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Help!!! Advice needed on knee injury

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So today I had a really stupid slow fall in deepish snow and ended up pulling my knee. It popped and hurt for about 30 seconds and then it seemed OK. I got up and the stability wasn't great so got a lift down the mountain. Went to hospital, had an xray and no damage was seen but the doctor suggested I go back to the UK for an mri. The problem is I'm supposed to be skiing for 3 weeks and I don't want to leave if a few days of r.i.c.e sorts it out. Any one know if the pop could mean something else other than some sort of ligament damage? Happy Christmas by the way
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
If its swollen sounds like ACL. Sorry.

Risk is by hurting any of your ligaments or tendons properly you turn off your supporting muscles and mash your meniscus properly. If anything feels remotely unstable / muscles aren't firing properly call it off.

If lucky could just be a small meniscal tear or an unstable knee slipping and few fibers in your medial or lateral collateral ligaments letting go.
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Thankyou@motdoc. I'm trying to be optimistic as there is no swelling....yet!! I think I will have nothing to lose by giving it a few days and pray it stabilises before I pack up the car and drive back. Gutted Sad
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Can you not get an MRI locally?
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]@telford_mike I was quite surprised I wasn't given one today. I have insurance so will look into maybe having one. For now a beer or two is numbing the worry nicely Very Happy
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@Blighty1066, I can't help with medical advice but sincerely hope that it is not serious. Best wishes that you can continue.
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Don't take the only hurting for 30 sec as certainly good news. I snapped my quads tendon January last year, that only hurt for 30 sec, obviously brain told leg to shut up brain knew it was trashed, which lead to to no one (me included) noticing I had also broken my ankle till I was going in for the knee repair 3 days later, 3 days I'd been happily bumbling around on it! Two lots of surgery to fix ankle and knee and only needed pain relief in the hours after the surgery.
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@cad99uk Thankyou. @davkt wow, that sounds awful... I hope you have made a full recovery and are skiing this winter without problems.
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Blighty1066 wrote:
@cad99uk Thankyou. @davkt wow, that sounds awful... I hope you have made a full recovery and are skiing this winter without problems.


Is it swollen today? Merry Christmas BTW.
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No swelling thank God but stability is an issue. I am going for an mri later today to get a definite diagnosis. Fingers crossed it's good news. Merry Christmas
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Fingers crossed indeed - Merry Christmas.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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So I went for an mri and I have torn my acl....gutted is an understatement. My season is over for this year. Now I will head back to the UK to see what is next. To fix or not to fix... The million dollar question Sad
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Blighty1066 wrote:
So I went for an mri and I have torn my acl....gutted is an understatement. My season is over for this year. Now I will head back to the UK to see what is next. To fix or not to fix... The million dollar question Sad


Depends on your stability. There are people that have run marathons without one. Mine on the other hand, I could feel making a finger of eight movement every step I took Sad. Even with half the reconstructed one it gave way while sprinting and caused a lot of other damage. Which is why I have had to give up playing hockey. I still ski but with a hinges brace and I make sure I keep my leg muscles strong to assist.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Blighty1066, So sorry to read that news. Best wishes for your trip back and subsequent recovery. Let us know how you get on. There will be plenty of support for you on Snowheads.
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Snowboard instead NehNeh
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Don't mean to be unreasonably cheery but look at all the acl people still skiing round. It's alright. If you'd kept skiing you'd likely have rogered yourself.

Get well soon and good luck for next year!
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@Blighty1066,
Sorry to hear your fall but that’s a text book description of an ACL rupture. Priority is to get the swelling down and for someone who can diagnose it to examine you.
MRI useful to check the meniscus. I wouldn’t recommend you ski until it has been checked
Jonathan Bell
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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?
Thankyou everyone for your replies and advice. Today I have woken up and taken the usual walk to the bathroom and my knee feels like it belongs to me again. I am heading back to the UK tomorrow as the sooner I see someone the sooner I can start to get fixed. I have read endless threads on here regarding acl injuries and I am now feeling positive I will come back from this. I'm determined to ski better and stronger than before so watch this space Smile
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Blighty1066, just picked up your story. Really awful. But so impressed with your last post.
I'm sure i would not be just "gutted", but really angry as well. And a right miserable sod for all around.
I wish you well with your recovery, and thank you for quite the most Christmassy message i've seen.
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@jonpim Thankyou, I think this season was just not meant to be for me.... Various obstacles were overcome and it just seemed abit more difficult to get everything organised this year for what was meant to be 8 weeks on snow. I went along with the theory that if it's worth having then you've got to put yourself out abit etc.. ... Anyway I know I have a fairly long road ahead and it's going to be hard work but I've been lucky so far injurywise so I'll take this one on the chin Very Happy Happy Christmas and have a good season.
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@Blighty1066, I presume you have a copy of the MRI results?

You should be able to take that with you to the GP and get them to refer you directly to a consultant.

