Tag Archives: broken knee

ACL Recovery: Weeks 10, 11 and 12!

ACL Update – Week 10
Sent, 08-May-2017
The story is thus:

What I do know: I have a sunburn, and my knee seems to be doing well.

What I do not know: Whether I need surgery or not.

Last week, I kept pushing the leg and doing more with it – walking, taking hills and stairs, and generally trying to live life a little more normally.  I’ve started getting more steps in (walking >2 miles per day), and I’ve been doing all the physical therapy I can stand.  And speaking of standing, I’ve been using my standing desk at work pretty regularly, stretching and practicing balancing while working.
On Monday, we had an appt. with Dr. O’Shea, which didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped.  I already wrote that whole email about it, but the short version is: He can’t say one way or the other.  The bone seemed healed, but the ACL was still stretched – 12mm, same as before.  But if it hasn’t given out yet…
I also had my PT appt, where I saw a new physical therapist because Ed is out hiking in Utah.  She’s a yogi, so a lot of my PT this week has been yoga-based… which was really positive.  Especially something she told me; she’s had injuries to both of her knees, and both show a displacement of 13mm… slightly more than mine.  And she plays soccer with them.
But the big news: This last weekend!
Sarah planned out and took us on adventures – We went camping, did some hiking, and then walked around on the beach today.  My leg’s been tired and kind of… loose?  Loose feeling?  I’m not sure how to describe it… but it hasn’t slipped or given out on me at all.  Instead, it’s held strong; strong against a ton of walking, elevation gain, ascending and descending the embankment between the car and the campsite, and wading through a fast-flowing stream.
I even took some hard data, using an awesome GPS watch that I got.  Back in Medway, when I was just starting to walk without crutches, I held 1.9mph average walking speed.  On Friday, I held 2.5mph.  On Saturday, 2.8mph.  I even jogged a tiny bit both days.
I’ve done a lot, worked my leg really hard, and it’s held true.  But it still feels kind of off… so tomorrow, I’ll call Dr. O’Shea, and let him know how it’s going.  On Tuesday, I’ll see Ed and see what he thinks.
Wish me luck.
– Ben
ACL Update – Week 11
Sent, 14-May-2017

Another week, another hour of cardio at altitude! 12,000ft, this time. Mt. Hood!

This week has been tiring… But tiring in a good way! On Tuesday I had my PT appointment, and my new PT for this week can be summarized as “work out, then do some more work outs. Just leg day, though.  But like… Double leg day”. So I’ve been working it out a lot, steadily gaining strength and getting used to working the knee a bit harder.
I’ve been walking a lot too; as much or more than I did before the accident, honestly. It’s been tough to pull off while being at work, but the weather here has been nice, so I’m not complaining.  So far this week I’ve averaged 8,000+ steps a day, just under 4miles of walking.
In regard to surgery: I did talk to Dr. O’Shea, and he’s optimistic as well. He’s said that we should keep the scheduled surgery on the books until next week, but that I can cancel anytime. And that if nothing changes this weekend (fingers crossed!) We’ll cancel this surgery, and reschedule for next month (again, just in case).
Aside, it goes well. I’m moving around well and with confidence, have been driving the Mustang without any trouble, and have even started carrying some of the groceries (much to Sarah’s excitement!).
So, wish me luck in the gym! Roar! Protein shakes and hydration and bench pressing!
– Ben
ACL Update – Week 12
Sent, 24-May-2017
Hi all!
So this has been a week full of walks, steps, and physical therapy.  We’ve gone hiking, I’ve started jumping rope, and my leg’s been sore basically 24/7.
That’s good, though.  It means that, on Tuesday, I was able to officially cancel my surgery, and could spend time with Bill & Greta when they came out to visit.  It means that, from Friday to Sunday, we were all able to go hiking together; from the beach to the gorge. I walked 5+ miles per day, without crutches or a cane or anything.  I was able to drive us all in the Mustang for a sightseeing tour on Sunday… I’m starting to live life again!
I still can’t climb, though.  I can’t run or bike, or join Sarah on her ascent of Mt. St. Helens tomorrow.  Soon, though.  Recovery is looking good, so maybe I’ll be up there again soon.
– Ben

ACL Recovery: Weeks 6 and 7


Continuing on the theme of compiling and writing out my emailed ACL recovery updates…


ACL emails: Week 6

Another week, another few minutes sitting in an altitude room, writing a letter out to everyone. I kind of like this tradition… maybe if I keep it up, I’ll finally be able to keep up with Sarah at altitude this time next year?

This week I had an appointment with Dr. O’Shea, and another physical therapy appointment with Dr. Andree, both of which were pretty intense… where to start?

Dr O’Shea was the least pleasant, but the most far reaching, so we’ll start there. First, he’s less certain on the need for surgery! My knee is still angry and inflamed, which means we’re not quite ready for me to go under the knife… but it also looks like it’s recovering pretty well, which might just mean the ACL is going to return to its pre-injured state… or at least close enough that I won’t have instability in my knee. We’ve delayed the surgery until the 17th of May now, and will get some X-rays on the 1st of May to see how well the fractures are healing. And we’ll also do a displacement test the same day, to see how much (if any) the ACL has recovered. It was 50% elongated before, so… we’ll see.

O’Shea also drained my knee… he jabbed a needle full of Novocaine into it, then a huge stint, and pulled ~1.5 cups of blood, bone shards, and fat out of my knee. It was exceptionally unpleasant… poor Sarah got to hold my hand as I nearly passed out. But it felt a lot better the next day, and the fluid gave us a really good indication of how damaged the knee still is, so I’m quite happy that we did it. And O’Shea didn’t even charge us (since my insurance doesn’t kick in until May), which was hugely appreciated.

And with the drained knee, I had PT the next day! Thankfully it felt a lot better by then, which contributed to some pretty amazing progress that I made. First: I walked with only one crutch! Then, I walked without any crutches! Which is to say, I took a single shuffling step, and Ed told me not to walk without crutches. But I’m officially allowed to walk with only one crutch, which is a huge step forward. (Heh, punny).

And that wasn’t the biggest update from Physical Therapy. After the walking, we moved into range of motion and strengthening. I now have a new PT routine – I need to do some actual squats again, as well as balancing on my injured knee! It’s not painless to do, but Ed promised that I’m ready for it, and that this is the first step in strengthening my leg and stabilizer muscles up to the point that I can start walking unassisted again. It’s really tough, but it’s moving forward finally.



ACL emails: Week 7

(Note: This one was written by Sarah – we were driving home, so she offered to type it up for me!  Yay!)

This week has been challenging and surprising. Monday morning Ben had an appointment with the Surgeon in Hood River which was kind of a big disappointment. Late surgeon, didn’t do a Lockman test, just told Ben to test the leg to failure and that was it.

It looks like the bones are healing well so the question now is what kind of stability does Ben have. It’s tough not having an objective answer. Ben is gaining more strength and ability to walk around- he’s been cleared to walk with one crutch and can walk unassisted in the house which is awesome! Ben can actually go up and down stairs and PT is focusing on stability and pushing the knee. The goal is to see where the instability, if any, starts. But he also doesn’t know if all this progress is in vain and the surgery will still have to happen. He has X-rays and an appointment with Dr O’Shea scheduled for May 1st and will have more answers then.