Welcome to Bruisetown

I thought that I wouldn’t be as bruised up after ACL surgery as I was after ACL/PCL surgery, but I was wrong. Dead wrong.

Here’s my right leg after ACL/PCL reconstruction:

Pretty gnarly, for sure. But that’s nothing compared to what greeted me when my surgeon changed my bandage today:


Looks great!

Totally rad!

Apparently I bleed a lot. Ironically, this hurts way less than my other knee did.

About Andrew Sacks

I'm a 27-year-old former college baseball player, currently working as a strength and conditioning coach in Baltimore, MD.
This entry was posted in Knee injury, Recovery and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Welcome to Bruisetown

  1. Kate says:

    Dude, I know exactly what you are talking about as a veteran of knee surgery myself. If it makes you feel any better, your posts are enabling me to look back to my recovery period and laugh about the bruising, pain, vomiting, and don’t forget the constipation (try some stool softeners). You should write about the good times of showering while standing on one leg. I guess you wouldn’t be able to write about trying to shave your legs while showering standing on one leg. ..

  2. andrewsacks says:

    Oh yes, I’ve had several near-death experiences in and around the shower as a result of trying to balance on one leg. Taping trash bags over my brace was also really fun.

  3. Alex says:

    It’s weird my surgeon, who’s good, hasn’t been that gung ho about wearing the brace constantly. I take it off for showers and for a while in bed. But, I too, have many flash “oh, shit, going down, which way should I collapse” moments. Luckily hasn’t come to that.

  4. Chelsea Arellano says:

    I grew too fast and had to have the bones in both my legs cut in half! I am now wearing huge metal frames around 😦 Its been 5 months and I still have another 4! Good luck with everything 🙂

  5. ggfb20 says:

    I’m next, some time in March my surgery will be performed, but wow I had no idea that this is what I am to look forward to. How long does the brusing persist and are any of the scars or marks permananet? Did you fully recovery? I have just a partial tear of my PCL and a major tear of lateral horn meniscus in the same knee. It has been about 9 months since the injuries occured but it was initially mis-diagnosed. I pray that I fully recover because I have been a very active person my entire life and this is my first major injury. I am now 31 and have plenty more things in life that I want to do and do not want to be slowed by my knee, I never knew how vurnerable the knee is, who would have known that the knee is one of the few parts of the body that struggles to heal itself.

  6. Andrew Sacks says:

    The bruising lasted only a couple of weeks, but the scars are there for life. If you put scar gel like Mederma on the scars their appearance will be minimal, though. As for the ligaments themselves, I’m fully recovered now and playing baseball again pain-free and with full range of motion.
    The PCL surgery I believe has a high recovery rate, but meniscus injuries are tough to predict. Just make sure you follow your physical therapist’s guidelines and don’t try to come back too fast. Better to take your time and wait a while to return to stressful activities than to do too much too soon and end up suffering a setback.

  7. Lori says:

    I am a 41 year old women who just tried skiing for the first time in January. Went every weekend since Jan and love it. Feb 1st I was going to have meniscus clean up of my Right knee from and old injury. I went for the cortisone shot instead so that I could finish up the epic snow year we are having in Washington. WELL – through down 1500 on boots and ski’s head up the Quad with the instructor. First run… lost my balance while getting read to go down the first slope and that was it, tore my ACL on the left. um yeah!!!! Just had surgery on both knee’s a week ago Friday. By this past Saturday I was off pain meds! Did you have the same experience. I was freaking out about the bruise I had….. well I have NOTHING compared to you. Is that because you used your own tissue from the hamstring? I went with the cadaver (donor tissue) How long before you where off the crutches? I am currently using a CMT machine 6 hours a day, how long before you started to do heal slides and such?

    Thanks Lori

    • Andrew Sacks says:

      I stopped taking my pain meds after about a week too, just because i didn’t like being groggy all the time. I actually used patellar grafts on both knees, but I suppose some of the bruising could be attributed to having an autograft (your own tissue) vs an allograft (donor tissue). I stopped using my crutches after maybe 3 or 4 weeks, and I started doing PT (including heel slides) about a week after surgery.

  8. Eliza Smith says:

    Wow! That’s really intense bruising! I had an ACL reconstruction (using hamstring graft) and a meniscus repair about three weeks ago and barely bruised at all. Hahaha, to be honest now I’m disappointed! I’m writing a blog too, mostly because I was REALLY bored in the first two weeks. http://onetwoknee.blogspot.com.au/ if you’re curious. There’s a picture of my knee after two weeks, and its nowhere NEAR as cool as yours.

  9. i had a bit of tear jerker moment yesterday. I made a whole breakfast of poached eggs, sausages, and a spinach and tomato salad all on one leg! I then hopped out of the kitchen, one arm in the crutch the other carrying the plate of my endeavours but also using the forearm to prop me up against the wall. I lost my footing on one of the hops and the whole thing fell on the floor. I was devastated.

