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Old 11-04-16, 01:22 PM   #1
CrankyOne
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Good or Best ACL knee brace ?

Torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus. Have to start wearing an ACL brace. The one provided by my Orthopedic is a Breg Fusion which I'm finding quite uncomfortable, particularly the lower bit around my calf. Is anyone aware of one that might be a bit more comfortable? I've seen some worn by NFL players that looked more like a solid bit of material against your skin w/ straps over or built in?

Mine:

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Old 11-04-16, 01:25 PM   #2
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Just to add a bit more. If I don't really cinch it down it slide down too far. Cinch it down enough to prevent it from sliding and it's painful and cuts off my circulation.
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Old 11-04-16, 02:18 PM   #3
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I have had most of them. None of them are great. The one I've had for the last 10 years is a custom made Townsend ("Air Townsend"). It's prescription, they take a plaster form of your leg and build it to fit. That worked for me and I can wear if 24/7 if I had to.

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Old 11-04-16, 02:23 PM   #4
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I can wear if 24/7 if I had to.
Thanks. I can barely wear this Breg for 2-3 hours. Can't imagine 24 hrs. Custom from a plaster cast sounds like about as ideal as you can get. The CTI2 is apparently also custom but just based on measurements by a brace fitter so not sure how accurate it would be.
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Old 11-04-16, 09:18 PM   #5
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Thanks. I can barely wear this Breg for 2-3 hours. Can't imagine 24 hrs. Custom from a plaster cast sounds like about as ideal as you can get. The CTI2 is apparently also custom but just based on measurements by a brace fitter so not sure how accurate it would be.
I had a CTI for a while. Mine didn't hold up as well as the Townsend. Seemed to work ok but the steps didn't hold up and that is a worry for me.

With any brace fit is key. I think you can get that any number of ways. But you have to be picky about the fit and be prepared to have the fitter go through multiple iterations until it fits.
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Old 11-04-16, 09:54 PM   #6
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Torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus. Have to start wearing an ACL brace.
Who is telling you that you need to wear a brace to ride a bike?

Have you had surgery? If not, why not?
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Old 11-05-16, 08:07 AM   #7
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Who is telling you that you need to wear a brace to ride a bike? Have you had surgery? If not, why not?
Two different Orthopedists.

It's generally far better to have something heal naturally than jump to surgery. An ACL brace is used both during healing to relieve stresses that will cause it not to heal and afterwards to prevent re-injury.
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Old 11-05-16, 12:27 PM   #8
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Two different Orthopedists.

It's generally far better to have something heal naturally than jump to surgery. An ACL brace is used both during healing to relieve stresses that will cause it not to heal and afterwards to prevent re-injury.
Yeah, I have an deep understanding of the issue, hence my clarifying questions.

I severed my ACL/PCL/MCL/LCL and lost 30% of my medial meniscus. Had surgery but due to instability still need to wear a brace when skiing, playing bball, surfing, etc. but never ever while riding - mountain or road.

I've used a custom CTi2 for years.
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Old 11-07-16, 07:22 AM   #9
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Ouch. That's a lot of damage. For riding I only need it for Mtn, not for road, track, or transportation.
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Old 11-07-16, 08:38 AM   #10
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Yeah, I have an deep understanding of the issue, hence my clarifying questions.

I severed my ACL/PCL/MCL/LCL and lost 30% of my medial meniscus. Had surgery but due to instability still need to wear a brace when skiing, playing bball, surfing, etc. but never ever while riding - mountain or road.

I've used a custom CTi2 for years.
Agree. I injured my knee skiing, and wore a brace for around 15 years, then decided to ski without one, and the knee has been holding up pretty well. The only times it gets cranky on the bike is when I need to mash up a steep grade. To the OP if you can afford it or have good insurance go for a custom fit brace. Over the years I did use mine I had to have it rebuilt once but I was able to wear it all day skiing with only some minor slippage. As for comfort you might try a sleeve on your leg under the brace.
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Old 11-16-16, 02:56 PM   #11
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Old 11-16-16, 06:31 PM   #12
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I have been riding for over a year with a torn ACL. I take the time to warm up ,and never push to hard . Hills at times are a little uncomfortable , but I do ok avoiding them . I would like to have it repaired, but my wife and I have a busy travel schedule, and I like doing century's around the country every 2 months or so . Have one this Sunday here in Fla, and believe it or not , there are Hills
I no longer play basketball , nor would I dare to run till it has been repaired . I have even heard at our age it may not even be worth having it repaired . Any Docs out there want to comment on that ?
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Old 11-17-16, 12:18 AM   #13
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I tore my ACL completely last year. Also meniscus damage. My doctor (head of Ortho at a top medical school) is very anti-brace. He wanted me to get the leg as strong and flexible as possible before surgery. His theory is, the stronger the knee, the better the recovery.

