31 May 2009

Knocking Some Dust Off The Blog With Another Knee Update

Gosh, ever since I got into Twitter and Facebook (curse you, parents, brother, classmates, and friends! :) ), this old blog just isn't what it once was. Massive catching up needs to happen, but I'll get to what I can get to. Might have to do some beer blogging again, especially if the Highland Pub here in Gresham keeps coming out with kickass stuff on nitro, like the Oatmeal Stout and Vanilla Gorilla Porter a few weeks back. Damn good stuff. Then there's the goodies you can get on tap at 4th Street Brewing (used to be Main Street Ale House). Yum.

Anyway, I got to looking through the comments from previous posts and noticed this:

Dyanne said...

Hi--I am having ACL reconstruction in June, and I have been scouring the Internet looking for information. I found your blog and wondered if you would mind sharing more information about your surgical decisions and your recovery process. Did you go with the patellar tendon, the hamstring tendon, or the cadaver tissue? How much range of motion do you have now? What is your predicted comeback percentage? (80 percent? 100 percent?) I am a very active high school English teacher and professional dancer/co-director for an NBA team. I am worried about being able to dance 100% after this surgery. Not that I have a choice--I certainly can't dance now. I have a sprained MCL, sprained LCL, torn ACL, torn meniscus and a bone bruise. I am not a happy camper...

Hopefully, my responses will be helpful, so here goes:

Regarding surgical decisions - I went with the hamstring harvest/graft. I spoke at some length with my brother, who had an ACL repair done about 3 weeks before I even injured mine, and he recommended the cadaver tissue, given his discussion with his orthopod. I wanted to get my own recommendation from my orthopod, since he'd done the 'scope job on my shoulder in 2008 and I felt I could trust his judgment. He recommended the hamstring graft, citing success rates and the issues surrounding rejection/infection and other risks with cadaverous tissue versus my own tissue. In talking with several other ski patrollers who have had ACL repairs, the recommendations seem split right down the middle as to one over the other, and everyone I've talked to so far has been pleased with their repair. So it's probably a toss-up, but my recommendation is to find an orthopedic surgeon who you trust and go with whatever procedure he/she has most experience doing.

Regarding range-of-motion - I can reach 135 degrees of flexion on my own as of the last measurement in my 7th week post-op (last week). As for comeback percentage, all I know is the doc says I will be able to resume skiing when the season starts, but he wants me in a brace for the first season back. I figure if I can ski, I'll be able to resume pretty much all activities unrestricted.

Regarding recovery - I was given some PT exercises to do starting just a few days post-op, nothing more than setting the quad muscles and bending the knee. I started full-on PT about 2 weeks post-op, and that consisted in the beginning of ROM exercises and stretching, and have since moved more towards strengthening. I was on crutches until a month post-op, and my doc said I could ditch the brace at week 6. His recommendation was to wear it whenever I felt I needed to protect the knee, but generally I didn't need it anymore at that point. I've been going to PT sessions twice a week, and doing take-home exercises daily, most of which are focused on strengthening and proprioception at this point.

Regarding the rest of the comment - Sounds like your injury was quite a bit more severe than mine - I tore the ACL, damaged my lateral meniscus, had a noticeable bone bruise, but the damage to the MCL and LCL wasn't significant. The latter bit was somewhat of a surprise to me, given how it happened, but I'm thankful I didn't have what my PT referred to as "the sad trifecta" of ACL, MCL, and meniscus/menisci.

I hope your surgery goes well and best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.

In other news, the Ski Patrol awards banquet was last night. We went, and had a decent time. Both of us weren't feeling particularly well, and the price of drinks didn't go a long way towards improving that. The prime rib was excellent, though. I got to see a lot of people and give them the knee update face-to-face, catch up with a couple of the guys who helped me that fateful 12th day (one of whom was coming off a knee repair this past season), and talk to an old sled coach who is now the Patrol president about his shoulder surgery. The best part was seeing some of the newbies I'd coached get their crosses. I think that's what will keep me coming back to the banquet. It certainly won't be the price of the drinks.

I was given a certificate of appreciation for sled-coaching, even though my season was cut short by the knee injury. I was absolutely shocked to get another Honorable Mention for the Barney McNab Hill Patroller of the Year award. I'm flattered and honored, of course, but very surprised. Unfortunately, we both were feeling kinda crappy, so we bounced early.


brando said...

I'm getting jazzed about the beer talk. I got just a teaser in this post. More Beerz dude.

English said...

Thanks so much for the information! Sorry it took me two years to get back to you... life intervened in my blog tracking. :-/ Glad you are still here on the Net.

I went with the cadaver graft, and all is well. I am thrilled that the surgery and recovery periods are behind me, but I have a slight (lingering) fear about pushing the knee too hard. The worst part was being on crutches for a month. I NEVER want to go through that again! (I wimp out a little on certain moves when it comes to twisting my knee or landing on it hard.)

My doctor and PT therapist were fabulous, so that was a blessing. Thanks again for sharing your experience. It made me less anxious about my surgery. :-)