Climbing with a torn ACL?

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing.
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rmd
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Re: Climbing with a torn ACL?

Postby rmd » Wed May 25, 2011 7:23 pm

A biography of Mickey Mantle was recently published and the author speculated that he played almost his entire career with an ACL torn in a knee injury in 1951. A surgeon suggested he was able to do this because of "neuromuscular genius."
DaveLanders
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Re: Climbing with a torn ACL?

Postby DaveLanders » Wed May 25, 2011 7:33 pm

I did a succession of partial ACL tears over a number of years before it finally tore completely. I didn't do the surgery
for several more years. Then one day on class 2 terrain my foot slipped a little and my knee twisted. The next day it
was swollen. I did a peak anyway (big mistake), and could hardly walk on the descent. After thinking about the
consequences if this had happened on a backpack trip, I went and scheduled surgery. I got a thigh tendon from someone
who didn't need it anymore. I rehabbed like a maniac, and have been good to go ever since, although I never did get
all of the range of motion back. I probably did some long term damage to my cartilage, which I will probably regret as
I get even older.

Good luck on your decision; I would probably opt for the surgery now instead of later.
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elhombre
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Re: Climbing with a torn ACL?

Postby elhombre » Thu May 26, 2011 6:23 am

Sounds like you will be getting it fixed. Just wanted to also say that you should get it done sooner than later also. I have had 1 ACL replaced and 3 other cleanings done on my knees. What I discovered is it took about a year until I surprised myself that I had actually done a big hike and had actually forgotten that my knee was hurt. In other words, it seems that it took about a year for everything to get back to a point where I felt zero discomfort. My guess is you are like me and can't stand sitting around doing nothing, but I would encourage you to let the knee heal with time. Besides, the longer you wait, the lower the 14er will be due to erosion, and it will be that much easier to climb in the future.
"You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large." Thomas Sowell
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big_red_pride
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Re: Climbing with a torn ACL?

Postby big_red_pride » Thu May 26, 2011 6:30 am

I would agree to get the knee fixed and scrap the season. I know that is a really hard thing to say. I've never torn my ACL but I ripped open my knee really good last summer coming down from Yale, required 10 stitches and I was layed up for 7 weeks. I spent 3 weeks rehabing morning and evening to get it back into shape and managed to squeak out 2 more 14ers. I know the ACL will take a longer period of time to recover from but in the end she will be better off for it. The mountains will always be there, but if you are not healthy then you will have a miserable time hiking/climbing...those should always be fun times! :) I hope your GF gets well soon!
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Theodore
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Re: Climbing with a torn ACL?

Postby Theodore » Thu May 26, 2011 7:54 am

To the Steadman Clinic with her! No experience there myself, but it seems to be the ACL doc of choice for the skiers over on TGR.
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TriAnything
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Re: Climbing with a torn ACL?

Postby TriAnything » Thu May 26, 2011 5:37 pm

rebek5 wrote:
TriAnything wrote:Sorry to hear about your girlfriend. I too tore my ACL about a month ago and just recently had surgery. It does suck to have something like this happen right before summer. I also had complete mobility in the knee and hardly any swelling at all when I tore it. I was hopeful it was something less until the MRI came back with a complete tear. I did mention, with tears in my eyes, to my doctor all the summer hiking and backpacking plans I had made. He stated that I could try and just rehab by building the muscles in my legs, but I would ultimately be doing more damage to the knee. Especially the meniscus due to the instability of the knee and the grating of bone on bone with no ACL to hold the knee joint properly in place. My physical therapist also mentioned if I didn't get the surgery, I would most likely have to deal with arthritis and pain later in life.

It's not getting up a mountain that's hard, it's the getting back down that's tougher on the knee. I agree, it would be a worse situation to injure the knee even more and to not be able to get back down the mountain without additional outside assistance. Because of all of those factors, I decided on the surgery and am planning for some great hikes towards the end of the year.


Davey_rocket's gimpy girlfriend here.
It's really amazing how similar the stories are. My Dr. told me all the same things.
Speedy recovery to you as well. You'll have to drop me a line and let me know how your recovery is going!
Thanks for all the advice guys. Now we are going to go cry in our beers and wish for this time next year. (insert sad face here)



Good luck rebek5! I personally got the cadaver graft. Some poor smo gave me his/her achilles tendon. Hopefully he/she had good karma! I've had the surgery before on my other knee and got the hamstring graft. I only chose the cadaver graft because the doctor suggested it would be a shorter recovery time. He also said I could start hiking 14ers by Fall. So I'm hopeful. Until then it's rehab and cocktails by the pool!

Here's to sucky timing and a speedy recovery! :iluvbeer: :iluvbeer:
Cheers,
Rachel
"I got a fever! And the only prescription is more cowbell!"
mtnjim
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Re: Climbing with a torn ACL?

Postby mtnjim » Fri May 27, 2011 9:06 am

I tore my left ACL in 1996. I didn't want to take the time off from work, or more importantly, all the outdoor stuff, to have it repaired so I put it off. it actually worked very well for many years, occasionally giving out and dropping me to the ground for no apparent reason. Fortunately that never happened any place dicy.

