Skiing With All Your Knee Ligaments Really Is All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Roughly three years ago I tore my ACL in my left knee on the first day of spring lacrosse practice. I know I heard/felt a pop and was pretty sure something was seriously wrong, I was walking on it an hour later. Due to the fact that I don’t go to doctors very readily and I really wanted to play that season, I was practicing a week later. And the knee hurt and was a little swollen but I thought I could run ok and it was probably just a sprain. So I took it easy in practice and things seemed to get better. I used heat and ice and few bottles of Advil every night. I was pretty sure I was getting better.

Except every once in a while, when I would land or stop with that knee close to straight, it felt like it would give out, accompanied by a clicking feeling.

So I did the only logical thing and went skiing. After all, I was finally getting onto some of the bowls and black diamond runs and a little thing like a healthy knee wasn’t important to do that. Until that whole clicking thing happened again. And several more times after that.

So after two lacrosse games, a month of practice, and several ski trips, I finally admitted to myself what I had known all along: something was really wrong. I found out over spring break that my ACL was gone. Really gone. It wasn’t snapped and floating around in the knee – due to my continued activity levels, it had shredded away and really didn’t exist like it should on one side anymore. And that clicking I had been feeling, that was my femur and tibia sliding over one another because there was no ligament left to prevent it. I was putting a couple hundred pounds on the joint and sliding it around – no wonder it hurt just a little.

So I reluctantly gave up skiing and lacrosse for the year and had surgery that spring. (Thank you, Rhiannon, for driving to get more ice at 3 am when we realized we had no more and my knee was warming up and becoming painful.)

This past Saturday I went skiing again on some hard terrain. I had been up twice but once was on a snowboard and once was a half-day where we didn’t do anything harder than an easy blue. No clicking, no pain, just a little rust that slowly fell away throughout the day. Those whole knee ligament things, they’re pretty useful after all.