Monday, April 16, 2012

4 Years Ago Today Skinnygurl Had Surgery

Hello and welcome to my blog. Yup, that's right. Four years ago today I woke up and wondered what hit me. Had I done the right thing? What happens next? My most nagging question was "When Can I Run Again"? Well as most of you know we all have to learn to walk before we run and oh boy what a journey this has been.
The biggest question after all that? Would I do it again?


My knee hurts occasionally, I walk up and down stairs normally. I still protect my knee and probably will for the rest of my life. I can run again but don't press it. It feels stable and most of all safe. For that I thank with endless gratitude my tissue donor my medical team, all of you for your continued support and of course my buddy Dagan, who never left my side.

We now have many coming to find answers and seek support. Glad to have you all.


Molly said...

Congratulations Pam! You have helped so many people through this blog. Isn't it amazing (and a blessing) to be able to easily reach out to people worldwide? You're the best!

Skinnygurl said...

Thanks Molly! PLUS because of your daring travels we met and now you're My Good Friend!

David M said...

Hi Pam,
My name is David (i'm logging in through my wife's blog account).

I recently (3 weeks ago) was skiing and had a really bad crash, I broke my collar bone in 3 places, cut up my head, and tore muscles between my ribs but worst of all the MRI results show I have a completly torn PCL and minor damage to the MCL. I have an appointment with the ortho dr. in two days. I'm pretty sure it's going to need surgery as I have some popping and risk of giving out.
Your blog and other posts from people have been a great eye opener for the impending surgery and recovery after. I'm really not looking forward to it but reading your full story has given me a lot of perspective.
I'm 31 and very active which I hope will aid in my recovery.

If anyone has gone through this surgery in Colorado Springs could you please respond with the name of the surgon you used.

hamlet said...

Congratulations Pam for making it this far. Yes, you have helped lots of people especially me.

You know what, altho I've become a silent reader, whenever somebody/friends/colleagues, no matter who they are having the same problem, I will just give them your link.

Everything will answered here coz I know I did!

It's has been almost 4 years post-surgery journey for me. I have the same pain just like u but I still play my rugby.

Take care Pam!

Skinnygurl said...

Welcome to my blog David. Age is indeed on your side. You've had a hard knock and I wish you the best. Please let me know how you're doing and if you move forward with your surgery.
Steady as she goes David!
Don't forget, this type of surgery can feel like one step forward and two back. Eventually you too will get through it. Trust me!

Skinnygurl said...

Good to see you Hamlet! I imagine many rugby players are referred here! Thanks for linking them and pop in when you can!!

spenno said...

Im spencer im from England and im serving police officer. I cracked my tibia playing soccer in Jan of this year and I was off work for 3 months due to the injury. I had a MRI scan in Feb this year which resulted in the following being discovered a complete PCL tear, a partial tear of the ACL and tear of the fibular collateral ligament. Saw my knee specialist yesterday and looks like im going to need a operation. Im look at a 3-5 month recovery. Really good blog and looks like I wil be going through the same. take care spencer

Skinnygurl said...

Hi Spencer!
Welcome to my blog. Sorry to hear you're going to have surgery although with your postive attitude sounds like you'll do just fine. Please stay in touch and let us know how you're doing. You're invited to write a bit about your recovery and I'll post a picture of you if you like so others can benefit.
Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions or need support.

Kooahara_79 said...

Congrats Pam, which pcl reconstruction technique did they use? Who was your surgeon? I definitely need pcl reconstruction, I tried to physio through it but it just isn't right...

Skinnygurl said...

Thanks for the email. I replied to you in private.
Keep us posted. I wish you the very best of luck. More questions, feel free to ask. Many follow this and I'm sure they would be glad to help you too.

Charlie said...


hope all is well... I wrote my blog on PCL recovery in 2008 and used to be obsessed with reading your updates. I was the Virginia Tech athlete. Just randomly decided to check in and it was wonderful reading your updates. I ended up fully recovering, graduating from VT, getting a master's at U of Louisville and playing my extra year of eligibility there and going to the NCAA national championship, then got drafted in the Major League Soccer Draft and now play professional soccer... hope all is well and keep being an inspiration to all!

Skinnygurl said...

Hi Charlie !!!

Good to see you! I So Remember You!!

Thank You for your kind words. Hey, congratulations on your achievements! Wonderful Life, Wonderful News.
Please stay in touch and keep up the fantastic strides in your life.

Seanser said...

Hi skinnygurl,
Sean from ireland here. This blog is fantastic. Just seen how different people go through rehab is brilliant. I had PCL reconstructive surgery back in june of this year and I wasnt sure whether my progress was fast enough but after reading some of these stories it has put me at ease. At the moment I am in the gym running on the treadmill, on the exercise bike, swimming, leg press etc. Nothing too strenuous but my biggest problem is my flexion, it just wont bend any further than 110 no matter what I do and it does be quite painful if I push it. Do you have any tips on speeding this up? Any help would be greatful

Skinnygurl said...

