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Injuries Chronic & Acute

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Old 11-23-2006, 06:23 AM   #1
Chris Williams
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Anyone out there know if it is possible to muscle up the leg to the extent that it is possible to lead an active lifestyle (particularly skiing, hiking, biking) without an ACL?

The reason I ask is because mine is currently 80% torn, (surgeon has just been in there to trim the meniscus). I had the same ACL rebuilt 5 yrs ago and don't know if i can face another long rehab. It would also be the 3rd op on the knee, which starts to sound like a lot for a 33 yr old...i still want to be active at 60!

At the moment the knee is "loose" but not unstable, so hopefully if i pack on the muscle, i can manage with what little ligament is left. But I just want to know whether i have any other options other than surgery if & when the weakened ligament eventually gives way.

Thx for the advice,

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Old 11-23-2006, 02:18 PM   #2
Tom Kobzina
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You need to strengthen the muscles that support the joint.

Also, consider using pulsed ultrasound to accelerate the healing process. I used it with good results to help heal a torn lateral collateral ligament.

Here is one reference on the use of therapeutic ultrasound:

Your fascial "guy wires" are probably imbalanced. As a test, try using a small (6cm diameter) high bounce rubber ball to loosen the fascia on the bottom of your foot. Roll the ball front to back in the center and on each side of the foot until the pain is considerably abated. Aim for a pain level of 7 on a pain scale of 1-10. Your knee pain should be much relieved. The fascial network concept is superbly explained by Tom Myers in "Anatomy Trains".

Consider having a session with a Structural Integrator. Two sites that list local structural integrators are worth checking out:

1)KMI, is Tom Myers site:

2)A simialr site is:

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Old 11-26-2006, 09:41 PM   #3
Marc Moffett
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Chris, I am no expert but here is my personal experience.

I went for about 20 years without an ACL. I led a very active lifestyle and didn't have any serious problems. However, I would routinely re-injure my knee (about once a year or so) and really couldn't go all out in sports like basketball. In the end, I think I was lucky not to damage the cartilage and meniscus. I finally had surgery this summer. All those years w/out an ACL made the recovery go much more quickly. However, I wouldn't recommend going long without a solid ACL. Get your knee as strong as you can and then just get it fixed.

My 2cents.
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Old 11-27-2006, 04:33 AM   #4
Chris Williams
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Thx for the feedback.

Tom, I've found a local Dr that does the electrotherapy, so will try that for the healing process. But I'm not sure if we have "structural integrators" in Switzerland.

Marc, I'm really interested in personal experiences re ACLs. That is a good point about the lack of ACL possibly leading to further damage. I'll ask my surgeon about it, as i'm seeing him tonight. Yes, I guess longer term rebuilding the ligament may have be the way to go.

Anyone out there had the same ACL rebuilt twice? Is the second time worse/ longer rehab/ weaker etc?

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Old 11-27-2006, 03:12 PM   #5
Carl Herzog
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I, too, went for a long time with a near useless ACL and my experience was pretty much the same as Marc's. Biking and hiking were no problem, skiing was OK but there is an increased chance of injury. Court sports were always trouble.

It's easy to understand why you don't want to do the rehab again. Additional muscle may help but realistically the rebuild is probably the only way you are going to get close to full usage.

Two rebuilds? One was enough to convince me to give up volleyball, basketball and the like.
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Old 11-30-2006, 04:22 PM   #6
Steven Becker
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I had my acl reconstructed 12 weeks ago. everything is much improved, but when I went to doc today he said my strength is unequal in legs, specifically quads and hamstrings ( he measures a few inches up form knee). Anyone have any ideas how to get balance back? I seem to be increasing both legs proportionatly. thanks
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Old 12-11-2006, 06:21 AM   #7
Chris Williams
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Steven, sorry to take so long to reply, particularly as it is your first post. Folks here normally pretty good at replying, but maybe you should have started a new thread to get a quicker response.

I'd recommend to continue as you've been doing, the difference will lessen over time. You could do things like one-leg squats or leg presses if you are really concerned about it.

Good luck
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Old 12-13-2006, 10:41 PM   #8
Ron Haskins
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Steven, I had ACL reconstruction in 1984 and my quads and lower leg stayed atrophied until just recently. I worked on it for years through traditional workouts but not until I learned how to do squats correctly as well as the other exercises in CrossFit was there any change. I'd bet you'll experience a quick recovery. BTW, I have been told my reconstructed ACL is now much stronger than my other.

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Old 12-17-2006, 03:35 PM   #9
Carrie Klumpar
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Well, pshaw, at 12 weeks out, your leg strength should be unequal. I mean, duh, you just had a major surgery on one of them! (And what the doc measured anyway was size, not strength.) And if you had a hamstring graft, it's gonna take a while to get that fully back.

Patience and CrossFit should take care of you. Squats, deadlifts, back extensions--all the usual stuff. Just work into the intensity and loads gradually. Worked for me. (Twice.)

Oh yeah--and, of course, eat well.
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