Knee injury, torn ACL

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Knee injury, torn ACL

Postby Onlyino » Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:43 pm

Hello,

This is my 1st post but I have been lurking in the background for a while.

I initially tore my ACL in 2003 and opted at that time not to have surgery. I know it was probably not the wisest decision, but the human body is a magnificent thing that is capable of amazing things, and I have functioned at a very high level, doing many different athletic activities and training in Shorin Ryu Karatedo,(would have preferred a Chinese martial art, but nothing of this sort is available where I live) without any discomfort or serious problems until........

About 1 month ago doing a routine I have done 100's of times, I landed wrong and POP, my knee gave out. I went to see a specialist in my area and once again they confirmed my ACL was torn and recommended surgery. How I was able to function at the level I have for 5 years even perplexed the doctors. Now, I am leaning towards the surgery but can not get it for a while, possibly 2-3 months.

As I do enjoy my karate training, it is not exactly what I am looking for, but learning something from a good teacher is better that learning nothing at all. I am an avid reader, and having recently discovered this web site, thankfully, I have purchased a few books and dvd's(The Essence of Taiji Qigong, and Taijiquan, Classical Yang Style) which I have thoroughly enjoyed and learned much from. I know there is no substitute for a good teacher, but as I said previously, there are none in my area in this Chinese style, at least not that I know of.

Now my main questions are, is there anything that can be recommended to me to train in now, before my surgery, and after as well. I have not gone back to my karate since something as basic as sitting in seiza is really uncomfortable on my knee. I am still training in light activities that do not involve a lot of torque on my knee and do train a little every day.

I know this is very long but I wanted to get my thoughts out, any replies would be appreciated.
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Postby Yatish Parmar » Wed Aug 06, 2008 2:56 am

when your arms are injured train the legs, when your legs and injured train the arms. You can do speed training, coiling, qigong, finger strength...
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Postby lilman » Wed Aug 06, 2008 5:08 am

What I would suggest wether or not you decide to go through with the surgery...

I actually had a knee injury before too. It wasnt a torn ACL but it was Femoral Patella Pain Syndrome, or Runner's Knee. It got so bad I couldnt even stand sometimes. Through daily practice of what my old taiji teacher called taiji, and staying off my knees as much as possible, I was able to get healed. His form was a simple form, he called it the 48 movement form, but it wasnt, it wasnt a real form at all... Some movements were similar to 48 but it wasnt. The point is practicing the form at 1 constant hieght, and relaxed as possible. If you want to start Taiji I would wait till after the surgery and go with the 24 movement form instead of the 108. Dr. Yang has a video with Grand Master Shouyu Liang, and its a simple form and should help, As long as you keep a constant hieght, keep your eyes up, never look down when doing the form cuz you loose Qi, and follow Liang's other instructions on the DVD. If you do it daily within 2 or 3 months you should start seeing some improvement on your knees if the tear gets repaired...

Also my knees were injured when I was in the military, they sent me to physical therapy and some things did help. try these exercises before and after surgery, but ONLY if you can and they dont cause too much painl

Sit with one leg stretched out in front of you, one pulled in, doesnt matter how. Get a tennis ball and place it below the knee on the extended leg. massage the knee and gently pull up the knee cap and move it in a few clockwise then counterclockwise circles.

Another option I would suggest rubbing the knee with your hand in a circular motion towards the inside of your leg, about 36 circles. the knee should feel warm.

Another option is in the same position with the tennis ball, freeze a styrophome cup of water, cut off a section of the cup and rub the ice in circular motions on your knee until nice and numb. Then just rest.

Also while doing any or all of these exercises daily, stretch the knees, ie, pull back your foot behind you back to stretch hamstrings and ligaments in knee, put the ball of your foot against a wall, and the heel on the floor and lean forward, it should stretch the calves the knee and the thighs, sit on the floor with one leg in and one stretched out and touch your toes, etc. etc. Also try not to walk or put as little strain on your knees as possible.
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Postby Onlyino » Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:28 am

Thank for the response.

I do train my arms, abdomen and mind(which is essential for any martial artist) regularly.

Thanks also for your detailed advice and exercises lilman, I could find use in some of them. My knee is strong but broken and unfortunately I do believe surgery is my only option at this time if I want to continue to train as I want.
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Postby Onlyino » Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:05 am

One more question for you lilman, which dvd are you referring to? Is it Baguazhang - 8 Trigrams Palm, or Simplified Tai chi Chuan with Applications?
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Postby lilman » Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:36 am

:) Simplified Tai Chi Chuan with Apllications.

Bagua is a completely different style with circle walking, and you have to increase the speed of the circle as you practice. I dont know if Bagua has the same theraputic effects as Taiji, but its possible if you remain slow, Very slow. A lot of the movements are the same, just circle walking is added. But if you decide to take my advice, I would consider which MA you really want to learn. The theories are both based of the Bagua from the I Ching. Taiji is a soft yielding martial art where you use your opponents energy against them, with your own energy added to it. You stick, adhere, neutralize and attack. Bagua is a soft martial art as well, but you use momentum and circle walking around your opponent to gain a better advantage and destroy your opponent. They are both based on Change. Your opponent moves, then you change to fit the opponent. If you like Chin Na, MMA, and stuff like that, I would Suggest Bagua. If you would like to learn to defend against brute strength with softness, I would suggest Taiji. So really its not which I refer to, its which would fit YOU better. :)
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Postby foxhound » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:14 pm

That is a bad injury,one of the worst kind. I suggest surgery,they will replace ACL with a plastic one,and with a good therapy you will be back on track. Most of ACL rehabilitation takes a 6 month.
And you have a very strong legs that is why the first time you did not need any surgery.

