This post is part of The Ultimate Guide to Sports Medicine
Nick Noel is somewhat of a weekend warrior who, at 33 years-old, enjoys playing recreational soccer and basketball to stay in shape and relieve some stress. However, in the summer of 2016 Nick was playing basketball when he felt his knee buckle.
“The injury happened when I was driving the ball to the basket and I went to plant and jump off of my left leg. I believe it got caught under someone else’s foot and when I went up my body went, but my leg stayed planted and my knee must have buckled under the stress,” said Nick.
Nick was still able to walk, but he couldn’t bend his leg without pain. Running or playing sports was pretty much impossible. After a few weeks of consistent aching with little improvement, Nick set up an appointment with OrthoIndy sports medicine physician, Dr. Jonathan Shook.
The diagnosis-ACL tear
ACl injury symptoms include: Pain, swelling, loss of full range of motion, discomfort when walking, tenderness and feeling of instability. Nick was experiencing all those symptoms.
Treatment for an ACL injury depends on the needs of the patient and the other injuries involved; such as a meniscus injury as in Nick’s case. Surgery is often necessary to return to sports and an active lifestyle; however, a less active individual may return to their lifestyle without surgery.
Nick decided ACL reconstruction surgery would be the best course of action, since he wanted to continue his active lifestyle.
“When I first met Nick he had already done a lot of research about ACL tears and their treatment. He knew that he wanted to have surgery to repair it, but I don’t think anyone is ever fully prepared for the challenges they will face during recovery,” said Dr. Shook. “I tell my patients that the surgical part of the treatment isn’t the hardest part.; it’s the next six to nine months of recovery and physical therapy that really matters most. Nick was always up to the task when it came to doing what it took to get back to where he was prior to the injury.”
Dr. Shook was able to successfully repair Nick’s knee by reconstructing his ACL and repairing the meniscus damage.
“My experience was excellent with Dr. Shook and I always looked forward to my visits. He gave me ideas of stretches and exercises to do prior to surgery to loosen up the knee area.”
“Dr. Shook was also helpful in keeping me on track with my rehab. I was looking for affordable and convenient ways to rehab and he recommended an app called ‘Trainer RX’ to download and start following the activities from the app. This was perfect for me; I could do all of the workouts from home and continue to build strength in my knee after surgery.”
ACL reconstruction recovery
For all patients who choose surgery, physical therapy is very important. It focuses on reducing swelling and pain while returning motion to the joint and surrounding muscles. Complete rehabilitation is vital before making a full return to sport or repeat injury can occur.
It’s been over a year since Nick’s surgery and he has returned to playing sports twice a week while wearing a preventative knee brace that Dr. Shook recommended. Nick also tries to workout around four to five times a week to continue strengthening his knee and maintain an active lifestyle.
“I had a great experience with OrthoIndy and Dr. Shook. The knee injury was quite a devastating one that took a long time to recover from and I would never had been able to make it without the help of Dr. Shook and his team,” said Nick. “I am forever grateful to them and the fact that I can get back onto the field and court and play the sports and also run around with my children and be active with my family.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Shook please call 317.569.2514 or learn more about sports medicine treatment at OrthoIndy.