ACL – torn, Meniscus – torn, Bone – bruised.  Now what?

ACL – torn, Meniscus – torn, Bone – bruised. Now what?

For those of you that follow on Facebook or Twitter,  you probably already know that my 11 year old daughter recently tore her ACL in the championship game of a soccer tournament.

We got the MRI results earlier this week and her ACL isn’t all she injured.

Total damage?

  • Torn ACL
  • Torn Meniscus
  • Bone Bruise

girls soccerNow what?

That’s the question of the hour.  But it’s not the only one.  That one little question spawns all sorts of questions that buzz around in my brain at odd hours of the day – maybe it’s during a marketing meeting or at 3am – that cappuccino or the shadowed ceiling of my bedroom?  Not quite sure how they make me think of my daughter’s knee, but I find myself looking at them and thinking:

  • What do we do?
  • How do we fix this?
  • What are the implications of each option?
  • How do I pick a doctor?
  • How many doctors should I talk to before pulling the trigger?
  • How long before she’s “back to normal”?
  • Should I let her brother play soccer and risk getting injured?
  • And dozens more…

Preliminary ACL Answers

I don’t have many answers yet, but will keep you posted on what I learn about the ACL surgery itself in the coming weeks.

What I have learned so far?

1)  Reach out – you are not in this alone.  

  • My friends have researched orthopedic surgeons and their reputations with ACL surgery.
  • Others have asked their husbands and doctors who they’d take their child to if they tore an ACL.
  • A woman I have never met emailed me back and called me to talk about the physeal sparing ACL surgery her son had to correct this same thing earlier this year.  She had all kinds of great tips and resources to share.  More than an hour all told of her life given freely to help me.

2)  You have choices.

  • Because it was a Children’s Hospital doctor that diagnosed Jaeda’s ACL on the field, the numbers they gave us to call were for Children’s facilities and staff – makes sense right?  But the surgeon we were referred to can’t even TALK to us until July because his schedule is so booked.
  • A very well recommended surgeon not affiliated with Children’s is seeing us within three days of me calling.

3)  Get along with your ex.

  • There are big decisions to make in the next few weeks.  Decisions that will affect my daughter for the rest of her life – her sports future, as well as, long term joint health.  Her Dad needs to be involved in these decisions.  It’s his right and responsibility to have a voice.  Which means we have to be able to talk to each other reasonably well to hash out the options and pick the one that’s best for this gorgeous girl we created.
  • There are a TON of doctor appointments and physical therapy appointments in our future.  That means lots of time together.  Sitting on one side of the waiting room while he’s on the other is no fun for us or our daughter.  Trust me I’ve done it.  We are working on it.

4)  Too much information.

  • Realize when it’s too much information to share with your child.  I’m churning decisions and options in my mind.  In hers?  The person having it actually done to her?  It causes anxiety.  Anxiety she doesn’t need amplified by me confiding every detail and decision and implication.  Keep her informed and involved – yes.  Overload her and stress her out – no.  Each person has to know their child and what they can handle.  I know for my daughter, you have to decide for yours.  (I have a whole other post about this topic and other parents coming later.)
  • There are a lot of videos on youtube showing the actual ACL surgery.  It’s a great resource to understand what’s going to happen but it’s not for those with weak stomachs.  I am usually pretty good about being able to watch that kind of stuff.  Looking at it through the lens of they are going to do that to my daughter?  I’m not going to lie.  I’m a little nauseated right now.

That’s all for now.  There are tons of other things I’m learning about the actual surgery options:

  • harvest site
  • anatomical vs. non-anatomical
  • physeal sparing (avoiding the growth plates)
  • growth issues with traditional ACL repair techniques in prepubescent kids
  • surgeon selection
  • MRIs
  • physical therapy

I’ll save those for another day…gotta run to meet the first surgeon I’m interviewing.

 More ACL Posts

Post 1 – ACL torn, Meniscus torn, bone  bruised – now what?

