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Old     (newchicago)      Join Date: Nov 2006       12-30-2008, 9:26 AM Reply   
I have unfortunately joined the torn ACL club that I know many of you are members of too.

I'm trying to decide between the 3 repairs: Patella, Hamstring, or Allograft.

I have read many of the previous threads, but haven't seen a clear favorite (maybe because there isn't one). However, I was hoping that those of you that have had an ACL repair can post some data so that I can make an informed decision (and maybe it will help others too).

1. Could you post your age (being the very advanced age of 43, I want to be realistic about the 19 year old who is back riding in 4 months).

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had.

3. How long until normal walking?
4. How long until normal riding?

5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft.

6. Any complications?

If there is something else that you feel is relevant, I'd love to hear it.

Many might think I'm nuts to make this decision this way, but I think there is a depth of knowledge here that you won't find most places (unfortunately).

Thanks for any help!
Old    justinh            12-30-2008, 10:21 AM Reply   
-I was 20 (eight years ago)
-Had a Ham-string graft. It was painful, but I am very happy with the results.
-I was walking well at about a month
-Riding my board at 4-5mo (note riding only: no air and no falls on smooth water only.) Riding hard by 6-7.
-I have absolutely no existing issues, but I had none before I blew my knee. I have found that if you have "bad knees" before injury/surgery. When you are back to 100% you still have "bad knees"

1. Stay dedicated to your rehab
2. When you are released, you are released. Ride hard. The most lasting injuries I have seen after an ACL reconstruction are those in your noggin.

Good luck. My ACL injury was the best thing to ever happen to my riding. It gave me an excuse to take a few months getting back to the basics. I was a better rider 7 months after surgery than I was before.
Old     (detonate69)      Join Date: Apr 2001       12-30-2008, 10:38 AM Reply   
1. Could you post your age.

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had.
I had my surgery about 3.5 years ago and had pattelar tendon replacement

3. How long until normal walking?
I was walking fairly well without crutches in about 2 weeks

4. How long until normal riding?
I was back cleared for riding 100% in 6 months (With my CTI brace).

5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft.
No issues here, I get a little soreness (not pain) sometimes but my knee always feels SOLID.

6. Any complications?
No complications at all, best advice I can give you is to Rehab hard. The harder you rehab and the more it hurts then the better it will be down the road.
Old     (skier12)      Join Date: Mar 2006       12-30-2008, 10:43 AM Reply   

I'm sorry to hear about your injury, I'm currently recovering from knee surgery myself. I didn't have an ACL repaired but it will be about 4-5 months till I'm good to go.

But for your surgery I'm surprised this type of decision isn't made by your doctor based on his expertise. Did you get a second opinion? I can't stress enough all knee doctors are not equal. The doctor with the latest techniques and lots of experience is well worth the wait to see.

Good luck to you, and having been through PT 3.5 times now Justin's tips are right on. Keep up with the PT and you'll be riding this summer.
Old     (newchicago)      Join Date: Nov 2006       12-30-2008, 11:03 AM Reply   
Yes, I've talked to Doctors and got 3 different opinions!

Patellar sounds like the most solid fix, but many have reported knee pain (no lunges, no kneeling) for years after.
Hamstring sounds a little better, but still requires two areas of healing and some have had stiffness in the hamstring.
Cadaver sounds like the least solid, but is the easiest recovery. The Doc who likes those says he's done 'hundreds' and hasn't had any more problems than patellar.
That's why I was hoping to hear from the 'real world' out there.

I really appreciate your input!
Old     (bcnumber1)      Join Date: Sep 2008       12-30-2008, 11:46 AM Reply   

I have had two ACL recons on the same knee, first graft was hamstring and second was allograft. Both are good options. I would not recommend the patella for the knee pain that you referred to. I'm in a physical therapy program at a med school in NY and have seen many ACL's come through our clinical sites. If you have any questions don't hesitate a PM.
Old     (brhanley)      Join Date: Jun 2001       12-30-2008, 11:50 AM Reply   
That sounds like the same general "cliff notes" summary I remember. I went with petellar because my Dr. did 95% of those types and I did not want to mix it up. I would probably do cadaver if I had to do it again because it was very hard/painful at work for a few weeks with the petellar.

Rehab is the key. I began riding with no restrictions at 6 months (April), realized I needed to rehab harder, did so, and was riding as good as ever by the end of the season. Have had two great seasons since. Key is to rehab as mentioned above and then pre-hab by staying in shape to avoid future injuries.

Good luck.
Old     (lfrider139)      Join Date: May 2007       12-30-2008, 11:52 AM Reply   
Hey Chris, bummer about your knee man, I hope which ever method you choose goes smoothly and your back on the water as quick as possible.

1. I was 19 when I had my ACL surgery

2. I had the surgery 3 years ago and went with the cadaver.

3. I was walking fine in about 2 weeks.

4. I wakeskated with no problems about 5 and a half months after my surgery, but I didn't strap the wakeboard on for 8 months or so. I felt as though I could ride, I just didn't want to risk it.

5. As for any on going issues, my knee has felt as strong as ever since I had it repaired, it does ache from time to time, but nothing serious.

6. I have not experienced any complications.

As everyone has said, rehab the crap out of it. The more you can build strength in that knee the better. Not only is it good for your legs, it will help prevent further injury in the future.

I hope this helped, get better man!
Old     (lionel)      Join Date: Nov 2005       12-30-2008, 12:02 PM Reply   
1. Could you post your age.

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had.

I did my right ACL at the age of 18, my left ACL and cartilage 4 years later. Patella on both.

3. How long until normal walking?

Too long to remember, but probably 1-2 months for 'normal' walking.

4. How long until normal riding?

I think I was cleared for all activities 6-8 months after surgery.

5. Any on-going issues?

Knees are changed forever. Mine are solid. I usually feel one knee after squatting for a long time. It's not like before the surgeries when I was young, but I'm not sure how good squatting is for your knees? Crawling around on a hard surface with my son is uncomfortable. Carpet is A=OK.

6. Any complications?
1st knee surgery I caught an infection in my surrounding muscle tissue, I had a second surgery and was laid up in the hospital for another 2 weeks. Hit with heavy antibiotics. I almost died, but to this day they don't know what kind of bug I had. Yep, I'm that 1 in 500 your doctor tells you about.

Having said all of that, listen to what Justin has to say. Rehab and range of motion is VERY important. Everything else is in your head.

Doctor is important. Like everything, you should want the best. I was lucky enough to have the best doctor in town at the time. My brother recently had knee surgery and he has the best, same Dr. who did Greg Oden's knee! Good luck brutha.
Old    ajmac            12-30-2008, 12:11 PM Reply   
Sorry to hear about your injury.

1. Could you post your age.

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had.
I had the surgery on Nov. 6 2008 and they took from my patella

3. How long until normal walking?
I was walking after a week with a brace and walking normal at 3 1/2 to 4 weeks

4. How long until normal riding?
My Dr. says April/May-ish. He says I will feel well enough to ride long before he is comfortable letting me ride.

5. Any on-going issues?
The only pain I have right know is when I get up in the morning and walk down stairs. Just due to stiffness.

6. Any complications?
I hope there won't be

Hope this helps. Being 23 the Dr. said taking from my own patella was the best option for me. He said it would take a couple weeks longer to heal, but in the end it's the better choice.

