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No ACL and doing fine?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quick to the point update.
Snow gave way under me on 4th Jan, slipped in to a squat that was far more range of motion than I had in my knee, basically heel went on to but, lots of pain in the hamstring and back of knee, a twig-snapping sound somewhere 'round/in' my knee and an hours hobble off the mountain. No instability.
Visited local physio 2 weeks after and was told I had no ACL, yes I knew this, but they reckon it had healed back but was definitely no longer and gave me an ear bashing that I should go to the medical centre. I haven't done that- yet!

I have however been skiing everyday for the past 3 weeks, with the odd day of winter stuff in crampons and also snowshoes.
I am not in too much pain, 2-3/10 and the swelling above the joint line does go down slowly if I rest, but Im skiing as hard as my damaged quads will handle and can honestly say that in ski mode all is well, considering.
Im just getting on with it and trying to get fit.

Everyone knee is different, but we know that. I had a serious assortment of damage to my knee, but 12 months later Im back on planks and I would say at about 65ish% at what I used to do, I am however nowhere near as confident as I was skiing trees and steeper ground and I have found this extremely frustrating; quads and VMO in my bad leg are a long way off muscle mass and strength that they had pre accident, but functional strength is good.

I have also had a few ski falls, no pain, no injury to knee, so that part of the mid game is sorted.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Markhandford, that sounds worrying; but kind of good also. Digits crossed for you.

Jealous of how much skiing you're getting in. I've only managed my little week away and one day's UK combat (grass?) skiing - which was knee-challenging, and mentally challenging too, a little, but was also actually survived with no real knee annoyance (until afterwards, then the usual lateral joint line pains) and no falls; a couple of near-miss slips were recovered, fortunately. Desperately hoping that Scotland becomes useable asap, otherwise need to get myself abroad again.
I've done a few reasonable fell walks in deep heather and some snow, rocky paths and invisible deep holes - manageable, but again the pains and irritations afterwards (never mind very achy general legs, everywhere), and some recurrence of the older left leg/knee fizzy quads and irritated catchy kneecaps on long ones - so both knees are playing annoyances again, pain wise, and I seem to have hit an irritation barrier, whereby I can ski, board or walk as normal for, say 2 to 3 hours and then pains and muscle issues (or whatever) start to set in to varying degrees. I don't yet know if this will get to be a longer period as things continue to get better and stronger, or shorter, if more underlying irritation mechanisms kick in. So I have days of thinking that it's all not going too well, and getting worse, and others of thinking that it's as good as it was before and is going to get better still. The truth is in-between.
The head is fine, ish, until any ache or pain becomes apparent, and then it suddenly remembers how much it might hurt again if I get it wrong...
Sitting down all day at a desk is what mine really, really do not like, particularly after having been exercised, at home or outside.

I went to see a new private physio (who actually skis; a bit), who tugged and prodded and questioned and said that she couldn't find anything unusual about my knees bar the kneecaps not moving a lot - which I guess is good - and said that I have good muscle tone (for a not extremely fit middle aged woman - but she was kind enough not to say that aloud), but also couldn't explain why they hurt, except that it might be arthritis setting in as a result of the trauma of the injury and/or some constant underlying irritation process of some kind from the same cause. I managed to set one off quickly whilst there, demonstrating what set them off.... She can't tell that they look different to how they used to (but they do, very different) or explain why they feel very different (ditto); nor why I'm getting so much restless leg issues.

