As some of you know I tore my ACL in early October, ignored it, and then badly twisted my knee again at the California Muni Weekend. I posted about it before my surgery was scheduled and got a lot of information and good wishes from many of you and I really appreciate that. Several have also followed up by email wondering how I am doing and that is really cool of you guys to do that. So here is a report of how it went and where I am 2 months post-op.
I had a completely torn ACL(Anterior Cruciate Ligament for those fortunate enough to not know what that is) and a very minor meniscus tear. My doctor chose to do a hamstring graft on me. He does both hamstring grafts and patellar grafts and chooses on a case-by-case basis. There are tradeoffs to either and he chooses by things like age, type of sports, and other factors. One consideration is the higher risk of patellar tracking problems associated with a patellar graft. My surgery went perfectly and I began physical therapy 3 times a week at 2 weeks post-op.
I was very motivated in PT and actually pushed myself harder than the usually merciless therapists did. They had me on a stationary bike the first day there, and I did lots of quad rebuilding and also balance exercises. When you have a ligament graft, you lose some of the receptors that tell your brain what position the joint is in. This communication process is called proprioception, and without it you are more likely to reinjure the joint, so you have to teach your body to get the information through some other channels.
After 4 weeks of PT, I am now on my own as far as rehab. My doctor is very happy with my progress and said I am ahead of 90% of the people who have this procedure in terms of strength, mobility, etc. I am very grateful for that. He told me I can start bicycling on the road, and I have been on two rides in the last few days. The extra wheel really gets in the way, but at least I am outdoors and pedaling. For the next 2 months I just cannot risk twisting my knee, so uniing is ill-advised. It will probably be 4 months before I can unicycle off-road. Every few days I do carefully ride my muni around the parking lot just to remember better days, and it feels great. I also did a 2 hour hike with the wife and dogs on my favorite trails a couple of weeks ago, and it was really nice to be able to do that again. When doing any risky activity I wear a carbon fiber “functional” knee brace. I did the research and found one that is very close fitting on the inside of the knee so it won’t hit my uni frame. I will probably be wearing the brace when riding for at least a year, maybe forever if I don’t get over my fear of reinjury.
I know there are others of you who are out with injuries and I wish you all speedy recoveries.
To those of you who are able …Enjoy every ride, take none for granted.
Glad to hear how well your recovery/rehab is going. You’ve got the attitude, dude!
I just had knee surgery Monday for a torn/shredded meniscus, so I am just beginning to relate to your experience. At least somewhat. ACL grafting is obviously different, but I’m now hooked up to the continuous motion machine and the motorized ice chest to circulate ice water around the knee 10 hours a day. Tough to do much all tethered like that. But today I finally feel somewhat human again. I’m actually just taking a break from doing an upper body workout…shhhh…don’t tell the PT folks.
I started rehab the day after surgery. Nothing major yet, but a start nonetheless.
Good luck with your continued recovery! I’ll be a while yet before I can ride any number of wheels, let alone just one. I did have a nice “last hurrah” ride Sunday before surgery though! I’ll have to live on those memories for now.
I wish you both speedy recoveries. We can all be grateful for the type of injuries that can be recovered from - we know we’ll be able to ride again… with patience … but for lots of injuried folks the future is not so bright.
So keep working diligently on recovery and appreciate each day of renewed strength and flexibilty. An injury can do so much for increasing our appreciation of life’s sweetness.
Ah yes, riding the CPM are you? (Continuous Passive Motion machine for those of you… ) I was really glad to get rid of that thing after 2 weeks. But it really does a good job of getting your range of motion back quickly.
Good luck and let me know if I can help you with anything I have learned. You can email me at: scott at wallisdesign.com.
Thanks Erin, and I am glad you got healed up and back on the wheel.
Thanks Zod. I don’t know if they have doggie CPM’s. I hope it goes well, they can’t tell you how much they are hurting.
Dogs can be pretty high maintenance (mine are), but well worth it.
I would much rather sustain an injury now than deal with the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle later (although I might not be saying that when I’m lying on the ground clutching my leg!)
Good luck to you all in the road to recovery, and I hopr you’re all back up on the trails/rails (whatever’s your fancy) soon!
Glad to hear you’re progressing so quickly. If you’d like, I’ll come by and pick up your Wilder and ride it around over at O.P. for a while so that it won’t feel so neglected.
Next time I’m out that way I’ll try to stop by and see ya’
I hope your recovery goes as well as Scott’s has!!!
