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Torn ACL. Surgery needed?

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Torn ACL. Surgery needed?

Postby oshaugho » Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:23 pm

Hi all,
Tore my left ACL 1 year ago and have met with a surgeon who has advised surgery!! :o
Just wanted to know if others have had this experience or if there are any orthopods here for some advise.
My MRI showed a almost complete tear left ACL, a minor tear medial meniscus, a bone bruise tibial head(?). My knee has been very stable since and I have only had one episode of instability since (originally injured it playing football and the instability was when I went back playing again....I stopped and turned suddenly and my knee gave way and was sore for about 1 week!). The surgeon said that my knee has retained good stability and my Quad good muscle strength.
My question really is would it be possible to avoid surgery and still run, kiteboard, surf, play minimally competitive soccer, tennis ect.....or would i be risking more damage or arthritis in the future?
The thought of being out of sport for 6 months and all that PT is so depressing!!!!

Any advise greatly appreciated!!! :D

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Re: Torn ACL. Surgery needed?

Postby Skyway Scott » Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:36 pm

If you do have a nearly complete rupture of the ACL, yes, you will most likely need surgery I would think.

I had ACL surgery (due to a kiting accident) about 5 years ago. I had a complete rupture along with some injury to the meniscus and MCL (triad is common). I had complete recovery.

I am a little confused as to why you would ask for advice on here, if your orthopod already gave you some. If anything, go see a second orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion. Even another doctor can't assess on a forum without the MRI in hand and other info, is my take.

Yes, hobbling around for 8 weeks and then having to rehab for several months is not a pleasant thought. I understand why you wouldn't jump for joy. Still though, if two docs say the same thing, I think it's best you just face the music. It's not as hard to deal with as you might think. I just swam and lifted weights and focussed on other things. Good luck with it.

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Re: Torn ACL. Surgery needed?

Postby HBkites » Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:52 am

I tore my lest ACL windsurfing 11 years ago rehabbed it without surgery. Then a year a go I tore my right ACL Kitesurfing rehabbed it without surgery, and got back on the water in ten weeks after.

That doesn't make me an expert on ACL, but if you can rehab it, and strengthen your leg's muscles you might be able to avoid surgery (and get back in the water faster). If the rehab route doesn't work, you can always have the surgery at that time.

I would definitely seek a second and third opinion before going under the knife.
You must remember that orthopedic sergeants make a living recommending surgeries (not knowing your doctor, I'm not implying that he doesn't have your best interest in mind).

Just my two cents.


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Re: Torn ACL. Surgery needed?

Postby toyletbowl » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:09 am

just get a second opinion...maybe even a 3rd. i blew out my acl and meniscus years ago playing soccer. 1st doctor wanted to do full reconstruction. 2nd doctor who is the UW physician said no...let's just clean up the meniscus. it wasn'
t a complete tear. For 5 years, i've been playing soccer, skiing, kiteboarding with very little ill affects.

good luck, but don't take the word of anyone here...go see doc #2 and a 3rd if needed.


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Re: Torn ACL. Surgery needed?

Postby stakas » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:50 am

If you ask a Surgeon most likely he will recommend surgery. Ask around..... I know pople with excellent ACL repair and some say it is worse after the surgery.

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Re: Torn ACL. Surgery needed?

Postby BiteMe » Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:33 am

I tore my acl 30 years ago and never had it operated on. I can run, bike, swim, etc without any problems. I wear a custom brace when I do more twisting sports like kiting, snowboarding, basketball, etc. Back then they would have opened the knee completely up, so I think I made the right decision. Not sure what I would do today.

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Re: Torn ACL. Surgery needed?

Postby shastadogs2 » Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:40 am

disclaimer: I am not an orthopod, and am certainly not YOUR physician, but I have been practicing family medicine long enough to have a handle on how the game in general is played. and the game is spelled M-O-N-E-Y. sorry mates, but in your heart you know I am right.

some of the consideration that goes into any proffered medical opinion is related, at least in the States, to a couple of issues:
1. the standards of care for a given condition and
2 a risk-benefit analysis of the care standard as it relates to a specific patient's needs.

in short, no orthopedic surgeon is going to be found at fault for recommending surgery for an ACL tear-such falls within standards of care for the condition. risk-benefit is more complex: what are your risks in having reconstruction -vs- treating the knee more conservatively?

although few of us speak openly about the subject, some significant percentage of what we recommend is based on "medical-legal" conderns. Read: CYA.

if you can get by without surgery, why have it?

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Re: Torn ACL. Surgery needed?

Postby Pike » Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:42 pm

5 weeks ago I ruptured my right acl.

I will NOT be having any surgery.

I have seen one of the top OS in the UK. Thing is I do no running sports like football, rugby, tennis etc. If you just plan to kite, like me, or cycle say, then do NOT go for invasive surgery. There's another guy at my beach who has no acl for 10 years and he kitesurfs, surfs and other stuff.

The OS doubted research which suggested long term problems with no having an acl. without a doubt you do need to keep the muscles fit and strong and your hamstrings. Keep excercising. If playing running/stop/start/turn sports is necessary for you then yes surgery is the only option, and nine months out of sport.

Your physio is the answer NOT surgery. Be suspicious of doctors who get paid directly for surgery.

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Re: Torn ACL. Surgery needed?

Postby JChau » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:58 pm

hi oshaugho,

1. i can say yr condition is NOT BAD, as u said ur ACL torn for a yr and had ONLY ONE episode of instability while playing football, right?

2. For football, lots of pivoting, sudden stop, etc, which is challenging the knee stability (ACL). While for kitesurfing, basically, it's much less loading! Unless u're as radical as Len10, for just riding/cruising, simple jump, spin/loop, etc, I BELIEVE U WILL BE OK!!! But if u try new move that is more radical, then, it's another story!

3. Surgery or not? GOLDEN RULE: SEVERITY OF SYMPTOMS & THE NEED!!!!!!!!!Yes, if u have much recurrent & persistent symptoms! And if u're young, say under 35', and u're so desparate for the football & Tennis. Otherwise, if i were u, i would MODIFY MY LIFESTYLE, DO CYCLING, x-country is good fun too, cycling is LOW IMPACT exercise, and not much pivoting, and it STRENGTHEN YR QUADS, HAMS, and calf EFFECTIVELY (esp if u use locked paddle...). U're not Rolnado who the football is his profession, right?

4. For the reha, i'm not sure the standard of yr physio, try to find one good (Sports) Physio! Quad is important, BUT, You have to actually further strengthen yr hamstring & gastro, as they help to pull yr lower leg backward (which ACL does), proprioceptive & agility training is important too!

5. Risk of arthritis? This is the excuse of someone persuade u to do the surgery (sorry Ortho Doc), this may be true if u keep football/tennis....but if u follow my advice above, i don't think so...WHY NOT TRY & SEE!!! And just let u know if u don't have much swelling/pain/give-way feeling in the future, u're fine!

To conclude, yr condition now is gd for kitesurfing, mate. Try not to do football & tennis, modify to cycling for the no-wind days! Cycling training is amazing, do interval training > 1 hr, x3 per week.

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Re: Torn ACL. Surgery needed?

Postby Jack_Russell » Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:07 pm

I completely tore mine 5 years ago in a kiteboarding competition. It was pretty bad, ACL, MCL, meniscus tear and to top it off a plateau tibia fracture. They could not repair all the damage at once, so after 3 months in a cast and obsessive rehab, I could have gone for the ACL surgery.
I chose not to do it and I have absolutely no regrets!! The only draw back is wearing a brace while I kite or windsurf. bfd... I was fortunate that I had no instability.

Hope this helps....

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