ACL Tear and Post Care: A Personal Injury Story
By: Sandra Bojic
It wasn’t until the second MRI that the correct diagnosis was made; a stretched out ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and a bucket-handle tear of the medial meniscus, both on the right knee. I could support the claim that meniscus tears are most often related to contact sport injuries. Having been playing basketball, there was an abundance of pivoting, quick turns and vertical jumping that all put stress on my knee. Unfortunately, there was no instance of a pop or moment of impact in which I just “knew” as most stories go. At some point my knee and hamstring started feeling sore and uncomfortable. The first physician I went to see had told me that I had a strain of my TFL muscle, in which runs down the side of the leg starting at the hip. When the problem wasn’t getting better but rather worse, we turned to MRIs’. Finally, the true answer was revealed of a torn meniscus and stretched ACL. Tearing the meniscus is tearing the cartilage that helps stabilize the knee joint. Without the meniscus it is simply bone rubbing onto bone. As a result, both injured areas of the knee had to be replaced.
My knee was repaired using a hamstring grafting technique. As for the meniscus, it was trimmed and stapled back in place. The other option for repair of the meniscus was to remove it entirely but we did not want to risk early onset arthritis. Surgery took place in downtown Seattle at the Swedish Hospital. It was the first week after surgery that I found myself in an abundance of pain. I even debated at times going to use the restroom or not for dreading trying to move my knee. However, just a month after surgery I was back to being able to apply weight onto the knee completely. Physical therapy initially lasted 4 months but I found myself back for an additional two months in order to gain the speed and agility required for playing basketball and participating in dive. A year post surgery, I was back to playing the sport I love.
Just two years’ prior, my twin sister had undergone the same injury and surgery. However, hers was less extensive as her meniscus was slightly torn and therefore simply trimmed for repair. This yielded a faster recovery period, just six months until full release. Women and young girls in particular are at a greater risk for injuring and tearing their ACLs. This is due to a variety of factors, seeing as no simple explanation or cause has been discovered.
Lilly Physical Therapy sees a multitude of patients with all types of knee injuries including ACL, meniscus, patella, and patellar fat pad impingement issues. Injuries like my sister’s and mine are happening every day and Lilly Physical Therapy fights to help stop this growing epidemic. This is through sport injury prevention programs, specified women’s health, and extensive knowledge and treatment. They are there to get your body back to doing daily activities and spending more time pain free!