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ACL Tear & Partial MCL - Surgery or no?

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Hi there… looking for some extra opinions about how to proceed with recovery of an injured knee. Here’s my story:


 


I’m 33, never injured my knees before, about average shape for a trail rider & snowboarder but very far from a marathon runner or power lifter! Injured right knee on Halloween and MRI last week confirmed my right knee full ACL tear and partial MCL tear. Meniscus "looks great" and the X-rays didn’t show anything broken/dislocated either. I’d estimate I have 75% flexibility, not in any pain during normal daily activities, only when pushing flexibility past where its comfortable (but getting a little better every day). I had some moderate pain the first 48 hours but since then I haven’t been in much pain at all, walking around fine and just today I took down about 40 feet of 8 foot high cedar fencing. Long story short, I think I had a “clean break” without damaging much else. I’m doing some basic exercises now and starting real PT in a few days.


 


At this point, the Doc advised that I should consider not getting surgery, and that I should be able to continue snowboarding & trail riding without an ACL just fine (assuming PT goes well and I get a proper brace). I don’t normally participate in “cutting sports” (basketball, football, etc) but I like to goof around with friends no matter what everyone’s doing.


 


My mindset right now is that I believe the doc - that I could probably manage to still enjoy trail riding, snowboarding, hiking, etc. without surgery. However, I don’t want to rule surgery out because I’m young and don’t want to start limiting what activities I can do in the future. Also because my knee feels so strong already, I (naively) think I would recovery quickly from the surgery. 


 


So thats really where the question lies - how many of you are maintaining without an ACL? Or based on my age & activities, is it a no brainer to just start perusing the surgery track now? Last factor is that I’ve already reached my deductible for the year so money might not be a factor if I make a decision quickly.


 


Thanks for any opinions.


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Its been at least 20 years that the peer reviewed medical literature does not support returning to sports without a functional ACL, but with a knee brace.

You seem quite certain that you are the exception, so, who knows, maybe you will be the lucky one.

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Thanks for the medical facts, and the sarcasm.

 

Does anyone know of a particularly good orthopedic surgeon in or near Maine?

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best surgeon i know is dr mark, and it was worth flying there to get it done right for me, but I'm sure there are qualified surgeons everywhere.

 

to expand on what he said, while you *can* function without an acl, you will not have a stable knee, and there is great likelihood of damaging it further in the future if you are active and eventually being really crippled.

 

when i tore my acl, i didn't even crash or anything, just hyperextended it sliding in a corner. A week later I was walking around in the backyard playing with my dogs and put my foot in a low spot, so the knee fully straightened out, and then just folded sideways. I think that tipover was what damaged my meniscus, not the original injury. That caused me to go to the doc, find out the acl was gone, and then schedule surgery.

 

3 months after surgery i was able to resume all my normal activities, and 5-6 months afterwards I was at 100%. very glad I went through with it, even at my advanced age (50 at the time).

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Muggins,

If it is torn, get it fixed!  Once you get it fixed, listen to your Physical Therapist and add massage therapy.  If you do, you will come back strong and flexible.  Please let me know if you need any help with a specific strength and flexibility program.

-Coach Robb

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