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Old 04-13-05, 09:56 AM   #1
brokenrobot
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ACL / MCL repair and rehab?

Well, I blew out my knee yesterday; looks like I did some pretty serious damage to the MCL and completely tore the ACL. Does anybody have any experience with surgical repairs to these ligaments? How long after the surgery were you able to start riding again?

Bah. Humbug. I'm a little irked about this... I was just getting into planning for a tour next month, and training for Ride the Rockies in june!

-chris
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Old 04-13-05, 11:40 AM   #2
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Chris,

Sorry to hear about your knee, as a barometer, a friend of mine had surgery for torn ACL, he was out for 6-8 months before he was able to get back onto the basketball court. He used a sports doctor that I recommended to him. This Doc does his own surgeries & has in the past operated on some NY knicks. If you haven't already gotten the surgery & want to look into this guy, let me know.

GC
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Old 04-13-05, 03:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for the sympathies... My brother had his knee done a couple of years ago, and I think I'm probably going to go with his surgeon; he's apparently one of the best in Denver, and Denver sees a lot of this kind of injury, what with the skiing nearby. The ER doc said he thought I'd be able to spin without resistance pretty soon - recommended it, in fact - but that it would be some time before I could plan on doing any climbing or touring ... I just don't know how long "quite some time" is! I meet with my surgeon tomorrow morning; hopefully he'll be able to tell me more, but I'd still like to hear from any riders here who have firsthand experience!

-chris
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Old 04-13-05, 04:30 PM   #4
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Your PT in rehap will probably put you on the bike right away (although it will be a bent stationary) with virtually no resistance. Good rule of thumb is 6-8mos before cleared for activity. Not to bum you out too much but you will atrophy lots so be ready to work hard at regaining the leg strength (quad in particular). Good news is that you can come back strong from this injury in cycling, just don't give up on the rehab and be sure to state up front to doctor performing surgery (b/c of where he takes the replacement tendon from) and you PT about your goals to return to cycling and at what level of cycling....
good luck
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Old 04-16-05, 06:29 PM   #5
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I blew my MCL last Christmas whilst snowshoeing in the woods. No surgery since it was MCL only, but it was a good six months before I felt truly stable on it. A guy I work with had his ACL done, started back on bike/running at four months, and now has to have it done again - take it as a cautionary tale to rest as long as you have to. Big rides will be there next year, but you gotta live with the knee.
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Old 04-16-05, 07:58 PM   #6
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As a guage. My brother had ACL reconstruction six weeks ago. He still cannot put weight on it. He can, however, ride a stationary with almost no resistance. Pretty boring for sure.

I'd say you wont be touring next month if you have surgery. Of course surgery is optional. I know guys that have had completely torn ACL's and they still ride. Gotta watch though when you come out of the saddle since the knee would have no lateral support.
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Old 04-16-05, 09:13 PM   #7
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Well, the good news from my surgeon is that in his opinion the original round of doctors was wrong: most likely, I've torn my MCL but not my ACL. The original doctors advised me to start spinning with no resistance as soon as the pain recedes, in order to maintain range of motion, which I plan to do; but as far as the tour and Ride the Rockies go, I guess I'm not feeling too optimistic

I figure I'm going to play it by ear, and hope for the best! Since I'm unemployed right now, I shoudl be able to change plans on the fly as I heal... so I'm not giving up hope altogether just yet!

Thanks for all the well-wishes!

-chris
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Old 04-16-05, 10:16 PM   #8
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I've heard from people who've had surgery like that, like meniscus, and apparently the surgery itself is nothing. It takes very little time, and afterwards they encourage you to start using your knee so it doesn't stiffen up. IN fact, one guy told me that as soon as you're in recovery, they get you to do exercises with your knee. You should probably be able to get out on a bike fairly soon. But do what your doctor tells you and take it slow and easy!
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Old 04-17-05, 05:52 AM   #9
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Had ACL repair 5 years ago - good thing is first place they put me was on a bike!! Bad thing, it was stationary and for breaking up scar tissue so the first few rotations hurt like Sheol ! It was closer to 9 months before major cutting and running like basketball ; amazing how much my leg quads shut down even doing everything PT said to do. It now is my best knee but be prepared for some dystrophy for a while. If you're not doing a lot of cutting sports then I'm not 100% sure I'd do it again- maybe 80-90% but still some doubt there in minds back. If you're just biking (esp road like me now, thanks to basketball and age) then your recovery/satisfaction level may be higher than my aspirations of flying all over a basketball court pretending to be a white Jordan. The bike may be your best friend !
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Old 04-17-05, 05:58 AM   #10
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Meniscus is generally a piece of cake - highly recommend it if doc says torn and you're having some swelling or signs, etc. Had first one 6 years ago and it was like a new knee in two weeks, playing ball again in 4 weeks with no swelling. Going for 2nd one this week it was so fun, thought I'd help my local sports ortho-surgeon pay for new wife and house. ACL repair is a whole different game.
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Old 04-17-05, 07:11 AM   #11
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I had extensive meniscus surgery plus bone spures removed and was back on the bike full force in < 4 weeks. actually walked out of the hospital on my own power with no assistance (except for the real nice looking nurse)
Cycling didn't cause the problem but running did over several years.
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Old 04-17-05, 09:38 PM   #12
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I had lateral meniscus surgery 6 weeks ago. I had incredible swelling so my recovery time has been a bit longer than normal for meniscus tears. I'm only now beginning to rebuild my quad that atrophied and still not much climbing power. Just this weekend was the first time I could get out of the saddle on climbs. Can't run or play basketball yet. Doc says I just responded with more inflammation and swelling than normal but I have no way of knowing how much prodding and pulling, etc, he did that could have contributed. It's pretty sad to see that right quad I built up last year from 3000 miles was absolutely gone. One leg looks like popeye on spinach and the other looks like Olive oil legs!
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