Fiona, who has been skiing for nearly 45 years, spends the winter season in the alps every year with her husband. On the last day of the season they had a house full of family as they were celebrating Fiona’s sisters 60th birthday. The snow was still in a good condition, although getting a bit slushy on the lower slopes towards the end of the day. They decided to go skiing for a few hours to finish off what had been an excellent season. They planned to only ski in the morning, getting home in time for a BBQ lunch. On the way back to their village, Fiona’s skis got caught in some slushy snow on a blue run. She wasn’t going fast and the gradient was minimal. As she wasn’t going at speed, her bindings didn’t release and she twisted her right knee as Fiona explains: “I heard the dreaded popping sound so I knew I had done some serious damage. I managed to get home, skiing in a straight line and going very slowly. Our French doctor confirmed MCL (medial collateral ligament) and ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) damage but without an MRI, he could not determine how bad it was. He put me in a rigid leg brace and I headed back to the UK a few weeks later to visit Professor Wilson.”
Fiona’s life was on hold. She couldn’t walk, drive or do any sort of activity. She was housebound. She knew she had to get a treatment plan in place and wanted to get back to London as soon as possible. Both Fiona’s nieces live in Scotland and, over the years, have torn ligaments skiing and both visited the Mackay clinic in Scotland for revolutionary knee surgery. Both are back to skiing again and one of them just completed climbing the Matterhorn.
On the basis of her nieces, Fiona’s expectations were high but she did not know at the time that her injuries could be treated with the internal brace technique which Professor Wilson had helped to pioneer. Fiona did know that she wanted to be fit and able to start the winter ski season in December 2019 and to undertake some mountain walking in summer 2019.
Fiona wanted to try and undertake a similar treatment path to her nieces, so she called the Mackay clinic who referred her to Professor Wilson in London: “I called Professor Wilson’s Office and explained my situation. I did not want to spend too much time in the UK as normally I live in France at this time of year. I boarded a plane on 1st May. I had scans and my first consolation with Prof. Wilson on 3rd May, second consultation on 8th May and my operation on 9th May. Wonderful. I was on my road to recovery all within 3 weeks of my accident.”
Fiona updates on her progress following the operation: “I am now 10 weeks post op. and my expectations have been met so far. I am walking in the mountains in the French Alps, cycling and walking without any problem. I still need to strengthen my knees and continue with my physio. The winter ski season is 5 months away and if I continue my recovery I see no reason why I cannot be back on the slopes in December.”
Fiona’s advice for patients with similar problems: “If you can have the treatment that I underwent, do not hesitate. The recovery period is much shorter than other methods and hopefully you will be back doing what you enjoy within a reasonable recovery time.”
She summarises her experience with Professor Wilson: “Professor Wilson totally understood my need to return to an active lifestyle as quickly as was medically and physically possible. He listened to my needs and delivered a treatment path that has surpassed my expectations. I was 56 years old when I had my surgery and I cannot thank him enough for never bringing my age into the process.”
Professor Wilson adds: “I am delighted Fiona has done so well after her right knee ACL repair using the internal brace technique which I have helped to pioneer and is on track to get back to skiing next season. I wish Fiona well with her continued recovery.”