Posts Tagged ‘patella tendon’

So I recently moved to a new city, San Francisco, where I don’t know a lot of people. That alone can be a little tough, but even worse when you are trying to find a new physical therapist and fellow ACL friends to share stories with each other. Lucky for me, my boyfriend’s cousin’s sister-in-law lives out here, and she recently tore her ACL. So we decided to meet over drinks to talk about our busted knees. I had my surgery (patellar tendon reconstruction/lateral meniscus repair) on May 20. She had her surgery (cadaver graft) at the end of June.

So here’s how two different sugeries and two different graphs are doing at two different points in their recoveries:

Cadaver Graft, 6 weeks out…Kate, my friend, walked into the bar like it was nothing. No crutches, no brace. Not even a gimp. If you didn’t know she had surgery, you couldn’t tell anything. Prior to her surgery, Kate enjoyed an active lifestyle of hiking, biking and skiing. (She tore her ACL skiing in Tahoe.) Now, she isn’t quite running just yet, but she uses the excercise bike and is building her strenght back up. She will be back on the slopes in no time for the season. She took off work for three weeks.

Me…still not running, but moving around just fine. I don’t even think about me knee anymore. I can sit cross-legged again, do light yoga and kneel on my knees. The scar hasn’t gone clear yet, but it is certainly starting to fade into oblivion. It will be gone in no time. I, too, plan to hit the slopes this season–that’s my current goal. Perhaps Kate and I will do an ACL ski trip, and this time she will conquer Tahoe, no fear at all. Details to come….

Any other ACL skiers out there? Perhaps we can all plan a ski trip together–a celebration of progress, if you will. 

Pic from tahoesbest.com

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This morning I saw my surgeon for my 3rd follow-up appointment. It’s been two months and one day since he sliced my knee and reconstructed my ACL and repaired my lateral meniscus. Here’s the stats and fun facts:

-I can start running, but just straight forward stuff; my meniscus isn’t ready for side-to-side, hard-core excercise just yet.

-I can return to sports in four more months … I missed last ski season and I’m determined for this one! Already thinking Tahoe, Park City for Sundance and Verbier, Switzerland. (Yeskneecan keep its eye on the prize!)

-The “numbness” I am still feeling on the right side of my knee is NOT from the nerve block, it’s from my patellar tendon incision. This may never go away, but unless I’m shaving my legs, I don’t notice that it’s numb–oxy moron?

-Quad muscle definition is good–everytime I am standing in line for something, I do “catwalk-model-pose stretches.” Think of the models at the end of the runway–hand on hip, with one leg bent and the other in hyper flex mode. That’s me, minus the 5’10 height and 00 dress size.

-Bending at 125 degrees

-Extending at 1 degree hyper extension

-Scar is still pink, slightly puffy

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In the spirit of, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?”,  I’ve decided to fill you in on my personal answer to “How long does it take to get back to normal  after ACL reconstruction?”

Let’s keep in mind we are all different, and it also depends on your procedure. From the P.O.V. of someone who had a patellar tendon graft reconstruction and a lateral meniscus repair, I answer the aforementioned question with this: six weeks. It took me six weeks and rehab to finally be able to walk normally (and at a normal pace), confidentily go up and down stairs, comfortably take mass transit and be able to go through the work day without thinking about the knee.

So there. I hope it helps. But I would love to hear your own take on recovery.

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Time again for more grusome, yet wonderfully intriging photos of my still-swollen and semi-scarred knee. (Stay tuned for the pictures of the inside of my knee that I just got from the doctor.)

I often get asked the simple question, “Does your knee hurt?” Of course it does. Pain meds can mask most of it, but when I bend it sometimes, I feel like my stitches will pop right out, even though most of them are gone. The remaining stitches in my leg will dissolve. As of now, I still have two small scars with steri-strips over them waiting to heal. One scar (the major one) is over my patella tendon. I’m predicting it will end up being about 2 inches long. The other is on the right side of my knee. This one is about one inch long. This week I hope to rip all of the steri-strips off, but I know there’s still a bit more healing that needs to take place. But for now, I managed to take two out of the five steri-strips off of my patella tendon scar site. Please ignore the cheesy floor tiles. I take all my own pics.


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