Protocol for torn ACL in 58 year old woman

by Elizabeth

I am a 58 year old woman with no health insurance. I care for my 1 year old grandson three days each week. I began to have pain in my left knee when squatting a few weeks ago. I also had a good deal of stiffness when getting up from a chair after sitting for a short time.

I will admit I am very out of shape and about 50lbs. over weight. I was very ill two years ago. I gained the weight after my illness when my lifestyle became very sedentary.

My grandson was born premature and had some health issues so I offered to take care of him.

It was hard from the start as I was so out of shape and tired due to having had the illness. It became harder as he got older. His level of activity increased along with his weight. While carrying him up and down the stairs each day my knee became more and more unstable. I could hear and feel snapping and popping sounds. My knee felt very unstable when I would make turns. On days when I was not babysitting my knee was much better and after a long weekend it would be fine.

The other day I carried my grandson up a flight of stairs and heard a pop. My knee gave out and I was in great pain. I was not able to walk. I could baea no weight on the leg at all.

I have been using crutches and been on complete bedrest since the incident occurred. I had minimal swelling. I have been wearing a brace. I have been taking Aleve twice a day for pain. I now have a large bruise behind my knee. The pain is not very bad but bothers me while sleeping if I try to turn over.

I have no way to see a doctor. Far too expensive. I will have to do my best to heal this on my own. My neighbor is a PT so she may be willing to help for rehab. If you could give me some guidelines on how to go about treating this injury I would be very grateful.

Most sincerely,



Joshua Answers:

Hello Elizabeth.

One huge component of ACL tears is weak hamstrings.

The hamstrings don't fire and stabilize the knee, thus other structures take the load, which they're not designed for.

Are you sure it was an Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear?

This situation is not at all a Tendonitis situation. There are some common factors, but if you did actually tear your ACL, the usual things aren't going to 'fix' anything.

Icing may help with the Process of Inflammation and the bruise, but right now stability is the issue.

The good news is, lots of people do just fine with a torn ACL, but you'll have to figure out how to work it.

How bad is the bruise?

How bad is the pain?

What exactly happens when you put any weight on the knee?

Regardless of those answers, one of the best things you can do right now, in this moment, is to contract your hamstrings.

If you're laying on your back in bed, fire your hamstrings, pushing your ankles and knees down into the bed.

This may take some effort, and some trial and error at first, because you probably can't easily turn those muscles on on command since you haven't done it/tried to do that for so long.

Which is fine. It's a skill like anything else. Pay attention, and try try try until you can do do do.

Then, regularly throughout the day, contract those muscles. It's like working out, but you want to do as many squeezes in a day as you can. Having said that, go easy at first, don't over do it. Having said that, you have a long way to go until you hit 'overdoing' it.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Comments for Protocol for torn ACL in 58 year old woman

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Apr 14, 2011
More info on my injury
by: Elizabeth

Thank you for the reply. I will try to give as much information as possible.

When the injury happened the pain was off the charts. There was no immediate swelling as I had been taking Naproxen for a few days and wearing a brace. I had minimal swelling on the second day with an area of bruising behind my knee. Pain has not been bad at all. I do feel instability when walking with crutches. I am able to bare full weight on my leg since day two but still use one crutch to minimize use.

I am not certain what was damaged when this happened. My husband suggested the ACL as he played sports and tore his when he was young. I have had a good deal of instability in my knee for some time. I have pain in quite a few tendons. I have fibromyalgia type symptoms type symptoms due to a severe illness suffered three years ago.

I will follow your instructions and gladly accept any further advice you have to offer.

Thank you again,



Joshua Comments:

Hi Elizabeth.

The more details, the better.

My guess is it's not the ACL, but I'm not putting any money on that.

There are many structures all coming together at the knee. If you had already had instability, there's a variety of factors involved.

If I may ask, what was the illness that caused your fibromyalgia symptoms? I mean, do you have fibromyalgia, or do you just have a lot of pain, or?

Regardless of your answer:

1. Get some liquid Vitamin D3, that has 2,000 i.u.'s per -drop-.

2. Magnesium for Tendonitis. Cheap and easy.

3. Ice packs (frozen corn, whatever). 5 minutes on, 10 or so off. As many times throughout the day as you can.

4. Do the hamstring strengthening I described.

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