Torn ACL question

KDXfile

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#1
I've been riding and racing offroad since '98 and up until last Sunday I've been luckily injury free. I tore my ACL and sprained the MCL at a Harescramble.
The Doctor suggests a "conservative approach" considering my age (49) and activities and not having it fixed.

My question is how many dirt bikers have not done the surgery and been able to ride without the ACL?
 

James

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#2
I think you'll be able to ride without it longer if you get a brace.

I tried riding without the ACL for 6 months and landing jumps was killing me until I got a knee brace. I had some minor discomfort after riding with the brace, but I wasn't respraining the other ligaments all of the time. Doctor said my discomfort was the knee not tracking properly and that would eventually lead to total knee replacement once all of the cartilidge wore away.

I just got mine fixed two months ago and I am not allowed to ride so I don't know for sure if the fix was the way to go yet. I was having such success with the brace that the surgery really came down to the fact that my insurance wasn't going to be as good this year and I figured now was the best time economically.
 

Smit-Dog

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#3
I know next to nothing about ACLs, but I would at the very least get a 2nd and perhaps 3rd opinion from doctors who specialize in sports-related injuries.

I have to imagine that the ACL is there for a pretty darn good reason, and letting it go will only lead to further damage to the joint. You'd only be prolonging the inevitable, along with the potential for even more damage.

Tell your doc that you'll take up golf when you can no longer throw a leg over a bike!
 

smarttoys

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#4
I rode MX for about 9 years without an ACL. It really tore up my cartilidge over the years. I had my ACL reconstructed about 3 years ago and it made a big difference in my comfort when riding. Much less pain on big jump landings. I had my same knee scoped a little over a year ago to clean up some more cartilidge and it doesn't feel too bad now. I would suggest getting the ACL reconstruction surgery if you want to stay active.

The opinion of a lot of doctors seems to be to just live without the ACL and modify your activities and be less active. Sounds like a bad idea in my opinion.
 
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#5
I agree...bad idea to leave it if your active. I had the doctor tell me the same thing and I was only 20. Not only damaging other stuff but also increasing the likelyhood of severe arthritis is enuff motivation to get the surgery. PLus you won't have to second guess everything you do when not wearing the brace cause your knee will pop out again if you remain active.
 

James

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#6
Originally posted by SpectraSVT
PLus you won't have to second guess everything you do when not wearing the brace cause your knee will pop out again if you remain active.
That's another good point that I forgot to mention. I had been curled up in the bed of my truck crying more than once because my knee popped while loading the bike.
 

KDXfile

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#7
Thanks for the replies; keep em coming.
I went to a doctor who's an ACL specialist at a sports med center that does a lot of that surgery. He says I should give up skiing which isn't a problem since I only go once a year. I don't do MX, jog or do any other sports activities that require pivoting movement of the knee.
I live for dirt biking though. I'll probably do PT and let it heal for now and see how things go. If it starts poping out, I quess it'll have to be fixed.
 
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#8
I have been using chondroitin, glucosamine and msm to promote cartilage regeneration. It has started helping my back already, after just a couple weeks. Anyone use these for knees?
 

oldguy

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#9
I blew the ACL and MCL when I was 48 at DW02. The Dr said at my age he was recomending just leaving it and adjusting. I made it clear even tho I am old and fat I did not live (or plan to) a sedantary life. I refused to give up dirtbikes, skiing, or hunting (which for me often entails at least 5 miles of walking in swamps). He then agreed the only thing to do was replace them.
I am glad I did
 

Smit-Dog

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#10
Originally posted by KDXfile
... I went to a doctor who's an ACL specialist at a sports med center that does a lot of that surgery. He says I should give up skiing which isn't a problem since I only go once a year.
Get another doctor who will look out for your best interests. Give up skiing? What's next? What if you decide 5 years down the road that you really want to get into skiing, but decide against it because of your bum knee?

Don't let any doc lead you down that path. What's the downside? 9 months of rehab? Versus a bad knee the rest of your life... :|
 

James

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#11
Originally posted by Smit-Dog
What's the downside? 9 months of rehab? Versus a bad knee the rest of your life... :|
Beyond the normal risks of surgery, the possible downside is that the graft doesn't hold, gets loose, or re-tears. That is why I commented earlier that I wasn't sure if the fix was the way to go yet. If it holds, then it was the best thing ever. If not, then I am just as bad off as before, plus the downtime, expense, and one less hamstring.

The rehab, in my opinion, has been a breeze. I will be at two months on 1/17 and I am almost back to normal as far as day to day stuff. Some occassional stiffness and a limp here or there but great overall. I know my leg isn't strong enough for serious riding yet, but I don't think it is far away.

Even though I got mine fixed, I am not going skiing.
 
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#12
Here is mine, for what it is worth. The main determining factor should be how loose the knee is afterwards. I do not have a left ACL , but it never pops out because of all the scar tissue in the knee. ( according to my ortho guy). I wear a brace on that knee anyhow, of course, but I broke the condial off the femur and did some meniscus damage at the same time. With the surgical intervention, the scar tissue keeps the knee fairly tight for not having an ACL. But, my case is not typical. If, after a semi recovery the knee pops out, or you find it real hard to wallk down stairs, I would say fix it. Otherwise ?? Who knows - the potential for more damage is increased alot if that knee is not within certain "slop" requirements".
 

NVR FNSH

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#13
Do a search on my user name here and on thumpertalk and you'll find lot's of ACL threads. I had mine done - patellar graft - in Nov '99 and I ride and ski w/o any problems. I was a month shy of my 30th b-day when I had surgery.

Brian
 

altagirl

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#14
I'd get a second opinion. And make sure you doctor understands that you plan to stay active too - sometimes they just look at your age and figure you won't be doing any really knee-intensive sports anyway. It took a year from injury to get my knee reconstructed (Army red tape...) and I did cause more damage during that time. I could still ski and run and everything, but once in a while it would give out - resulting in meniscus damage.

I'd say that unless you're planning on becoming a full-time couch potato, or you're one of the very rare people who can function well with no ACL and not tear their knee to shreds in the process - you need a completely functional knee and it's worth the pain and rehab effort to get it really fixed.
 
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#15
yz250-effer said:
The main determining factor should be how loose the knee is afterwards. I do not have a left ACL....
The man speaks words of wisdom.

Whatever you do though, get yourself some decent braces to keep the good knee good, and keep the bad one from getting worse.
I've had a good dozen arthroscopies with a reconstruction thrown in for good measure - none of this would have been needed if I had BRACES from the start!!!

Good Luck, & tell anyone that says you should become one of life's spectators to stop getting hurt in the future to take a running jump.....

Muzza