I don’t suppose you have private cover? In which case depending on where you are Jonathan Bell who posted above it based in Wimbledon and very highly regarded.

There are definitely difference from one company consultant to the next some will have the outlook of getting you back to Sport (thankfully I lucked out there and mine was a rugby player who had done his and understood how important returning to hockey and skiing was to me),others don’t have that outlook.

If you don’t have private cover - request “choose and book” from your GP. This will give you choice of location and time of first consultant appointment. I used this when I was non weight bearing and it saved months from what it would have been until the first appointment if I had been referred to the normal local hospital (despite the chose and book option being at a hospital closer to my house!).
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@nickyj Thankyou for your advice. I do have a copy of my mri so will take it to the doctor on Friday morning. I dont have private cover so will have to pray I get to see a good consultant. I am prepared to pay for a decent physio as now realise how important that part of the recovery is going to be. The chap that I saw yesterday for the mri was quite vague about the extent of the damage and as far as I could make out I havn't damaged anything else in the knee. I really wanted to find out how much of the acl I have torn but alot of info got lost in translation. I guess I will find out in due course.
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@Blighty1066, definitely ask for “Choose and Book”.
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@Blighty1066, as others have said, worth being careful until you see a specialist, as meniscus tears don’t always show on MRIs (mine didn’t). With any luck it won’t be the case with you, but better safe than sorry. Also, whether you choose to have surgery or not, best start physio as soon as you can. It will stand you in very good stead no matter what. Very best of luck. Of course it’s not ideal, but you *will* come through the other end stronger.
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@Blighty1066, I think your view to look to the long term is a good one. One season out to ensure many more in the future will seem very painful now but that will pass.
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I made it back to the UK so now the fun begins. I took my season pass back yesterday for a partial refund.....felt like I was selling a kidney Sad doctors appt made for later today and the knee feels abit better again despite spending 15 hrs on and off in the car.... Could anyone advise me if I should be walking around on it or not please? I have a donjoy brace and crutches but it feels OK to walk on albeit abit strange. The doctor in Austria didn't really say what I should be doing for the first few days. I'm icing and taking ibuprofen but I don't have alot of swelling.
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I was walking around without anything when I ruptured mine (of course I had no idea what I had done, just it was swollen like a balloon and hurt).

By the time I got it diagnosed it was 2months after doing it. I was then sent to physio as had to get full range of movement back before the op. By the time I had the op it was feeling nearly normal.
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When I rupture mine in the UK the local A&E sent me home. With it heavily bandaged I went skiing a few weeks later.
However the knee would still bend sideways every now and then. When I asked my gp for a consultation with a specialist he was adamant that the knee was fine but referred me anyway. The specialist thought the acl was gone but needed to examine me under anaesthetic to be sure. It was ruptured.

After it was repaired I ended up having 3 days off work. The physio is far less painful than for shoulder ops. And I was back to normal within 6 months.

Now I wait a partial knee replacement on the other knee.

@Blighty1066, it may seem bad now but you will get over it. Thank yourself lucky that you live in a country where you can get such repairs done.
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@Blighty1066, the advice I got from the first consultant I saw was to wear my brace and not over-do it with the walking until the MRI results came back- so they knew for sure exactly what I’d done. I then had to wear a basic (non-hinged) brace for the six weeks until the surgery because I’d also sprained my MCL. The brace was to support it as it was healing, which it did by the time of the surgery. After the MRI results, I also started pre-op physio and was allowed to walk as much as I wanted as long as it didn’t cause swelling. Of course running, jumping, cutting, pivoting, etc were out of bounds. I had gradually ditched the crutches by the op, but my gait still wasn’t quite right at that point.
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@Blighty1066 When I did mine I was told to avoid big dynamic heavy motions but otherwise cary on as normal, just to listen to the knee when it tells me it's not happy. Your knee knows better than anyone else what's it doesn't like, and will tell you. The usual RICE applies. For me, light compression from a tubigrip was very surprising in its effectiveness at reducing swelling.

Also - much sympathy your way. I know, it sucks, and will continue to suck for a fair while - The op is worse than the initial injury! But do not let that put you off if it's right for you. In my case I'm very glad I had it, and particularly thankful to some good snowheads who told me it was worth doing for them, as I'd still be in the pre-op stage right now if I hadn't been able to make the decision quickly and ask for the op with all their knowledge behind me.

There's a good ACL rehab thread on here which is worth joining in with, it's helpful to talk to others with the same problem, and each year there seems to be a fair few claimed by snow.

Good luck and sorry your season is gone, but it's only temporary and you WILL be back.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Thankyou all for the replies. I'm now in the system so to to speak. I went to my gp and he sent me straight to a & e. The doctor there told me not to weight bear until the consultant has looked at my mri which should happen today. I will now be an avid lurker on the acl thread Very Happy
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Blighty1066 wrote:
Thankyou all for the replies. I'm now in the system so to to speak. I went to my gp and he sent me straight to a & e. The doctor there told me not to weight bear until the consultant has looked at my mri which should happen today. I will now be an avid lurker on the acl thread Very Happy


I envy how quick you get dealt with the otherside of the bridge. I know a few people with ACL & been operated on within weeks.
My experience with NHS took 3 months to see a specialist, another 3 for MRI & CT scans & another 3 to see a different surgeon/specialist who gave me no confidence in letting him cut me open.