I ignored it as long as I could, but it eventually became completely unreliable. Another problem was that by not having it treated sooner and the thing popping in and out, it finally did enough cartilege damage that that became as big an issue, with the loose knee and the cartilege twisting aroung and causing debilitating pain. The first time that happened, I was hurrying to set a tent up at Shishapangma camp 1, trying to get shelter from a n approaching storm. That was not a fun night nor was the descent the next day. When I finally did get it fixed (patellar tendon fix) about 10 years later, over half the cartilege in that knee was removed.

So get it fixed as quickly as you can. Estimates on recovery time vary greatly from doc to doc. The doctor who did the surgery (in India; not insurance at that time) told me to take it easy for 6 months, then I could run again but only on the straight and flat. I started running hills at 10 weeks. A specialist here in the US I talked to after my return confided that they'd been continually kicking the time-off-training for their more athletic patients back and had some pushing it to 6 weeks with no problems. No more spring skiing but climbing hiking peak-bagging about in time for the snow to clear!

Good luck,
Jim
manufacturingman
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Re: Climbing with a torn ACL?

Postby manufacturingman » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:42 am

I've torn my left ACL in '97, repaired with my patellar tendon graft
Right MCL and ACL in 98, MCL didn't get repaired, but used a cadaver graft for the ACL.
Tore the right ACL again in '99, again a cadaver graft.
Tore the right ACL again in 2000, and tore the medial meniscus. Cadaver graft and a dart in my meniscus.
Minor tear in the meniscus again in 2005, artho to clean it up and remove scar tissue.
And finally...tore my left patellar tendon last Saturday night. Plus whatever damage may have been done. Don't know yet.
I know I'm WAY late in posting for your situation, but for other's edification, I post.
As a climber, hiker, etc. I would not pursue the activities of today at the cost of tomorrow's functionality. I understand that no one is guaranteed tomorrow, but if tomorrow is not guaranteed, your hiking trip, climbing trip, etc. should be the last of your concerns.
I'd rather be able to walk with my son to the park or stand to cheer him on at a soccer game. I've been to Alaska to Belize, climbed peaks, skied the best of them, hiked to the lakes only those here know, seen the sites everyone here loves, but I would give it all up if it meant I would have to forfeit those simple joys with family.
Now, hopefully I'll be recovered in time for snowboarding in the spring. My 8 month old daughter will be ready for some hikes next summer...
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Dave B
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Re: Climbing with a torn ACL?

Postby Dave B » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:13 am

manufacturingman wrote:I've torn my left ACL in '97, repaired with my patellar tendon graft
Right MCL and ACL in 98, MCL didn't get repaired, but used a cadaver graft for the ACL.
Tore the right ACL again in '99, again a cadaver graft.
Tore the right ACL again in 2000, and tore the medial meniscus. Cadaver graft and a dart in my meniscus.
Minor tear in the meniscus again in 2005, artho to clean it up and remove scar tissue.
And finally...tore my left patellar tendon last Saturday night. Plus whatever damage may have been done. Don't know yet.
I know I'm WAY late in posting for your situation, but for other's edification, I post.
As a climber, hiker, etc. I would not pursue the activities of today at the cost of tomorrow's functionality. I understand that no one is guaranteed tomorrow, but if tomorrow is not guaranteed, your hiking trip, climbing trip, etc. should be the last of your concerns.
I'd rather be able to walk with my son to the park or stand to cheer him on at a soccer game. I've been to Alaska to Belize, climbed peaks, skied the best of them, hiked to the lakes only those here know, seen the sites everyone here loves, but I would give it all up if it meant I would have to forfeit those simple joys with family.
Now, hopefully I'll be recovered in time for snowboarding in the spring. My 8 month old daughter will be ready for some hikes next summer...


Interesting this thread resurfaced because my wife (i.e. last years girlfriend) and I were discussing this just this weekend as we "enjoyed" the steep up's and down's of the Roaring Fork trail.

She ended up having the surgery using a patellar graft. That was in July of 2011. Needless to say, ski season last year was a bit of wash (not too big of a deal considering the crap snow year) but now she's feeling as strong as ever.

She has noticed however, that if she slacks off on knee exercises a whole lot, she'll get a lot more swelling and popping in the knee.
The mountains - whose summits reach or exceed arbitrary thresholds for elevation and prominence - are calling and I must go.

-John Muir
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john0schell
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Re: Climbing with a torn ACL?

Postby john0schell » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:15 am

No rush on surgery except you will be older and fatter the longer you wait.
My experience:
Tore it skiing in jan (age 53)
Got back 90 percent range of motion before surgery in may; dr Parker recommended cadaver acl
By mid June, regained range of motion, quit rehab and took up cycling. I think the cycling was key in generating healing blood flow.
October, started intense weight training on legs
Dec 25 skied full half day on the strongest legs I ever had.
I now weight train and cycle as part of my weekly chores in the belief that this will prevent this from happening again.

I would recommend:
Choose a doctor that does over 15 a year; Parker in Denver is good.
Go with the cadaver acl
Work the range of motion before and after
Cycling
Weight training

Best of luck
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broncotw
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Re: Climbing with a torn ACL?

Postby broncotw » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:57 am

Have the surgery! Imagine being high up in the mountains and her tweaking her knee and becomming non-ambulatory.... Not a situatuion I would want to be in!
Ted from TEXAS!

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