I need to go skiing again!!!!!!!!
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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?
Not long before going back on the slopes. My Don Joy Fullforce brace arrived and was fitted last week. Feels pretty good... I've been trying to wear it 1-2 hours a day while doing regular activities, working out or whatever so I can get used to wearing it. I don't feel like I need it per se... certainly not on a daily basis as I played football with friends yesterday without a brace but I know it will be good to have on the mountain. Wonder if I will eventually stop wearing it. TBD.
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Will have more to share later... day 3 of skiing... mostly sticking to half-days to not push it but have been extremely pleased and surprised. Maybe the brace is providing a level of confidence that would otherwise not be there. It feels "present" but not cumbersome in any way... like wearing a knee sleeve, in a way. That said, my instructor took me from a red to a black run on our second run (off of Plattjen at Saas-Fee) and everything felt fine. Surprisingly fine and normal. Still trying to fathom it but am very happy.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Excellent. Taking it easy is probably wise, but it sounds positive so far Very Happy Just enjoy it, that's the main thing. Best wishes for the rest of the week.
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Well it seems a long time ago that I started this thread and it seems to have created a lot of interest, strange at a time when I thought I was the only unfortunate skier suffering.

Anyway 14 months on and my 2018/19 season is all about done so an update.

Before Christmas I was just about back to my normal self, muscle mass back and more plus getting back to doing the things I loved pre injury. I still had some knee stiffness but nothing like what it was.

I have to remember that however I fool myself into thinking that my left knee is just as good as my right it is not. In curtain circumstances it will clunk, particularly in non weight bearing positions. It doesn’t hurt but it is disconcerting. Getting into and out of yoga positions has to be more controlled and slower otherwise I get the clunk.

After consulting with my physio I bought a Ossur OTS knee brace along with a tube grip to make sure there was no slippage. Advised by Ossur to go for a close fitting brace for max support. The brace hinges are very slim and as a result it does not really show. It is also very comfortable.

Skied 5 weeks in all conditions from steep and deep, powder, concrete, slush, bumps, moguls and well groomed pistes. Pushed myself hard to test I could still ski well. In the end I never missed or felt the need to miss a day due to knee problems associated with no ACL. The first few days on snow where very slow but I do believe my knee has got stronger.

I have been caught out by clunking of my knee, getting out of bubble lifts when it is still moving whilst you are trying to get both feet off the ground and stepping out of a bus with skis and stuff in hand. Learning points but now more savvy.

Ski technique is important, I could not afford to be lazy, at any time. Avoiding situations with flapping skis where the strain went directly to the knee was an early learning point.

After a long hard days skiing my kneecap will click and seem awkward, however overnight this soon goes.

So, the future? We are all different and no two cases are the exactly the same but for me I seem to have come to a point where I will go on skiing more or less the same as I did pre injury. Indeed, in December 2019 I am up for my 5 year refresher course that I need to complete to carry on leading for the SCOGB, already looking forward to it.

As for going forward wearing a brace? For me I cannot tell I am wearing it so until there comes a time when it is a pain the butt I will continue as I am.

I tend to feel that this is not just an injury where you are fully healed when you can resume skiing or other stuff, it is not and will take a long time. Still have some stiffness but gradually this is going.

Here’s hoping that all you non ACL skiers have successful outcomes and thanks for posting your stories.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@ttrucwy, thank you. And thumbs up, it seems.
I'm curious: how do you find the brace? Does it feel like it's giving you compression and overall stability or...? What does it feel like if you don't wear it whist doing knee challenging things? Despite my initial Consultant not liking them, I'm toying with getting a pair, but looking at them the only point of contact at the knee are the lateral and medial pads, and to me it feels as if I'll miss that nice compressed and cosseted feel of full wraparounds. Can't"t find a physio or doc to advise me, so got to make some expensive self guided decisions. CTi are the only options that I can seem to get my paws on anywhere near locally.
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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!
@Grizzler, firstly I am no expert re the mechanics of how the brace keeps the knee together. It does however feel as though it stops any lateral movement and also prevents the knee from slipping forward. It does not fully prevent the knee from twisting, I am not sure if any brace prevents this. The Ossur CTi brace has very clever hinges which are comparatively slim compared to other braces, the brace is also made of carbon fibre which makes it light with smooth edges. Ossur were also very good to deal with, my first brace was slightly too loose so exchanged it with no bother. They also provide the name of a physio close to you who advise and can fit the brace. Another plus point for me was that it did not make my knee sweat, a common problem with neoprene braces which wrap around with a high surface contact area. The bottom line for me was that it did keep my knee-leg alignment fairly rigid without affecting bending and I could not tell I was wearing it. You could risk not wearing one but for the money it was not worth the risk of further injury and months of getting back in shape, life is just too short for that.

