Knee (Cruciate) Reconstruction

#1
Hi all, first timer here.
I am looking to proceed with officer recruiting, but I have a bit of medical history on my knee. I have spoken to the local recruitment office, and informed him that I have had a cruciate reconstruction, with some metal work still in the knee. He made some calls and informed me that it is not an automatic bar, and it is still possible to proceed, however I have not informed him that this is the second time I have suffered such the injury.

Both injuries were picked up playing rugby (with a five year gap in between). Would this be interpreted as a recurring injury and automatically stop me proceeding, or would it be seen as is (that I have just been unlucky)? I have since completed a full season of rugby on the latest op, with no ill effects.
Hopefully someone will be able to shed some light/have a similar experience.
Cheers
 
#2
Hi endoflex.

Once, is not an automatic bar to entry. I have recently posted a thread on this very topic. I passed AOSB in February, and since then have been diagnosed with a torn ACL. I am having an ACL reconstruction in September and I am booked on to go to Sandhurst September 2013. The ruling is you have to wait two years after your surgery before you can attend RMAS / apply to AOSB (Though I think the ruling here is you can make contact after 18 months, but I am not too sure as I didn’t pay this bit as much attention).

However, unfortunately two things. I am not sure about having metal in the knee… This seems different to the common types of ACL surgery, though I am no specialist. Were there other complications?

The other thing is that you can only have one ACL repair or it is a bar to entry.

I will not take the moral high ground and tell you that you should declare this and ruin your chances of entry, but you would need to be 100% sure they would never find out, and I imagine it would be pretty hard to keep it a secret from them.

I hope this helps in some way, best of luck, maybe an anonymous call to Westbury, and ask to speak to their medical team. They will be able to answer your questions fully.

Post how you get on.

Regards

JC
 
#3
Thanks for the comments JC. No there weren't any complications with the knee, it was just a conscious decision by the surgeon considering I had already had one operation on the knee - in all honesty the knee feels as strong as it ever has.

Is the only one ACL repair a hard and fast rule, with no room for maneuver, even if I am able to demonstrate I am in good working shape?

Tempting as it is to try and hide the fact I have had two ops, as you say I cannot see me fooling anyone. I have two distinct sets of scars on the knee, and anyone who knows what they are doing will be able to figure it out - in the end I will just be wasting my time, and more importantly theirs.

Can you give me pointers as to where to find a number for the medical team at Westbury?
Thanks again for the help
 
#4
My sponsors put me through to Westbury medical when I had to speak to them. Are you sponsored yet? If so I advise you call them and ask or your careers office might be able to. If not try calling the guardhouse or main number, they will should be able to put you through I imagine.

I am sorry to say, I am pretty sure it is a hard and fast rule. They only changed the ruling recently to allow one repair. Maybe 2009? But do not let me discoursage you and the best advice I can give is to call Westbury direct and get the correct information from them.

Best of luck.

JC
 
#5
Thanks once again JC110. I will start digging and see where I end up. Good luck for your own op and rehab - its a slow process but stick with it!
Cheers
 
#6
Hi all,

Just wondering, seen as though the topic is knees, would clicking knees be a bar to entry ? Mine click slightly when I extend them, both of them, with no pain whatsoever. However I'm not sure the doc will see it this way ? Can someone give me some insight please ?

Much appreciated guys.
 
#8
Hey guys
I’m in a sort of similar situation to you and i would really like some advice, the army say i can apply again next January, which will be 18 months after my ACL, and i have that in writing to say provided my operation is successful (which it was) i should be successful,


however i really enjoy playing my rugby and love being part of the team, but i am conscious that should i hurt my knee again my chances of a military career will be out the window, and i don’t want to spend the rest of my life worrying that i through away my chance of the career i wanted just to play rugby.


And so, if you were in my shoes would you think screw it and go play rugby or leave it and ask for extra shifts at work on a Sunday instead?
Thanks guys, I’m sure you can help because from reading your comments you've been through it before.
 
#9
Hey guys
I’m in a sort of similar situation to you and i would really like some advice, the army say i can apply again next January, which will be 18 months after my ACL, and i have that in writing to say provided my operation is successful (which it was) i should be successful,


however i really enjoy playing my rugby and love being part of the team, but i am conscious that should i hurt my knee again my chances of a military career will be out the window, and i don’t want to spend the rest of my life worrying that i through away my chance of the career i wanted just to play rugby.


