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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Last year when going for a run, I noticed there was some pain and instability in my right knee. After seeing two doctors, the second one was able to give me a proper diagnosis, I have an Isolated Chronic PCL Tear possibly from an injury a few years ago when I fell down on my bike. It did not give me issues until last year.

My doctor gave me two options. 1. Do Physical Therapy and Strengthen quads. 2. Get Surgery and rehab.

He recommended I go with 1 first then if that did not work out, we could pursue surgery. Now nearly a year later, I have been doing PT as much as I can. PT and quad strengthening has helped greatly and reduced pain greatly but I am still unable to run comfortably because it feels unstable when running. Walking, swimming, and light biking have no issues. I talked to my doctor and he told me about PCL surgery's procedure and saying it could take a 6-12 month recovery period. Although my knee has strengthened quite a bit, I am still unable to bear comfortable weight when running and he is recommending surgery.

Does anyone on this forum have any experience with PCL surgeries? How was your recovery and how are you now? What exercises helped you. greatly post OP? I am asking because unfortunately, there is not much information regarding this operation. I am 25 years old and live an active lifestyle (Running, biking, and swimming).

Thank you, any help is appreciated.
 

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Not with surgery, but I tore my PCL and partially tore the ACL in my left knee in a MTB crash many years ago in my 30's. I only did PT and have had no major issues since(54 now). I was in quite a little pain prior to PT and it was resolved for the most part. My ortho Dr didn't recommend surgery. I wear a brace as necessary but straight line running and biking are ok without. My brother is in the medical field and has talked to several ortho docs on the topic and most of his contacts don't recommend the surgery either, FWIW. Also, FWIW, I have run many thousands of miles and done numerous half marathons and a marathon with no issues post injury. Maybe I was "lucky" on my end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not with surgery, but I tore my PCL and partially tore the ACL in my left knee in a MTB crash many years ago in my 30's. I only did PT and have had no major issues since(54 now). I was in quite a little pain prior to PT and it was resolved for the most part. My ortho Dr didn't recommend surgery. I wear a brace as necessary but straight line running and biking are ok without. My brother is in the medical field and has talked to several ortho docs on the topic and most of his contacts don't recommend the surgery either, FWIW. Also, FWIW, I have run many thousands of miles and done numerous half marathons and a marathon with no issues post injury. Maybe I was "lucky" on my end.
Thanks for your response and I am glad you are still doing good. I wish I could be in your situation. Really wish someone who had surgery could respond as well.
 

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As I read your note I was thinking ... and then read the suggestions from your doctor. The doctor was suggesting exactly what I was thinking.

I have had 5 surgeries on my left knee. It started when I was 15 from a football injury (so obvious, right...). I'm now 53. The first surgeries were meniscus and ACL clean-ups & repair work. They were all good, and let me soon get back into the gym & pool, and on the bike, ... and even a couple Ironman Triathlon finishes (so I clearly kept running). Oh, I also played a lot, a LOT of volleyball and beach volleyball. Then, snap...! the ACL finished itself off, and as the joint was so corroded the doctor and surgeon suggested and performed an HTO & ACL replacement (high tibial osteotomy and a new ACL at the same time; the HTO is too crazy to describe but it makes for awesome x-rays and stories).

To answer your questions, ... Worth it? Recovery? Post surgery training & lifestyle?

It was all so very much worth it...! Yes, ... absolutely.
Recovery is likely similar to what you've already been doing. Mobility as prescribed by your doctor and physiotherapist, ... running in the pool (no impact..!), and when you're able, the weight room (light weights; also work on hamstrings, ... not just the quad muscles, ... build the hamstrings and your butt and knee will thank you). This will all assist your rebuilding. Running,... I'd leave that for a while. Bike riding,... absolutely. (I write this after a great morning ride of 70 miles (115kms) and 4,200 feet of climbing (1,300 meters).)

Do keep in mind this is just a blip in time. You will and can recover. Don't be too 'keen'. Just follow the recovery program. Do be careful to not overdue it all... you'll know if / when you're pushing too hard. Also, as you recover remember you're not the same person you were 6 months ago. You are now (... will be) a recovering patient. You specify your age which would normally lend itself to knowing you are immortal. Ya, that can be put on ice for a couple weeks. It's just a couple weeks (maybe a few weeks). When the pain and swelling starts to go down then you can do-what-you-can do for recovery.

I see so many people doing totally dopey stuff. Just know that this recovery & training is a 'marathon', not a pose-down or sprint. You have a lot of years ahead of you. 12 months after your surgery you won't even remember which knee it was (if you proceed wisely, carefully, and ... continually). If it wasn't for a very slight couple of 'lines' on my knee you wouldn't even be able to tell where the thing was opened like a door and ... well... operated on.

I had my High Tibial Osteotomy and ACL replaced in late Oct. 2010 and a friend suggested we ride the Deer Creek Challenge (bike ride, Denver area) which was in Aug. 2011. I was pretty loopy on the pain killers when he suggested it and I agreed, and paid, ... and then after my bedrest was done, ... and I was able to crutch myself to the spin bike, .... I was on there and trainng. Again, do remember that you are then recovering, ... never say, "... I am used to lifting X pounds or running or blah blah blah" You will get back to where you were, and likely even better. You lifestyle is a cumulative thing, not a train hard for two weeks and fly to the moon.