Re wearing the brace for other activities? I don’t play golf and have given up football a long time ago. I find running OK and swimming BS or FC is also fine. Having said all that skiing is very different and merits some protection.
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@ttrucwy, thanks. I did look at one when I first had my injuries, and at the time couldn't work out how it would give me the support which I felt that I wanted (I understand how it's meant to, which is very different to physical, maybe psychological feel). I also have some concerns about where it contacted with and pressed onto the lateral and medial joint lines: at the time that was exactly where it was very sore and tender, and now is exactly where I am getting pain after enough exercise. It's this as much as anything which I'm trying to stop or ease off with a brace (my physio isn't sure what's causing it).
Obviously I need to try them on again; you and many others seem to find them useful, though so far I've just used spring sided neoprene wrappers and they've seemingly been OK (bar the pain bits on lateral compression - but I can do that without skiing or boarding, too) and not sweaty or unpleasant.
It's difficult to know what to do for the best: am I doing or risking damage by not wearing full braces or... Puzzled
I have found that there is a "sports injury specialist" (not quite sure what qualifications, not a physio) quite close to me who is an authorised Ossur fitter, and I did have quite a lengthy phone chat with her, which was more impressive than most to everyone else whom I've tried to contact about braces - so I might well move forward on it, though at well over £1,000 (for 2) it is something which I'm not sure I can afford without bring able to trial them; which won't likely happen (bar a snow dome or late Scotland miracle) for a while. Trouble is, they won't get even one in of my size and then tinker with it for fit until I commit to spending the money.
It's worth paying for an assessment, maybe: though that's still £££s just to get some advice and look at them again Sad
Where did you get yours fitted?
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Grizzler, mine was a over the phone consultation with a Ossur person re how snug the fit around my knee should be, I already had the brace.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
After six days, I'm leaving the mountain injury free. Brace was really nice to ski with and never felt in the way or that my mobility was impacted, at all. If anything, it gave me confidence to ski and, again, I felt like nothing had changed since last year's season-ending injury... that is, my knee felt like it did in the minutes before my ACL was destroyed. So, overall very happy... only pulled half days on the mountain but that was enough to keep me happy since my family is not as obsessed as I am. I knew I would be good on a morning when I logged in about 4300 meters in 2 hours without any knee issues.

It can be done... everyone is different but all of you who are in the beginning stages of this should take heart.
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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.
Not my best video and it was a rather slow blue coming down from Felskinn at Saas-Fee to a little off piste... have better footage but this was day 4... knee felt great:


http://youtube.com/v/EZWxU3B58ck
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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
Better footage of how the knee feels fine... also, this gives a better image of some of the runs at Saas-Fee for those interested. Weather was mostly garbage while we were there. The last day, I took the run from Langfluh to the base in whiteout conditions and called it a day. No more knee injuries for me, plese.


http://youtube.com/v/7pfxYnm-xxo
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@ItaloSkier, massive well done you for grabbing the bull by the horns and getting back on skis. I'm now 12 weeks post injury and rehabbing like crazy. The plan to try conservative treatment seems to be going well and I'm allowing myself to think about next season Very Happy. I still have reservations about not having the surgery but not because of anything physical more the mental aspect. Time will tell if it's the right decision but reading this thread has given me hope that's it's certainly doable.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
You can absolutely get past the mental aspect... assuming you're working towards next season, you have lots of time to build up strength. You'll find that as you can handle more and more activities (ex: running, playing a bit of easy football, etc.), your confidence will build it. I started psyching myself out as I got closer to the trip but then I realized that if I could do everything I was doing off the slopes, I would be fine on the slopes. It took one good run with my ski instructor for the mental aspect to fall away. Having a brace also helped with confidence so I strongly recommend finding one you like. The Donjoy Fullforce was great and was recommended by my orthopedic surgeon as he wears one, as well.