And so, if you were in my shoes would you think screw it and go play rugby or leave it and ask for extra shifts at work on a Sunday instead?
Thanks guys, I’m sure you can help because from reading your comments you've been through it before.
As a keen rugby player myself: Don't play rugby. Do other sport, and go to the rugby club to see your mates, but it really isn't worth jepardising your future is it? If you enjoy it, try getting into the training aspect down at your club?
 
#10
sorry to bt in on this thread if i am clear of any of the medical conditions on the army website does this mean i should be okay, or is there too many medical conditions to possibly put on the list?
 
#11
As a keen rugby player myself: Don't play rugby. Do other sport, and go to the rugby club to see your mates, but it really isn't worth jepardising your future is it? If you enjoy it, try getting into the training aspect down at your club?
Good idea. Also wrap yourself in cotton wool, don't cross the road, never drink, go on holiday, ski, go on the hills, cycle, or do anything with a bit of a risk to it.

Then potentially get hurt in week one at Sandhurst. (seen it happen) and leave with nothing.

Life is full of risks, don't stop doing stuff you enjoy for what could easily end at Sandhurst or three years later
 
#12
sorry to bt in on this thread if i am clear of any of the medical conditions on the army website does this mean i should be okay, or is there too many medical conditions to possibly put on the list?
No they have special secret hidden ones so they get your hopes up and then can laugh at you at AOSB.

Doctors eh....
 
#14
Good idea. Also wrap yourself in cotton wool, don't cross the road, never drink, go on holiday, ski, go on the hills, cycle, or do anything with a bit of a risk to it.

Then potentially get hurt in week one at Sandhurst. (seen it happen) and leave with nothing.

Life is full of risks, don't stop doing stuff you enjoy for what could easily end at Sandhurst or three years later

Thats not what I said at all. I normally agree with your point of view, but he's already had one knee reconstruction, so he can't afford another. If he values getting into sandhurst above playing rugby, then he shouldn't play rugby. Simple.

There is a diference between something that is a bit risky, such as cycling, and a contact sport where you have grown men throwing themselves at your knees and ankles, isn't there?

Personally, I still play rugby, and I went snowboarding at the weekend, despite the fact I had an insight course today, and knew I had to do phsyical tests. I injured my leg, although not seriously. I wouldn't do that before briefing, main board or sandhurst.

Its his choice, I was just giving him my opinion as a fellow rugby player.
 
#15
Hey Brit Lad,

Unfortunately this is a bit of a specialty for me. As said above I have passed main board and am booked into Sandhurst now for May 2013, as I have been moved forward an intake.

I was and am a keen rugby and footballer player. I am now just over 12 weeks post op. I have throughout my recovery continued with heavy gym work, upper body only, until 4 weeks ago when I started adding in legs again too, this was only once Physio and consultants agreed I could. I think its week 6-12 where the graft (if hamstring) does most of its changing and therefore has to be protected. I have for the last 4 weeks been returning to spinning classes, and before that from week 6 I was allowed to do cardio sessions of rowing, cross trainer and static biking (later I was allowed to swim as well). I am desperate to run again, but until the muscles in the knee have recovered strength fully I keep getting told to give it another fortnight and they (Physio) will reassess. Although this is frustrating as I love running and feel I am fit enough I’m not going to risk my recovery. And I have had good recovery, my Physio team and consultants are very pleased with my progress and say I am progressing very quickly. This means I could be back to competitive sport with 6-8 months instead of the prescribed 9. For personal reasons I wanted desperately to get in as soon as possible and got recommendations from my consultant and Physio’s that professional sports men are fit within 9 months and that I was well on track to hit this target, however I can quote you part of the chief medical doctor for Westbury’s response (name left out for obvious reasons).

“…The main reason for the time delay, which is supposed to be 18 months after the operation, is that the proprioreceptive nerve fibres take a long time to recover from the operation. Until then the knee is not fully functional in the setting of military training.”