  10. Laraina says:

    Your bruising pictures are a fright! I still have bruising from my 3-17-2012 car wreck (hit head on by SUV at 50mph!) Some missed issues on initial MRI have been found in the recent MRI. The UT docs suggested my PCL might reattach to the tibia and the other injuries would heal with rest. A tibia fracture healed; but the large PCL bone fragment refused to cooperate. I now have added a torn ACL on same knee and have dog-yelping pain in opposite leg’s hip and medial knee (PT says the new damage is compensatory from shifting weight.) Anyway, my question regards Surgeon choice. The ACL vs PCL injury rate is 20:1, so, finding a mechanic who specializes is proving a bit difficult. I would not have guessed this given my location near the Texas Medical Center. The questions to ask are easy; but, how to sift through the volumes of orthopedic surgeons is proving challenging as well as how to ask the PCL experience question without offending the surgeon. Do you or any of your readers have suggestions or recommendations for a Houston PCL guru? Like you and your readers, I’m not ready to give up on a full recovery.

    • Amber says:

      Dr.Steven Brotzman in Austin is amazing! He reconstructed my PCL 3 moths ago. He’s also VERY aggressive on the recovery side.

      • Laraina says:

        Thanks Amber! Did you have the PC Ligament reconstruction alone or was your PCL also separated (avulsed) from the tibia or femur bone? The MRI’s indicate my PCL is intact; however, it remains detached from my tibia. The bone fragment is medium to large and seems to be a candidate for securing with screws. My online research reveals two methods of entry for the reattachment: 1) a medial/posterior approach, or 2) a posterior approach. I am hoping to get a better grasp of which method of entry (cutting) promotes the fastest healing time and the least potential for surgical complications. Oddly, I have been greeted with curious stares when I ask the question. Ideally, I would be a candidate for whichever method can repair the most damage, with the least risk, and in a single procedure. I’m closing in on 8 months post-injury, so, stir-crazy would be an understatement.

        Amber, if you have time, could you and/or others answer these post-surgery questions:
        1) how long were you non-weight bearing on the injured leg/knee after PCL surgery?
        2) how long before you could navigate stairs without holding the rails (carrying groceries, etc.)?
        3) how long after surgery before you regained full ROM in knee (esp. flexing/bending/squats)?
        4) if swelling was a ROM issue, how long did/do you expect the swelling to be a recovery issue?
        5) did you have other damage repaired during the PCL procedure (chondromalacia, ACL, etc)?

        Thanks again for taking the time to respond. And thanks again to Bruiser for creating the blog 🙂

  11. Pakou says:

    Wow! Thanks for making this blog, Andrew! I appreciate it…… just had ACL surgery on my left knee (will be a week tomorrow) and this is only the beginning of rehab. I start PT next week which I’m actually excited about and looking forward to. Can’t wait to be where you are. Great to hear everyone’s experiences as well.

  12. Aaron Basuel says:

    Im currently in my first week of recovery for my torn ACL/meniscus. This blog is both insightful and hilarious lol. I am worried about when my doctor changes my bandages…..

  13. Deborah says:

    Well, all I can say is you have made me feel very lucky, as my acl replacement, meniscus repair was not nearly this bad. 😦 very little bruising and after one week and I’m able to get in and put of the shower and only use my brace when I venture outside. Thank goodness.

  14. Nicholas says:

    I just had my second knee surgery on the same leg as the one three years ago. It has been exactly a week. I retore my MPFL so they used a tendon from my hamstring to replace the torn ligament. I also had some bone chip off my knee cap during the injury that they went ahead and cleaned out during the surgery. I am right there with you on the bruising Andrew, my knee looks just as jacked up as yours and my first surgery gave me the same bruising as well. The pain from this surgery is significantly less but I’v also binged on my pain killers just to make it through the days (night time during sleep as well). One week later I’m out of pills about to start rehab. I have not worn my brace since the day of surgery because it is just a pain to take on and off, and I really dont see the point if all im doing is laying down with a pillow underneath my leg… not sure if that has been the smartest idea in the world.

    here are the pictures of the bruising: https://www.facebook.com/nicholas.haddad.92/posts/10151548249167146

  15. Trina Dee says:

    Enlightening.. been looking all over net to find out recovery time and experiences of others, Ruptured my ACL, PCL,meniscus oblique tear all in one go, completely severing both ligaments, fell 7 feet off side of an outdoor stair case when hand rail gave out… landed on my knee, xray showed nothing, it wasnt til MRI that showed it all quite serious as to first thought, couldnt bend knee and had to sleep with leg elevated for near 4 months fluid on knee and in ankle lasted over 6 months,, no need mention pain, this happened in sept 2011 and it is only now (public waiting list for surgery) that im up 1st of May, had small experience of stiff leg syndrome and the loo hahaha loved that page. Now getting somewhat fearful of date closing in,, much relieved to read recovery is not as bad as I though thanks to this page and posts, and thank you all that contributed your experiences that now have me sort of knowing what to expect. cheers to all good luck

  16. Pingback: Ecchymosis After Knee Surgery

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