The best part is you will be very aware of what you value, what amount of dedication it requires, and your self-awareness will be 4000% above where it is for others. Also, remember the kind souls who bring you food, drive you to physio, and do your laundry while you are recovering. They are keepers.

Also, what you are now going through is the hardest part. When you lay down on the bed and they start your I.V., ... it's all smooth sailing from there. Your job is to keep breathing ... and oh how covenient, they have a person there to make sure you do that well as well. SUPER.

PS - Whatever you do, do not mix beer with the narcotic pain killers (please just learn from my mistake). You may wake up in somebody's living room listening to The Clash, just sayin'; you've been warned.

PPS - sorry for the long mindless ramble. As mentioned I was out in the heat all day and haven't had a shower just yet.

PPPS - If you want a longer pain in the backside recovery to ponder, ... I found my hip replacement four years ago to require much more physio and recovery. I guess that makes sense. You should see how they cut your every-freaking-muscle to fit in the new 'parts'; it's crazy. NOW, I no longer run, but I do walk, and ride about five days a week (and am usually in the weight room too, except for this pandemic thingee). I live in Canada (Toronto) so I fatbike in the winter about three or four nights a week.
[hip replacement was required because I went down 'just right' during a road bike accident, ... nay, ... it was just a 'lay-down', but I digress.]

Remember, couches kill (i.e., sofas). Just keep moving as much as you can.

Of course, do advise of your progress and any questions along the way.
 

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I tore my meniscus and PCL a long time ago back in the Army. I was given "the option" at the same time. It seemed to work, although I had a strange "disconnected" feeling with my lower leg for a while thereafter. I eventually got back to running and cycling and everything else.

Fast forward just over 20 years, after 100 miles on endurance rides, my knee starts to swell up, because of the old injury. Only has happened twice, both in the Iditarod race, well after 100 miles, but very debilitating and I needed to get it fixed. The tears were such that they just needed to clean them up, smooth the edges, make sure they weren't hanging up. As this goes, mine was pretty minor and I had no issues day-to-day. For this, the recovery was pretty quick, I was cycling within a week and cycling fairly aggressively in two weeks, slowly building up after that. Anyway, my point is that this stuff generally does not "heal". You can make up for a lot with good muscle strength, but lots of stuff doesn't really "heal", it needs to be fixed at some point.
 
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Hi all,

Last year when going for a run, I noticed there was some pain and instability in my right knee. After seeing two doctors, the second one was able to give me a proper diagnosis, I have an Isolated Chronic PCL Tear possibly from an injury a few years ago when I fell down on my bike. It did not give me issues until last year.

My doctor gave me two options. 1. Do Physical Therapy and Strengthen quads. 2. Get Surgery and rehab.

He recommended I go with 1 first then if that did not work out, we could pursue surgery. Now nearly a year later, I have been doing PT as much as I can. PT and quad strengthening has helped greatly and reduced pain greatly but I am still unable to run comfortably because it feels unstable when running. Walking, swimming, and light biking have no issues. I talked to my doctor and he told me about PCL surgery's procedure and saying it could take a 6-12 month recovery period. Although my knee has strengthened quite a bit, I am still unable to bear comfortable weight when running and he is recommending surgery.

Does anyone on this forum have any experience with PCL surgeries? How was your recovery and how are you now? What exercises helped you. greatly post OP? I am asking because unfortunately, there is not much information regarding this operation. I am 25 years old and live an active lifestyle (Running, biking, and swimming).

Thank you, any help is appreciated.
I have had 2 PCL and ACL reconstruction surgeries. And 3 arthroscope surgeries. I have no ACL in either knee (now) and virtually no meniscus and damage articular cartilage. Over course of about 10 years. little less. Anyway, ligaments heal slowly, I am a little surprised he says a year full recovery, that is what it was decades ago when I did mine. Running sucks basically. One slip on a rock, trail head, or uneven surface and it can challenge the ligament. I wonder what kind of repair they do now days? They sewed mine back together, they also used cadaver ligaments and goretex ligaments back then. I have no wisdom, it is a new age of knee repair (procedures, drugs, tools, dr's, all better) , but even without ACLs and medial meniscus in both knees, I can bike and swim and golf. The question is how important is running to you. If so, and you cannot run freely even after a year of PT, then the other option opens up. Personally I would stay obssessed with weight training, flexibility training and maybe treadmill if I had to run. But, if it were me, I probably would cut out trail or street running, just bike, lift, swim, golf, walk/hike.
 

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I have had none. This PCL surgery will be my first.
What the doctors told me before the first of over a dozen surgeries is "Surgery isn't guaranteed to make you better, but it is guaranteed to make you different." For some problems there is a clear cost-benefit justification to go forward. For others the doctors can't cite any studies or history that proves the surgery benefits most patients. I would ask the doctor about the track record of that particular procedure and his or her direct experience with prior patients. Don't be bashful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What the doctors told me before the first of over a dozen surgeries is "Surgery isn't guaranteed to make you better, but it is guaranteed to make you different." For some problems there is a clear cost-benefit justification to go forward. For others the doctors can't cite any studies or history that proves the surgery benefits most patients. I would ask the doctor about the track record of that particular procedure and his or her direct experience with prior patients. Don't be bashful.
My doctor told me the same thing. The doctor that will be performing the surgery has experience with PCL surgeries and was also the team physician for an NFL team. He walked me through the proedure.
 
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