Before surgery I did 2-3 months of physical therapy, and as much bike riding as I could handle. The injury prevented me from standing on the pedals, so I sat down when riding. I did up to 30 mile rides. No brace, but I was gentle on the knee, no running or any impact. No twisting. Stairs were a pain to navigate. Didn't even clip in to the pedals for the first month or so.

Once the inflammation was down and the knee stabilized, we did surgery. Cadaver graft. I had a full-leg brace for the first week, after that, the doc took it away. Day 10, I was back on the bike and I also did physical therapy 2-x/week for 3 months. I rode an 800 mile bike tour 4 months after surgery. It has now been 9 months and the doctor says I'm good to do anything - no brace. Thinking about skiing (gently) in a month or so to see how the knee holds. Still a little tepid about it, we'll see.

So, that's my experience. I'm very happy I did the surgery and I think the key (for me, at least) was the physical therapy before and after.
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Old 11-17-16, 06:18 AM   #14
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I tore my ACL completely last year. Also meniscus damage. My doctor (head of Ortho at a top medical school) is very anti-brace. He wanted me to get the leg as strong and flexible as possible before surgery. His theory is, the stronger the knee, the better the recovery.

Before surgery I did 2-3 months of physical therapy, and as much bike riding as I could handle. The injury prevented me from standing on the pedals, so I sat down when riding. I did up to 30 mile rides. No brace, but I was gentle on the knee, no running or any impact. No twisting. Stairs were a pain to navigate. Didn't even clip in to the pedals for the first month or so.

Once the inflammation was down and the knee stabilized, we did surgery. Cadaver graft. I had a full-leg brace for the first week, after that, the doc took it away. Day 10, I was back on the bike and I also did physical therapy 2-x/week for 3 months. I rode an 800 mile bike tour 4 months after surgery. It has now been 9 months and the doctor says I'm good to do anything - no brace. Thinking about skiing (gently) in a month or so to see how the knee holds. Still a little tepid about it, we'll see.

So, that's my experience. I'm very happy I did the surgery and I think the key (for me, at least) was the physical therapy before and after.
thank's for sharing , now I'm thinking I will have it repaired after the Palm Springs Ride in Jan . Good to hear from someone who waited
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Old 11-17-16, 11:40 AM   #15
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I have a torn ACL that I've had since 1973 - before the time they could repair them effectively. I'd encourage you to get it repaired as soon as possible. The longer you have wait to have it repaired, the longer your knee is vulnerable and you can more easily do other damage (been there too) that cannot be repaired as easily or is more permanent damage. I wish I'd had the option to get mine repaired "back in the day."

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Old 11-17-16, 12:02 PM   #16
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A couple days ago I had surgery to repair a torn meniscus--it is now a lot of pain very stiff leg but that is to be expected after arthroscopic surgery--hope it goes away quickly--I had it done 15 years ago or so but I forgot--will have to check my mileage calendars/logs!
Prior to the surgery it was difficult walkingv after a few steps, interestingly enough cycling was absolutely not a problem at all, so I made sure to add miles prior to the surgery!

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Old 11-17-16, 01:50 PM   #17
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A couple days ago I had surgery to repair a torn meniscus--it is now a lot of pain very stiff leg but that is to be expected after arthroscopic surgery--hope it goes away quickly--I had it done 15 years ago or so but I forgot--will have to check my mileage calendars/logs!
Prior to the surgery it was difficult walkingv after a few steps, interestingly enough cycling was absolutely not a problem at all, so I made sure to add miles prior to the surgery!
What was the meniscus damage type? That matters a lot with how fast it gets better and the ultimate outcome. I had one that was a tear from the edge. Had the surgery to repair it, spent three days on crutches and then could resume all activities except swimming (until the incisions healed).

