View Full Version : Shameless plea for moral support

Steve W
03-19-2004, 16:17
I have recently been the victim of an unfortunate skiing accident that resulted in me being the proud owner of a torn anterior cruciate ligament. I'm scheduled for reconstructive surgery in a few weeks. This has obviously put any hiking plans that I had on hold for some time. I know that this is a fairly common injury, so I would love to hear from anyone out there who had to deal with this. How long did it take till you were able to get back out hiking? Were there any particular excercises that you did that were more helpful than others? Any information would be greatly appreciated. I'm at the angry / depressed stage right now and I would love to hear about someone's success story.

03-19-2004, 18:26
I torn mine in college skiing. I had the surgery in, uh, 1993 or so... The doctor thought that it was just a small tear. It was shreaded. So, he thought that he would try to reattach it "but I don't think that it will work too well" What a waste of time and money and pain! It didn't work worth a damn! If you are getting it done in Mass, let me know, and I will tell you not to use this guy. Then, he offered NO physical therapy. Took me over 3 months before I was even close to normal.

Then I really tear up my knee again. I had GREAT insurance as a grad student, so I went to the Sports Med guy (University of Florida) and he is AMAZING! So, he takes some of my hamstring (I definitely recommend that over a patella graft!) and within less than an week I am off the crutches, and walking normal. I would say in less than a month I am pain free.

One word of warning though - it still isn't healed at that point. The graft that they put in there actually dies, and then the ligament regrows, using the dead substrait as a base. I think you can also use cadaver ligaments, which would speed your heal time. Most of the healing pain was related to the removal of the graft. Anyway, since it isn't healed, it is actually at the weekest point somewhere at a month out. It isn't back to 90% or so until about a year, so you don't want to stress it! But careful hiking shouldn't do that!

The thing that is going to get you back on your feet that fastest is physical training! That's what did it for me. The doc should send you to one (if he doesn't, then he really isn't much of a doctor - he's just in it to do the surgery and really isn't interested in YOUR recovery). They will reach you all the stretches and strengthening exercises you need. DO THEM! Especially the stretches!

Anyway, I hike almost pain free. I did some damage to the cartilage and it does swell up for a few days when I first start exercising again after a long period of slothfulness. I am missing a dime size amount at the bottom and the doc said it might end up with arthritis. Nothing yet at 30. And I am currently training for a marathon (ran 15 last weekend, 32 miles total for the week, with a 16 mile run coming up this weekend again)

You will be FINE. You will be hiking before the summer!

Gravity man

03-19-2004, 18:27
BTW I refused to ski the winter before my thruhike attempt, and we stopped skiing this winter while training for the marathon. It just isn't worth the chance of injury. We probably won't ski next winter either before our 2005 thru...

Steve W
03-22-2004, 15:54
Thanks for the reply. It's good to hear from someone who dealt with this and did well. Every bit of good news like that makes me a little bit better. I never had any doubt that I would get out hiking again (skiing too), it was just a question of when.

03-22-2004, 18:34
Grav hit it right on the head.
I have been in this field for a while.
Get a surgeon who has definitive ACL Protocol. Ask to see it.
Insist that he use a physical therapist Certified in Sports Medicine. With aggressive (depending on the degree of the injury and time between injury and repair) therapy, you can have surgery in spring and still hit the AT and see the autumn colors.

Gravity, I'm very familiar with most MA docs, PM me and clue me in, I can probably confirm and or refer you to someone else in the area of noted skill.

Barry from Townsend