Honestly though it seams that every Dr. is different with how conservative they are at letting you start to do more and more while recovering. From what I can tell my Dr. is super conservative and have considered getting other opinions because I feel my Dr. is holding me back a little. So I would recommend getting a couple opinions from other Doctors.
Old     (lionel)      Join Date: Nov 2005       12-30-2008, 12:25 PM Reply   
Or go see this guy after surgery and he'll have you back on the water in 2-3 months. I saw him and he helped me with my alignment and gave me strength exercises, not to mention mentally. He doesn't listen to Dr.s!
Old     (drive139)      Join Date: Apr 2007       12-30-2008, 12:28 PM Reply   
Age 24

Nov 2007-patella

I was on crutches for 6 weeks due to alot of cartilage repair but after that I was walking fine

I started riding at about 5 1/2 months but normal riding was about 7 months

The only complications I had was soreness of my patella tendon but at about 3 months the doctor gave me a anti-inflamatory steroid shot and its been fine since

The patella is said to be the strongest out of the 3. Most insurance companies won't cover a allograft because of it being more expensive. I have real good insurance and my company told me that it was too expensive and still too experimental. I know of one guy who has blown through 3 allografts. There is a pretty good possibility that your body can reject the donor tissue. I would go with the patella graft. It is supposed to be 10 times stronger than your original acl. Good luck with your decision and make sure you rehab your knee outside of therapy as well.
Old     (liquidmx)      Join Date: Jun 2005       12-30-2008, 1:00 PM Reply   
1. Could you post your age - 23

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had. - 2 years ago, allograph

3. How long until normal walking? - 10 days
4. How long until normal riding? - 8-9 mos

5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft. - none

6. Any complications? - None

If there is something else that you feel is relevant, I'd love to hear it. - Rehab, Rehab, Rehab. Also DO NOT ride hard at 4-7 months as that's when it feels good but isnt fully healed. The most recent studies say a fully grafted allograph takes upwards of 24 mos for 100%.
Old     (mc_x15)      Join Date: Jul 2008       12-30-2008, 1:06 PM Reply   
1. Could you post your age 20 years old. 7 years ago

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had. I had the petella surgery

3. How long until normal walking? normal walking about 3 months, but was walking at about 4 weeks

4. How long until normal riding? didnt wakeboard at the time but snowboarding was about 8 months until normal.

5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft. No knee pain at all. Have had great results.

6. Any complications? Nope

I would suggest choosing your doctor carefully, i went to a specialist who only did knee related surgerys. Just somethign to think about
Old     (lhlocal)      Join Date: Jun 2003       12-30-2008, 3:57 PM Reply   
I just had my knee did 2.5 weeks ago. Im 32 going on 22. I went with the patella tendon graft. I had it done on a Thursday, and was back working on Monday. (Self-employed so I set the pace) I was off crutches before my 1 week anniversary and no brace. Pain was not bad due to Ibuprofen and Percocet. I stopped both after a couple days. The percs were fun, but they screwed with my stomach. I went back on the ibuprofen because while the swelling in my calf went down, there was a lot of fluid still in my lower leg.

I walk now with a slight gangsta limp. Physical therapy is going well. Your knee should go to between 0 and 5 degress flat. I got it to 7 yesterday. Im a little past 90 bending it. Was able to ride the bike yesterday and that felt good. Elevate and ice, and when you're done, do it again. Work on stretching before surgery and also maybe try to do a limited amount to maintain your muscle tone. I now have the calf of a 14 yr old who wears skinny jeans.

The doc said at 6 months it will be good as new. No brace even. If I work hard and follow through, theres a chance to ride some with a brace at 5 months. We just bought a lakefront home, so you know it will be 4 months and 28 days.

Of course I have some pain everyday, but I feel lucky after hearing what some people went through. I would recommend talking not only to the doctor, but also the physical therapist. They seem to know which doctors are able to do it cleaner and have quicker recovery times.

Best of luck and stay positive!! Gotta go, I have a house to move!
Old    h2oskidds            12-30-2008, 4:06 PM Reply   
1. Age 44 when I tore my ACL
2. Surgery was done 9/13/2001 (two days after 911), hamstring graft as well as cleaned up 20+ year old meniscus tear.
3. Back at work in 10 days, family trip to Disney and Universal about a month and a half after surgery and walked all over the parks
4. Took a full year off from snowboarding and wakeboarding (my choice)
5. Age 51 now - normal aches and pains but the knee is good
6. No complications, wakeboard and snowboard without a brace

Get a surgeon you trust and feel comfortable with(mine lives two blocks from me), follow rehab, get on a passive motion machine right away (I started the next day), strenghten the knee and work to get flexibility back
Old     (fullonsalesgrp)      Join Date: Jan 2004       12-30-2008, 4:47 PM Reply   
1. Could you post your age. 36

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had.
I had my surgery about 4 years ago and had MCL

3. How long until normal walking?
6 months Still can not run the same

4. How long until normal riding?
I was back riding 100% in 6 months

5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft. Soreness
stiffness creaking general stuff

6. Any complications?
Nothing changed my life just have to deal with your basic getting old stuff a little early.
Rehab Rehab Rehab
Old     (treycleaton)      Join Date: Mar 2005       12-30-2008, 6:11 PM Reply   
1. Could you post your age? 34

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had. 30/allograft

3. How long until normal walking?walking i less than a week/ normal walking in 3 months
4. How long until normal riding? Still don't wakeboard much, kick around on the wakeskate a huge mental block..THAT SH*T HURT!!

5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft. Soreness from some cartilage removal,knee is stable though. In refernce to drive 39's post: Don't know what region you are in, but my BCBS insurance provider never questioned my allograft choice. Also, not so sure allografts are all that experimental at this point...I think they are pretty well tried and true...

6. Any complications? none so far, other than not feeling quite he same s before, but there is always this chance

(Message edited by treycleaton on December 30, 2008)
Old     (mcfly)      Join Date: Jan 2002       12-30-2008, 7:18 PM Reply   
1. Could you post your age (being the very advanced age of 43, I want to be realistic about the 19 year old who is back riding in 4 months).

*First Surgery, September 2002 Age 26 (Left Knee ACL Tear Only) Second Surgery September 2004 Age 28 (Left Knee ACL Tear Only Caused by the Knee Brace)

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had.

*First Surgery Patella Tendon from Left Knee (Left ACL Reconstruction)- Second Surgery Patella Tendon from Right Knee (Left ACL Reconstruction)

3. How long until normal walking?

*First Surgery about 1 - 1.5 Months, Second Surgery One Month

4. How long until normal riding?

*First Surgery I was doing inverts on my very first set back to riding, about 6 months after surgery, but normal riding with full confidence was one year. Second Surgery I took it really easy...Inverts after about 11 months and normal riding after 18 months.

5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft.

*Zero Issues

6. Any complications?

*First Surgery I was weaker after surgery than I was on the Second Surgery because I knew what to expect on the second surgery. I was walking the day after the second surgery despite having both knees operated on. My only real problem I had was my left knee cap catching when I bent my leg around that 1 - 3 month after surgery time period. If you don't bend your knee for a while, the groove that your knee cap slides in begins to fill itself in which doesn't allow your knee cap to slide properly when you bend your knee. After about 2 - 3 weeks of massaging and working it out, the issue went away. This issue happened to me on both of my surgeries.

Here is an account of what happened to me on my first surgery...

