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 Message Boards » » Who's torn their ACL? (share experience) Page [1] 2 3 4 5, Next  
TKE-Teg
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Yeah, so as mentioned in the skiing thread I tore my ACL on Tuesday. I haven't seen an orthopedist yet or had an MRI, but was diagnosed at the Mtn by a doctor that I'm sure is used to seeing this. I'm in the process of getting an orthopedist here in NYC but in the meantime I wanted to find out more about this injury from people's firsthand experiences (already looked up your usual generic stuff online).

Who on here's torn this ligament? How long did it take you to fully recover? How long did it take to recover enough to return to work? How painful was the recovery? How difficult was your physical therapy?

I want to be operated on ASAP so with any luck within the month.

3/14/2008 12:10:44 PM

Toms House
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I tore my patella tendon, which is kind of similar. I imagine both injuries have some of the same effects (atrophied leg muscles.) When i hurt my knee, they used to hook my up to the electric pads to stimulate the quad.

The important thing to remember is your not Willis McGahee or Donovan McNabb. Professional atheletes come back from torn ACLs quickly because they can rehab them like it's their job (cause it is.) You will have to be patient and put up with alot of pain and alot of boring repetion before you're back to normal.

3/14/2008 12:19:42 PM

NyM410
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Wow, that sucks man. Anna tore her's in high school playing soccer... I'll ask her how long she was out of commission for. I'd imagine it will be quite a long time off from work...

You're probably going to have to wear a brace for a long, long time if you do anything athletic at all... I felt a little instability in my knee a few months ago playing basketball and I've worn a compression sleeve over my knee ever since.

[Edited on March 14, 2008 at 2:56 PM. Reason : x]

3/14/2008 2:54:11 PM

TreeTwista10
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Quote :
"your not Willis McGahee or Donovan McNabb. Professional atheletes come back from torn ACLs quickly because they can rehab them like it's their job (cause it is.)"


but on the flip side, most people's jobs aren't as physically demanding as playing in the NFL, and most people's jobs don't have the inherent risk of re-injuring...if McGahee is limping around he can't be an effective RB in the NFL...but if you're limping around you can maybe still work in an office, for example

3/14/2008 3:16:11 PM

bumpintahoe
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The doctor at the slopes might have already done this or the orthopedist will do it but you can try it if you want to see. Lay down with your knee bent at a 45 degree angle and get someone to hold your foot with one hand and pull forward from the calf right below the knee with the other hand. If there is anterior displacement compared to the normal side then its def torn ACL. If it displaces to an endpoint (ie it moves a little but then it stops) then it's probably only partial tear, if it feels mushy and moves a lot then it might be a complete tear. Recovery time will depend on this obviously.

3/14/2008 4:30:47 PM

TKE-Teg
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^Ah yes. The doctor at Breckenridge did that. It moved enough for him to say that its fully torn Seemed pretty creepy too, the way it was moving.

I'm not in a lot of pain though. Since Tuesday night I've taken 2 vicodins and haven't really felt the need to take any more. Except it does hurt more than I'd like when I drive to work (manual transmission).

3/14/2008 5:04:10 PM

JSteen
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It's called an anterior draw test.

3/14/2008 8:05:57 PM

rjrgrl
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3/14/2008 8:28:12 PM

tsnww
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It sucks. I had both of mine done a LONG time ago.

Get your leg muscles as strong as possible before you get the surgery. Rehab is crucial. It hurts and it sucks but if you do it right and commit to it, you will be be happy later in life.

I don't know if they still use them, but the pressure cold cooler thing they send you home with is great.

Also, don't do the surgery if it's swollen at all.

And, find the best damn ortho surgeon you can find. Seriously... interview them... learn about the procedure and shop around for the one you like the best and trust.

[Edited on March 14, 2008 at 8:29 PM. Reason : fdsa]

3/14/2008 8:28:45 PM

bumpintahoe
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Quote :
"It's called an anterior draw test."


Good call...



[Edited on March 14, 2008 at 9:53 PM. Reason : .]

3/14/2008 9:46:46 PM

AndyMac
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Yeah I did it in high school.

It sucked, was on crutches for 6 weeks, and in one of those braces you see on linemen for another 6 months. And I wore it when I played sports for another 6 months after that (It doesn't really hinder movement, so it wasn't a big deal).



