Muni, ACL tear, brace advice ?

Greetings,

I’m looking for some knowledge/advice from those who have walked before
me- or perhaps I should say those who have ‘hobbled’ before me. :wink:

I had the misfortune of injuring my knee 15 years ago while running down
some stairs. I tore my meniscus and my ACL. The meniscus was removed
entirely with surgery and the ACL was left to heal on it’s own (it was a
partial tear). Well… this winter I slipped on the ice and tore my ACL
again (yes, it was a bummer). I allowed it to heal for two months before
riding and I always wear a CTI brace when I ride, but shortly after
writing my KH24 review I crashed (on the same KH24) and heard the
familiar “pop” sound in my knee. This happened while I was wearing my
CTI brace! It’s now been three and 1/2 weeks and it’s starting to feel
better. I’ve just come back from a two week trip where I swam everyday
and walked about six kilometers nearly everyday, so it’s feeling strong
again. I’ve spoken with a surgeon and I do need to have the ACL repaired
as the joint is quite loose.

That said… has anyone had an ACL reconstruction and how did go for you
(in terms of unicycling)? What type of reconstruction did you have? Do
you wear a sports brace when you Muni? If so what brand? I’m thinking of
upgrading my 15 year old CTI to a CTI-2. I plan to continue MUni-ing
(lightly) this summer and delaying my surgery until fall so I want to be
braced as solidly as possible. After that I won’t be able to ride for
six months -period- and that will be a sad day indeed.

Any advice on sports braces or healing techniques from folks in the know
is greatly appreciated. My goal is to have many happy MUni years with my
son (King MUni-Man) so I want this to go as smoothly as possible.

Cheers,

Jason

Jason,

Stretching will help to prevent straining ligaments and muscles (especially those with built in scar tissue). Downhill on a unicycle is especially hard on a bad knee. Mine was operated on twice after an accident at an aircraft plant. That, combined with a few surgeries on the femur, has forced me to learn about stretching. The best stretch seems to be sitting on the ankles for a minute, followed by a couple of squats. Repeat this once or twice, and your knees should feel less stiff, which means less chance for injury. Repeat it again after the ride if you remember. I often forget, and the leg is noticeably tighter for a longer period.

The longer cranks used on Muni’s seem to aggravate things, since the knee is bent at a sharper angle. Then again, shorter cranks cause you to apply more force due to less leverage. I haven’t found a painless combination. Downhills present a contrast between pain and enjoyment. Brakes help, but I think they would be difficult to control on technical descents.

Oh yeah, braces. I haven’t had any luck, but I’d be interested in trying one that provides some spring tension to help the weak knee, if it wasn’t tight enough to restrict the blood flow. Probably asking too much.

Re: Muni, ACL tear, brace advice ?

unibiker,

Thank you for replying. I figured I couldn’t be alone in the unicycling
community with a knee injury.

> Stretching will help to prevent straining ligaments and muscles

Thanks for this advice too. In the last 4 weeks I have been stretching
twice daily and hope to continue this as part of my lifestyle. I tend to
get very tight behind my knee. I am told by my Doctor that this is
arthritis brought on in the last 15 years due to my missing meniscus.

Since you’ve had multiple surgeries (and I will too), is the scar tissue
accumulative? In other words, will I have a larger build up of scar
tissue on my knee after my second surgery? If so, has it created a
problem for you other than a greater need to stretch?

> Downhill on a unicycle is especially hard on a bad knee.
> The longer cranks used on Muni’s seem to aggravate things

I’ve also made both of your observations. I had my KH24 assembled with a
Magura brake to help eliminate the downhill problem, and I think I’m
going to raise my saddle just a bit to help prevent the crouching/knee
bending issue.

> Then again, shorter cranks cause you to
> apply more force due to less leverage. I haven’t found a painless
> combination.

I haven’t found a combo that’s perfect either but I find my trials uni
to generally be the most comfortable. Over the next year I hope to adapt
a riding style for my KH24 that is compatible with my knee. At the
moment I prefer long, flat and bumpy terrain. I hope to continue on this
path [so to speak] for now. :wink: However, since I live in Alaska which is
the land of never ending mountains, I have an interest in downhill
riding too. :smiley:

I find that with shorter cranks, my knee gets aggravated when I mount. I
always use a static mount and my injured leg is the last one to hit
the pedals, so it’s force has to start me traveling. After I’m rolling I
seem to do okay.

On my KH24 with 170 mm cranks, I don’t feel the strain either mounting
or riding. The 170’s are generally comfortable, but my knees bend just a
hair more than is comfortable. I suspect that after I’m healed from my
fall(s) and later after my surgery that this won’t be much of an issue
(knock on wood).

Thank’s again for the advice.

Cheers,
Jason

You’re screwed.
Learn Golf.

I tore my acl and meniscus a year and a half ago, and had reconstructive surgery similar to what you have. I’m 16, so maybe that makes a difference, but I think maybe you should’ve waited a little longer before you started trying some harder unicycle stuff. Unless, it was truly just a stroke of bad luck, and you weren’t trying anything difficult. I have found that leisurely rides from about 3 months out of surgery help alleviate scarring, as the motion both stretches and strengthens the knee. I think the most important 2 factors are stretching, and muscle buildup. Both help remove the chance for putting strain directly on the acl. As for the scar tissue, I suspect it doesn’t builduplike you say. If it does, I imagine that your surgeon will remove the existing scar tissue before the next operation. The point is, hang in there. I have no reason to believe that you won’t be up and at it again. I used to wear a brace, for a while. But now, I don’t use or need a brace, and things seem to be just fine. Good luck!

Far from it my good man, but thanks for the encouragement. :smiley:

Thanks for the reply and I am very happy that your surgery and subsequent recovery went well. You’re way too young to have knee problems.

I’m chocking it up to a combination of bad luck and inexperience with my new KH24. I started riding (again) yesterday. I rode for about 3 miles on flat even terrain and spent much time working on fine tuning my control of the KH24/170 mm cranks. Today I MUni’d with my son and did the same. I will continue strengthening my legs and increasing the difficulty of my maneuvers. Today I did some light hopping but overall I was very restrained.

I’m told by my Doctor that I won’t be released for any activties until six months after surgery. This is the reason I’m putting it off until fall. I can heal during the six months of winter.

.

I think you’re right. Previously I have not been much of a stretcher but I’m going to from now on.

I’m hang’n in there and fully intend to continue riding. I just need to take it easy over the summer and not injure myself (again). That’s why I asked about braces. The CTI brace I have doesn’t do all that great a job.

Thanks for the info.

Cheers,
Jason

Jason,

After a week of relocation hell, I think all of your questions have been answered. If not, please ask again and I’ll try to help.

Have fun, and stretch, stretch, stretch.

And ignore the golfing comment. Riding in pain has got to be better than golfing without.

I have been experiencing knee pain since I started learning how to ride this past 3 weeks. I run and ride a bike fairly regularly so I wasn’t too worried about my knee, especially after reading one person one this board mention that they ride as part of their rehab. If I ride more than 20 minutes the outside of my knee is killing me. I went in for a physical yesterday and asked the Doctor to check my knee and explained my history of knee problems. He wobbled it around and said "With your high level of activity, and minimal complication I would do some knee specific strengthening and stretching exercises. So I may put down the wheel for a week and see if I can strengthen my knee up enough to Uni without the pain. I have wanted to learn how to Uni for so long I will be really pissed if my knee forces my back to the “golf course”