I truly believe that the Patella Tendon was the strongest repair. It took some serious pulling and stretching of that tendon for me to tear it the second time. It was like my life was in slow motion when it tore the second time..I could feel the tendon stretching and felt the screws in the bone pulling until it finally let go. But like I said, it was the brace that caused that tear, not the initial repair.

Good Luck!

Old     (socalwakepunk)      Join Date: Dec 2002       12-30-2008, 9:36 PM Reply   
1. 42 years old.

2. Never been repaired, have been ACL-D for the past 10 years.

3. I was walking normally after about 6 weeks (from time of injury).

4. I was riding normally after about 6 weeks (about the same time I started walking normally)

5. Ocassionally get a "stinger", have bruised the bone once since (had to sit out for 6 weeks that time), but being ACL-D has not stopped my riding any. Learned my first inverts in this condition. I do wear a CTI2 knee brace everytime I ride.

6. I cannot play soccer anymore (kicking the ball stings), not the fastest guy on the basketball court, but I am O.K. with that.

For me, I didn't do the surgery because I figured there were no guarantees that I would not destroy the ACL again. Best thing I have done is to strengthen the knee, the rest of the ligaments and tendons, the quads and hams. Lots of stretching, weightlifting, bikes, and trampolines.

(Message edited by socalwakepunk on December 30, 2008)
Old     (wakekat15)      Join Date: Jul 2005       12-31-2008, 6:29 AM Reply   

I've done all 3 types of repairs and wished I had used the last one (allograft) first. It was far less painful and much faster healing time.

1. Could you post your age (being the very advanced age of 43, I want to be realistic about the 19 year old who is back riding in 4 months).
I'm now 43, but tore ligaments at the following ages:
ACL (R) @ 33 - patellar tendon repair
ACL (L) @ 34 - hamstring repair
ACL (R) @ 40 - allograft

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had.

All 3 times, i waited for swelling to go down and tried to rebuild some strength prior to surgery. The last time I tore it in July and waited until October to have surgery. I continued riding during that time.

3. How long until normal walking? Normal, meaning no limp whatsoever. 2 weeks with allograft, but a little longer with other two.
4. How long until normal riding? 6 months with allograft, but much longer with other two (9 months to a year).

5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft.

The injury inflicted by the docs on hamstring and patellar tendon took longer to heal than my ACL! Recovery is much faster with allograft. Ongoing issue from using hamstring is that I continued to pull (tear) it for months after the surgery.

6. Any complications? Just arthritis, and it's worse in cold weather climates!
Old     (wakekat15)      Join Date: Jul 2005       12-31-2008, 6:33 AM Reply   
Ps Couldn't agree more with Andrew on the PCM machine post surgery. It cuts weeks off recovery as it relates to flexion and extension.
Old     (newchicago)      Join Date: Nov 2006       12-31-2008, 7:30 AM Reply   
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to post. I'm starting to lean towards the allograft. It sounds like we've all been TOLD that the patellar graft is stronger, and it very well may be, but I haven't heard from anyone that they thought their allograft was somehow 'weak'.

If someone had a bad allograft experience, or feels their allograft is not solid, I'd love to hear about it.

While I appreciate all of your experience, I'm sorry about the way you acquired it. Especially those with multiple surgeries (I'm hoping to stay out of that club).

One theme is very, very clear however: Rehab Hard! I will take that to heart.

Looking forward to a bionic ACL someday!

Thanks again.
Old     (ftd)      Join Date: Apr 2004       12-31-2008, 7:40 AM Reply   
Chris, sorry to hear about your knee. Being a geezer my info may help.

1. Could you post your age
Turned 54 Sunday

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had. I was 42 patella

3. How long until normal walking? ~1month
4. How long until normal riding? 6 months with
a brace, 1 1/2 years no brace & 100% back

5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft.

6. Any complications?
Old     (pc_sledge)      Join Date: Jan 2006       12-31-2008, 9:12 AM Reply   
Chris, Just went through the same thing. What I got out of my research was that all options can work quite successfully. Rehab and following DR.'s orders are paramount to a successful recovery. I struggled with which reconstruction to use as well and ended up going with a achilles tendon allograft. My decision was based on an extreme amount of web research that ended with me scheduling an appointment with a knee specialist that was a 22 hour drive from my home town. I visited Dr. Walt Lowe in Houston at the Robert Clemen's institute of sports medicine. He does all three options you mentioned plus other ones including double bundle techniques. After my discussion with him we concluded that the best option for me would be the achilles allograft. I did not ask why but he recommended against a hamstring graft immediately in my situation because I was a wakeboarder. I was leaning towards the patellar tendon for strength or an allograft to get away from patellar tendonitis (front knee pain) because I kneel quite frequently at work. He said he insists on pt grafts for younger guys because it acts as a safety feature in that the patient doesn't really feel like doing anything until its ok to anyway. It's very strong but has a slower recovery period and explained that it would be a good choice. He said that if the patient rehabs hard there shouldn't be any tendonitis, however, it would be impossible for him to tell me that there would not be any discomfort when kneeling even with a bone graft performed over the graft location. He said an achilles tendon allograft is just as strong with proper fixation techniques and there would be no chance for residual pain when kneeling. In fact, he does a lot of reconstructions on NFL players and other professional athletes and always uses an achilles allograft in their situation because they want to get back to 100% with no side effects and typically are not worried about plus or minus a month or two of recovery time because they are paid through their contract either way. You feel better quicker with an allograft but its an extra month or so return to full activity to allow time for the fixation of the graft to the bone to completely strengthen. I'm 34 was off crutches in 5 days and will be riding this summer after reconstruction just before Thanksgiving.

This is my experience, others may be different.
Rehab and a proper recovery period are the most important elements towards getting this behind you. Good luck with whatever option works best for you!
Old     (adamsilcio)      Join Date: Oct 2007       01-08-2009, 11:56 AM Reply   
chris, hope you are doing well man.

i tore my left acl, pcl, mcl, meniscus, and patella tendon (the unhappy triad plus two) while performing a raley in a contest. i agree with brett about using an achilles tendon allograft. my doctor performed major surgeries on many athletes, including Saints quarterback Drew Brees. so i trusted his decision. i have had no problems with my knee since the surgery plus rehab.

i also wanted to add that post-surgery and post-rehab my doctor recommended i take Triflex which is a joint supplement that has glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. this will lubricate your ligaments and joints and will promote mobility. it also helps with pain. he also told me if i want to keep wakeboarding, i will need to regularly exercise and keep my knees strong. ...just some things to consider after surgery.

Old     (hyperlite1622)      Join Date: Aug 2005       01-08-2009, 3:34 PM Reply   
1. Could you post your age
im 19

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had.
i had the surgery sept 10 and had the hamstring allograft mine didnt hurt they numbed my leg so i wouldnt feel it for days
3. How long until normal walking? i walked normal within two weeks
4. How long until normal riding?
i cant ride cuz of cold weather but i was back playing hockey within 4 months
5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft. havent really had any pains feels nice and tight

6. Any complications? i just cant play contact hockey until march
Old     (jammerwakestl)      Join Date: May 2007       01-08-2009, 5:50 PM Reply   
age: 27
first acl was a patella tendon graft. I was 20 at the time. Very painful, long recovery. Back to wakeboarding in about 8mo. Tons of rehab, strength training. 2mo after i was released to "normal" activity, tore it again.

Patella tendon graft did not work for me.