I didn't find the recovery all that painful (well maybe at first it was), but it took forever to get the strength back in the leg. Physical therapy wasn't too bad, lots of stretching with those big rubber bands and walking/running in the pool.

3/15/2008 3:50:20 AM

theDuke866
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duuuude

that sucks


i've had a couple of scary yardsales this ski season, too. crossing my fingers i make it to the end without any serious injuries.

or minor injuries, for that matter!

3/15/2008 3:59:21 AM

JSnail
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I almost tore mine...was in middle school at the time.

-full leg, immobile brace for a week
-walking brace (that still immobilized the leg) for I don't know how many months (used with crutches, obviously)
-ton of rehab and a "sport" brace that I wore for almost a year

They offered to drain the fluid from my knee but told me that it would be very painful. I was young and scared and opted out of the drain. Looking back, I realize I should have just gone through with it because it would have shortened the recovery period (and pain) by a little bit.

I missed that years soccer season but was back (with a brace) for the following year. As someone already stated, rehab is CRUCIAL! It sucked...even though I never actually tore my ACL...but I got through it.

Now, if I sit on the ground with my legs extended, my left leg (the injured leg) will not fully rest on the ground. Normally you'll have a small space, if any (depending on your flexibility) between the ground and the back of your knee. I can fit both of my hands, palms flat, under mine, with room to spare. However, I was also able to get through almost 7 years of Tae Kwon Do at a competitive level, and did VERY well...so...don't let this get you down!

Dr. Lyman Smith in Raleigh is the man! He helped me through my recovery.

http://www.raleighortho.com/Orthopedic/39/doctor-orthopaedic-orthopedic-surgeon-physician-knee-shoulder-surgery-sports-medicine-NC-State-team-physician/

3/15/2008 7:30:20 AM

PackMan92
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I tore mine in October and had surgery for it November 26th.

Unlike most people, I was walking by the second day and out of my brace by the end of the first week (mostly due to the fact that my muscles/ligaments in my leg were pretty strong - heavy squatting and deadlifting saved me here)

You def. want to make sure you get as much of your ROM back as you can and get the swelling down prior to having surgery as this will insure the best/fastest recovery afterwards.

I still can't really run (which was to be expected), but I've been back at weight lifting since February (everything except heavy squats...still working on stability for that one, but heavy deads are going fine). Had some bad luck with Physical Therapy because I graduated in December and was no longer covered under my parents and my current work doesn't start coverage until April (which will be useless anyway since this is pre-existing). Hammer the PT hard, I def. owe a lot of progress (which was FAST) to PT and my annoyance with being able to do nothing.

I had mine repaired at Raleigh Orthopedic by Dr. Callaway. My cousin had his done through the same doctor (actually recommended him to me)...it was his 3rd ACL reconstruction and he said it was the best to date and that his leg had never been stronger (he was skiing a year after...crazy SOB).

3/15/2008 8:48:23 AM

roddy
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^you should of got bcbsnc, the cheap plan, in between, but oh well,that is what I did after graduation, i got the more expensive one 115 a month way back when but there is a cheaper one(covers if you arm legs get cut off and basically that is all)...but at least you got coverage.


If you have ANY problems in the future with it nobody will cover it.....usually it starts bothering you again around 40 when you body starts feeling all the stuff that healed super fast in your late teens early twentys.

[Edited on March 15, 2008 at 9:43 AM. Reason : w]

3/15/2008 9:41:57 AM

PackMan92
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sounds great...can't wait to be screwed in the future

3/15/2008 10:35:20 AM

FormerPackWR
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I tore my ACL back in 2003 @ Ohio State. The main thing to remember is to begin working on your range of motion exercises the following day after your surgery. You want to get your full range of motion back ASAP. It's going to be a painful experience but it has to be done. When you have the green light to begin lifting weights, focus on those muscles around the knee (Quads, calfs, etc.) Good Luck.

3/15/2008 1:15:18 PM

TKE-Teg
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Quote :
"(he was skiing a year after...crazy SOB)."


My goal is to be back out skiing in Colorado next winter, though I'll probably avoid the mogul fields.

I appreciate the surgeon recommendations but currently live in NYC. My uncles knows the former surgeon for the Knicks and is going to try and get an appointment for me when he calls him Monday. I figure if he's good enough for the Knicks he's good enough for me!