Welcome Sean !!
I went through exactly the same thing you did! At about day 100 I was stuck at 100 degrees. I just kept after it. If you want to go back through the blog and find my days marked around 100 you'll see!

Please let us know how you're doing and best of luck. Sounds like you're on your way !!

Patrick Barrett said...

I have a question I had pcl reconstruction on april 26 2012 after blowing my knee out in a military training exercise in may of 2010 now that im 7 months out I still have a very weak knee and some nasty arthritus almost to the point when it pops and cracks it gives out and for my question is it normal for the screw to start backing out of the tiba or normal to be feeling like this 7 months post op ? Please help

KJ said...

Normal to feel like that 7 months post-op? Mostly yes. The giving out is a little concerning though. Do you feel like that's due to leg strength rather than a structural issue?

My doctor told me the screws and bone plugs were permanent anchors so I wouldn't expect that screw to budge. I've a couple friends that has issues with pins and screws coming out with foot surgeries though so I guess it happens.

I think you really need to talk to your PT about the stability issue and the screw. I would think your ortho would want to take a look at that. If your reconstruction has any type of failure you definitely want to find out sooner rather than later.

It took me about 2 years to get to where I considered myself fully recovered. Even then, my knee will never be the same. I'm 3.5 years out and my knee is very arthritic with lots of snap, crackle, pop (crepitus). There are good days and there are bad days so I just always do what I can.

Jamie Brannon said...

Hi ya'll. My name is Jamie and back in June I took a nasty fall over an orange cone that was placed right inside my work gate, ( it was 4:30 in the morning and I couldn't see it and it wasn't supposed to be there).
It took forever to get it Ok'd for the surgery because it was Workmans Comp. November 28th, I finally had it, and they found a tear in my meniscus(which was repaired), all kinds of cartilage damage (Dr said I had none left anywhere on the bone) and that my PCL was gone.
So, I am just starting the process of building strength up and haven't even walked with crutches yet.

Here is my question, My Dr almost immediately said he didn't want to do a PCL reconstruction surgery. That is was a really dangerous surgery and that less then 10% precent of patients actually have the surgery. He said I should be able to build up my quads and hamstring to give me support (with a brace) but I'm 42 year old mom... who doesn't want to walk with a limp and/or brace for the rest of her life.
Back to my it possible to function normally WITHOUT the reconstruction surgery? Any help would greatly be appreciated.
Also, you blog has been very helpful reading.

Skinnygurl said...

Hi Jamie and welcome to my blog. Your account sounds so much like me! That's everything I heard/read and more. I hope someone can reach out to you for an opinion on your pcl. Please keep us posted on how you're doing.


Jon Jorajuria said...

I wanted to say thank you for creating this blog. I am currently prepping for PCL reconstruction surgery and the information you have given has been awesome. You inspired me to write about my own PCL journey. I am scheduled to go under the knife January 23, 2013. If you wish to read about my story and recovery, it can be found at

arnuschky said...

Hey everyone,

I'm another Ultimate player with a PCL snapped cleanly through in the middle.

It's been 2 months since the injury. Didn't have PT. I still have slight pain and the knee feels wobbly, both during the whole day. Sometimes during normal movement the knee "cracks"/moves and there's more pain.

I tried to do some sports. I can jog, but I can't sprint. I still can't flex fully, the pain's to big. I'm doing a bit weightlifting (squats for the quads), which is ok but the knee doesn't feel good.

My normal sports doc told me "It will remain like that for your life. You're now like an animal with a broken paw. Learn to run with the injury." Kind of unsatisfying for an answer. :( I wonder how people can do sports or even play Ultimate with a torn PCL.

I have an appointment with a specialist tomorrow (things took time to arrange because of the holidays). Slightly nervous - wish me luck!

KJ said...

You can as long as your legs are nice and strong, but I can't recommend it. I played rugby for 6 years with a torn PCL (age 24-30). It was a partial tear to begin with and tore completely at some point. I had an 11mm drop when I finally had surgery.

The reason I advise against it is the doctor said I heavily damaged my knee during that time and now have to deal with the after-affects. My new PCL is awesome -- I don't need a brace, it's nice and tight and I now do rowing 3 times a week and CrossFit 3 times a week.

The pain I have to deal with though is something else. I can't do heavy squats, jumping just sucks so I choose not to, and my knee pretty much hurts at some point every single day.

Doc says main issues are the cartilage wear (chondromalacia - almost bone on bone now) and arthritis. At this point I actually look forward to knee replacement in 20 years!