Acl repair 2 was at age 22. same left side. This time I had done enough damage, the suurgeon did a hamstring graft from the rt. leg. Walked out of the hospital with a bit of assistance. Tons of therapy, 4 days a week, then 5 days a week of athletic training. Back to riding in 5-6 months. Seriously riding after 7-8mo.

I wear two cti knee braces, i most likely don't need them, but to me its like putting on my life jacket, its a no brainer.

I recomend the hamstring graft. It is very plyable and is quote unquote 200% stronger than your ACL.

just my experience, hope it helps
Old     (bfnaci)      Join Date: Dec 2008       01-08-2009, 8:30 PM Reply   
Hi Chris,
Sorry about the injury, just went through it myself.
Tore ACL-PCL away from Tibia and tore medial meniscus as well.
Age 44, did it in June 08.
I had three doctors all suggest their own expertise at the repair. I think anyone of them one have been good.
I chose the Ham Sting repair. You have five ham strings in your thigh. They take one and fold it over four times and make a new ACL/PCL.
The Patella graft repair they take 30% of you Patella and make a new ACL. That means only 70% of my Patella would be left to carry me. I didn't really like the sound of that. I was also told to expect pain when ever I was on my knees for the rest of my life. I didn't like that either.
The cadaver option never entered my mind, today its to easy to use your own body parts and not risk rejection of the cadaver part.
I think the Allograft sounds great, not a bad option. I chose the Ham String mainly because of the doctor that won me over.

Dr. Rosenburg in Park City Utah does all of the olympic skiers and snow boarders. You have probably heard that he did Tiger Woods as well.
He is awesome, took my insurance, it was a great experience.
He is a believer in the Hamstring and will tell you so many reasons why, you will run out of ink taking notes.
Well 15 weeks into recovery and I'm on a spin bike, standing up and pushing hard. Can jump on a Bosa ball (balance ball) side to side. I'm wearing a CTI knee brace and taking big up hill down hill walks with my dogs.
I will be wake boarding in March if things go as planned, and they will!!!!!!!!
I hope what ever you do that your surgery goes as well as mine.
Good luck.
Here is a link to my doctor.

Old     (maliburider456)      Join Date: Nov 2006       01-09-2009, 4:32 AM Reply   
1. Could you post your age. 16

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had. August 1st 2008. and hamstring

3. How long until normal walking? a month maybe a little more.
4. How long until normal riding? still havent rode. only 3 more weeks. im hoping that it wont take that long to get all my tricks back.

5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft. I heard patella is very painful. I had the hamstring and it didnt hurt at all after surgery. When i work out my knee gets sore on the outer side of my knee.

6. Any complications? I havent had any complications.
Old     (outlaw_78)      Join Date: Nov 2006       01-09-2009, 5:40 AM Reply   
Age; 30

when; 5 years ago, hammy graft

Walking; straight away

Riding; couldn't help myself, rode at 3,4 months & back into it at 5 months. rode a brace for a few months after that.

issues; jar'd it a few times and it was still tender. hit the gym hard and havent had any trouble since.
Old     (wvboard)      Join Date: Jul 2008       01-09-2009, 6:17 AM Reply   
1. Could you post your age

30 - had surgery at 28

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had.

Had my surgery in late september so I could be back by spring. I had an Allograph. Allographs now are just as strong and successful as a hamstring or patella and there is a quicker recovery time.

3. How long until normal walking?

Anyone is lying to you if they tell you they were walking normal any sooner than 3 to 5 months. It all depends on how serious you take the PT. Realistically, none of us are professional athletes that have the time to do extensive PT. I lived by one rule given to me by my therapist..."Your body is its own best indicator of what you can handle at any point. Go until it hurts and then stop. Hurt is good...pain is bad". You don't want to over do it and get will only set you back many more months.

4. How long until normal riding?

6 to 7 months and I was back on a board (with a brace)but by no means riding "normal". It took until the next year until I felt that the muscles in my leg were strong enough to handle the strain of riding strong. As I get older I realize that my body dosn't heal as quick as when I was 20. I didn't want to risk another tear.

5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft.

I do still have some occasional swelling and stiffness now (2 years later) but only when I have obviously over done it. Mainly when doing things like heavy squats in the gym.

6. Any complications?

No complications

If there is something else that you feel is relevant, I'd love to hear it.

Get fitted for a brace (CTi2) and wear it! People will tell you it is better to not become dependent on a brace. I agree....but your new ACL will never be as strong as the one god gave you. I train everyday in the gym to keep my legs strong and rarely wear it unless I am squating heavy or doing a something that adds twice my body weight on my repaired knee. Yes...the best brace you can have is your own muscle but...I always wear my brace when I ride!

(Message edited by wvboard on January 09, 2009)
Old     (gene3x)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-09-2009, 8:45 AM Reply   
Wow! This is a great thread because it seems to give all the best bias and unbiased information from many different points of view! I personally, after working in the OR much of my career, believe that doctors sell you on what they are most comfortable performing and what is safest for them to perform.

1. Could you post your age.
I am 39 and thought I was in fairly good shape until I started the rehad for this surgery.

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had.
I had my surgery (Hamstring)4.5 months ago and still have swelling where the hamstring was taken. Although strong and walk normally now (3 months)I still have alot of stiffness that limits my range of motion.

3. How long until normal walking?
Walking w/ crutches 2 days. Walking without crutches 2 weeks. Walking normally 3 months.

4. How long until normal riding?
Have not been on the water yet but feel I could easily getup and crave around. I feel pain when jumping on the ground higher then 4-6 inches.

5. Any on-going issues? I am most concerned with knee pain from a patella tendon graft.
Took the Hamstring due to what i had heard about Patellar pain and am here to say the Hammy creates pain also! But still the best option I believe because it is more "plyable". Nothing will be perfect but, I feel better about my choice after reading this thread that I made the best choice. Being stronger is not neccesarily good because something else in there is likely to fail.... at least that is my logic.

6. Any complications?
No complications but feel I have been slow to recover even though I have stuck to a solid rehab routine. I am frustrated with my slow results and have started, shamefully, to get lazy with my rehab and range of motion excercises.
Old     (murphytj)      Join Date: Mar 2003       01-09-2009, 9:07 AM Reply   
I am 41- just had surgery Nov 12. They replaced my ACL with my hamstring, repaired some meniscus damage and removed some of the meniscus- also cleaned up some arthritis.So I am finally walking with little to no limp. Was on cruthes for a couple weeks, then a cane now nothing. Have been on the bike for a month or so- try and spin everyday plus streches and exercises. I agree ask some PT guys who you should go to- they get to see which Dr does the best work. My Dr told me which of the three did not matter nearly as much as the Dr attaching it in the right place and that you follow your rehab plan. He also said while it would be as strong as the original ACL they do not have a way to make it stronger- for any of the 3. No issuses so far- Dr and Pt guy say I am right on track- no riding because it's cold out- should be back at it in the spring.
Old     (triskelstar)      Join Date: Jul 2005       01-09-2009, 9:33 AM Reply   
Dang dude... I wish I would have seen this before I got my surgery, but I've been really happy with my choice(s). I talked to a ton of people before I got my surgery and general concensus was that hammy caused pain and more rehab because you have to rehab both knee and hammy, patella might have to be redone (talked to several who had it done again) and cadavor poses slight risk of rejection/infection.

1. Could you post your age.
29 (but the best part was my doc thought I was 23. ha.)

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had.
Blew out both my ACL's (R & L). 1st surgery Oct. 1, second surgery Dec. 17.