Any suggestions on how to get the swelling down? I'm not in a lot of pain (taken no painkillers since Thursday). Its still pretty swollen though. I'm icing it 5 times a day, but don't always have it above my heart (difficult to do at work). I'm also doing ROM exercises 3-4 times a day as recommended to me by the physical therapist at Breckenridge (calf/achilles towel stretch, wall slides, straight leg raises, sitting knee flexion, etc.)

[Edited on March 15, 2008 at 2:32 PM. Reason : k]

3/15/2008 2:31:31 PM

JSteen
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I had a partial menisectomy in October so I can tell you when I did to get the swelling down. Start taking a NSAID like naproxen. Also, ice 30 min on 30 off whenever possible. You can also massage the fluid out. My physical therapist did this by trying to push the fluid up into my quad region. Go ahead and start tightening your quads isometrically (hold about 30 second and focus on maintaining the tightness). This is somthing you can do just about anywhere and will help you keep your muscle strength.

3/15/2008 4:15:17 PM

bclarke35
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I tore my ACL freshman year of high school. Also tore meniscus. Had my surgery at Duke, Since I was still growing I had a hamstring graft done. It basically took my hamstring tendon out and that became my new ACL. It sucked since anytime I moved my leg it felt like someone was stabbing my hamstring. Percocets for two weeks.

Was on crutches for 6 weeks which left me with no muscle pretty much. You will hate your physical therapist. The full recovery was almost 5-6 months. I golfed a lot which helped regain my strength since I was walking. I had my surgery in Nov of that year and I was playing football the next year. But you will learn to ice after activity since it will still swell a little bit.

Good Luck

3/16/2008 7:27:37 PM

ilopan86
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Since talk of ortho surgery has already come up in here, I thought I'd semi-hijack the thread. I fractured my clavicle this weekend laying out in Ultimate Frisbee and need to see a surgeon tomorrow. Any advice on who to go to and how long it may take to heal? I know there are all kinds of variables, but just some general info would help.

3/16/2008 7:52:21 PM

Doss2k
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I partially tore my MCL playing basketball my senior year. Not as bad as an ACL and didnt require surgery luckily, but still spent a couple weeks doing rehab. It doesnt hinder me any really now several year later, but still with weather changes and things like that it does get a bit painful.

3/16/2008 8:43:22 PM

ncsuscooby
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I tore mine in HS. I had my knee worked on by Dr. Caffrey in greensboro, I rehabed for 3 1/2 months before i was back to wrestling for my HS. But I also rehabed 5 days a week after school 1 1/2 to 2 hrs at a time.

3/16/2008 8:45:06 PM

tsnww
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I totally forgot about the weather changes... bleh...

When the barometric pressure changes dramatically (big fronts coming through) my knee ACHES big time. It is miserable. It took me years to figure out why.

rehab, rehab, rehab!!!

Good Luck!

3/16/2008 11:10:53 PM

DonMega
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tore mine in feb 2000 and had it repaired by Lyman Smith at Raleigh Orthapedics

- hurt like hell for the first couple days, the worst part was feeling the swelling fluid shift when I stood up
- missed about a week of school
- walking with crutches the first week, then moved to walking with the brace locked out after that
- back to running after 4.5 months

DO THE REHAB! My knee feels great now, although it took a while for it to not swell up after working out.

3/17/2008 11:46:07 AM

TKE-Teg
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seeing my orthopedist of choice tomorrow at 11!

3/17/2008 12:02:40 PM

bclarke35
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Also, this weekend reminded me that If hungover, my knee that I had my ACL surgery aches like hell all day. I dont have a headache or anything but my bad knee aches. Good Luck.

3/17/2008 3:49:13 PM

QTPie
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I tore mine a LONG time ago - surgeries are MUCH different now than they were when I had mine done.

Points I will agree with...
-Get your legs as strong as possible before surgery - it makes a huge difference on the back end
-Rehab is key... if they tell you to do a stupid exercise... do it, regardless of how simple it seems, or stupid it makes you feel

The other thing is that you can't judge your success by others. I was very active & saw a lot of friends with this injury... some who recovered in a year fully, others who never played a sport again. A lot of this, I'm convinced, was how seriously they took rehab and wanted to be active, vs. the 'I can't do that, I have an injured knee' theory of thought.

I've had ACL, tibial tubercle (bone) transfer, a full reconstruction, and 2 scopes - but I'd still go do just about anything b/c I rehab-ed by the book & am grateful I did.