Post 2 – Best doctors for pediatric ACL surgery

Post 3 – Update on daughter’s ACL surgery

Post 4 – ACL Surgery Update

Post 5 – Recovering from ACL Surgery – the Week After

Post 6 – 4 Months after Pediatric ACL Surgery

Post 7 – Tips for Traveling out of Town for Your Child’s Surgery

Post 8 – A Year After ACL Surgery

13 Responses to ACL – torn, Meniscus – torn, Bone – bruised. Now what?

  1. That certainly sounds like a lot of damage to someone like me who knows nothing about that sort of thing — here’s hoping that everything with the recovery process goes smoothly and that your daughter makes a full recovery!

    • Seems like it to me too Becky. I was fairly ignorant of how knees work before this other than mine keep me upright and walking. It’s been a learning curve, for sure!

  2. I’m so sorry to hear that the damage was more than anyone hoped for :-(

    You are handling this so well, doing your research and sharing what your daughter can handle.

    My thoughts and good wishes are with you both. XOXO

    • Thanks Lori. It’s a journey for sure…I’m getting more confident as we narrow down the choices for surgeons and the referrals start to agree on who we should consult. Now it’s just a matter of pulling the trigger.

  3. I have a completely torn ACL that happened in Dec. but because of my age and weight they are not repairing it. I felt because of my weight that I need that important ligament to help with my balance as to spare more injuries because of the balance issues that happen. I went to a specialist at Chapel Hill, NC whom I was not impressed with in the least, but he did however tell me that I needed to be more concerned with the bruised bones rather than the ACL. I’m 47 and I have a younger husband…I think my ACL is just as important, anyway I enjoyed reading your information

    • Did he say why he thought you should pay more attention to the bone bruises Ann? Our doctors have pretty much dismissed those as they will heal on their own.

      THE knee guys in the country are Steadman Clinic in Vail. They will call you back if you leave a message and you can get their take on whether that doctor’s advice of just leave the ACL alone is best. No charge even…

  4. Thank you for sharing your information, Daria! My son is 10 and tore his ACL two weeks ago. It has been heart breaking as he lives for sports and dreams of being a pro-football player or hockey. We started from “ground zero” trying to figure out the best technique and then the best doctor to perform this technique. The first orthopaedic surgeon we met with peformed the “adult” technique on children. We are meeting with Dr. Boyd with TRIA in Bloomington, MN next week (we live in Minnesota). He is the orthopaedic surgeon that works with the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Wild with an excellent reputation. My husband has spoken to his assistant that shared he has done “a lot” of children’s ACL reconstructive surgeries. I need to clarify what “a lot” means and what technique is used.
    Dr. Kocher’s name keeps coming to me from various sources, but, it sounds like he has a two month waiting list. We would like to have it done as soon as possible providing we find the right doctor to do the surgery.
    Thank you for providing your information as it has been of comfort. I’ll keep following your blog. Keep posting as your daughter progresses through physical therapy and her healing time.
    All the best,

    • Hi Jackie,

      For a 10 year old boy, I definitely think the physeal sparing surgery is the way to go – that’s the one Kocher developed in Boston. If you can’t get to Boston or don’t want to wait the 2 months to get on his schedule, I’d call or email them and ask who they recommend in your area. I know there are great doctors in MN.

      For me, I wanted someone that’s done whichever procedure we ended up with 100’s of times. I want their specialty to be PEDIATRIC Knees because it is so much more complicated when you throw the growth plates into the equation.

      I understand wanting to get it repaired and moving forward, that was ultimately a large part of why I chose the surgeon here in CO was he could get her in within two weeks of deciding on the surgery.

      This is the contact person and phone for Kocher’s office if you wanted to talk to her:

      Stefanie A. Blakely
      Template Coordinator | Phone (781) 216 – 1327
      Boston Children’s Hospital | Division of Sports Medicine

      And please feel free to email me and I’ll connect you with other parents who have sons around that age making these same decisions… sometimes it helps to talk to someone that’s been through it.

      Thank you Jackie! And good luck to you and your son.


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