Torn ACL

Just got my MRI............found out I've got a completely torn ACL and torn meniscus. :naughty: Anyone gone through an ACL reconstruction? How long is the rehab and recovery?

skipn8r has been keeping us up to date on his recovery over on the 250 forum. My surgery was 30 years ago, things have changed a lot since then. I'm in Asterisk knee braces now, I wish I was back then.

Sorry to hear that. Meniscus tear is going to slow your initial progress..... I was nearly 8 months till 100% but riding (conservatively) by 5 months.

I ruptured my ACL (torn completely in half) back in Sept '04, but the rest of my knee was fine. I just had surgery (hamstring graft) Jan 27. I've documented my "process" here. I actually rode a few times a couple of weeks ago after my surgeon said it was "OK as long as I didn't crash." But after reading a couple of bad experience posts, I've decided to not ride till after my next appointment (early June).

During the first 2 weeks of recovery, my knee was definitely a limiting factor. Since then, the biggest issue has been my hamstring. I've had 100% range of motion since mid-late Feb and this morning, I ran 4 miles and hit a top speed of 7.5 mph (treadmill). My doctor and I attribute my rather rapid recovery to the fact that I was in very good physical condition before my injury and again before my surgery (<10% bodyfat, running, lifting, etc.).

As always, consult with your doctor, but if he/she is in agreement, I'd suggest a rather extensive "prehab" fitness routine to minimize your downtime.


- The results of your surgery are limited by the skill of your surgeon. If you're not 100% confident in him/her, find one in whom you can be confident; it's your knee.

- My surgeon told me that if someone has meniscus damage, it's far better to get into surgery as soon as possible than to wait. That will maximize the chance that your damaged meniscus can be salvaged rather than just trimmed out.

- After surgery, keep the knee moving, even when it hurts (and it will). When you're not moving the knee, keep it elevated for the first week.

- Try to get an ice water pump system that keeps cool water around the knee at all times. Invaluable!

- Buy a big bottle of Ibuprofen and keep'em popping.

- The best way to deal with the pain is to keep pushing against the pain boundary; not to the point of being excruciating, but definitely to the "uncomfortable" point. I continuously tried to push into the pain, moving it to greater ranges of motion. Uncomfortable, but very effective.

- If you have a notebook computer and don't have a wireless network, definitely invest in one. I spent the first two weeks after surgery in the recliner. Staying "online" with TT and other sites really helped pass the time.

But hey, I'm just an engineer. Find a good doc, and do what they say :naughty: .

- The results of your surgery are limited by the skill of your surgeon. If you're not 100% confident in him/her, find one in whom you can be confident; it's your knee.

A great place to find out who's good and who's a hack is an independent physical therapy rehab office. They see everybodies work and know who's good. I dated a PT, they really know a lot, sometimes more than the doctors.

Thanks for the info..........not looking forward to it, but at the same time I want to be back in action. Lucky for me it happened at work and workmans comp is taking care of the bills. They just slow down the process a little because everything has to be "approved". I'll keep you posted when I get cut.

I assume your having surgery on it...Make sure they send you home with the "hospital" ice pack. This machine is more complicated than a CRF. It circulates ice water around your knee. The pain level drops 50% with this beast. It really helps. Sign up for a few sessions of physical therapy during recovery. It will not do one thing you cannot do on your own, but here is how it helps. Seeing everyone else go through pain.

I was in our local rehab center. This one is fairly famous. I was looking at Mike Larocco's autographs on the wall, and feeling sorry for myself. A 13 year old kid passed me on crutches. He had been operated on for two acl tears! It was a bad skateboard accident. This young man became my hero. We had some knock-down competitions on the stationary bike.

I ended up finishing rehab within two seeks. Most of the reason was the 13 year old. I figured if he could deal with two, I could deal with one.

They have a medicine called Toradol. Try to get this instead of the typical medicine. It is non narcotic and really helps with the pain. The good stuff you have to inject, but it really works. Your brain stays straight enough to play MX unleashed.

My ACL and torn Meniscus,I did the cadaver,ACL I was riding in about 4 months had the ice pump machine,and the CPM machine fom hell to work the knee,I eventually had another surgery to remove bone growth in the knee area,I had excessive growth in the joint area,they had to grind some out of the joint,but several months later I compound fracture of the tibia/fibula out the right side is another story,that took 14 months and now I have been riding again about a year.

I was riding about 4 weeks ago and clipped the inside dirt of a corner. My foot twisted off the peg and sent a shock of pain in my knee. My knee is sore but I can ride my bicycle a few miles and walk a few miles. My question is "with the exception of going to the doc and getting an MRI how do you know your knee is actually damaged? torn?

My question is "with the exception of going to the doc and getting an MRI how do you know your knee is actually damaged? torn?