3. How long until normal walking?
NORMAL walking- 6 weeks. "weight-bearing" with a crutch- 3-4 days. I'm walking without my brace on my most recent surgery (less than 4 weeks) with just a slight limp. If I focus super hard, can walk normally.

4. How long until normal riding?
I plan on trying to ride again this summer.... probably mostly wake-surfing-- definitely don't want to risk blowing one out again.

5. Any on-going issues?
Not yet. I can bike and do elliptical on the R knee (surgery Oct. 1) and am just starting to do weights and stuff on my L (Surgery Dec. 17.)

6. Any complications?
Not at all. My left knee (most recent surgery) was more painful than the right and still aches.

As everyone else has said, I think all 3 are viable options. Best thing is to do the one your chosen doc is an expert in. I really like(d) not having to rehab my hammy. Supposodly I'll be able to start jogging/running & cycling 4 months from surgery. I think snowboarding this winter is out of the question though.

All docs are different in how long to be in the brace. Mine said 6 weeks (nearly impossible for me--I made it to 6 on my first knee, but only 3 on my 2nd. I feel like the 2nd had less muscle attrophy b/c I didn't stay in the brace so long, but it's more painful because I push myself more.) Some say only 2-4 weeks.

Good luck.
Old     (phantom5815)      Join Date: Jul 2002       01-09-2009, 9:49 AM Reply   
1. Could you post your age - Never ask a lady to post her age - it's between 18-50 ( shut up Umali)

2. When did you have the surgery and which of the 3 you had.
Patella tendon Graft -
-couldn't take that much time of work
- If you need a total knee replacement in the future they removal the ACL. Not going to sacrifice anymore of my body parts than I need to.

3. How long until normal walking? 2-3 mos took just about 3 yrs for it to "act" like it was back to normal.
But I did go back to work in 10 days with a brace for 6wks per Surgeons orders.
4. How long until normal riding? Can't really say haven't been back on a wakeboard in 3 yrs. But have been rollerblading & other activities without problems.

5. Any on-going issues? Occasional stiffness.

6. Any complications? Not for me

If there is something else that you feel is relevant, I'd love to hear it.
You will have a permanent divot in your knee cap if you use your own patella tendon.
Your hamstring will never return 100% if use that as a graft.
Allografts can come from anyone of any age. I was fortunate to know the Tissue rep and when he saw my name come across his desk he made sure I rec'd a " young graft".
It takes about 4 months for the vasculature to mature in a bone-bone graft.

Good luck.
Old     (newchicago)      Join Date: Nov 2006       01-09-2009, 1:56 PM Reply   
Thanks everyone for all of your thoughtful input. After the MRI, it looks like there is significant meniscus damage as well. They will remove about half of it. Sounds like a full knee replacement will be in my future 15 or 20 years down the line.

Believe it or not, I think I am going to go with the patella tendon repair. I've gone to two surgeons, one of which worked with the Miami Heat among other professional teams, and the bastards both agreed that the patella was the way to go for someone who insists on pretending that he is still 25.

They both felt that if I just wanted to spend a low impact life of bridge and shuffleboard, any would be fine. But if I wanted to wakeboard, snowboard, tennis, basketball, etc., the patella has the lowest incidence of re-rupture.

Hamstring results were similar to the patella for re-rupture, but rate of returning to high impact sports was significantly lower. So he (second doc) concluded that, yes re-ruptures were low with hamstring, but that was because many chose a lower impact lifestyle.

He did admit that there was a chance of pain with kneeling on hard surfaces, but just said 'avoid doing that'. Ha.

Whether or not he is right, I know he really believes he's right. He had his knee done by allograft (heavy soccer injury), he then re-ruptured it during a light soccer injury. Then he went patella and has had no problems since. That is, other than the afore mentioned knee pain when kneeling.

He claims there are relatively new studies showing significantly higher re-rupture rates for allografts (about 10%, compared to less than 1% with patella), but I sure don't see that from all the WW responses.

So, I go into this not completely confident that I have made the right choice. However, I feel that no matter which I would chose, I would not be completely confident.

I guess I can sum it up this way... I have decided to put up with the potential for a (hopefully) small amount of ongoing pain in exchange for the smallest chance possible of re-injury.

Thanks again for all of your help. Someday I will undoubtedly be posting as a test case when the next person is wondering what to do after their injury.

Surgery on the 23rd. Ugh.
Old     (mattbint)      Join Date: Mar 2002       01-09-2009, 2:21 PM Reply   
I think I am retired from riding after my injury.
I tore my ACL, LCL, and meniscus, cracked my fibula. I fell waterskiing, and totally dislocated my knee. I had both the ACL and LCL replaced with cadaver tendons. After 11 months I have about 85% flex. I will waterski again, but probably not ride. To much risk of twisting, and I'm to old to go through this again.
Old     (pc_sledge)      Join Date: Jan 2006       01-09-2009, 2:27 PM Reply   
Good luck Chris, rehab hard and before you know it you'll be back to your old self.
Old     (lionel)      Join Date: Nov 2005       01-09-2009, 7:37 PM Reply   
"He did admit that there was a chance of pain with kneeling on hard surfaces, but just said 'avoid doing that'. Ha."

He is right, I avoid it mostly. For me it's not painful, it's just not comfortable.

I've done both of mine and haven't re-ruptured either, knock on wood. Came close once snowbarding when I caught an edge doing a 360. I could feel my ACL catch, without snapping. Pretty crazy feeling!
Old     (brodie_chaboya)      Join Date: Apr 2006       01-09-2009, 9:07 PM Reply   
Only use allografts, Don't ever use ur own tendons/muscles, why risk losing that? From experience all my buds that did pat, hammy, ect, all regret it when they blew that one out later down the road. Allograft all the way and if you tear that get a new one. I could go on for ever but thats it. Thats what I used, thats what I believe.
Old     (dillls)      Join Date: Jul 2008       01-10-2009, 10:05 AM Reply   
"Only use allografts, Don't ever use ur own tendons/muscles"

I am sure Tiger Woods and his doctor would disagree.

Got my new ACL on last July 28 and I am 28 years old. My doctor was most comfortable doing the hammy, so thatís what I went with. I was walking in a week after surgery and through tons of stretching I had full range of motion in 2 months. I have been rehabbing it 5 days a week really hard. Last week I snowboarded lightly and just kept the board on the snow. At that point I was exactly 5 months out surgery. It actually felt good riding along with my CTI pro sport, with ams-y strap. Definitely get this brace with this strap, makes a huge difference in how the brace fits and keeps it from migrating down and out position. I am hoping to wakeboarding lightly this spring.

Tearing your ACL sucks and takes a lot of dedication and work to get back to normal. I would say in a strange way itís been sort of a blessing in disguise. Through all of the rehab I have been doing my legs and entire body is now in much better shape than ever before. It has created a habit for me to be in the gym working out and staying in shape. Hopefully, by staying in shape will keep me from having another injury like this.

Rehab, rehab, rehab!!!!!!

Old     (phantom5815)      Join Date: Jul 2002       01-10-2009, 5:44 PM Reply   
I doubt any information was given on the type of graft Tiger Woods had for his ACL repair.
Reading the technique of choice that his Orthopedic surgeon use it recommends an Allograft, not Autograft.

