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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So around 13 weeks ago I came off my full suspension 2017 Specialized Camber FSR (majority of specs changed from stock). I've now been told that I have a tear to my ACL, along with bone bruising and a fracture under the surface of my bone.

These past 13 weeks have been rough and rather painful, I have been referred to a physiotherapist and have been told just to carry on going to them until my next review with the specialist in 2 months. My question to you all is:

For those who have had a similar injury how long did you find it took you to recover from the injury and how hard was it to start riding again ? When I was fit I was out on my bike pretty much every weekend doing jumps or trail riding at my local trail center, but not being able to ride over summer is really starting to dawn on me. I'm only 25 and from speaking to some people, it seems like this injury could really effect me in the long run.

Any response and advise is appreciated.

Kris
 

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Hey Kris,

Sorry to hear about the injuries. My first question is whether or not you had any imaging done (X-rays, CT's or MRI's). Are you seeing an orthopedic doctor? To what extent did you tear your ACL? Was there meniscus damage as well? Other injuries to the MCL or LCL? When you said there is a fracture, to which bone (s)?

An ACL injury rehab can take a few weeks to upwards of 9 months depending on what the resolution is. Meniscus injuries take less time, but can be problematic. MCL and LCL tears can be similar to an ACL or PCL injury in terms of recovery timelines.

The fracture is another whole thing.

Make sure you are being properly cared for by the correct physician.

I had a complete tear my ACL as well as a minor tear to my lateral meniscus. The solution was reconstructive surgery to repair and replace. The ortho surgeon used a graft from my hamstring to replace my ACL and put a single stitch into the meniscus. I was non-weight bearing for 3 weeks for the meniscus damage. I am now 12 weeks out from surgery.

Here is my cycling protocol: At 4 weeks I was allowed to ride a stationary bike. At 12 weeks I could begin outdoor cycling. At 16 weeks I can stand up on the pedals for moderate hill climbing. (otherwise no standing on the bike until 16 weeks) At 20 weeks I can ride moderate single track. At 24 weeks I can ride technical single track. Strength training in the gym and physiotherapy is critical. The joint stability comes from overall muscle strength. After the surgery I lost a good bit of quad and hamstring strength. I go to the gym 3-5 days/week and workout hard in PT 3 days/week. I ride outdoors (road or dirt roads) 4 to 5 days a week. I am ahead of where most people are at this point of recovery. The danger zone is 8-12 weeks for the new ACL. That is when most people feel really good and get to aggressive and wind up with a re-injury. Be careful!

I have hurt myself doing other things as well. Recovery isn't fun, but with the right mental attitude, you will recover and, amazingly, be even more fit than prior to the original injury. Dig deep and embrace the pain. It hurts, but go through it and you will be rewarded.

Good luck with your recovery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response, and I'm sorry to here about your circumstance. That sounds rather servere and I hope your recovering well. From what you've described it seems like a long road ahead :(.

Around 12hrs after the accident I went and had a X-ray done, where I had a hemarthrosis and potentially ruptured ligament.

From there I was placed into a cricket splint and an appointment to see a knee specialist 2 weeks later. When I saw them he told me I had damaged my cartilage and there was talk of an operation. At this point I was given an appointment for a MRI scan and an appointment to see an orthopaedic consultant. I was also swapped from a cricket splint to a hinged knee brace and told I could part weight bare but under no circumstances was I to walk without my crutches.

So now I'm at the point I've had an MRI seen the consultant twice, aswell as attending physio. The consultant has told me that my MRI came back fine apart from it was showing I had a minor tear to my ACL but nothing significant that needs surgery, servere bone bruising and some medical jargon which he described in laimens terms as a fracture under the surface of my bone (he didn't say which).

He has said he just wants me to attend physio, which I must admit has gave me some movement back into my knee but I'm having good days and bad. Majority of the time my pain is bearable but I do have days where it feels like I'm back at day 1. He's asked me to come back in 2 months for a review and if it's no better he wants to send me for another scan.
 

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When beastmaster says 'complete tear' he means severed in 2.

I also severed my ACL many years ago. On a separate incident I had bone bruises on tib and femur.
Doctor asked me for no impact sport for 6-8 weeks with the bone bruise.

