Things I've Tagged ‘Soccer’

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Not Far from Soccer

I started cutting exercises last Thursday and was basically told that if I could get through that day and into the next without added, new pain, then I could add it to my workout. I will have one more PT session next Friday, then I’m done with that part of my recovery.

The only caveat here is that I’m dealing with a bit of tendinitis where the tendon was harvested for the new ligament–I’m one of a small number of people “lucky” enough to experience this sort of pain–and it has hindered my efforts at strengthening that quad. I’ve been told I’ll experience probably up to a year post‐op. The good news, however, is that the pain I’ve experienced in various exercises has decreased significantly over the past two months, so I’m confident that I’ll get back to soccer in the next two months, as long as I can get back to full out sprinting and squatting/leg pressing a bit more weight without pain.

I don’t feel completely comfortable with my leg strength for my return, but I imagine my first year of getting back to sport will be a little shaky at best in the beginning. My speed is gone, as I have to relearn how to run, as well as get those muscles firing quickly again. I’ve done some kicking, dribbling, passing, etc. and those things seem OK, except for various types of kicks and the sort of one‐legged squat position my affected leg (my plant leg) gets in when I wind up for a big shot.

BUT, these things are minor. The pain is not excessive and neither my doctor, nor my physical therapist feel too concerned about what I’m experiencing right now.

So, this is progress, and it feels pretty good.

One Month Out and Counting

Ah, the fresh feeling of a scoped (to the extreme as I found out) knee, and a “brand new” ACL. Actually it’s all very stiff, uncomfortable, slightly swollen, and weak—but getting better as I say to anyone who asks.

It does feel as if it’s getting better, and we’ve moved beyond simple exercises in physical therapy, but five to eight more months of this will be rough.

I found out yesterday how much meniscus was shaved—and it is an unfortunate amount from what he described. I don’t remember the lateral or medial designations, but one side had 50% removed and the other 35%, “in an important area.” So I’m thinking that this is the end of any real serious athletic activities. I’m not even sure if I’ll get a chance to return to recreational soccer. I mean, that was the point of the surgery for me, since I had no real instability in my day to day activities.

That was a bit of a morale blow, to say the least, but I’m not sure if the activities are done for good, just probably a heck of a lot sooner than with a healthy knee.

Other than that, the doctor said he’s “pleasantly surprised” by my progress, assuming that perhaps I wouldn’t be moving along this quickly because of the cartilage issues? I dont know. The knee really does feel good, just stiff at times.

Anyway, I’m out of the knee immobilizer and walking around fairly well. It can get a little tough when I’ve been sitting around for a while, simply because it gets stiff and the swelling probably increases a bit.

To get myself out of that brace, though, I had to pass a few balance tests. I had to be able to balance on one leg for twenty seconds without touching down or grabbing anything, and I had to do that three times. I passed that pretty easily, thank god. Then I had to do the same thing, but pass a light weight medicine ball around my body twenty times in two directions while balancing. Not too difficult, and probably easier on the affected leg because of increased concentration. Then I had to balance and move my head to look up, down, left, and right five times.

I passed those tests and now I get to move on to more challenging PT exercises. So far so good.

ACL Blues

I’m less than a week away from surgery. I chose a patellar tendon autograft, which means they’ll slice and dice at my knee in order to save it. Ouch.

One thing that bothers me about this whole process is that every different facility or doctor involved in the surgery/diagnosis/etc. must ask the same questions concerning my health. I would have thought that some of that information would have been passed along. Questions like, “are you currently taking any medication?” or “do you take drugs or use alcohol?” I’ve filled out form after form and questionnaire after questionnaire with these same questions. Why isn’t this information passed on? Why? Because the system is hampered by some pretty idiotic regulations concerning information. Especially considering that every one of these doctors/facilities is involved in a surgery.

It seems to me that this information should be shared with those who are to be involved; it isn’t like I will deny the surgeon what my family doctor knows. Dumb.

On another note, I’m still experiencing a bit of pain the knee, and it seems to get a little worse over time. One day a certain movement won’t cause pain and the next day it will…and repeat. Anyway, I can’t wait to get a functional knee back, because I’m really itching for some soccer right now.

ACL Journey: Day -16

Yeah. Day -16; I’m a little over two weeks away from my ACL surgery. “What surgery” you say? You didn’t know I was injured. Well I guess I’m going to have to correct that misconception.

Yeah, I’m hurt. In a major way. The diagnosis is a completely torn ACL, and a couple of major tears of the mensicus. I suspect the tears are a result of continuing to play over a long span of time without an ACL. In short, my diagnosis is long and grueling rehab followed later in life by early arthritis of the left knee.

Strangely enough, though, I’m one of the few who can function relatively well without an intact ACL, and I think I’ve been doing it for six years—playing soccer for many of them—which is why I never quite realized it was my ACL that was torn. I’ve had continuing problems with that knee since my initial injury, but I’ve always been able to bounce back relatively easily. I suspect that each time I injured my knee over those six years I was tearing that cartilage just a little bit more.

This last time, August of 2008, I was on a breakaway. The goalie had passed a long ball to a defender at the centerline—a mistake, because the defender had his back to me. As the ball sailed through the air, I figured I could beat this guy to the ball and he would never catch me on my way to the net. Easy goal.

I head to the net and need to cut to my right to outfox the goalie—a good one by the way—but on my way my left knee extends straight out and pop—PAIN—I roll, don’t know what happens to the ball, but action stops.

That’s it I’m done for a few months.

Usually I’d be back to some activity relatively quickly. This time, though, extensive pain lingered in my knee for about four months. I said to hell with this. I need to fix this thing now.

Well, here I am and I’m nervous about the upcoming surgery, but many people go through this and come out all right as elite athletes. I’m no elite athlete, but I’ll be all right in my rec leagues. Perhaps better than I’ve been in a long time. I just need to lose weight again to get my speed and agility back as well as help prevent re‐injury.

The only question I have is: which ligament should I harvest? Patellar or hamstring?

I’m leaning patellar, simply because it is the tried and true method as well as the one least likely to develop laxity as I heal because the ends of the tendon are attached to bone and inserted that way and held in place with interference screws; the hamstring tendon is simply inserted and held in place with interference screws and because the attachment isn’t as strong initially, the harvested tendon can slip past the screws a little bit causing laxity in the new ligament.

Obviously bone to bone is ideal for healing, which is why the patellar tendon is so strong initially. This will allow me to get back to regular activity a little faster and hopefully make the joint stronger when I eventually return to soccer.

Anyway, I’ll update here on my progress as I can.