So in short, stabtoreg raises good points, don’t stop and do nothing (i.e. I safely cross roads every day! And have been drinking), but as you can see from information above, it is a long time before you are really fit enough to play rugby again anyway; even with good recovery and hard work. During your recovery there are suggested activities you can do so listen to your Physio’s and ask questions, this is there job, and not some advice off people from the net.

What is an extra 9 months of being careful for a lifetime career? I agree you could be over cautious and not take those extra risks like ski holidays and playing rugby and such, and then get injured first week at RMAS, but I know I would rather do that and think at least I tried, rather than get smashed and broken playing rugby or on a Ski holiday when I could have gone on in years time, and be lying there, knee shot, thinking what an idiot I was to have chucked my opportunity away. There will be opportunities after Sandhurst for me to go back to those things, maybe even with the Army, and its not really all that long to go, but I have now only one opportunity with my knee to go to RMAS.

So I intend to focus on sports with more straight line knee movements, as the main risk to the graft (or ACL) will be twisting. I am going to complete my first half ironman this season having done quite a lot of amateur triathlon events in the past, and I agree with Whisky Tango, for the social side I go and support my team and have a few drinks in the bar afterward, everyone understands. But in the end it’s up to you really.
 
#16
Brit Lad - I'm in the TA and ruptured the ACL in my knee doing judo back in June and had the operation to repair it (using the hamstring) in November. I am now 8 weeks post-op and can walk around fairly easily but the judo and rugby will have to wait until the end of the year. I love rugby as well but sometimes you have to accept that you can't do your chosen sport due to injury. However frustratated I feel I keep thinking about those soldiers who come back from Afghanistan with various limbs missing and how fortunate I am. I can at least go back to rugby even if it means a season out.

If you are pre-op then it is very important you attend all the physio sessions at your local hospital and build up your bad leg ready for the operation. As you will have noticed your bad leg will be considerably smaller than your good leg as you won't have used the muscles and they will have wasted away. The exercises you will be given to strengthen your bad leg aren't just to get you walking again but also to get your knee ready for the operation. You need the muscles to be as strong as possible as this aids recovery post-op. A strong hamstring increases the chance of the graft being successful. If your bad leg is only 50% strong (compared to your good leg) and you have the operation, the recovery will mean you lose another 30% muscle taking your muscle strength down to 20% which will seriously affect the functionality of the knee. Conversely a knee which is 110% (i.e. more muscle than your good leg) will mean a 30% drop will only take you to 80%.

In other words - work hard, do as you are told and then do exactly what they say after the operation. A lot of people have been there and know how you feel.

Oh - and don't make the mistake of putting in "ACL reconstruction" into the search engine on youtube and then watching the results - you'll never get near the operating theatre if you do!

Good luck.
 
#17
Thanks for the advice guys, it’s been very helpful, i certainly won’t sit back and just do nothing, i will continue with my fitness training.
although I’m aware that taking risks is important and if i wrap myself in cotton wool now, it won’t do me any good for my leadership, as in if I’m not willing to risk myself how could i ever command soldiers, as i wish to be an officer, i just feel that my time could be spend better elsewhere as i could use extra money from more shifts at work and I’m currently at college and this AS year is very important, but I will defiantly continue to go and support the lads at Longton rugby club
Thanks guys for your advice and in a few more months, when my knee is even more stable i will reassess my rugby :)
 
#18
Rather than just getting drunk down the club every weekend use this opporunity to go and do things you wouldn't normally do. As I can't do play any sport at the moment I've had singing lessons instead (last night I was reheasing Carmina Burama!). It'll look good when you go for officer selection as well.
 
#19
Well it's all your decisions. I am slightly amused by the assertion from most people that it's worth stopping because the Army is a lifetime career.
I hate to break it to you guys but it probably won't be. The chance is that it will be short, about four years long. It's very unlikely that it will be a long term career.
 
#20
Well it's all your decisions. I am slightly amused by the assertion from most people that it's worth stopping because the Army is a lifetime career.
I hate to break it to you guys but it probably won't be. The chance is that it will be short, about four years long. It's very unlikely that it will be a long term career.
I'm sure you are correct on that one, but personally I would be regretting it for the rest of my life if I didn't get the opportunity to attend sandhurst, because of an injury. And even if it isn't longer than four years, the experience and skills stay with you for life, right?

Either way, good luck OP.
 
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