Today we have a story from a person who tore their ACL skiing and is looking to return to the slopes this December.
I have been following your email and website, and it has helped. I have always been very active during all my working years as an accountant, I couldn’t wait for week-ends and vacations for hiking, biking, tennis, dancing, and my favorite skiing (down-hill ski racer).
Semi-retired, I was active as ever until January, 2012, a careless skier ran into me hard, cracking my left tibia (shinbone) and completely tearing my left ACL. I didn’t know the ACL was torn, and suspected the bone break to be only a bad bruise/sprain. I figured I would be back on skis in a week or so.
(Video of another skier tearing their ACL)
The first few days I just used R I C E and advil, without much relief. I saw the doctor after a week. The X-Ray clearly displayed the tibia break. It was the continued swelling and knee instability that occasioned the MRI and Torn ACL diagnosis. I had no idea what that meant, so I went to the internet.
The orthopedic doctor told me that I could wear a brace for the rest of my life, for my sports activities, or I could get the ACL replaced. As a 69 year old female — but very young for my age — I opted for the ACL replacement so I could return to my former activity level… without depending on a brace forever. I went with a cadaver ligament, to facilitate healing (no need to cut into my own ligaments).
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The surgery was March 9, 2012. I was able to start with some physical therapy prior to the surgery, to get the left leg muscles moving as the break was healing. My doctor had me begin a rigorous course of physical therapy one day after the ACL replacement surgery. It was difficult and painful, but I followed my doctor’s orders and did everything my PT asked of me.
Jon, I have read through your emails and blogs, and there were things that helped me a lot. I don’t like to take meds, but thanks to you, the first few weeks, I made sure I took my pain meds on time, and did not wait for them to “wear off” before the next dose. I was adament about icing after PT home exercise, and made sure my bed and pillows were set up for comfort. I still keep a log of my knee and leg exercises, and expect to keep it up to stay strong as I get older.
The doctor and PT told me I am “way ahead of the curve”, even for women half my age. I am very flexible and I have no arthritis. It is now 5 months since the surgery, and I continue to work out, on my own. I ice the knee when I return from the gym because I really work it.
I will continue to see the orthopedic doctor about every 2 or 3 months now, and I have to wear a knee brace for a few more months for my active sports — hiking, tennis, swing /quick step/ salsa. But without the brace, I can already walk miles, and I can also slow dance in low heels, no problems, without the brace. I will be back on skis this winter, yes wearing the brace until one year after the surgery is a requirement. But I will be racing downhill in December.