J.
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Old 11-17-16, 08:03 PM   #18
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Custom brace for the best fit, but also $$. Insurance may not pay for it. Five orthos will give you five answers. The more you know, degree of ACL tear and where a meniscus tear is located all play factors. You can go without an ACL, but you have to monitor movement. If you aren't a tennis pro, then maybe you don't need surgery. Again, another deciding factor is your lifestyle. The brace is only there to limit movement, flexion/extension. It does nothing for side impact or twisting. ACL/PCL keep either your femur (thigh) from going over your tibial plateau, or keep the lower leg from going 'backwards.' You are pretty much good to go the moment they close as far as ACL. The time is retraining your muscles, reducing swelling, increasing strength and flexibility. If the surgeon is good and you rehab properly, you shouldn't need a brace - one side of thinking. The other side is the brace won't hurt being on and if it makes you feel safer, OK.

Whatever you decide, rehab, rehab, rehab and stretch. Pre-hab, a lot, if you decide to get surgery. It really helps. Time back to 'normal?' Depends how much swelling you have, how well your respond to therapy and how much your therapist pushes you. 5-9 months, up to a year rehab. I've seen a four month rehab back to 100% playing, but that was also a very fit soccer player.

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Old 11-17-16, 09:33 PM   #19
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Custom brace for the best fit, but also $$. Insurance may not pay for it. Five orthos will give you five answers. The more you know, degree of ACL tear and where a meniscus tear is located all play factors. You can go without an ACL, but you have to monitor movement. If you aren't a tennis pro, then maybe you don't need surgery. Again, another deciding factor is your lifestyle. The brace is only there to limit movement, flexion/extension. It does nothing for side impact or twisting. ACL/PCL keep either your femur (thigh) from going over your tibial plateau, or keep the lower leg from going 'backwards.' You are pretty much good to go the moment they close as far as ACL. The time is retraining your muscles, reducing swelling, increasing strength and flexibility. If the surgeon is good and you rehab properly, you shouldn't need a brace - one side of thinking. The other side is the brace won't hurt being on and if it makes you feel safer, OK.

Whatever you decide, rehab, rehab, rehab and stretch. Pre-hab, a lot, if you decide to get surgery. It really helps. Time back to 'normal?' Depends how much swelling you have, how well your respond to therapy and how much your therapist pushes you. 5-9 months, up to a year rehab. I've seen a four month rehab back to 100% playing, but that was also a very fit soccer player.

My surgeon told me that the results from those with a brace compared to those without is about the same and that the current thinking is the usually a brace is no longer required after reconstruction. That said, she was amazed at the condition of my meniscus and knee structures after 40 years of religiously wearing a brace (and wearing it correctly). She described my knee as "pristine" but just without an ACL. As a "coper" she told me to just keep doing whatever I was doing because it was working pretty well.

While not conclusive, I think it does speak well to wearing a brace properly, having a high quality one that fits perfectly and wearing it religiously. I also think the same thing would apply post surgical for additional protection. That's 40 years of downhill skiing at a high level including racing, playing competitive volleyball at a high level (how i injured it) and a variety of other sports. Having looked at others using braces they seem to me like they are improperly applied, straps are too loose and often it looks to me like the fit is off. There is a lot of user care needed to wear one properly so that it is effective.

I would certainly not advocate that course of treatment for someone that had a new tear. If I were a candidate for reconstruction, I'd get it done as soon as I could before I did other damage to my knee. The only reason I went without was that surgery at the time was not so great. Results were kind of hit or miss at best and it was 8 months to a year on crutches. I'd say I've been pretty lucky despite the care I've taken.

J.
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Old 11-18-16, 12:55 PM   #20
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The brace is only there to limit movement, flexion/extension. It does nothing for side impact or twisting. ACL/PCL keep either your femur (thigh) from going over your tibial plateau, or keep the lower leg from going 'backwards.'
This is simply untrue. You need to educate yourself lest you continue to post this unhelpful misinformation.
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Old 11-18-16, 07:13 PM   #21
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What was the meniscus damage type? That matters a lot with how fast it gets better and the ultimate outcome. I had one that was a tear from the edge. Had the surgery to repair it, spent three days on crutches and then could resume all activities except swimming (until the incisions healed).

J.
A partial meniscectomy will find out more when I see the Dr. later in a couple of days--down to one crutch--can't wait to get back on the bike--no running for sure!
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