Many orthopedic surgeons I know and have worked directly with will tell their patients that the repair will be stronger than the ACL Mother Nature gave you. There should be no reason to use a brace once your are fully healed.
Old     (wakekat15)      Join Date: Jul 2005       01-11-2009, 6:08 AM Reply   
There's no reason to wear board shorts over a wet suit either, but people do it because they choose to. One person/doctor's preference not to wear a brace doesn't mean everyone shouldn't. My doctor was not a fan of a brace either, but is now more open to prescribe them based on my experience. While wearing my brace, I suffered a subluxation which generally results in torn ligaments. My knee was sore for a couple of weeks, but no serious damage. Before that, I accepted that I wore the brace more for my mental health than my physical. Now, I feel differently.

If a brace doesn't help prevent injury, why do you see every lineman in football wearing one?
Old     (wvboard)      Join Date: Jul 2008       01-11-2009, 6:11 AM Reply   
"that the repair will be stronger than the ACL Mother Nature gave you. There should be no reason to use a brace once your are fully healed."

Old     (phantom5815)      Join Date: Jul 2002       01-11-2009, 11:00 AM Reply   
It's called an ego that Surgeons possess people, get over it.
Old     (newchicago)      Join Date: Nov 2006       01-11-2009, 7:01 PM Reply   
It is just one small study, but it does seem to echo what the doctors were trying to tell me...
Old     (newchicago)      Join Date: Nov 2006       01-11-2009, 7:04 PM Reply   
Sorry. That link doesn't seem to work.
If you google
"Cadaver Tissue Fails Nearly 25% of the Time in Young Athletic ACL Reconstruction Patients"
you should get the article.
Old     (phantom5815)      Join Date: Jul 2002       01-12-2009, 6:12 AM Reply   
Already way ahead of you on reading medical articles, it's all a part of my job.
Plus I'm not a young athlete and it's not like my career/college scholarship is depending upon my knee to make me millions of $$$$.
I am the sole provider of my family.... which is me. The only thing I need to do is be able to live an active life without worries and that's all that matters. So far no worries.

(Message edited by phantom5815 on January 12, 2009)
Old     (wakex2wake)      Join Date: Apr 2008       01-12-2009, 9:51 AM Reply   
wow there's a crazy number of folks on here w/ ACLs... i almost feel left out except for the pain/surgery/and laid up doing nothing part
Old     (newchicago)      Join Date: Nov 2006       01-12-2009, 11:16 AM Reply   
OK, one last question...
It looks like wakepunk has decided to go without an ACL for the last 10 years with good results.

Anyone else decide to skip the surgery?

Any problems with riding afterwards?
Old     (triskelstar)      Join Date: Jul 2005       01-12-2009, 11:23 AM Reply   
If you want to ride, or do any high impact sport (skiing, wakeboarding, snowboarding etc. etc.) I would say get it fixed. I rode after extensive re-hab on a torn ACL and tore the other one, so I would recommend getting it fixed. You also run the risk of crazy arthritis/tearing the miniscus etc. etc.
Old     (05mobiuslsv)      Join Date: Apr 2006       01-12-2009, 1:29 PM Reply   
I just turned 32 and had my ACL surgery done on November 6th. I had the Hamstring tendon graft procedure and was walking without crutches exactly 1 week later. I didn't push it at all, one day I just started walking and it felt ok to do so. I did wear the full leg brace the doctor gave me for another week when I was out of the house for stability. I didn't have much pain, not near as much as I anticipated. My hamstring did feel very weak for the first month. I took the stairs as much as possible and I think that helped out.

I pushed through rehab for 4 weeks and had 100% range of motion back after the 2nd week of rehab. I won't ride again until June so I feel optimistic that it will be fine.

I talked with the doctor about all three surgery options and we liked the hamstring option for the following reasons. #1 with the hamstring or patella you are virtually 100% guaranteed your body will accept the transplant since it's your own tissue. #2 I didn't want the scar of the front of my knee because I want to be able to kneel down without discomfort. #3 the doctors patients were having good recovery times with minimal side effects with the hamstring tendon graph vs. the others. He didn't suggest doing the cadavar graph since I wasn't a professional athlete and had ample time for recovery. Pro athletes usually do those for the expedited recovery, but the longevity is questionable.

Good luck with whatever you choose, I researched for a long time before making my decision.
Old     (phantom5815)      Join Date: Jul 2002       01-12-2009, 2:52 PM Reply   
Funny you should ask that question Chris.
I waited close to 10 yrs before I had my ACL repaired.
The key was that I was in great shape and stayed active. I didn't lose much muscle tone and kept up with the hamstring strengthening and proprioception thing. I even learned how to wakeboard without an ACL.
But when I relocated and stopped staying active for about 2 yrs, that's when I re- injured my knee and had the ACL repaired. The re-injury didn't not occur with wakeboarding, but it happened when I plant my foot and did a pivot shift.
Old     (newchicago)      Join Date: Nov 2006       01-14-2009, 10:01 AM Reply   
Believe it or not, I have made yet another change. As I mentioned, I wasn't 100% comfortable with the patella decision. A lot of that came from the many posts here about allografts and especially the good hamstring results.

I talked with a orthopedic doctor who does not do knees (so he's got no skin in the game) and he just said that if it were him, he'd go hammy.

So another doctor later (I'm getting pretty sick of this as you can imagine), and hamstring it is.

It sounds like the patella is the old 'gold standard', but the hamstring is becoming the new one?

Some other interesting things this doctor said:
Don't worry about a PCM machine. He said that flexing is never a problem, even if the doc is a hack. The real concern is extension. If you don't get the leg fully extended in the first few weeks, you may never be able to because of a build up of scar tissue. He says the PCM machine works great on flexing, but doesn't fully extend the leg.
He also is not a big fan of braces...even right away. He said that he doesn't like to see people start to mentally rely on them. And as many have said in this thread, the brace is probably more of a mental issue than a physical one.

Just more food for thought for the next unfortunate knee.

I am officially done thinking about this (until surgery day, that is).

(Message edited by newchicago on January 14, 2009)
Old     (phantom5815)      Join Date: Jul 2002       01-14-2009, 11:37 AM Reply   
The reasoning for the patella is the bone plugs you get from the tendon harvest. Cancellous bone plugged into cancellous bone tunnel creates a better bond vs using a foreign body in the femur and tibia.

Hamstring tendon will not grow back, plus if you think about it - what is the main rehab focus when you tear your ACL? Making sure your hamstrings are strong.

Personally - you need to make the decision what is best for you and your situation.
Old     (liquidmx)      Join Date: Jun 2005       01-14-2009, 12:00 PM Reply   
Chris, IMHO the PCM does a pretty good job of getting close to the full extension. I have nothing but good things to say about my experience with an allograph...but regardless of procedure stick with the machine (I was told 6-10 hrs a day!) when I got out of surgery. I literally went home and played video games non stop while in that stupid machine. I also kept the ice machine on my knee 24/7 for the first 3 days. This kept the swelling and scar tissue to a minimum. 2-3 weeks out I was at full extension. The universal advice about ROM is that the sooner the better. The pain only gets worse the longer you wait.

P.S. Stay on top of your PT through the first few months. Its AMAZING how fast things can go backwards if you slack a little.

