until one of us gives in and returns fully to whatever acceptable normal might be. Functionally, fingers crossed, they're OK: though I still have fully to convince myself of that sometimes and am always worried if they're not. But, hey ho, the damage was done and that's that. We are where we are. Bit more wear and tear maybe, and maybe developing a bit sooner than it should be.

P.S. conclusion (maybe bar the delayed muscle aches): if I was a better and smoother technical skier, and a bit stronger and fitter, I don't think that I'd hurt as much Confused It's proving to be a bit of a literal strain trying to get there.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Grizzler, You can only do what you can do within the realms of daily life, if you can do single leg body weight exercises then that is really good.
IM 8.5 months post accident, and working hard in the gym and also hiking a fair bit, there is not a day where my knee doesn't feel like it is in a vice being gripped firmly all around, Im back on naproxen as I have started to swell up a lot above the knee (before swelling was minimal but was below the kneecap, its swapped round now?) It would fall on the scale of moderate effusion (comparing it to the amount of swelling expressed by the consultant months ago).
But getting stronger week by week and hope to be in the chlilfactore for some tentative turns next month perhaps, gulp!
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
@Markhandford, sounds good progress - but maybe, just maybe, are you overdoing it a bit? Not sure that it should really be swelling and hurting quite as much as you describe. Inflammation don't do its insides (nor their future prognosis) any good at all Sad
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Well today after 9 months and 13 days I have banished some demons from my head.

On the basis that my injured leg has now regained muscular mass and my knee does not need loosing up before exercise I decided to hit the indoor ski slope at Xscape Castleford. I have bought an Ossur CTi brace along with a leg sleeve which seems like a big comforter but for now a safety net. It is very slim fitting and hardly shows beneath my ski pants. So armed my new bit of kit I boarded the button lift to the top of the slope. Guess what? I skied like my old self with no hint of any problem which was something of a relief. At the end of the session I was linking short turns down a narrow strip at the side of the piste.

No noticeable discomfort or instability during or after session so feeling pretty chipper. Very Happy

My next question is at what point does one consider the use of a brace not necessary or will it be obvious? To be honest I did not notice wearing it which was also a surprise.

It seems a long journey coupled with lots of very interesting and informative threads to this topic. Thanks to everybody who has contributed, it does help to realise you are not the only one. Good luck to all who are on the treading the path to recovery, ACL or not.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@ttrucwy, Brilliant to hear and well done you!
To allow me to compare legs! When you say regained muscular mass, does that mean your injured leg sizes are now the same as your good leg?
My injured leg is 1/4 less in the calf than my good leg, above the knee is 1/8 less and the thigh is a good inch difference.

I have just been discussing leg braces with my physio, mainly because my leg strength is still weak in the quads.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Guys on here who are thinking about do I / don't I for braces this coming season, there's a simple way of finding out before you go skiing this season.

Get yourself up the top of a decent hill with a gnarly descent of a single track and then run down it, better if muddy & slippery and see how your confidence is as you descend.

If you're not totally committed and lack in confidence you might as well go with a brace.

As for leg size differential my thigh / quad on the leg (left) I had my hamstring taken and the reconstructed ACL from is still a good inch less and that after five or so years.

I am right footed and don't know if that makes a difference, but I do shed loads of cycling etc and just think at my age I can't build muscle back up rolling eyes
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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!
@Weathercam, Im hiking up and down mountains OK, but know for a fact that I can't run on the flat, let alone down hill, the impact makes my knee swell up massively, everyone Knee is different, the thread title is 'No' ACL and doing fine?

My muscle gains - ruptured quadriceps has been steady:
Left calf 15 1/2
Left Leg leg above knee 16 1/2
Left leg mid thigh 21

Right calf 15 3/4
Right leg above knee 16 1/2
Right leg mid thigh 22

Gains after 3 months
Left calf 1/4”
Left Leg leg above knee 1/4”
Left leg mid thigh 3/4”

Right calf 1/4”
Right leg above knee 1/4”
Right leg mid thigh 3/8”

So just one inch less on my ruptured muscle after 3 months of gym and bike. Strength is still a way off for my quads though, 5 steps forward and 2 back seems to be the norm at the moment.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@ttrucwy, Excellent news Very Happy