3/17/2008 4:12:58 PM

bumpintahoe
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I broke my clavicle when I was younger a LONG time ago, so treatment might be different. They put me in a sling that limited arm movement. If I remember correctly I had full ROM back in maybe 3 months or so? No lasting effects other than one clavicle protrudes slightly more than the other and my right arm is stronger than my left arm eventhough I'm left handed (I broke my left clavicle).

3/17/2008 6:54:21 PM

Republican18
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i almost did playing football in high school, thank God i didnt

3/17/2008 10:59:52 PM

asdf1234
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Played in a soccer game last week and our goalie completely ripped his achilles. The "snap" when it ripped was heard on the field next to us. Surgery, cast for 4-6 months, and then rehab....rough injury......not as rough as ACL, but still bad

3/18/2008 7:52:57 AM

CalledToArms
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i tore my PCL wrestling my junior year.

3/18/2008 8:12:14 AM

furikuchan
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For the sake of FUCK, be careful! Had a girl in our judo class who tore her ACL twice, first on the judo mat, then she got tossed from a horse, and tore the replacement ACL. They didn't want to take any more tendons from her to make another graft, cuz then they'd weaken the rest of her knee, and she'd probably tear that, so she got a cadaver ligament grafted in there. So if you don't want a piece of some dead guy's leg in your body for the rest of your life, watch it.
(On another note, there is TOTALLY some great material for a ghost story somewhere in there...)

3/18/2008 8:52:48 AM

lockrugger
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Had ACL surgery October 2005.

I was playing rugby again in March 2006.

That's 6 months.

I think recovery time depends on your type of ACL surgery (hamstring graft, patella tendon, cadaver). I had hamstring graft - I think you are supposed to recover fastest from thsi type of surgery - but it makes ur hamstring permanently 2-10% weaker.

The surgery sucks, and the rehab is painful at first, you will be on crutches for a while.

Hopefully you like painkillers.

3/18/2008 11:09:20 PM

One
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Good luck with recovery pat !

3/19/2008 8:16:50 AM

Arab13
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Quote :
"Age : 26"


ouch, i'm sure you've realized from other bumps that we don't recover as fast as we did 5 years ago or so. good luck! (i've had really good knees, can't say the same for my ankles though)

3/19/2008 11:00:16 AM

TKE-Teg
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Quote :
"They didn't want to take any more tendons from her to make another graft, cuz then they'd weaken the rest of her knee, and she'd probably tear that, so she got a cadaver ligament grafted in there"


The surgeon I met with yesterday told me that after the age of 30 they recommend doing a cadaver graft instead. But at my current age (actually 27) they recommend taking part of the patella tendon. Regarding the above statement, b/c my surgeon told me that in time your patella tendon will fully grow back. However it takes several years I believe.

I've read that the patella tendon method has a higher success rate than the hamstring tendon. The scar is bigger (10 cm instead of 5) but they seem to prefer it.

I'm just going through the motions right now. MRI being taken Monday (takes a little bit for insurance to approve) then hopefully I'll have a surgery date set soon. Doctor said at my age and in my shape I should be able to recover in 4 months if I work at it.

3/19/2008 12:30:54 PM

NyM410
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Good luck man. Hopefully you're back to as normal as possible in that four months, but that is a really optimistic timetable. That is the one injury I dread when I go skiiing...

[Edited on March 19, 2008 at 12:57 PM. Reason : x]

3/19/2008 12:57:02 PM

ohmy
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tore mine in high school in the fall/winter. missed all of track season in the spring. i forgot how many months i was out exactly.

but the worst part was when i got a terrible fever and diarrhea after the surgery and could hardly move. for a couple nights i remember sleeping next to the toilet because it was so much trouble getting my pants down over my huge brace and was having to crawl out of bed every hour anyway. the rehab process was pretty bad for the first few weeks too, but i think that was more due to the fever completely draining me. i think mine was worse than most people according to other people's experiences, but mine was pretty miserable.

3/21/2008 4:35:40 PM

Jax883
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damn Pat, that sucks man

physical therapy, and lots of it.

