Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How I spent my summer (4.5 months post-op)

Time has an interesting property of passing way to quickly.  My dear reader (for perhaps there's one or two remaining), I have fallen into the trap of procrastination to the point where writing a new post became an endeavor next to impossible.  Believe me when I say that in the past months I have often thought about writing a new post, but so many things have accumulated that it seemed I would have to write a small book to catch up.
Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and just do it.  My recovery is not yet close to being complete and so perhaps my challenges are still of some interest.  So first, let me catch you up on what has happened over the summer.

July: three months Post-Op and Strength Test

Back in July I had another follow up with the surgeon and a Biodex test to figure out how much strength I had accumulated in the leg.  It was an unpleasant experience - I had to kick my knee up as fast as possible with weights while sitting down with my waist and legs tied down.  The machine measures the strength of the kick as compared to the healthy leg.  This is a movement that I was not supposed to do in any of my exercises, so the test was painful and I knew I wasn't doing well.  The results confirmed it: I was significantly weaker in the right leg than in the left and needed to do a lot more work.  To say I was upset is to say nothing at all, but its all in the past now.  I have done what I could to step up my exercises, and can only hope that the next test, which is scheduled for October will go better.
After the test I visited my physiotherapist who told me that the strength would still take time to come back, and that the most important part was to regain the range of motion (which I already did).  She gave me more exercises which I am still doing at the gym a few times every week.

August: 4 months post-op 

In the past 2 months I have been making an effort to step up my exercise routine.  At the follow-up Dr. Zarnett told me I could start jogging with the brace.  I pushed myself through some considerable pain in the knee to build up the strength with one-legged squats, lunges, and leg presses.  I also stepped up my cardio (biking or eliptical for up to 25 min).

September 3 (today)

Nowadays the knee feels much more stable.  There is still pain, especially after weight exercises, but it is rarely sharp.  I sometimes ice at the end of the day, but I haven't needed painkillers to manage it.  I can do little jumps, and stretch and bend in almost every direction.

Here is a brief round up of the exercises I can do today:
  • Jog with brace at 4.5 mph for 5 min
  • Bike outside for 20 km on a flat path
  • Biking or eliptical indoors for 25 min (level 12-14)
  • Lunges in different directions
  • One legged squats
  • One-leg press at 70 lb

Last but not least, I won't make any promises this time around but it really is my intention to keep writing regular updates here.  Winter is coming, and we all know what that means.

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