(Message edited by liquidmx on January 14, 2009)
Old     (aroed)      Join Date: Jan 2009       01-19-2009, 8:55 AM Reply   
Well I joined the club last thursday hope everyone enjoys this summer bc I have a brand new boat and I cant ride behind it till August, hopefully. I appreciated everyones input.
Old     (lionel)      Join Date: Nov 2005       01-19-2009, 9:28 AM Reply   
You'll get good at driving Austin!
Old     (bobbyb)      Join Date: Sep 2002       01-22-2009, 6:22 AM Reply   
I just had my acl done tuesday. I am in a ton of pain from it.
Old     (dillls)      Join Date: Jul 2008       01-22-2009, 6:57 AM Reply   

Keep your spirits up, it will not be long until it is feeling much better. I was in a ton of pain the first and second night after surgery, and then it started to feel much better. Make sure you do all of your stretching exercises; it will help you immensely in the long run. I can actually bend and extend my reconstructed knee better than my good knee.
Old     (bobbyb)      Join Date: Sep 2002       01-23-2009, 1:49 PM Reply   
Thanks for the information. I went to the doctor today and she said the pain was normal for as bad as it was. But today it is feeling alot better. And i start physical therapy on tuesday so that should help alot.
Old     (bfnaci)      Join Date: Dec 2008       01-25-2009, 1:18 PM Reply   
Chris, hoping your surgery went well! Did you go with the hamstring graft? How are you feeling? After 2 weeks, you'll start to feel MUCH better. Stay on the ice machine and elevate alot... the less swelling, the better you'll feel. (Tip for the ice machine: we froze 12 small water bottles - that way you can easily switch them out.)

One other note, check out info about taking ibuprofen, my Dr. warned me that while ibuprofen is a great anti-inflammatory, it can cause more laxity in your tendons and ligaments as well as a reduction is some folks bone density. He preferred ice, ice, ice.

I'm now 20 weeks into my hamstring graft rehab, going hard on the spin bike every day. Knee feels FANTASTIC! I'm looking forward to getting on the wakeboard the first part of March. Good luck with your rehab, keep us posted!
Old     (aroed)      Join Date: Jan 2009       01-26-2009, 6:11 PM Reply   
Just had my surgery at 8:30 this morning. I got a hamstring graft as well as getting my medial and lateral meniscus repaired. Looks like everything went well looking forward to starting the pain (pt) on wednesday. Looking to be released 100% last week in July so I can still have a little while to shred my home lake of Brownwood as well as going to TSR and Rip Tank in the LBK.
Old     (lhlocal)      Join Date: Jun 2003       01-26-2009, 6:25 PM Reply   
My update. I had my ACL fixed with the Patella Tendon graft on Dec 11th. I just had a Dr appt on Friday. Im missing about 7 degrees either way still, all of which I should get back. This is my last week of pt. Next week Im on my own in the gym. All goes well, I will be released to have fun on April 6. Four months? Not bad I guess.

Work through the good pain. DOnt sit on the couch. I went back to work within a week, although I dont have to stand a lot. I packed up and moved the family with the help of friends, and also did a fairly intensize remodel on the new house. I probably stretched the doctors orders, but I stayed extremely active. DOnt use the surgery as an excuse to sit on your a$$. Oh yeah, for all you guys who are where I was a couple months ago, keep your head up and keep going. Make the time fly.
Old     (parkgirl)      Join Date: Nov 2001       01-27-2009, 10:18 AM Reply   
Hey everyone,

Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your experiences, this thread has been a very useful resource for me since joining the club.

As for me, Im 29, getting my left knee done on Mon, Feb. 2nd. Going with the allograft-cadaver. Will let you know how it goes!
Old     (gene3x)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-27-2009, 11:09 AM Reply   
This thread has definately been a confirmation resource for me! I am 4.5 months out and am discouraged because I still have big stiffness and a little swelling but it has confirmed to me that I made the right choice of tissue to use. Has anyone else had stiffness and swelling almost 5 months out?
Old     (ponder86)      Join Date: Mar 2008       01-27-2009, 11:44 AM Reply   
Yeah, I'm 6 1/2 months out and when I push my knee really hard during workouts it will still get stiff and if I overdue it then I may get a little swelling.
Old     (xstarrider)      Join Date: Jun 2007       01-31-2009, 1:06 PM Reply   
28yrs old time of injury. Super active and workout at least 3 times a week.

I tore my ACL, MCL, Meniscus and strained my PCL all in one shot in JUL of 07. The hardest part was the first month and a half. At least it was the most painful for me. Make sure you do EVERY LITTLE EXERCISE they give you. Those toe raises, ankle rolls and leg llifts don't seem l ike a lot, but they help more than you think. You quad muscle disappears at an alarming rate. The key is getting that range of motion back. It's gonna be the most painful the 1st month for sure while they are cranking on your leg. Anyone who says they didn't shed a tear is lying. Tearing through all the scar tissue to get your range of motion back SUCKS. I was on crutches for 2weeks. They wanted me to ditch them ASAP. I don't know if they gave you an ice machine or not but that thing saved my life. It was called a Game Ready Machine. You filled it up with ice and water and it compressed around your knee to keep the swelling down, and iced it at the same time. I almost never took it off except to do my exercises fo the first 2-3weeks. That was what abled me to get through the nights of sleeping. If you don't have one ask how to get one. I am sure you won't be disappointed if you do. That machine saved me as the most pain stuff I could take without getting sick was Motrin. All that other high end stuff like Norco/ Oxycotin/and the most common one I am drawing a blank on, makes me violently ill. Also for me it was way more comfortable to sleep on a couch then my bed. No matter how hard you want to put a pillow under that thing to support it and keep it bent so you feel comfortable DON"T DO IT! Keep it flat as much as you can.

As far as the patella graft......... it is the strongest yet the most painful and longest to heal. I was snowboarding by the winter in Jan with some pain. Took it very easy..just carved on the blues. Had a custom CTI II brace that I will wear most likely for a long time to come while wakeboarding. MY DR told me to ditch it for everything else after 6-8mos, but continue to use it if I wanted for wakeboarding and snowboarding My Doc was the Bulls Dr....... did both Jordan's and Pippen's knees and is the Olympic Basketball team Dr as well. Also did a few Blackhawks. He strongly encouraged me to ditch the brace for everything except wakeboarding just due to the postions you can get in. Said the water can eat you up at funny angles. Where as the snow is a little more predictable/surefooted on the landings. It truly takes 12mos before you graft is fully healed. Sure you can do most of your things at 6-8mos, but you are not fully healed til 12 or so.
He stated hamstring would have been his second choice. They have changed the way they do the hamstring in the past couple of years. Before it was considered a bad graft because the hammy used to stretch out to much and put your knee in a vulnerable position to tear it again. They now wrap it around several times depending on the Dr and "double it up" to keep its strength. The cadaver is the quickest healing, but is the weakest for sure due to the process it has to undergo in order to rid germs and diseases for possible infections. Those processes weaken the strength a little.
IT all boils down to each person's body. I am a fit in shape guy(thin tho) so my chicken legs didn't make me a good fit for the hammy gratft. Whereas someone with a "thicker muscular" leg profile might be a better candidate for the hammy. So each graft/procedure has it's benefits. Just have to chooes what is best. I thinj the patella or the hammy are the only way to go.
}For me doing the MCL , Meniscus, and PCL along with the ACl had me cringing. Fast forward to now. DEC 08 I still get a little stiff, and I feel it for sure especially yesterday with the rain. If I stay on top of my game and run or keep active it actually feels great, but the minute I take a week or 2 off it gets a little stiff.