3/21/2008 9:47:37 PM

buttseks
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ACL twice, MCL once, medial meniscus twice, cartilage graft once, knee problems are not cool

for a simple acl repair, depending on whether they take the graft from your hamstring or patellar tendon, 2-3 weeks partial weight, about 6 weeks full weight, 3-4 months before it ever really feels right, expect to lose a shitload of muscle mass in that leg in no time

3/21/2008 11:40:36 PM

KeithW62
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I tore my ACL in high school. Tearing it was the worst part. They fixed mine using the patella tendon method that you described. I had been lifting because I played football, and I think that helped my recovery, but it has held up fine. I tore it as a freshman, played the rest of high school and 2 years in college with it and had no further trouble. I remain pretty active, and from my experience, if you do what the physical therapist tells you to and follow the dr.'s instructions, all will be well. Good luck!

3/22/2008 1:55:31 PM

TKE-Teg
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I still have some nasty swelling going on almost 4 wks later. Besides elevation and occasional icing is there anything I can do to make it go down?

What painkiller is it that helps with swelling: advil, aspirin, or tylenol?

4/7/2008 1:30:53 PM

markgoal
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A compression brace can help push fluid out. Ibuprofin (Advil) is anti-inflammatory.

4/7/2008 2:13:38 PM

bclarke35
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Well i tore mine, The doctor drained it. It took two huge syringes to get all the blood out. But after that it didnt swell too bad util after the surgery. If it is causing you discomfort they should drain it for you.

4/7/2008 2:24:48 PM

markgoal
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Are you wearing any sort of cloth/elastic or neoprene brace underneath your big metal knee brace? Those have been helpful in pushing fluid out for me in the past. You can get one for ~$10 at any drug store.

4/7/2008 3:46:23 PM

TKE-Teg
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I'm not sure if I'd say its causing discomfort. However, it prevents me from having a full ROM and hurts when I try to bend my knee all the way. I'd like to get rid of this swelling so I can start strengthening my leg muscles at the gym in preparation for my surgery.

*I stated previously in this thread that my surgery date is June 11th, however it was deleted in the server crash last week*

The brace I currently wear is a pretty tight (yet adjustable) form fitting brace. There is a metal brace on each side, but its not very bulky and fits under even my tighter jeans. I was told to wear this directly on the skin and have been.

BTW, I got my surgery info packet in the mail from my surgeon and it has a 16 week physical therapy regiment. I know I have to see a physical therapist, but will that be someone I have to see daily? (making a list of Qs for the doc, of course)

4/7/2008 4:51:42 PM

markgoal
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They'll probably have you in physical therapy 2-3 times per week. You'll probably get exercises to do on your off days. UMich Sports Medicine Advisor (google it) has good sports rehab exercises if you want to refer to it.

*Disclaimer* I haven't torn an ACL but have had other issues.

4/7/2008 7:43:59 PM

titans78
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I am 1 year removed from my ACL surgery. I didn't get surgery right away, I ended up going about 8 months till I had the time to do it, during those 8 months I did a ton of pre-hab on my knee to the point where I was completly functional except it just couldn't run(and occasionally I would forget that the knee would give out and I would fall over, that sucked). So one suggestion is to do as much work on the leg so you are as strong as possible going into the surgery. This will help a ton coming out. When I finally got the surgery done, I went w/ patella(sp?) tendon replacement, and was walking without crutches 2 days after the surgery. The biggest thing is that the harder you are willing to push yourself and do the rehab, the quicker you'll recover. I am at 100% now(although it is a new 100%, that is like 90% pre-torn knee). Playing sports and doing everything I was doing before. The doctors said I was one of the quickest recovery they had seen though, so not sure why but am guessing mostly due to the amount of time I waited with the surgery. I was jogging at 4 months, running and sports at 6 months. I got into it pretty slowly, and the harder part was actually just getting the rest of my body back in shape.

There was some pain right after the surgery, but the morphine drip was terrific to take care of that. The pain pills they gave me sucked, so I actually didn't even take them. I even left the hospital the same day of the surgery. I was mentally prepared for a lot of pain, and looking back it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. The rehab part can be painful, but it isn't unbearable.

I have heard a few horror stories when it comes to knees and multiple surgerys, but mine seemed to be pretty successful and go fairly smooth, so I wanted to post it.

4/8/2008 2:22:15 PM

TKE-Teg
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^well thats good to know. I plan on hitting the gym soon to start strengthening my leg muscles. But I want the swelling to go down first. How long did it take for your swelling to go away?

4/8/2008 6:35:38 PM

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