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Does anyone ski without an ACL?

Riverskier

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I tore my left ACL in 1997 and my right in 2004. I had both reconstructed and all was well until two weeks ago... I managed to re-tear my left ACL and sprained my foot mountain biking. My orthopedic surgeon wants to try rehab without surgery. He said the success varies from person to person, but that some people don't have instability problems without an ACL. He said that as long as the rehab goes well, I should be all set to ski this winter. Giving up skiing is not an option, so if the rehab doesn't go well I will have surgery, but I am hoping that isn't the case. I am just wondering, does anyone else ski without an ACL? Any insight/advice?
 

Cornhead

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Bummer, I blew out my ACL in my right knee almost twenty years ago, non-ski related. I had the patella graft reconstruction. All, for the most part, has been well since. There is a member here, campgottagopee, who tore his two seasons ago, had the repair, tore the repair, and skied last year with a brace. I don't know if he's since had any work done on it. I know I've read of people who do ski without the repair. Good luck.
 

Hawkshot99

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I tore minw 5 yrs ago skiing. It was Jan. and the dr wanted to wait to do the surgery. I did 2 months of Pt before the surgery to strengthen the surrounding mucles. I stopped skiing for the year when it tore(which sucks when you work at a mtn!) I was functioning pretty well, and could lift heavy weights. But I always had to be careful because it was not entirely stable and supportive. At times it would want to give out walking or doing a leg press.
The day before surgery my company had our employee party which is a ski day. I put on a big brace and tried to take a few turns, but quit after like only 2 runs. I had no stability in my knee.

5 ski seasons later averaging 85 days a yr. it is great. I can do pretty much everything I want. I cant knewl on the repaired knee but thats about it. I ski in a brace. I can ski without it, but my leg tires way to quickly.

Sent from my SGH-S959G using Tapatalk 2
 

marcski

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A buddy of mine went about 10 years without it. He skied with one of those hinged metal braces and was a big road bicycle racer, so his leg muscles were quite strong. With that said, he started feeling it more when he moved out west and started doing a majority of skiing in the backcountry and had it reconstructed a few years ago.
 

Cornhead

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I waited two years to get mine fixed. I wasn't skiing at the time. It was OK for daily stuff, but it would buckle on me once in a while, then be sore for a week or so. I don't think I would have been comfortable skiing on it. Exercise may allow you to ski with it unrepaired. When I tweaked mine a few years back, I was able to rehab it myself by swimming with fitness fins and a kickboard. I aggravated it skiing, but an MRI showed nothing, my doc wanted to go in with a scope, but I decided to try to straighten it out myself, so far, so good. I think without strong supporting muscles, you're pretty much screwed.
 

steamboat1

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I'll find out this winter. Tore my ACL & broke ankle this past Feb. Doctor didn't recommend surgery. I haven't felt any instability in the knee but it still gets sore from time to time, so does my ankle. It takes time to heel, I still have some swelling in my foot/ankle almost 6 months later. Knee never swelled up even right after injury. My doctor tore his ACL about 4 years ago & didn't have surgery even though he's a surgeon. He still ski's. As Cornhead suggested & my doctor also told me you need to keep the supporting muscles strong. I've read about several people that continue to ski without problems not having ACL surgery. I hope I'm one of them. Some also claim they ski without a brace. One piece of trivia I learned that I find amazing is that John Elway played his entire college & professional career without an ACL in both knees. He wasn't known as the most mobile quarterback though. I'm just hoping for the best. I skied 52 years without ever hurting my legs so this is a new experience for me. Never had any knee problems in my life although many people my age do without ever having skied. just my $.02.
 

dlague

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I tore my ACL two years ago at the end of the ski season and the doctor talked about not replacing the ACL and work on building the muscles up to support the leg more (referred to a doctor in their office that skis and is missing an ACL). After a month of PT he looked at my leg and said the muscles atrophied too much and I went with a cadaver ACL. However, I did meet a guy who tore his ACL in the same knee three times and has been skiing for 18 years with a brace and never got his ACL replaced the last time. He said that he had to change his skiing habits a bit (no more bumps, limited woods, etc.).

I still ski with a brace just to feel a little more at ease. The key is getting muscle tone back though. If you have instability now and it does not change much in a month or two then you will probably will not ski this year and need surgery. Even if you have surgery at this point you are not skiing this season until February or so.

Good luck!
 

JimG.

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I tore my ACL and PCL in 1999...had both transplanted in November 2000 and was skiing again with little deficit November 2001.

Now I don't notice any problems with my knee. My legs feel and look identical. Regaining muscle strength was the key and still is. Have to stay active.

I could not deal with the instability and buckling without the transplants. I would have felt unsafe skiing in tricky spots.
 

bobbutts

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Without reading all the details I would advise you find a good Physical Therapist. Like JimG said above:
Regaining muscle strength was the key and still is.
This is a job for a PT, not a doc
 

Puck it

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I tore mine in graduate school about 25yrs ago. I was able to do most things without the ACL. Played hockey, skied, golf, tennis and others. I had a CTI brace that I used. But the drawback is, no matter the strength. The knee will pop out on you with a sudden change in direction. I use to pop mine out at least once game playing hockey by pivoting playing defense. It would hurt for a minute or two and swell right away even with the brace. I have caught the tip of my ski and had to pop out on at Squaw in the early 90's. The reason that I had the reconstruction in the late 90's was my ortho told me he would be doing a knee replacement on me in a couple years. I had damaged the cartilidge on the bone surface. That was enough to schedule the surgery. I have no problems even I no cartildge left and he had to grind the bone. He said it was the worst knee hehad seen. It was a 6 hour surgery for me, normal is three.

I had the surgery in May and was skiing and playing hockey in Dec.

So, ski this year with a brace becasue the damge is done. Then get it done in the spring.
 

Edd

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Damn, timing sucks! Sorry about your injury.

Had mine repaired roughly 2.5 years ago and read everything I could. I think a certain amount of simple luck comes into play here, by which I mean if you decide to ski this year without the ACL you could do everything right and still end up with some damage done. The ACL does serve a purpose and some people seem to get away with it and others don't.

As others said, strength in the leg is crucial to protect the knee, and braces don't hurt. It blows to lose a season so I wouldn't blame you for trying.
 

Riverskier

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I appreciate the replies. Like I said, I have been down this road before (twice), and am not against the idea of having the surgery at some point. However, I have a career change coming in a couple months that will necessitate me being on my feet, and there is certainly no way I am going an entire season without skiing! That said, I am going the PT/stengthening route for now, and will see how it goes. My orthopedic surgeon who is one of the best in the business (yeah I know everyone says that) said some people are fine without it. Will I be one of the lucky ones?? We will see!
 

Brad J

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snapped my ACL in 1998 and did PT and have skied with brace since, leg gets beat up as the season goes on and after 25 days starts to feel crappy, I am 59 know and still ski pretty hard, am now thinking about reconstruction, also ruptured my Quad tendon april 2012 had that repaired with good results. I would consider having it fixed. good luck
 
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