Hi My name’s Matthew, I’m a full time university student, studying Agriculture in Adelaide, Australia.
I’m pretty big on my sports including Aussie rules football , cricket and just running and keeping fit in general.
My story started about 12 months ago, I was mustering cattle on a dirt bike, when I was knocked of by a cranky cow, my knee got caught underneath the motorbike, and was forced into some into some rocks. At the time I was more worried about making sure the cow wasn’t chasing rather than any pain in my knee.
That night I noticed my knee was quite swollen and it was sore, so sore that is was a struggle to take my boots on or off, running or lifting heavy objects was also quite a task.
The pain did ease over the coming weeks, but the swelling didn’t and my ability to run didn’t return and I guess my knee just didn’t feel right.
So booked into see an orthopaedic surgeon to see what the issue was, he initially though I had just torn a little bit of meniscus, but he sent me for an MRI just to be sure. When I returned he and I where both shocked to see that I had a completely torn PCL and it was an isolated tear so there appeared to be no damage to any other structures.
He explained to me that because I was young and active that he would recommend I have it reconstructed, he said that recently there had been a change from surgeons recommending straight physio, to recommending reconstruction for younger patients as the chances of doing further damage to the knee are high. So I booked in for surgery about 2 months down the track as this was during my university holidays.
Before my surgery the surgeon recommended I see a physio, and work on strengthening my legs in particular my quads and calves. I was able use a bike and cross trainer as well as doing light weights with no pain, so I focused on getting as fit and getting my leg in as good a condition as I could before the surgery. I truly believe this had a hugely beneficial to my recovery, so if I could give one piece of advice it would be if possible to see a physio and get a exercise routine to do before surgery
I had my reconstruction using on April the 8th 2013 using my own hamstring graft. The anaesthetist gave me a nerve bloke before I woke up so I felt very little pain besides a little tingling in my hamstring.
I was sent home the next day in a straight leg brace, with a pair of crutches and some pain killers. I only used the pain killers at night for the first week and was pretty well hobbling around without crutches in two days. The only real pain I got was when I stood up, I’d get an almighty pain in my shins, which would eventually go away if I just walked through it.
I was told to where the brace at all times except for a brief shower, and to just take it easy for the next 4 weeks before going back to the Dr, where I was fitted into a hinged brace and given an initial range of motion of 90 degrees .
I had to were this brace for a further 9 weeks taking it very easy on stairs and I was also not allowed to drive. I was able to some simple exercises.
After 9 weeks I went back to the surgeon took the brace off and the physio was the able to amp up me rehab. I was doing leg raises, leg presses and extensions, and also a lot of work of the stationary bike, and also swimming. The exercises all focused on building up my quad muscles, and being sure not to work my hamstring, which would pull against my graft.
I went back for my final visit to my surgeon in late September, where he gave me permission to begin straight line running and to basically start living normally again.
At the time of writing this it is the 27th of November and back running and kicking the football, and pretty well doing everything I was doing before the injury and I also passed university. I’m aiming to play football again in April next year. I’m not in the clear yet, but so far so good. It is certainly a time consuming injury, but if you don’t rush it, follow your doctors and your physio’s instructions there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to get back to living a pretty well normal life.