ACL & PCL injury advice

Well, after 5 years it's finally happened. My running has been scuppled by a bad fall where I smashed my right knee off the pavement. Happened on a Sat night (and I wont pretend I hadn't had a drink or two) BUT that was not the cause!!  Was running full speed ahead to catch bus and fell flat on my face (well, right knee to be more precise).

Swelled up pretty badly over the weekend but I rested it and it wasn't until my return to work on the Monday that my knee grew to a rediculous size and became MORE painful. Work sent me to hospital where I was told that the x-ray looked ok but they weren't totally happy with things and I would need to come back to fractures clinic in 3 days time (today) when the swelling and bruising had gone down a little.

Returned today to be told that there was defo no fracture or bone damage but that I have damaged my crutiate ligaments, although to what extent they were unsure. Doctor said he couldn't manipulate my leg and test it as he would have liked as swelling, bruising and pain was too bad so I have to back in 3 weeks time to be assessed. At best it's a sprain but he fears one or both may be 'ruptured'.

Have looked it up on the internet (as all good paranoid runners do) and have found that I could require surgery if I want to run and play sports again image

Just wondering if anyone has any experience of this type of injury and what their stories are. I ahve many questions

...... did you get referred for surgery easily or did they try and put you off?
       how long was the waiting list?
       how long were you out of action?
       have you made a full recovery?
       did you recover without surgery?
etc etc


  • I snapped ACL in my left knee 17 years ago playing football, DID not have surgery as the techniques then were not as good as now and there was no guarantee of any benefit.

    I could not do any sport for about 6 months. Still cant do Rugby or football (properly) due to twisting nature of the sports.

    Has not stopped me doing anything else, Have done FLM twice and numerousHM and triathlons and am doing Ironman switzerland next year. It is more about knowing what you can do and when.

    You need a good physio and do some serious strengthening exercises round the knee.

    Not a lot you can do until they do a formal diagnosis and may well need an MRI scan to confirm damage

    Good luck with your recovery and email me if you want any more info

  • Caz,

    They diagnosed cruciate ligament injury on x-ray???

    You need an MRI/CT to show soft tissue damage - so if you havent had either of these yet dont lose heart - it may not be the correct diagnosis

    Wish you all the best

  • Thanks both.

    The x-ray was to see if there was bone damage as they were unsure of cause when I first went in. X-ray shows there are no fractures or breaks. It's from manipulating my leg and knee that they ruled out damage of the lateral and medial ligaments but they can't do the tests to assess the crutiate ligaments as it's too painful, bruised and swollen. Back in 3 weeks time to have that assessment done.

    I've been told to try and get about as normal and use my leg instead of rest from Mon. I've looked up these ACL and PCL exercises for strengthening BUT doctor did not mention doing any. Am guessing I should hold off doing these exercises until I am told to do so.

    A friend at work has given me a number for a good physio he knows, I was going to hold fire with everything though until this initial 3 weeks is over but perhaps I shouldn't? Should I start now?

    JPenno - that's very promising information, most of what I have read has been doom and gloom and quite depressing! Thanks for that image

  • Hi

    I ruptured my right ACL skiing in April. It wasmisdiagnosed as a tear of the lateral collateral ligaments so I had physio for that for 2 months. I was then told I was OK to go back to normal activites when I did my knee gave way and I was in absolute agony. An ambulance took me to A and E and it was again misdiagnosed as LCL problems.I was told to go back to the original physio. In the end I paid for a private MRI which showed a complete rupture of the ACL. The NHS waiting list to operate was about a year so I now owe members of my family a lot of money. On the positive side I am now 11 weeks post op and progressing well ( with the ocasional fall that sets me back!!...........) I should be able to jog gently on the tread mill for the first time in 6 months in just over a weeks time. It is a long hard process but you can do it! My main advice to you would be to ensure that you get a correct diagnosis. My physio is wonderful so if you are from the West Midlands area she may be able to help. I hope you get all the info you need and it is sorted ASAP. Feel free to ask me as many questions as  you want!


  • Sorry to hear that Peroni, but glad to hear you'll be back running soon.

    I am from the West Midlands so that physio number will be good, but I'm thinking of just letting things be until 8th Oct when I have another assessment at the hospital and take it from there. Still hoping that its just badly bruised and swollen and thats why it's painful an aching. I do feel that as the days go on movement is getting easier and I have always been able to weight bare on it.

    Would you agree with waiting a couple of weeks before seeking extra help?

  • That sounds like a good idea as when they can do the full physical test for ACL and if they do it properly it is usually pretty obvious if that is the problem.
  • I'll get back to you at a later date then Peroni, cheers.

    Noticed today (a week on) that bruising has now come out on the back of my leg, below the knee on my calf. Quite a big patch of it. More bruising under knee on front too. Does this sound familiar? It's the big patch on my upper calf that is suprising as this have never been sore to the touch!?!?!

