Should I excercise my damaged knee or should I baby it more?
February 18, 2012 9:45 PM   Subscribe

I have an ACL injury from a motorcycle accident two years ago. I have noticed in the past 6 months it has gotten much worse. Should I excercise more or less? I don't have health insurance and have no way to get physical therapy at all and have already exhausted all free health-care options.

So, to start, I have no resources at all, no money, no job, I am a student but my loans ONLY cover exactly my rent and school supplies and food and nothing else. College healthcare only covers immideate health problems, not PT, and I've been to the free clinic but told that they can't do anything for me.

Two years ago, I was in a motorcycle accident. The bike fell on me in a skid and sheared off my lateral tibial epicondyle, the nub where the ACL attaches. The bone chip went mostly back into place but set about 2mm above it's original location, which loosened my ACL just a little.

I could not afford physical therapy after the accident but eventually regained almost a full range of movement. I was told I shouldn't run anymore if I can help it, but that other things I enjoy (Biking, Fencing and Hiking) should be fine. And I was mostly fine for a year after my knee fully healed. But recently (for about 6 months) it's hurt more and more and dislocated more and more when I"m just doing normal, non-stressful stuff, to the point where I'm actually having trouble doing pretty normal stuff.

It bears mentioning that I haven't been doing the same physical activities I was before, biking, fencing and hiking, but I don't really know if I stopped because i was hurting more or if it's hurting more because I stopped.

So does anyone know, with an injury like this, are you supposed to baby it or are you supposed to excercise it? will excercising more make it stronger or weaken it faster?

Please don't tell me to get professional health care or physical therapy. I've exhausted all my resources and it's just not an option.
posted by RampantFerret to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
When I tore my ACLs there were specific strengthening exercises I was supposed to do and other sorts of movements that I was supposed to avoid. (I would be more specific but don't want to lead you down the wrong path with particular exercises, since this was quite a while ago.) I would at least google around to see if you can find out appropriate ACL stretches. If possible, see if there is anyone you can consult with for free about which exercises to do, even if you can't hire a physical therapist.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:55 PM on February 18, 2012

Stop stop stop with the physical exertion - anything that's causing dislocation and subluxation of your patella. Every time that happens you're irreparably damaging your knee. Conservative (non-surgical) treatment involves rest, then terminal (10 degree) extensions to rebuild the quads. Be really careful about going down hills, sports where you turn on a dime and deep flexing of the bad knee.

I know you don't want to hear this but you probably need surgery to fix the original and any subsequent injury. ACL type injuries don't get better on their own and it sounds like you've sustained an additional injury after the original one.
posted by squorch at 11:16 PM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

If it hurts, don't do it. If it swells, ice it. That's all I can say since I'm not a doctor (I'm a patient with a torn ACL). I have exercises which I was given to do but your situation may be significantly different than mine.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:47 PM on February 19, 2012

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