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When human ligaments tear... wrote:

Hi all,

> This past week skiing I tore my right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL--the
> ligament going over the knee and attaching the tibia to the femur).

I got this in 1987, playing handball. My ligament was torn off the bone!

> Doctors prognosis is three weeks on crutches, two months before any light
> riding.
> I'm beginning rehab, which if I am aggressive with it, should put me in the
> saddle sooner.  Surgery is in my future as this is non-regenerative and I am
> way too young to be popping my knee out every whipstitch.

The doctors "repaired" it, this means they stuck it to the bone after one week.
They needed more than four hours for that. After that, I stayed in hospital for
six weeks with my leg fixed. Then I got a cast for the whole leg for another
eight weeks. During that time I was allowed to gradually bring more weight on
that leg as I was also after the removal of the cast. It took me more than three
months from the accident until I was allowed to bend my leg under supervision of
a trainer. It took me another half year to bend my leg to what is now the maximum
for me - ~6 inches from the heel to the butt! Before the accident I was
physically fit and able to do the splits.

> I did this less than a week ago and I can already walk without crutches.  I
> am thinking perhaps I had the worst case scenario painted for me.  Has anyone
> else experienced this type of ligament tear, and how long did it take before
> your knee was strong enough to ride and condition?  Am I in for big problems
> if I try to put this surgery off till the fall?  Thanks for any help.
> Kristi in Maryland

As I wrote above, the operation was about one week after the accident. At that
time I had no pain and I could move the leg without problems. But the doc's were
not sure about what happend and took a look into the knee and then "repaired" it.
This is 13 years ago know and I had not been at a special sports hospital for
that. In these days I am quite sure the surgery is able to do more for your
health. As another mail said, they are taking other (better?) materials as kind
of spare parts and you have better physical rehabilitation now.
I do have real problems with the knee as I am not able to bend it like the othe
one as well as it hurts from time to time. I.e. last weekend during my training
sessions I had to get on the horse from the wrong side because I couldn't use my
left leg for this. In general, riding seems to be good for my knee. I guess the
constant small movements when trotting have a positive effect on the knee. I
started cycling on a hometrainer to get me in shape (I can train myself while
watching TV!!!) and have some problems till then.
During competition, jogging alongside Ninja (up- and downhill) is helpful, too -
not just for me, but also for Ninja.

In your case, Kristi, I would follow Laura's advice and have a look for some
specialists. Ask two or more of them and then decide on yourself. Think about
what may be in 10 or 20 years, considering later damage in the knee.

Hope this helps,

Wolfgang + Ninja 11

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