Keen skier and climber, Ceri
Consultant: Prof Adrian Wilson
Knee sports injuries and trauma
Keen skier aiming to climb Cotopaxi in Ecuador 7 months after ACL repair with Professor Adrian Wilson
Ceri was four days into a 10 day ski holiday with friends and family in Colorado, when she fell whilst coming down a slope. After a brief rest, Ceri attempted to ski on. Whilst she wasn’t in any particular pain, as she attempted to turn, she heard a loud pop, one of the main symptoms of a rupture to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Ceri’s left leg seemed to collapse and she was unable to ski any further.
Having managed to get down the slope, Ceri sought help at the local hospital for the resort, who confirmed that she had suffered a subchondral fracture to her shin bone. Due to the swelling, they were unable to carry out an MRI scan, which is the only way to confirm whether ligaments have been damaged.
Once Ceri was home in Wales, an MRI scan and visit to a local orthopaedic consultant confirmed that she had suffered a torn ACL and also damaged her medial collateral ligament (MCL). It was recommended that Ceri start physiotherapy immediately while she researched her options to deal with her significant ligament damage.
It was really important to Ceri that she get back to fitness as quickly as possible and she wanted her treatment to have the minimal impact on her healthy tissues. After extensive research, Ceri came across the internal brace technique. Professor Wilson is well known globally for this technique which he has developed, which uses fibre tape to reinforce a torn ligament. This approach appealed to Ceri, as it didn’t involve using hamstring grafts from her leg. Ceri said: “I don’t know what traditional reconstruction or living without an ACL is like. I researched those options, and recognised that whilst they work for thousands of people, I didn’t think they would work for me.”
Ceri met with Professor Wilson, who confirmed the diagnosis and treatment plan, and Ceri’s operation took place the week after her first appointment.
After the operation, Ceri’s recovery went smoothly, supported by the use of the Game Ready machine to ice her knee, and weekly physio sessions. She was able to walk the day after surgery, was off her crutches the next week and was even able to drive to her follow up appointment, only 2 weeks after the operation.
10 weeks on, Ceri is already back to walking the coastal path and is dedicated to making sure she follows her exercise programme to keep her recovery on track. Her next stage is to progress to cross country running before a holiday to Ecuador in July, where she hopes to climb Cotopaxi. Ceri summarises her treatment: “Prof’s repair of my ACL has enabled me to get back to the things I love, safely, with the least impact on work and family life. That’s important to me, life really is too short.”
She was particularly pleased with the amount of information she was given and has the following advice to pass onto anyone considering which technique may be best to deal with a ruptured ACL:
- Do your homework, the more you understand the options, the easier it will be to select the solution for you.
- The three options I reviewed were ACL repair, reconstruction or just get by. Make sure you’re aware of the work you’ll need to do after the operation for each of the surgical options.
- The rehabilitation is time consuming, especially when you get back to work. Use any of the available devices, such as the Game Ready or the Alter G, they really help.
Adrian is delighted with Ceri’s recovery and progress, he said: “Ceri had an ACL repair with internal brace in early 2018 and her physiotherapist has been blown away by her recovery. Hers is a great story. She walked into my clinic at 3 weeks, having driven up from Wales!”