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ACL Reconstruction failed?! 7 Months in, PAIN, is the hinder for progression - HELP

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Old 01-28-2013, 07:57 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1
SamACL HB User
Unhappy ACL Reconstruction failed?! 7 Months in, PAIN, is the hinder for progression - HELP

Hello, everyone. I'm going to try to keep this as short as possible, but will probably fail and please excuse my rants...
I have read lots of threads in this forum and all over the internet, but my English isn't that great so it's hard for me to understand a lot of what is being said, so I'm giving it a try by making my own thread.

In 12 days I am officially 7 months post-ACL reconstruction using the the patellar tendon . I have been doing PT all the time every since, about 2-3 times per week.

In my honest opinion, I feel like my progress has been decent, my muscles are recovering, although I still got a long way to get my left leg to get the same amount of size of muscles compared to the right. It looks really freakish and I'm doing everything to get it to my normal size...

However, there seems to be ONE problem stopping me from progressing. I haven't really done any good progress in 2-3 months now and I'm getting depressed again.

The problem is PAIN!!!!

No matter what, there is pain at both top and bottom end where my patellar graft sat before. There's also a worse pain on the right side of the top patellar graft position. It's preventing me from doing about everything. I can't even bend my knee slightly without having the sharp pain of a knife stabbing my knee.
I also suffer some pain that is most like some shinsplints, but it's not as bad as the above.

I managed to do 440 lbs on the leg press machine 15x3, which tells me that my strength is getting there, even though most of it came from my right leg, but it gave me a lot of pain days after and I haven't tried doing it again.

Today, after almost 1 year of no sports besides bodybuilding, I played my first soccer "match" in my gym class, lasted around 30 mins with 1 break. I felt like it was about time I started to do some real activity and I miss soccer so much and my PT said I should really give it a go...

To sum it up, it went just OK. I tried not to get in contact with people, and only pass and move with the ball.

However, hours after, I'm sitting here with so much pain in the knee everywhere. It feels like the knee is useless. I do understand that it's probably just iritated and swollen, but again, when it goes away, I still have so much pain preventing me from getting new progress...

This injury has almost ruiend my life as a then 18 year old and now 19. I wanted to play in top division soccer (played since I was 5 and I'm still really good), but my dreams were shattered. I then decided to get into the military soon, but I probably won't get it because my knee can't take it. I don't want a job in an office, I want a physical demanding job, because I am a sportsperson... without sports, I feel like nothing.

I am seriously having dreams every week ever since my injury about me playing soccer because it's a part of me, a part of me soul...

I'm thinking about it every day, when my knee can get back to normal so I can feel like myself. I haven't really felt like myself ever since April 2012 when I got tackeled... I just want to get back to the old me - play soccer and all other sports without worrying about landing wrong slightly wrong, without worrying about contact sports, without getting pain just because I press a weight, etc. I'm getting bored of bodybuilding.

I just don't know what to do anymore. I feel like my PT classes is a waste of time. All I do is warm up, do some exercises where he uses force against my knee and I push, then he puts on some electricity thing. That's it, ever since I started there in September.

Please help me what to do... I have all different thoughts popping up every day like I never should've done the surgery, I never should've used the patellar graft, etc. I also get even more depressed reading about people getting back to sports at 6 months for full and people not experiencing much pain after 2 months when this is what is hindering me from EVERYTHING.

I've told my PT it too, that the pain is what is hindering me, but he doesn't really say much... He just says it takes time, but if the progress goes the same way, I will have the same pain in another 6 months. I can just feel it...

I am starting to wonder if something went wrong in the surgery, but I had a recent MRI scan which showed nothing else than a small bakers cyst and some inflammation...

Here's a little list of some stuff I CAN'T do:

* Jump high on left leg
* Squat with weight
* Stand on one leg bending *gives me great pain*
* leg extensions

Wow, the post got longer than I thought and I think it got a bit messy.. but I'm really writing this from my heart.

I don't know if anyone wants to read my long post, but I really hope someone has some nice answers and advices and if anyone has questions, please ask them, I will answer as honest as I can. Also if I was unclear in some parts, please ask so I can make it clearer

Thank you very much for reading.

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Old 03-18-2013, 06:05 AM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 2
Smile Re: ACL Reconstruction failed?! 7 Months in, PAIN, is the hinder for progression - HE

Hi Sam,

You sound so upset, I feel bad for you as I know how frustrating going from highly active to inactive is. Have you thought about easing off with the pt for a while to allow your inflammation to settle? You may be prolonging your return to full sport by doing too much too early. Inflammation and pain stops the body from healing. I would try and back off a bit and let your body heal properly THEN strengthen it. Once it's healed it really won't take too long, muscle memory is an amazing thing.

I've heard that the patella graft can often cause a lot of pain behind the knee cap, more so than other grafts. I chose to have a hamstring graft so am dealing with building up my hammy again as well as my knee. I'm only at 8 weeks though and am not doing lots of PT. I see a Physio once every two weeks to monitor my progress and do exercises at home, the pool and lots of pilates reformer exercises. I'm doing ok, full extension and flexion, up and down stairs ok and good rom on a stationary bike and I strongly recommend the use of pilates reformer in your rehab when supervised properly.

It sounds like your PT is getting money for nothing.sorry to say, but I'd look at getting a new one. A good one would NOT have you coming back doing same thing all the time.

Massage has helped me and my Physio will only see me to give me the next set of exercises and give my calf and hammy massage and acupuncture when it gets really sore and tight.

You have so many years ahead of you to enjoy lots of sport. I'm way older than you and do half ironman comps and triathlons and I know even older people in their 50s who are amazing athletes! So please don't get disheartened, take it easy, let your body heal - you have plenty of time left to enjoy sport again. Honest.

Try and look at the positives and I hope you feel better soon.

Last edited by mod85; 03-18-2013 at 09:41 AM.

Old 03-18-2013, 06:26 AM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 2
Re: ACL Reconstruction failed?! 7 Months in, PAIN, is the hinder for progression - HE

Change your PT. you maybe need to rest for a while and let your inflammation ease off, only then can you start to heal properly.
Patella grafts can often cause knee pain behind knee cap, I had a hamstring recon so have to rehab that too. Massage and Pilates have worked for me and others I know, I have only ever seen Physio once every two weeks for new exercises and also some massage on my calf muscle which gets very tight.

Don't get too depressed, I really think you need to reduce the inflammation as that will be stopping any progression. You will get back into sport for sure! I know many athletes in their 40s and 50s who are fitter than most 20 yr olds!

Once your inflammation has gone down start training again and see how it feels. If still no good get another MRI done or a second opinion.

Good luck!

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acl rehab, failed, month, pain

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