JAN 09
Just had a follow up with the doc for a small pain left. Was some scar tissue behind the knee. Got shot of cortizone and feel like new. Started up hockey again and things seem to be going good at 16mos post surgery going down the stairs early in the am still gets me a bit, but that is going away. ME I am still not 100% if you ask. I think that is way more mental for me than physical though. I still want to baby it every now and then Thats why I think playing hockey again is going to help me, take a couple licks and it will clear my head.
Old     (bobbyb)      Join Date: Sep 2002       01-31-2009, 5:17 PM Reply   
I just had my acl done 11 days ago. And man it hurts alot but the pain has gone way down. And they did give me the ice machine you were talking about and it helped alot. But i am learning how to walk again from my accident because i havent been able to walk from my hip surgery. But i am using the crutches for moving around with the leg brace on.
Old     (aroed)      Join Date: Jan 2009       01-31-2009, 6:09 PM Reply   
I am 6 days out of surgery and i too have the cold pack thing. i am still hurting pretty bad. i am weight bearing but i cant walk. i still have about 7 staples from my meniscus. walking around on my crutches is painful and i think it is due to my staples on my upper shin lower knee. i get those removed thursday but it will be a long week of school. i also have a great deal of pain when i wake up. i dont have the motion machine that some people get and i sleep in my brace locked out. anyone else had this extreme morning pain and know how to fix it.?
Old     (bobbyb)      Join Date: Sep 2002       02-01-2009, 9:55 AM Reply   
I was like that too but it will get better i am getting my stitches out on monday. And i am weight bearing but i still cant walk without the crutches. I havent been sleeping with the brace locked out but when i get up i do lock it out.
Old     (smokytrail)      Join Date: Aug 2006       02-01-2009, 9:37 PM Reply   
Wow! Lots of knee injuries here...
I'm 37 and tore my ACL and my Miniscus. My doc didn't know the extent of the damage, so I woke up with a cadaver's tendon. The doc also repaired my miniscus b/c I still had blood flow through it. I was off of my feet for a month and then did extensive rehab. My biggest problem is that a later exploratory surgery discovered that I had several stress fractures above and below the joint which will probably lead to arthritis in the future... Watch out for that! Good luck.
Old     (smokytrail)      Join Date: Aug 2006       02-01-2009, 9:40 PM Reply   
One more thing--get a device called the Iceman--it's basically a cooler that you fill with ice and water. It has a pump that circulates ice cold water through a bladder that wraps around your knee. Huge relief!! Most insurance plans will cover it. Get tons of ice and stock it in your freezer before the surgery though--you'll go thru a lot.
Old     (rmack)      Join Date: Jul 2005       02-02-2009, 7:00 AM Reply   
Tore my patella tendon one week before memorial day last year.

I'm 33 years old.

I went through 3 weeks of rehab to get the range of motion back and am now currently working on strenght training.

I will be back on the water in the spring. What kind of tricks and riding I'll be doing is yet to be seen.
Old     (newchicago)      Join Date: Nov 2006       02-02-2009, 5:28 PM Reply   
I'm finally getting around to posting the results. I had grand ideas about posting a quick shot of each day's progress, but the friggin' PAIN wouldn't allow it.

I finally had the hamstring surgery 6 days ago. He also had to remove half of the meniscus. First couple of days were brutal. I tried the big boy pain meds (vicodin and darvocet) and reacted pretty violently to them. So it was a lot like having a pretty serious hangover going on with everything else. Like Swat's doc, mine was pretty adamant about taking anything with an anti inflammatory in it. So, for the last 3 days I've been on nothing harder than Tylenol (worthless). The ice machine has been very helpful. Mine is called PolarCare.

So the bad news is that here at day 6, I was hoping to be getting rid of those crutches. I'm not quite ready for that. However, I have taken a few cautious steps without them. I even cleaned the dishes from dinner tonight (I'm going a little stir crazy). My PT said that knee injuries and type A personalities don't go together very well.

The good news is that I think I chose the right procedure and doc for me. I was sent home with an ACE bandage and a splint for the ride home (due to the fact my leg was paralyzed from the anesthesia). That's it. I ditched the splint as soon as I got in bed. He really felt that the brace becomes a mental thing. So far, I'd have to agree. It's never made me the least bit nervous not having it, and I'm grateful to not be messing with it.

The PT said that surgery went well. On day 3, I saw him and he said I had virtually full extension (keeping that leg straight on the bed all the time paid off, I guess) and that I was already at about 100 degrees of flexion. He really thought the main focus now should be getting the quad to fire well. I've now got it so that I can lift it on it's own straight out. That's nice because now I don't need to grab my leg as much to put it on the bed, etc. It was a weird feeling to 'learn' how to use my quad again. He had some electric stim thing to help.

Second PT was today (day 6) and he had me on a stationary bike. Couldn't get all the way around. I kinda went back and forth. Not fun.

I'm looking forward to going to work for a bit tomorrow (desk job), so we'll see how that goes.

I'm hoping the worst is behind me.

Overall, I've got to say that it hurt WAY more than I thought. But, if you take well to pain killers, you might not have the same experience.

Nights are the worst. Time just crawls. Ice machine is my friend.

Thanks again to everyone who has posted so much useful information. I know it is extremely helpful to me and I hope it is to the other unfortunate injured out there.

One last question: When my leg is up, iced, and elevated, it's all good (relatively). Then I make the mistake of deciding to get up and vertical. It takes about 20 seconds or so, but on comes the PAIN. I can feel the knee immediately fill with fluid and the pain is intense. Just deal with it?!

(Message edited by newchicago on February 02, 2009)

(Message edited by newchicago on February 02, 2009)
Old     (lhlocal)      Join Date: Jun 2003       02-02-2009, 8:37 PM Reply   
I know what you mean about going vertical with your leg. Take your time as much as possible and do it in little steps. Even a week after surgery, I had a lot of fluid in my lower leg. I dont think I elevated and iced to begin with. I know I took the big dog ibuprofen, and those took take of the problem right away. Sounds like your doc maybe against that though. Im just past seven weeks tonight. Im done with pt, and hit the gym for the first time tonight. Leg presses and hamstring curls for me. Its a little embarassing when you dont have to decrease the weight for your wife. Oh well, I have to start somewhere.
Old     (parkgirl)      Join Date: Nov 2001       02-03-2009, 7:48 AM Reply   
hi chris,
I hear you on the pain thing. I had my knee done yesterday with meniscus repair and the pain I have this morning is by far the worst I have ever felt in my life. The pain level of the actual injury was only about a 2 for me, but post op is a constant 8 and easily a 10 if i even try to move. And I'm on the vicodin. This sucks, I have much respect for all of you who have gone through this!
Old     (newchicago)      Join Date: Nov 2006       02-03-2009, 9:55 AM Reply   

I really, really feel for you.

Day 7 for me now and it's like night and day from yesterday.

After begging, I was 'allowed' to take one Aleve last night and that made for a much better night. Today I am down to a 2 lying down, a 4 standing up, and spikes to a 6 if I move wrong. That is heaven!

I'm hoping that the vicodin will work well for you. That will make a huge difference.

Hang in there and be strong! (As if we have a choice?!)
Old     (bobbyb)      Join Date: Sep 2002       02-03-2009, 10:56 AM Reply   
Chris and Andrea,
I am on day 14. My pain has gone down alot except yesterday when i was in pt for 2 hours for my knee and hip. And then i was out all day doing stuff. But today i feel pretty good but i have been on the couch with my knee up.
I did have a doctors appt yesterday too and they took my stitches out and the doctor was pleased with the way i could move it and told me not to see her for another month. Which was pretty good.


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