It’s been a while since I last posted, but life and work have come knocking, and progress has slowed a bit. All to be expected.
Things continue to chug along nicely in the knee department. I’ve had several physical therapy visits since the last post, including one today. They’ve added in four-way hip extensions and shuttle presses (at a whopping 75 pounds, whoo!), and at the end of the visit, I was at full extension and 124 degrees of flexion. The six-week goal is full extension and 130 degrees of flexion, so I’d say I’m well on my way. I always look forward to PT, especially the massage/deep tissue manipulation, but that enthusiasm has taken on a masochistic edge lately because GOOD LORD does scar tissue manipulation hurt. (Speaking of which, my steri-strips are gone! Doesn’t look so bad:)
Forced flexion in PT is also pretty rough. My PT has me lie on my stomach and flex my knee as far as I can — then he pushes it a few more degrees. Last week was the first time he really pushed it and by the end of that experience my whole body was shaking and I was seeing splotches of color. Fun times. But I gained a few degrees of flexion, so I suppose it was worth it?!
Another exciting moment came during hip extensions. Today was the first time I’d done them since pre-hab.
Before surgery, they generally felt fine, but during abduction (upper right image), I was always really aware of a shifting and instability caused by my useless ACL. Today everything felt perfectly stable — real proof that I do have a working joint again, even if it’s still learning how to knee.
I also got promoted (downgraded?) to a single crutch today, and next week I’ll be out of the crutches and post-op brace and into a smaller Playmaker brace. Looking forward to looking a little sleeker and less clunky than I do now.
All that said, the honeymoon phase of sheer excitement about making progress is starting to wear off, and I’m noticing various types of discomfort:
- Sometimes I walk without the crutches at home, or if I’ve got a shopping cart at the grocery store or something, and I get pretty noticeable patella pain after too much weight-bearing for too long.
- I’ve noticed a disconcerting shifting feeling after extension sometimes — this happens most often if I’m lying on my stomach with my legs out or if I’ve been bearing weight on my affected leg in extension. When I go to bend the knee, I can feel something — maybe the patella, maybe the tibia — moving forward. It doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t feel like something that’s supposed to be happening. I’ve asked my PT and a few veterans of ACL reconstruction about this; everyone says it’s a normal part of the healing/swelling process so I’m trying to ignore it and not worry about it too much.
- On a social note: I really thought being on crutches would bring out kindness in people. Generally that’s been true (see: previous post), but I’ve also been so surprised at the number of people who look me in the eyes before letting doors slam in my face or gunning their cars into my path in parking lots. Rude.
- I’ve really gotta learn not to bang my scars into the corners of tables. Ow.
Life beyond the knee has also been exiting. There’s been home-made fried chicken (thanks, Tom):
visits from little Einstein (thanks, Joy & Nick):
and the mild beginnings of back definition (thanks, self):
I think that’s all!