Friday, October 24, 2008

ACL Reconstruction...Seventeen Months Later

This is an important post for me to write because this was how my blog started. When I was six months post-op, I was searching to find out what my knee would be like at a year or longer. I could not find many first hand accounts past nine months. I wanted to see the big picture. I wanted to know more. Now that I am approaching the year and a half mark, I finally know why there is not much written. It is because there is not much to say...it is what it is.

There was a time that I felt defined by my injured knee. I longed to forget about it but each morning when I woke up my knee was holding me back. I searched the Internet looking for answers to my questions.

What will my knee be like in one year? Two?

Is karate changed forever? Will I need to stop training...forever?

What is in the incidence of re-injury?

How about the other knee?

What can I do to prevent re-injury?

So, what is my knee like today. Most days my knee is just a part of my leg. For those who experienced ACL reconstruction and recovery, this is a big deal! I have no pain or swelling during daily activities and full ROM. I try to go to the gym three (lately two) times a week to keep my knee healthy and strong. My knee functions pretty well during karate. There are a few movements that remind me that I once had knee surgery such as: kneeling longer than a few moments, jumping after a long workout and one-leg kneeling on my new ACL. I am cautious about flooring surfaces especially soft, mat-like flooring.

My knee has reached its potential and I accept its limitations.

Good luck to all those going through ACL reconstruction and recovery!

12 comments:

Jorge Morales-Santo Domingo said...

I suppose the real problem lies in the fact that you are an instructor, since you are the mirror in which a student sees him or herself. Although I've reached black belt, I've never had to be more than an assisting sempai. I'm 60 years old with more than 30 in Goju Ryu karate, and there are things that I can no longer do the "same", either due to injuries or just old age. But like a teacher once told me" whatever happens to you in karate, karate will cure or find a way to go around." Remember, the more that you cannot do externally, you must strive to do internally.
Good Luck!
Arigato,
Jorge Morales
http://memoriesofanidan.blogspot.com/

Michele said...

Jorge: Thank you for your comments. It sounds like you have a wise teacher. Teaching while recovering from knee surgery was difficult. I was not allowed to kick for six months. It forced me to "find a way around" and be more verbal during class. Thanks again!

Martial Arts Mom said...

I normally like to be able to identify with a blogger, but in this case, I'd like to just take yours and BBM's word for it. I have alot of knee pain but just due to arthritis and getting older in general. So, I can just imagine what the constant pain is like.

Michele said...

MAM: I am sorry to hear about your knee pain. The surgeon told me that I should expect to have arthritis in my knee someday. Arthritis runs in my family and I know that it can be extremely painful.

Hippy d I a N e said...

I am a 59 year old karate student and I have recently had a right TKR and things seem to be going slow in that I can't get the knee to move as much as I want it too. My flexion this week, on my own, was 100, but with a little pushing by my PT, I made it to 120; however, I can't just bend it to the 120 deg without help. My left knee moves just fine. My goal is to get it working better than it was so I can test for my 4th dan at the end of this year. Any exercise suggestions that may help?

Michele said...

Hippy d la Ne: Good luck with your TKR recovery. My best advice is to check with your PT for a list of exercises you can do at home. If you are reaching 120 degrees with assistance, it is probably just a matter of time before you are reaching it on your own. Knee surgery and recovery takes time and patience. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

anesha said...

Hi Nice Blog . I don't really know a lot about Knee or art, but that's just my 2 cents. Really great job though, Krudman! Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

May be a little late on this comment but I will put my two cents in.

I had ACL reconstruction last April (2008) and this would be my 1 year anniversary. It was a patellar graft and I can do full leg extentions now along with playing tennis, running and snow skiing. However, cross country running still leaves a feeling of stress in my knees. For running and snow skiing I had to retrain myself all over again to achieve proper form fully utilizing my repaired knee but I did it.

Is the pain in the front of the knee and you had a patellar graft? If so, it still may be the nerve endings still repairing themselves around the incision area and that the patellar ligament still isn't 100% (maybe still a little tingling sensation going on)?

Can you kneel down on the knee that had surgery and it doesn't give you any discomfort (aside from a weekend hamstring or patellar discomfort)?

The biggest thing for me while snow skiing and running was mental while the other half was focusing on proper form, espcially when snow skiing. I can imagine with Karate the same.

I do almost everything I did before my injury and I do still think about it in the back of my mind. I believe I always will.

One suggestion...takes things slow and easy. Focus on proper form and keep with your excercise routine.

My doctor told me that even for top athletes, it takes 2 years to FULLY recover if it was their first ACL Reconsctruction. If you had more than one ACL surgery on that knee the best it may ever get is 80%-90% of pre-injury strength.

Good Luck!!!

John

Michele said...

Hi John,

Thank you for stopping by my blog and congratulations on your one year ACL milestone. I agree with you that this injury is physical and mental. It sounds like you made an excellent recovery.

Thanks again,
Michele

jessanit said...

Dear Michele,
Thank you for a very thoughtful and sensitive blog.
I am the mother of a now 16 year old female who sustained an ACL tear in October 2008. She had surgical reconstruction, PT and now at 10 months post reconstruction, she is returning to the basketball court. Pre-injury, my daughter played soccer, basketball and ran track. She injured herr ACL in a soccer game and has now decided to concentrate on basketball which is her true love. Needless to say, as her mother, I am deeply concerned about re-injury and long term sequelae. There is debate as to whether a brace during sports offers any protection or stabilty. Do you routinely wear a brace when physically active? I know that you are not a physician and cannot make any recommendations but I find that the medical community, of which I am a part, offers no concrete advice. Thus, patients' experiences are of value.
The brace is expensive and I'm not sure if it's worth the investment when it has not been proven to be truly necessarry and offers no extra protection. My daughter's compliance with wearing it is anotherr issue!
Beverly

Michele said...

Hi Beverly,

Thank you for your kind words. I wish the best for your daughters ACL recovery and return to sports.

The surgeon wanted me to wear a functional brace during physical activity (karate, hiking) for one year after surgery. I wore the brace for about six months and then switched to a smaller brace on my own. I wore the small Breg Short Runner during sprarring and contact drills. Around nine months I stopped wearing the brace.

I know several people who went through ACL recontruction with no bracing. On the other hand, I know someone who is required to wear the brace forever due to the manner in which the ACL was torn.

I was not involved in a sport where there is running and cutting. I would think the brace would give support for sharp directional changes. I had a non-contact tear where I planted on a soft surface and twisted.

Good luck to you both! As a fellow Mom....I know what it is like to worry.

Smkmystic said...

Hi Michelle:

I am so glad to come across your blog. Most of the ACL stories are from other sports (soccer, ski, etc.). I torn my ACL a month ago during practice. I do 3 martial arts & practice about 3 hr. daily. It has been hard for me to slow down. I am going to have ACL reconstruction on April 1. It seems that you are able to go back to martial arts full time which is my goal in 6 months. I'll be reading your blog after my surgery. Thanks.