@Weathercam, I don't think that my preparedness to run full pelt down a muddy steep track has anything to do with my need for a brace at all. Might say a lot about how prepared I am to fall over and hurt myself, knee or otherwise - but that isn't what an ACL brace is for, which is to stop your lower leg bone going forward because nothing's holding it on any more (i.e. to prevent 'instability'). Secondary functions are to provide other kinds of stability and maybe to relieve some strain, pressure and try to prevent some kinds of injury if you fall (maybe?). It shouldn't really compensate for lack of muscle strength, balance or proprioception, nor assist with pain relief or other soft tissue or joint issues. A simple neoprene support might give some confidence and minor overall support in your test, and certainly might assist with confidence.
For me, at least, not therefore really a viable test - though carrying or after a knee injury I will certainly agree that it is psychologically a challenge, physically sometimes, and I would not take on such an activity with anywhere near as much relish and gay abandon as I would have done 2 years ago Sad
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
And trust a bunch of blokes to have a 'mine's bigger (or smaller) than yours' session Laughing

Somewhere back in my bored rehab phase, I have come across research indicating that you'll never get 100% strength or equal muscle size back. Sorry fellas. Tried Brazilian Quad Therapy Injections..? (Or more pizza?)
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Grizzler, lots of wise words and very accurate comment. Bigger or smaller, well I have stared at my legs for so long it could be deemed not good for me or suffering from a bout narcissism but they now look the same. They didn’t and did not perform or feel the same. Nor would I run down a steep muddy track, ever, period.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Grizzler, good points, at the end of the day it's all about confidence in your leg, and doing "fine".

And to gain that confidence is all about how much prehab / rehab pre / post op / pre accident is done which in turn can often be determined, for want of a better word as to how "sporty" you are / were.

I know of more than a few people who were good Cafe piste skiers, but that was pretty well the nearest they came to sport they did in any one year, and on having done an ACL they never made it back on to the piste, for a number of reasons, but confidence in their leg not doing it again is probably the major fear, and totally understandable especially if they have not done enough work before and after the op.

My daughter sort of falls in the above camp, though she does still ski but always with a brace, four years on, and still on hikes when it comes to walking down a steep mountain path she has no confidence in her leg at all!

Post Op she really only played at exercises, as pre doing her ACL she never really exercised, so there's probably no real differential in legs as she never had built up any muscle Puzzled

And @ttrucwy, you say you would not run down a steep muddy track, well it's not far off having to walk around an icy ski resort in the depths of a cold winter to get to and from a bar in most places, as @Markhandford, will find out* Toofy Grin

* steep road at 17% for 250m
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Weathercam wrote:
... a steep muddy track [is] not far off having to walk around an icy ski resort in the depths of a cold winter ...

Or up or around anywhere, UK or not, in snow, ice, mud or just on slippery or 'polished' rock - never mind in stiff ski or mountaineering boots.
I think that one's perception of risk and outcome simply changes. I can't say if my actual ability to walk (or run) on said surfaces changed - although thinking about it now, there was at first a physical restriction component, caused by muscle stiffness and knee swelling - but my attitude towards them very much did. I put that down purely to not wanting to go through the pain and reduced mobility again, nor wanting to incur further injury. i.e. I simply did not want to fall.
Like all types of traumatic injury it takes time both to recover physically and to feel comfortable back on the horse, and some people will become more cautious than others, and some will stay more cautious. Big strong muscles help, but they're not the only factor by far. Research shows that a good proportion elite sports people with ACL injuries never return to their old levels. General thinking is that it's not necessarily or solely anything to do with their strength, rehab, prior activity levels, bracing protocols or surgical success.
Me, I'm a big wuss now. Not only on snow, but on my motorbike, walking on slippery descents (out come the walking poles these days): anything where it could hurt a lot if it all went wrong. Getting a bit less wussy as time goes on and I do more things successfully - but I ain't getting any younger, and everything aches and hurts more now, so I'll gracefully (bllx!) accept my compromises if I can still get my enjoyment without any more injuries or pain. No guarantees, of course, always some risk of something. But taking a bit more care isn't always a bad thing.
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