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ACL Diary Chapter 1

ACL Diary
At Xiros, we want to create faster healing and better outcomes for the patients of tomorrow.  One of the foundations to do that is to understand the experience that patients have today.  In our new blog series, Sally, a student at a south England University, shares her progress recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Follow her experiences from initial injury, through treatment and rehabilitation, to a return to activity.
Please note that Xiros/Neoligaments products have not been used in the treatment of this patient, and names have been changed throughout to maintain patient anonymity.
Chapter 1: The injury
I didn’t know it at the time, but over 6 months ago I totally ruptured my ACL.
I had been a gymnast for 12 years and, during an open day at Reading Uni, I saw the stunt cheerleaders and knew I was destined to join. I became level 3 stunt cheerleader and during my 1st year hurt my knee. I think my joints were already damaged from competing from a young age at a high impact sport. So I began to wear a knee brace when training and competing.
After 3 summer months off I felt my knee had recovered enough to manage without the brace and apart from a couple of pre comp sessions (where we’d been training 3 times a week and my knee was tired) I didn’t wear it – including at our first competition, ‘Future Cheer’, at Birmingham Genting Arena in February 2018.
The competition was going well, my stunting hitting perfectly! My gymnastic past made me a proficient tumbler, so when it came to my round off, tuck back somersault, I was mid-air of my beautifully high tuck and thought “Yes, the hard part is over and it’s all gone well”. I landed and felt the POP. In agony, I knew this couldn’t be good but, full of adrenaline, I took a deep breath and hobbled over to my next stunt section! Throughout the routine my knee collapsed at least 5 more times. The music stopped, I collapsed and had to be wheeled off stage. My knee in full balloon mode, I took very strong pain killers and iced it for the 3 hour coach drive home with a very worried team.
The next day I got up at 6.30am and, unable to walk, got a taxi to A&E where I was x-rayed, saw a knee specialist and was told that nothing looked out of the ordinary and that the swelling should go down in a week or so, after which I should be back to normal (and to return in a month if not). Being highly competitive, three weeks later when I could walk with only minor pain I returned to training, just doing light stunts and a simplified version of my part in the routine. Then, in an intense practice in late March 2018, my knee collapsed again.