Sep. 28th, 2006

When I first injuried my knee (about two and a half weeks ago now), my first thought was "Shit, this is bad. I just tore my ACL." The ER doctor said my ligaments were fine, the ortopedist thought they were fine last week, but as it turns out, I was right. The MRI has the very clear indications of a torn ACL.

The ACL is one of the four ligaments in the knee. The jobs of the ligaments is to keep the two bones (three if you count the knee cap) in the places they are supposed to be. Now that I don't have an ACL, the femur and the tibula are moving in ways they aren't supposed to be.

I have two options: live without the ACL, go through rehabilitation to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee so that they learn to compensate for the fact that the ACL doesn't exist. Most people who live without an ACL can walk just fine, and do some sports. Tae Kwon Do, however, is not really one of the sports that one can do without an ACL. I think one of our instructors might be missing a ligament, but he wears a brace all the time, and has to be very careful.

The other option is surgery, and not the happy-fun arthroscopic surgery. We're talking general anesthesia, open-knee surgery. It's a very common one, and one with a very good prognosis (about 95% of people who have the surgery have no problems whatsoever). If I get the surgery, I should be able to do whatever sports and activities I want after a signficant period of physical therapy. The orthopedist said he starts people on a stationary bike a few days after the surgery, but that it would probably be six months before I could do Tae Kwon Do again.

So, this sucks. At best, it'll be six months before I can do Tae Kwon Do again, which makes me really unhappy. But the alternative is to give it up entirely, which I'm not really willing to do. And it's not just about TKD (though it's largely about TKD). I don't want to have to worry about my knee being unstable for other things, either.

Sylvantechie strongly suggests that I should get a second opinion, and while I am awefully impatient (if I'm having surgery, I want to get it done ASAP so I can start recovering), I rationally think that he's correct. Anybody have an orthopedic surgeon in the area that they really like? I like the guy I've been seeing, and I trust his diagnosis, but getting another perspective on the issue may be helpful.

And has anybody had ACL surgery? The TKD instructor who doesn't wear a brace tore his ACL at one point (not at TKD), so I'm going to go talk to him about it just to see how it was.

And I'm going to have to be on crutches for another two weeks after surgery, so if anybody has any brilliant ideas for keeping me entertained and not too depressed, I would welcome them.



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