Recovery from an ACL Tear



I personally have had trouble with an ACL injury. I tore my ACL 8 months ago on March 24th in the league championship game against Spanaway lake. When I first hit the turf after taking the hit I knew it was serious, however I didn’t think it would be season ending and possibly affect the rest of my career as an athlete. The journey to rehab was tough with the first step being getting my surgery, I was on the waitlist for 3 months before I got my surgery scheduled. My surgery was held on Friday June 4th at 7 am. During my recovery I’ve learned a lot about the Anterior Cruciate Ligament and have written this article to shed light on the injury and its commonness among athletes. The ACL is the tissue that connects the thigh bone to the shinbone at the knee. ACL injuries occur most often in sports which involve a lot of jumping or pivoting motion. High physical demanding sports like football, basketball and soccer are some of the most frequent areas in which athletes tear their ACL. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament is one of the two cruciate ligaments in your knee which aids in the stabilization of the joint. It Is the most frequently injured Ligament in the knee. The tissue in which makes up this ligament is a combination of connective tissue and collagenous fibers that come from the anteromedial aspect of the intercondylar region of the tibial plateau which then extends posterolateral to attach to the femoral condyle. The ACL and PCl make up what’s called a  anteromedial bundle and posterolateral bundle these two form the full components of the ACL AND PCL. The ACL and PCL when laid within the knee create a sort of a x pattern within the knee and prevents forward and backward motion of the tibia relative to the femur during flexion. The ACL Additionally provides rotational stability to the knee from the inner aspects it resists the knee from being completely turned which is why when this ligament is torn it is due to a force of motion going against the ligament’s protection. Twisting, stunting the knee, jamming the knee or jumping are all ways the ligament can be compromised. In the situation the Ligament is compromised a MRI will be required to concur the next steps of action for recovery. An ACL tear is graded on levels 3 being the highest 1 being the lowest, regardless of what grade. The tear will still need medical attention however the attention in which the injury will seek shall vary on severity. A grade 1 tear has sustained mild damage but is still fully capable of keeping the joint stable. Grade 2 is a partial tear and people who experience this will have problems with their stability. Grade 3 tear is the complete tear of the ligament , which requires surgery and an ACL Reconstruction; it is also the most common tear. When this injury occurs it is more likely you tear the whole ligament then bits and pieces of it. An ACL reconstruction is the surgery that rebuilds the knee, surgeons take the old ACL out and replace it with either a graph from a Cadaver, your Hamstring Tendon or your Patella Tendon. The surgeon will inform you about the procedure and how it will work. Once the graph has been chosen the Surgeon will drill holes in the bone to slide the ligament through. These screws are biodegradable and dispose of themselves with time. When it came down to making my choice I chose to use a cadaver tissue to try and protect the rest of my body. I didn’t want to try and heal something but in the process damage something else. Once the choice is made and the plan has been set the date of the surgery can be arranged. After the surgery you typically start PT usually at 2-4 weeks post-surgery. PT and the rehabilitation process typically lasts for 3 months or 12 weeks. The whole recovery process is typically 9-12 months. At about 6 months you can slowly start to ease back into running and mild training. The Graph at this point is beginning to be more familiar with the body and building and holding its place as strength continues to be implemented into the joint. I’m Currently at 5 months post-surgery and I’m already able to run, jump and train. I  still have About 6 months left in my recovery process but with each month it gets progressively easier. When I was younger I never pictured myself having this injury because growing up and seeing athletes deal with this injury made me think wow my career is over. However, as time went by technology has advanced and it’s safe to say that some surgeons are completely capable of making your new ACL stronger than your old one if you follow the guidelines. I personally feel as if I have a whole new knee. I still have some struggles but I can definitely feel it getting stronger and stronger as time continues to progress. If you happen to have an ACL tear understand it isn’t the end of the world it’s just a test to see how bad you really want to do what you say you want to do whether that’s becoming an athlete or just staying healthy it is a setback but it isn’t nothing that you can’t beat, it just takes time and dedication through the recovery process. I can’t wait to play football again this summer, and all the people watching me just be prepared for a show and a remarkable story. They told me why I couldn’t do it and I’m here to show why I can.