  • If you had a haemarthrosis at first (tense swelling of knee, as joint is filled up with blood), they are right to suspect structural damage, and old blood tracking down the leg, coming out as a bruise lower down isn't too surprising. I wouldn't try any more than gentle stragiht leg raise type excercises until they've assessed it properly, you don't ALWAYS need surgery for ligamentous injuries, depending what exactly is damaged, - most likely you'll either ned arthroscpy  and/ or MRI once blood in knee joint has cleared sufficiently.
  • Am hoping for an MRI just to know exactly what the situation is but I dont think this is on the cards. Doctor only mentioned doing manipulative tests type things. Have been told to allow 2hours for this appointment on 8th Oct!?!?!?!

  • Still now 3 months post op I have some interesting bruising down the outside of my calf! I think you should try tto pressure for an MRI if you can as not having one caused me a lot more pain and worry than was needed. Hope you are managing to keep your spirits up!image
  • Thanks Peroni.

    Actually the extra time has meant that I've spent more quality time with my kids and been able to put in more at work (and I love my job) so that's keeping me in good spirits. Occasionally get a little down when I think of long term worse case senario but am obviously trying to stay positive.

    Today I'm walking almost normally on the flat and only the stairs pose a problem (mainly on the way down) but I feel that things are improving now and I'm feeling more hopeful that everything will be ok. Lets hope so :-/

  • Fingers crossed for you it is sounding quite positive at the moment. I am allowed to try jogging gently on a treadmill on Monday!image
  • image That's great news. image Let me know how you get on!!
  • Well it is going to be a long and painful process but I have now managed to plod very slowly on a tread mill for very short amounts of time twice - the way a look at it it is better than nothing!!image Hope youa re doing well.
  • Sorry it's such a slow process but great to hear you are running again image

    My knee actually feels quite good. Starts to ache and kind of clicks and jerks after I've been stood still for long periods and I still struggle to fully bend down and can't kneel BUT I can jog and it's less and less wonky/limpy stylee!! image Not been out for a 'jog' but did a 6M walk in Dovedale at the weekend and tried a few strides. Can really feel a pull when on stoney/uneven ground and I feel very cautious and nervous on anything other than even concrete BUT I'm hopeful all will be well on Wed at hospital image

  • Good luck, let me know how Wednesday goes.
  • Well, seems it was something and nothing after all that.

    Doctor said he was 90% sure that I was ok, but only time will tell. He said there could be some damage but I just need to ease back into running now it feels ok and see how it goes. Not been discharged, they want to keep me on for another 6 months. He said any probs at all, contact hospital and they'll get me straight in for MRI.

    Think that's pretty fair really.

    S, just need to get out running slowly building it up. Have done 2x3M so far, and was shattered, although knee felt ok my muscles were in bits!!

    How is it going for you Peroni?
  • That's great news for you, I am really pleased. I managed to jog 1 mile on the tread mill without stopping on Saturday which is a huge improvement. The only way is up!!
  • Onwards and upwards Peroni. Hopefully see you at some event in the new year image
  • That would be great - fingers crossed!image
  • Peroni,

     I had reconstructive surgery on my ACL 7 weeks ago and i thought my recovery was going well.

    I seen the consultant a few days ago and he was not happy with my extension and bend and wants my Physio to be more aggresive and if thing do not improve in 3 weeks he says he may need to operate again.

    How was your extension and bend of the knee after 7 weeks ?

    Were you still walking with a slight limp ?

  • I feel like a fake on here now.

    Feel terrible for you both, and SP ... that must be mental torture ... just when it'slooking up.

    I do think I know how it feels though, thought I was here for a fair few weeeks and it's soul destroying. Peroni is a great influence though ....

    Peroni, hope running again is going well image

  • You poor thing. When I was at physio for the first time post op about 2 weeks she was not happy at all but she then started pushing me a bit harder which did seem to work. Now I am about 15 weeks and if I am having a bad day I still walk with a bit of a limp but I think I probably did most of the time at 7 weeks. My extension came quite easily but flexion took a lot longer. My physio said that flexion does tendto take quite a while.

    I really hope they do not need to operate again and have my fingers crossed for you. I think with this operation that it is a really long hard slow road to recovery and you just need to make sure you have the right people around you supporting you as sometimes you really need your friends!!

    Caz, I have managed 2 runs outside now, ruunning 4 mins, walking 2 mins for half an hour. I knwo it is not much but it feels great after so long!

  • That's great news Peroni image

    After 6 weeks of not running I did 2x3M, then 2x8M and was really hungry to get back into running. Decided, against my better judgement, to run Cardiff Half last Sunday, with a p.w and a run/walk regime in mind to cover the distance. However, all went suprisingly well. Think I needed it mentally as I've been feeling slow and struggling with longer runs and really quite depressed that I'm learning to run all over again (walking lots during the 2x8M). Somehow though, I managed to run the whole thing with out stopping/walking and did so in very evenly split 8:30min/miling. Couldn't believe it!! So keep thinking positive and keep the running sessions up. If you're mentally focussed you'll be up and at it in no time image

  • Well done you! That is great news. I think it will be a very long time till I am doing anything like that! Am looking forward to the day that I can though!
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