Good luck.[/list]
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Postby fujowpai419 » Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:55 am

Onlyino,
I can relate to your injury...I was at the retreat center practicing applications from the tai-chi chuan form with one of my brothers up there. We were doing a take down...one that I had done for years and felt pretty comfortable with...well unfortunately I got a little too comfortable. In the move I was supposed to throw him over my leg...well instead I ended up throwing him on my leg...down we both went! I heard a pop and felt my knee dislocate. Dr. yang relocated my knee and I later went to the hospital and discovered I had torn my acl completely and my mcl was torn pretty bad too...although not all the way. I'm leaving out alot of details but basically I thought my dreams of training at the retreat center had ended before they really began...so all around both physically and mentally I wasnt in the best spot. The dr's I saw all insisted that if I wanted stability in my knee which would allow me to stay involved in martial arts I get my acl repaired which meant surgery. Although I prefer natural alternative medicine, thank God for western medicine!

My mom found a very good sports medicine specialist in orange county ca who later did the surgery. Right now I'm about 2 months post opp and in about 2 more weeks of physical therapy, I'm headed back to the retreat center for the start of school. Recovery will take time and for the first year of training I wont be able to do some of the things the other guys are doing....This I think will be the hardest part. But my acl is repaired and according to the Dr. I'm making a good recovery. In about a years time I should be healed completely.

My advice to you is because youre dedicated to training, definately get the surgery but make sure your dr. is a specialist with years of experience in treating athletes. Recovery will be slow so its really important to allow yourself the time to heal properly. In the meantime you can train your upper body and your mind. Before I left the mountain I continued to train all that I could from sitting in a chair...staff, reaction, tai-chi chuan, etc. Maybe this is an option for you as well.
Either way best of luck.
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Postby Onlyino » Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:42 pm

Thanks to all who have responded and shared stories or some insight.

I would prefer to learn Taiji from a qualified teacher, but the issue is finding that teacher. My Karate teacher advised me that until I get the surgery I should not attend class due to further injury. Anyway, I am attempting to learn from the dvd's I have ordered from YMAA and whatever books I can get my hands on. As I said previously I learn from whoever/whatever I can.

I am very lucky in that I do have strong legs, but I do realize surgery is my only option if I want to continue on the same path as before. Luckily the doctor I am seeing is a specialist who has been doing this for over 30 years. My biggest problem is I can not get the surgery, due to personal issues, until November, so I will continue my "modified" training as I can until then, and then the rehab process will begin.

One thing I learned a long time ago is what does not kill me will make me stronger........
Death is guaranteed, life is not..... so live!
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to help the Person with Torn ACL

Postby Fred Binchy » Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:33 pm

I think I may be able to help you here. I will keep it short as short as I can. On the 14th Feb this Year I suffered a serious ACL Injury while ski-ing. Initial diagnosis was a Grade 2 - 3 Tear on ACL. I had an initial scare in the first few days with serious swelling and suspected clot. Nonetheless I started intense sports phsio, Pool work and Qi Gong training within days. I got back to full form training (with limitations and care) within four weeks, and continued all activities including mountain biking, all required physio and especially as much of my Taiji training as I could very week. A Minimum of 10 hours per week of that, 3 classes a week and a little jogging and swimming and even golf (which is hard on the knees). Initial signs were not good when the MRI reported it as much worse, with the ACL reported as fully ruptured, the MCL torn to some degree, cartilage damage and bone bruising. I was told that surgery was inevitable and resigned myself to surgery this December and starting all over again. By that time my physio, a sports specialist was saying that she could not see any reason for the surgery but the doctors were saying it was necessary. I then saw a surgeon who specializes in knee surgery in the past few days for pre-op review. He studied it all carefully, Scans etc but paid special attention to his physcial examination. He told me that he did not operate on scans and he had no intention of operating on my knee. That I had maxed the recovery and surgery could not do any better for me. That I could return to all sports including ski-ing and full Taiji routines including kicking and falling. That it would take further trauma to necessitate surgery at this point. Final message : Work closely with your Physio (get a good one) - Push on with the pain but pay careful attention to feeling. Dont try too hard, but work very often and again pay careful attention to the knee, resting when you judge it necessary. I am not free of symptoms today but dont expect I ever will be fully. But I have got back to a high level of functionality which at age 52 made it all worthwhile. I dont usually participate in the forums but I thought would post you this to help as I searched far and wide myself for assistance and understanding when it happened to me. I attribute my recovery level to date largely to the dicipline I learned through Taiji and Qi Gong, which helped me focus, persevere and keep going. Good luck and take care with it.
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FYI

Postby sysop » Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:32 am

For those of us wanting to understand what is the ACL, what does it do, and where is it located on the knee...a quick lesson :wink: :


Your knee contains four ligaments that connect the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia). These ligaments hold the bones in proper alignment and help control the way your knee moves.

Medial collateral ligament. This ligament, on the inner side of your knee, provides side-to-side stability.
Lateral collateral ligament. This ligament, on the outer side of your knee, also stabilizes side-to-side knee movement.
The other two ligaments are inside the knee and cross each other as they stretch diagonally from the bottom of the thighbone to the top of the shinbone.

Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). This ligament connects the thighbone to the back of the shinbone and provides front-to-back stability.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This ligament crosses the PCL from the thighbone to connect to the shinbone near the front. The ACL controls the movement of your lower leg bone in several ways. It limits the side-to-side rotation of your lower leg and prevents the shinbone from moving too far forward in relation to the knee. It also keeps your knee from extending beyond its normal range of motion and stabilizes your knee's front-to-back movement.


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- Ref: http://medlineplus.gov/
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