I had surgery to repair my severed ACL many many years after the injury and I'm 95% normal now, including a few meniscus tears (torn bits cleaned up/trimmed out).

I continued riding a dirt bike and ccasional skiing (had to give that up) with a severed ligament. The knee joint was sloppy though. I couldn't really rely on any running/pivoting activities. Used to shoot basketball with friends in a back yard but I couldn't do that without potential for my knee giving out.

With a tear like yours -I really do not know if/when you could resume normal activity. I don't know if that will 'heal' itself or if it should be prepared. Doctors will be able to answer that one though.

An MRI is the only way to determine the extent of the tear. An X-Ray would show if it were severed or not.

If it's any help -I've always been in decent shape. I worked out in the gym for many years, off and on, before the injury.
Since the repair, I am a more confident dirt bike rider. I have taken up running and MTB. I'm quite good a the bike and I've run 2 marathons, a few half marathons and many many local short races, even become a 6:?? minute mile for 4-5 mile races.
Once recovered you'll be as good as new. Don't worry too much about how much time it will take but rather focus on waiting until you are healthy enough to continue these activities for the rest of your life, without re injuring yourself due to poor recovery this time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry to hear that, it seems like ACL damage is a common occurrence with mountain bikers. Good to hear that you have recovered and are able to ride again though.

I definitely feel I made the mistake of carrying on ride for another hour or so before I decided to go home and then proceeded to go to work for 7 hours, where I then thought it best to go to A&E to get checked out as my leg had doubled/trebled in size.

My partner keeps saying to me that it's going to take time to heal and I totally get that but, these 12/13 weeks have dragged. I'm now down to using 1 crutch and my physiotherapist has taken my hinged knee brace off me and put me in a tubular bandage as she said that it was restricting my muscles. I got a weight lifted off my shoulders when I was told that I wasn't going to need an operation but now I'm starting to think that maybe the operation would of sped the process up slightly.

There's times where I feel it is getting better but then i'm struggling to keep my knee in the same place for more than an hour without it starting to hurt badly. I have managed to straighten my leg due to the exercises I have been given but I still get a sharp pain right under my kneecap when I do straighten it.

I am making sure to take every bit of advise from my consultant and physio as they know best and are there to help me :) I just hope that I am able to ride again as it has become a real passion of mine over the last year or so and I'd rather not let my bike go to waste.

Cheers for listening to me waffle, I think people are getting bored of me droning on about it. So its nice to get things off my chest.
 

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Sorry to hear about your situation. I came very close to you almost 12 weeks ago. Hit a jump in the terrain park skiing with my son and caught too much air straight up. Landed very hard directly on both feet. The impact caused both knees to hyper bend inward and my ski's came off. Heard and felt a pop in my left knee. Tried to ski down but as soon as I went to carve left my left knee gave out and down I went again. Got taken off the mountain by ski patrol. Unfortunately I had to drive over an hour home with a standard because my son doesn't drive standard lol. My clutch leg of all things. Went to the ER, had it x-rayed and was given crutches and an ace bandage wrap. Saw an orthopedist the next morning. My knee/leg was as big as a tree at that point. They put me in a hinged brace and I resumed regular activity as I could weight bare. Actually went back to my weight training. In very good shape for 55 from 5 days a week training for most of my life. Doctor felt there was a definite MCL injury but wasn't certain about the ACL. Decided not to do an MRI and did a follow up visit 6 weeks later because he couldn't really examine me due to the swelling. I did PT for a few weeks and decided to do it on my own after. Rode a stationary bike 1/2 hour a day, stretching, etc.. Went back for another follow up and the doctor told me to resume weight training with my leg and ditch the brace because it would start to hinder me. It felt sloppy just prior and I was concerned the was indication of ligament tear. Turns out it was due to muscle weakness from using the brace at that point. As soon as I stopped the brace the sloppy feeling went away. Doc thought I would be back on my bike in the summer but I proved him wrong. Got back on last week and have ridden two 8 mile ST rides since with no issues. My knee still doesn't have full ROM yet and there is still some swelling but the doctor said it would take at least 3 months from injury. I consider myself very lucky and the doc said if my legs weren't as muscular as they are it would have been worse. I have come to appreciate how complicated knees are. I go back one more time to the doc beginning of June.
 
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