I now pay for private insurance.
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@Blighty1066, where are you based in the UK? Fingers crossed for a speedy process. And welcome to the ACL thread. As a friend says, this too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.
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@Mr Egg I paid for an mri in Austria so I took the disc into a & e with me so I'm hoping I've speeded things up abit. I'm desperate to know just how bad the damage is so I can then make some decisions. I too struggle to have confidence in the NHS especially as when I was in a&e yesterday I asked for some info to be written down for me and the doc went off and came back and handed me the info on a paper towel!!!!! Apparently they aren't allowed to use paper.. ... I am googling the cost of going private.
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@Blighty1066, from what I’ve gathered in my pre-op research, there’s definitely one area that is worth doing privately, and that’s the physio. You could luck out on the NHS, but most likely what you’d be offered is pretty basic, both in intensity/attention and duration. If you can afford it, it’s really worth investing in that - perhaps trying to find a physio who has good knee and even skiing experience. Even a few sessions will really help. Having a good physio made the world of difference to me, both physically and mentally. You should also do as much physio as possible pre-op, can’t stress enough just how important that is.
Op-wise, if you decide to go down that route, the long waiting lists are the main issue with the NHS from what I gather. If you need a meniscus repair - as it turned out I did- they need to be done fairly quickly or they won’t work. The other risk of waiting for ages is doing yourself more damage, but that can be prevented if you do pre-op physio and are careful. Otherwise, you can do your research and choose an experienced surgeon on the NHS as well. You could perhaps even see your consultant of choice privately and then go on their NHS list for the op? I’m not 100% sure how that works, but it’s worth looking into it. I was incredibly lucky that I had good private insurance through work, but even so they only cover the rehab physio up to “back to every day tasks” levels. Any whiff of any more, and you’re done. And from what I’ve figured, even on an every day life level they have arbitrary time lines that they stick to - seems to be around 9 moths, and then even if the rehab is slow they try to shake you off. My first physio was a Kiwi, and she warned me that UK insurance companies don’t cover returning you even to social sports. In Aus and New Zealand they do, because they know it’ll be more expensive in the long run if you return to sport un-rehabbed and re-rupture...
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@Blighty1066, I noticed when I paid for a consultant appointment and the MRI last time when I mentioned I was self finding I got different rates.

Also BUPA were offering a private package deal for ACL reconstruction which included all the physio which was a lot and absolutely necessary, and wasn’t actually that bad considering though this was on 2005 so things could well ba e changed a lot since then.

It will be best phoning round but also asking on here for peoples recommendations in your local area. As you will be back and forth for a long period.
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Hi Blighty1066, I feel your frustration. I did the same a few months ago. You've probably seen my post but if not have a look at the link.
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=140453

I was skiing again after a few weeks with no ACL so you may be able to get a week in at the end of the season Smile Everyone has different experiences with stability but your description sounds similar to mine. After some intensive gym work over a few weeks my bad knee is now stronger and more stable than my other knee.
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@Oz your my kind of positive Smile I have read your story and I totally admire your determination to come back from the injury. I wish you all the best with it. I am going to see the consultant next Thursday for a definitive diagnosis. It absolutely sucks being back home when I should still be skiing in Austria but I'm using the time to make my leg stronger in the vain hope the damage is minimal and I can get back out there... It's a very long shot because I have stability issues but no pain or swelling so fingers crossed I havn't damaged anything else in the knee. Keeping a positive attitude is something I'm definitely going to do and reading about everyone else's experiences with this injury is helping me immensely. I am armed with a barrage of questions for the doctor next week.
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So today I saw the consultant who as luck would have it happened to be German so read the mri report I got in Austria and is a skier too. I have torn my acl but not completely but what is left is elongated. No other serious damage just a bit of bruising thank God. He said there is some instability in the knee but it's not catastrophic so I have 2 choices.. Physio and see how it goes or surgery. I have opted for surgery because even though my knee feels quite stable and I'm plowing ahead with a fair amount of leg strengthening exercises problem free I don't want to worry about it giving way if I do something abit crazy. Anyone skied without an acl and a brace before surgery? wink
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@Blighty1066, that was my thinking as well. I didn’t fancy waiting around for the knee to collapse on me and take out other bits of itself in the process. It could be never, or it could be getting off the bus. I didn’t want to always have that thought at the back of my mind.
How long until the op? And what graft are you going with?
Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions here as you want before, after, during rehab, etc. Sounds like you’ve already found the ACL rehab thread; everyone there will cheer you up and cheer you on at every juncture. It’s a pain in the proverbial, no doubt about it, but you will get through, get better and get back on those skis!
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