It’s weird that People always Hurt their legs…but never their Arms. You would think that landing with such force from a UPD would smash your arm, and especially after doing it over and over again. Is there anyone who has Broken a bone/torn a ligament in their arm from unicycling?
Hey Scott. Glad to hear you’re recovering alright. Let me know when you’re ready to ride again… I should be just about done with my class by that time, so I should be available… I’ll email and/or call and/or stop by later!
Pushing hard in the first couple of weeks was really smart. And painful. Congradulations!! It’s all good from here.
For what it’s worth, my ACL repaired knee is stronger and more stable than my other knee. You won’t need that brace forever. But I would avoid twisting risks for longer than a couple of months. It takes at least 18 months for your body to incorporate the new ligament. It is actually declines in strength for the first 6-9 months because there is no blood supply so the repair cells die off and the collagen structure doesn’t get repaired. I think at 12 months the blood supply is fully back, and by 18 months the repair cells have recollonized to the core of the ligament. It’s been a while, but I remember my doc telling me to avoid injury in this time period otherwise he would have to re-do the surgery.
But, for the real stuff - Is the trend true? Were the OR nurses hotties?
I am glad yours turned out well, Tim. And I am glad I had mine done right away as you encouraged me to. I do think it makes the recovery much faster. You hear lots of different time frames for recovery, but 6 months to sports release and 12 - 18 months for full recovery are pretty commonly repeated. My doctor said the 2 - 4 month period is when the graft weakens as it is becoming living tissue. That is where I am now. I guess there are a lot of variables and unknowns, and new findings as they do more research.
Ha, ha! I was thinking about what you said in the previous thread (Torn ACL Help!) before I went under. To tell you the truth, I don’t remember them putting me out, and when the nurse woke me up I just remember my complete disbelief that the surgery had been done. I started to try to convince the nurse that she was mistaken and that they had not put me under yet. But my attention was soon shifted to the extreme itching I had over my whole body. It was a reaction to the painkiller they had used. So, they couldn’t give me any more of that, and couldn’t give me something else until I had eaten, which was a couple hours later. I ended up being in extreme pain for 6 hours before it started letting up. Then the next morning the Darvacet started making me sick, so I never took anymore pain killers after that. My biggest fear of having surgery was how I would react to the drugs, and my fears turned out to be well founded.
Good job Scott and good luck Jerry! It’s a learning experience that’s far better to read about than to actually experience- so the rest of you guys be careful. Although, unfortunately if your number comes up for knee surgery then it’s time for surgery.
Jerry, my current PT gave me what I regard as great advice, “Push it as much as you want but increase exercise incrimentally. If you have an increase in pain or swelling, or a decrease in range of motion than slow down. Otherwise go for it”.
Your resident multiple knee surgery guy who’s patiently waiting for his next Muni ride- sometime in April or May.
I hope to see you riding again in the next cali-weekend,im bringing twice as much advil this time and will have enough for everyone…im going to have a mUni next year and i plan on hurting myself in more than just one spectactular crash like last year…
That’s good advice, Jason. I pushed too much on my first bike rides and have been feeling it. I am glad you are coming along well, you really had a tough one. I wish I could say I was “patiently” waiting for my next muni ride.
Jagur, I plan to be there, and plan to not need the Advil this time. As much fun as it was, that was one damn painful weekend.
Glad to hear your knee is getting better, I cant wait to get back on the trails with you again. I have to admit, I havent been riding much recently(or posting either) but recently ive had an extreme longing to get back on the trails, and I think I might go up there Sunday morning for a ride by myself so I can get back in the flow so when I ride with you you dont make me look too bad.
Get Well Soon,
P.S, my crank still gets loose really quick on the muni
They gave me darvacet too but I never took any. I was sick as a dog when I got back and for 12 hours later, but they said that was a normal after effect of the anasthetic. With the ice machine and the CMM I was relatively comfortable so I didn’t bother with the heavy drugs. Ibuprofin was it.
RE: going under fast - yeah, they’re sneaky bastards. That “count backwards from 100” stuff is only in the movies.
RE: recovery time. I had a donor graft so mine wasn’t living tissue at first. Sounds like your recovery will be quicker.
RE: Bike riding. I’m surprised you can ride at all. I couldn’t flex my knee enough to get over the top of the stroke for months, and even then my thigh was so weak I couldn’t apply any force. That’s why I bought a unicycle in the first place. I balanced on it in the hallway and rocked back and forth to strengthen my leg. I didn’t know it but I was sort of idling with my bad leg down. (clinging to both walls all the time, of course.) One of my friends just had orthoscopic knee surgery and has the same problem on her bike so I’m lending her my original unicycle for rehab.