If you have no PCL and you have a good surgeon, get it fixed sooner rather than later if you're going to do it at all. Everyone will tell you on this blog though that with or without surgery, your knee is never going to be the same and that's something you need to understand with this type of injury.

I'm sorry you have to deal with it at all! I hope you get good news from the doctor.

Matthew James said...

I’m a 24 year old uni student from Adelaide, South Australia. I tore my PCL about 10 weeks ago after falling off a dirt bike. The Surgeon I’ve seen has recommended surgery because I’m from a farming background and I’m also pretty active sporting wise as well as being young with a lot of life ahead of me .

I have read up and understand the rehab is long and hard and I’m pretty committed to toughing it out and doing all that I have to do to get it right.
My issue is at this stage I’ve booked the surgery about 2 weeks before I return to uni (college) This will be living at home(with parents) and I’m able to get lifts so driving isn’t an issue. Now uni isn’t all that strenuous mainly just sitting, studding attending lectures etc.

There are no stairs I need to tackle at my campass and everything is pretty close together.I guess my question is will I be able to continue my studies two weeks after Surgery or will I need a little longer at home recovering?.

I’ve had friends do there ACL and they have returned to study on crutches is the PCL recovery similar to this?
Cheers Matthew James

KJ said...

Everyone has had different experiences so I think you'll get a lot of different feedback. I went back to work after 2 weeks but it's a big blur (office job, sitting all day). I had scar tissue problems and had to go in for a 2nd procedure the week after my first so I took heavy narcotics for 3 weeks.

When I look back on it I think I definitely went back too early yet I did manage. You have youth on your side so I think you will be able to manage as well. To do it over though I would go on short-term disability.

Some things to keep in mind:
- What seems a short distance to walk feels like 5 times that distance when on crutches, particularly at the beginning when you're not allowed to bear any weight on your new PCL
- I was on crutches for 10 weeks. Some folks are on less, some are on more. I had to stay on until I could walk without a limp
- I couldn't get into and out of the bathroom door myself at first (something I never thought about)
- I was in a straight leg hip-to-ankle brace for the first 6 weeks so finding a way to keep my leg elevated was challenging and everything just took a lot longer (dressing, going to the bathroom, getting in and out of the car, etc)
- I had to do rehab 3 times a day which meant doing it at work at least once. Just make sure you take logistics of all that into mind.

To contrast, my boss had ACL surgery and came back after 2 weeks and didn't have crutches or really even a limp. Sadly, this isn't ACL surgery but everyone will expect you to bounce back just as fast. It's frustrating but you'll get through it and educate your friends along the way. I wish you well!

Matthew James said...

Thanks for the Reply KJ!

I have pushed the sugery back so it'll give be three weeks before uni goes back instead of 2.

I'm going to see the physio that my surgeon put me onto tommorow, that i'll be with both before and after sugery.

Going to start trying to build up my muscles as much as possible before i have me opp!

KJ said...

Glad you had that option. And definitely work out as much as you can because the fitter you go in, the easier the recovery will be. Don't neglect your arms either! It's a long time on crutches :)

I hope it goes well and please update us after your surgery!

Jon Jorajuria said...

After a couplf of delays, I finally had PCL reconstruction surgery on Feb 28, 2013. The surgery took 5 hours to complete (due to a new allograph prep technique)and apparently the surgery went very well. Pain is surprisingly under control. I have started reducing my pain med intake and increasing my exercises (Quad flexes while braced). I have a follow up with the doc tomorrow and hopefully I will be starting PT by the end of the week. If you wish to read about my story and recovery, it can be found at

Matthew James said...

Thats for that i'll definetly follow ur feed, im having my sugery next week!

Matthew James said...

Well ive just got home after having my sugery yesterday. All went well and I'm lightyly weight bearing and feeling surpsingly pain free, although that's prob the nerve block. My surgeons giving me a couple of weeks rest before my follow up appointment i get stuck in to my rehab.

Matthew James said...

heres a link the the blog i've decided to start.


Dr. A. M. Rajani said...

PCL injuries can occur with low-energy as well as high-energy trauma. Isolated PCL tears occur in sports, but they are less frequent and less disabling than ACL tears. PCL tears are often missed or misdiagnosed, and therefore probably more common than believed
Pain at the time of impact which over time may also be felt in the calf region.
Swelling, although this may be minimal.
Instability of the joint, perhaps associated with the feeling of the knee giving way.
In general, most partial or isolated PCL tear can be treated non-operatively because the PCL, with its synovial covering, has some ability to heal.
PCL reconstruction surgery is typically done as an outpatient procedure. Depending on graft choice, open incisions may be necessary to harvest the tissue that is to be used as the new PCL. Knee arthroscopy is then performed to inspect the knee, treat additional injuries (meniscus tears or cartilage damage), and to prepare the knee for the new PCL.