I had completely severed my MCL and ACL in a slow motion collision on a ski slope. The surgeons at Vail wanted to operate immediately, but I wanted to return home first. I saw several doctors who told me the MCL would heal first and then I would have to decide whether to go through ACL repair. Each doctor told me I could continue my life without an ACL and even return to skiing. I was 70 years old. I started PT and soon began to ride a stationary bike and get mobility back.
However, my MCL did not reattach as it was supposed to. The doctors tried the plasma shot, but that also did nothing except make my knee really hurt. I was left with no options but surgery.
Sadly it was 5 months after the injury when the surgery actually took place. MY HSS doctor used my hamstring to create a strong MCL and used cadaver tissue to repair the ACL. The first week post op is pretty terrible. I called it “pillow over the face” pain. But it eases each day after that first week. Soon my leg bending started to show improvements. I had turned the corner to recovery.
I could not start full PT until the MCL had healed…but then I went into it with gusto. Since it was all I could do (none of my sports were an option), I made it fun. I took on each new exercise with enthusiasm. I got better. I did everything I was told to do and nothing I was forbidden. I did not “jump ahead.”
My surgery was May 3. My first round of golf was on September 12 and my return to the ski slopes was on December 14….one year after injury. I had the longest ski season ever with 35+ days, most of which were in the western mountains where the challenges are greater and the runs longer. I no longer do bumps, but I ski long and hard on what is groomed. I feel lucky.
I worked hard and the doctors did what they needed to. I was supported and cared for. My will did the rest. My next ski season was even more days and I am back to golf with gusto. Tennis is still a challenge, but we make adjustments in life.
Whereas I know this knee is not like my other, it works! I am grateful to have a very active athletic life in my retirement and I thank my HSS team for allowing that!
I was standing on a file cabinet in Nov of 2007, drilling new holes to install blinds. I pulled the drill out of the wall and went back catching myself on my right foot. My knee bent in the wrong direction and I heard a pop. I had always been an athlete, so I thought it was just another injury and it would heal. It started feeling a little better, but then one day, I hyper-extended it and bent the knee back again, and heard another pop. I went to Dr. Shubin Stein soon after and she let me know that my ACL was all but snapped in two. It looked like a rubber band that was cut almost all the way through and then stretched. She told me that I could wear a brace and could continue to do all activities, but probably not 100 percent. She explained surgery, and the difference between taking my tissue to repair the ACL, or using that of a donor. When I heard the word “donor,” I wasn’t sure what she meant. No doctor had ever said that to me. She explained, “A donor, an Achilles tendon from a cadaver.” I got tears in my eyes and asked her the difference from using my own tissue, and that of a cadaver. She said that my recovery time would be 30-40% as long if I used donor tissue – meaning I would be ready to hit the bicycle in 3 months using donor tissue rather than 8 months using my own. She explained that it is basically a piece of rope by the time it goes into my body, and it is 99% successful. Don’t quote my figures – it was 7 years ago that I had the operation. So, she replaced my ACL on 4-4-2008; I did the rehab vigorously as instructed, and 3 months later exactly, I took a subway down to bicycle habitat in SoHo and bought a bike. I rode it 14 miles home. My right knee is as strong as my left knee now, and I don’t have knee problems. I can say I am deeply appreciative of Dr Shubin Stein’s treatment of me, her office, and her outstanding skills with me. She is the best.
I first came to Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in early 2000. Soon after, I began running marathons. Through HSS, I came to better understand my running biomechanics. In particular, I discovered that my running pattern creates excessive instability upon foot strike. As a result, I have experienced a myriad of injuries, including stress fractures, bursitis, tendonitis, etc. A freak snowboarding accident on New Years’ Eve 2015 resulted in an ACL tear.
I was seen immediately by Dr. Beth Shubin Stein as referred to by my primary sports doctor, Dr. Lisa Callahan. Dr. Shubin Stein informed me that my ACL was “blown out” and I needed immediate reconstructive surgery if I wanted to run my next marathon anytime soon. I had Boston 2017 in mind so my goal was to get back to running as soon as possible. Surgery was performed on Jan 30, 2016 (I will never forget Dr. Shubin Stein signing my left knee then gently reassuring me it will be okay seconds before hitting twilight). I underwent 6 months of PT and in Sept 2016, I started running again, building my base in time to train for the Boston marathon.
16 weeks later, I successfully completed my 8th marathon on April 17, 2017, days before my 50th birthday. I have encountered many challenges in my lifetime and running helped tackle them gracefully. I was heartbroken thinking I could ever run again much less run another marathon. Thanks to the stellar staff at the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at HSS, a major injury only became a minor setback in my running career.
My name is Kim Pearson and I have never felt more cared for than during my visits to HSS. By day I am a special education teacher and group exercise instructor. However my hobby and passion in life is being a fitness competitor. I train 6 days a week and have worked my way up to the national level. One day back in 2008 while practicing my routine, I landed a jump incorrectly and tore my ACL. Within days I was in to see Dr. Shubin Stein. It was an easy fix but she made sure to take her time with explaining all my options and giving me all the necessary research to assist with my decision. Surgery and rehab with Theresa Chiaia went great. Within 9 months I was back to competing and had the best year I had to date.
This past January, while practicing my routine, I felt a pinch in the back of my knee. I thought it was my knee pad so I adjusted myself and started again. On the second attempt, following a jump I fell to the floor. Turns out on the first attempt I tore my ACL and following the second attempt I tore both menisci and sheared two big chunks of cartilage at the top of my tibia and the bottom of my femur. Once again within a day I was back to see Dr. Shubin Stein. She immediately sent me for an MRI and then within minutes of reading the results sent me to a colleague of hers who specializes in cartilage repair. It was then I met Dr. Williams. Following the same HSS pattern, we spoke at length of my options and made the decision to have surgery the very next day. I am currently a month seven following surgery and I have made tremendous gains. I have a long way to go before I hit the stage again, but I have faith thanks to my family of doctors at HSS that I will get there and again have the best year to date.