ACL reconstruction in a 65-year-old skier

 ACL reconstruction in a 65-year-old skier

Veronica is 65 years young! – and she is an avid skier. Unfortunately, Veronica tore her ACL and her medial meniscus in her knee. Below, Veronica has very kindly put her story down ‘on paper’, and she is an inspiration to any fit and active person who is determined to stay active and to pursue their passions despite advancing years!

Ian McDermott


You’re not too old!

I cannot believe it’s been a year this month that Ian operated on my knee. I’m still progressing in my continuing rehab and working hard to regain my original strength – well I’m actually planning to be much stronger than I was at the time of my unfortunate ski accident during slalom race training. My aim is to hit the ski slopes again in a further 6-8 months though more likely another year as it’s probably best to err on the side of caution at my age!!! The last thing I’d want is to undo Ian’s skilful reconstruction.

He’s been absolutely incredible right from the word “Go”!  Even these past few days when I’ve emailed he always responds so promptly. I hold him in the highest esteem possible and his words to me are like gold dust. I have such faith and trust in him and I cannot, most sincerely, thank him enough.

At the time of my fall I had fractured my tibia but despite my plastered leg I continued my strengthening exercises both at home and then later at the gym. It was shocking to see my withered away spindly looking leg and I always felt there was something not quite right with my knee. Nonetheless I was determined to keep up my fitness to continue future skiing. It was several more months down the line before I finally got to see Mr Ian Dermott, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon.  Oh, how I wished I could have seen him all those many many months ago but what a relief it was to now feel confident that at last I’m in the very best of hands from this point onwards!!!!

I had an MRI scan that showed that I had torn my ACL. We discussed my scan results in detail, and Ian showed me where the ACL should have been – there was nothing other than a black hole! The meniscus was also torn beyond repair.

Left knee – torn ACL

Torn medial meniscus

I may be a mature lady of 65 years, but I am very fit and active, and I am passionate about my skiing, and extremely keen to return to my skiing. I was worried, because I felt that the odds of being offered a ACL reconstruction were stacked against me, because of my age.  Ian explained that it’s not only major surgery to have an ACL reconstruction, but unless I was prepared to put a lot of very hard work with the  physiotherapy rehab for many months, then it wouldn’t be an option to undertake the surgery.

Ian went ahead with the reconstruction for me.  He also discovered I had soft bones, so he had to fix the graft with bigger screws and spiked washers. The procedure was absolutely incredible to watch on video afterwards. Ian, as always, explained every step in detail.

New ACL graft in place

Torn medial meniscus trimmed smooth and stable

Since my surgery I’ve been doing regular intensive physio rehab treatments, and I’ve been making great progress!

I had my last consultation with Ian last week, but I know he’ll always be at the end of the phone and/or email to answer any queries or concerns I might have. I’ve promised him a photo of me on the ski slope in the not too distant future. Another year is nothing judging by how quickly this year has passed.

So, if you are ‘on the books’ as it were for an ACL reconstruction (sorry you’re in this position!) I can, hand on heart, recommend Mr Ian McDermott. I would definitely say to work as a team with him and a good physio and be prepared to work hard. You’ll be in the best hands – 200%!


Veronica Heague


29 June 2019