Keep at it!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
And this is me, pretty much 2 years to the day from having ACLs and MCLs taken out. Hoping that I might get a tad more in Scotland yet, but realistically this might also be my end of season report.
Just managed 5 days ski and board in Austria (should have been 6 but that's another non knee story). Not massive long runs, not super high standard skiing/boarding, about 3-4 hours a day without stopping; up chair, down piste, repeat. Could have done more, but stopped by high temps, sun and heavy spring snow: so started the day on hardpack and icy courderoy, and ended it bouncing down through heavy slippery slush snowHead
Knee jointlines were twinging on and off, and definitely irritated to aches once back to the apartment and neoprene spring sided supports taken off: but a lot better and less painful than in Finland earlier this year. Muscles seem about what they were pre injury, not super strong but OK for a middle aged aggressive recreational skier who didn't do any extra special pre trip training. Feeling strong enough and feeling stable with wrap around knee supports. Definitely got a new aching to painful outer lower leg issue though.
Snowboarding is definitely more painful than skiing, both punting along and generally on both knees.
Confidence (after a good instructor in Finland) is better, but still I'm very conscious of the consequences of falls (on the knees and otherwise), and whilst steep slushy reds are now very much back on the fun list, very long very steep hardpack reds to blacks are not.
Not looking forward to the deep aches and restless legs settling back in once I get home and back to normal life though Sad Obviously I should just ski every day...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
"Obviously I should just ski every day..."

YES! Exactly what I told my wife. After a week back, I've found that my knees felt better on the mountain and while around the mountain than they do back home. Is it a temperature issue? Its warm here so that doesn't make sense. Altitude? 20 meters avove sea level versus 1800+ ? No idea.

I will say that the trip left me happy enough to order a pair of skis and bindings.
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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, good to hear your back on the skis and board with success Very Happy. I found when I sloped back to Austria 8 weeks post injury armed with my donjoy brace it actually helped massively skiing for 3 hours a day. My knee felt stronger by the time I came home and even though the little voice in my head was yelling you crazy mare
at me everytime I boarded the cable car up in the morning I am so glad I went back and actually skied. Yes I breathed a sigh of relief when I got home but I really believe it massively helped me physically and mentally. After all aren't we all just working towards clipping in and hurtling off down the mountain acl or not Laughing
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absolutely ruined my knee last week.
Even my toes have now gone numb. Started with 1 & now the 3 middle toes!

Maybe I should go to the quacks
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Mr.Egg, oh no.....what have you done? Was you skiing? I would go get it checked for sure.
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Blighty1066 wrote:
@Mr.Egg, oh no.....what have you done? Was you skiing? I would go get it checked for sure.


my knee is completely screwed anyway. Lots of things wrong with it. Who knows what damage I have done this time.
Last time I had a big injury I couldn't walk for 6 months. kind of weird having the last 3rd of your toes numb though. Guessing Ive trapped a nerve somewhere.
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@Mr.Egg, Im no doctor but it does sound like a nerve problem. Fingers crossed it's not a major injury and your up and running again soon. Prior to my injury on Xmas eve I never ever thought about my knees really. I've been very lucky up to that point and never had any issues but now they rule my life.. Every twinge or cracking sound sends me into a meltdown, every pain or ache convinces me I've done more damage. Oh to be a normal kneed person again Confused
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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!
@ItaloSkier, great video clips, so glad the hard work has paid off and you are back on skis, brilliant
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Blighty1066,

Running Laughing
My knee gave it long ago to stop me running.
Ive not run for 8 years.
Doc’s orders is self management to avoid a knee replacement before im 50
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