I'm no doctor, but I'd say that pain and reduced mobility for more than two weeks is a pretty good sign of a problem. I don't know all of the tests for a damaged knee, but I've had the "damaged ACL" test several times lately:

The doctor usually has you lie on a table with your injured leg bent to around 90 degrees, and your foot resting on the table. The doctor usually sits on your foot (to hold it still) and places his hands behind your lower leg, just below your knee. He then gently pulls your lower leg away from your upper leg. If there is significantly more "free play" with your injured knee than with your uninjured knee, you've probably damaged your ACL. BTW, the test doesn't hurt (when done properly :naughty: ).

I'd recommend seeing a doctor.

When I tore my ACL, I had significant slop side to side in my knee. If I kind of "cocked" my knee to the inside when my foot was planted, I could feel it moving. Not painful, but odd.

I had reconstruction with a patellar graft. I personally recommend that. Stronger. It takes a hair longer to recover, but it's a better graft.

I was 100% in the full 6 months. Actually, I was ready to rock on the bike in about 4 months, but it was winter when I had it done, so I wanted to let it sit out the full 6 month recovery. Therapy is the biggest thing in the actual recovery.

The leg you see stuck out in my avatar is the leg I tore the ACL in, so when done properly and if you work your butt off in therapy, you won't even know you had it done in 6 months.

Thats good to hear. I am planning on getting mine done after this season is over.

I just found out the same thing about 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately I had the other knee done about 5 years ago. I've decided not to have the surgery till summer is over this time since recovery is about 6 months till you're playing pivot sports again. You will be on crutches one week then walking tenderly for a few more. With good therapy you can run on it after maybe 2 months.

Bottom line is it sucks, but worth the surgery if you are active in sports. I'm riding on mine now after tearing it only 1 month ago. But I'm cautious not to do any hard pivoting on it. I recommend you start seeing a Physical Therapist immediately and restrengthen the rest of the knee even before the surgery.

Hope this helps a little!


Thanks for the medical advice. I am more worried about the meniscus than any ligament damage. I assume that an MRI has to be done to check for damage.

THe meniscal damage is not something I'd be worried about. THey will repair that when they do the reconstruction.

Just FYI too on the meniscal tears, I did have one. I tore it up (ACL and meniscus (borderline MCL tear too)) in April. Had my surgery Sept. 5th. 2003. I rode all summer long with it tore up. I DID have a CTi2 knee brace though, but I rode quite a few times before I got the brace.

I came up "short" on an 80' triple here, (I've come up short a few times on it), but this time, I didn't drop the rear, like an idiot. I was just floating in the air, knowing I was a tad short, then all of the sudden "oh crap, drop the rear!" Well, I cased the frame, and above the bike, I HEARD my knee CRACK. It swelled up and I couldn't walk on it for two weeks. I had this happen to me two or three times where the knee would actually fail on me and would swell up and literally put tears in my eyes. All that, 5 months, and I did not damage the meniscus any significant amount. They did have to trim only a VERY VERY tiny amount of it off....but I can't tell in my knee.

Good Luck .. I blew my ACL and MCL two years ago ( before the season started ) and bypassed the surgery ( due to not having insurance and having to work ) . I live every day in pain and ride in pain .. but that is life ... maybe I'll hit the lottery :naughty:

THe meniscal damage is not something I'd be worried about. THey will repair that when they do the reconstruction.

While they can "repair" meniscal damage at any time, the longer you wait, the greater the probability the repair will be comprised of trimming out the damaged parts rather than screwing things back together. It's my understanding that torn meniscus tissue can die over time if it's not reattached relatively quickly. Additionally, once the tissue has died, it cannot be reattached but must be trimmed if it's causing problems. The importance of repairing rather than trimming was brought home to a friend at work. He had surgery several months after his meniscus injury and had to have a significant amount of damaged tissue removed. In the end, due to a variety of complications (including a post-surgical infection), he ended up not having enough meniscus to prevent bone-to-bone contact in his knee. At the ripe age of 36, he had to have a total knee replacement. Granted, his case is an extreme example, but if you catch the damage early, it's more likely damaged tissue can be salvaged rather than removed.

By comparison, another friend had significant meniscus damage and was on the operating table within the week. The doctors screwed the damaged areas back together and he didn't need to have any meniscus removed. Again, these are my understandings and I'm not a doc, so check with yours.

Skip - as far as I know, correct. I gave my examples of my riding all summer and coming up short and all to say that, I did all that crap to it and she still was in pretty good shape. Meniscal damage was quite minimal. of course, I could have just gotten lucky too...

My buddy tore his ACL over this past X Mas and is back riding now....

BTW, DethWshBkr, nice form in the avatar. The knee must be working pretty well :naughty: .

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