Week 4 (May 22-28)

Day 22 (Wednesday, May 18th)

Today I tried a trick I figured out a while ago.  If an exercise is giving me trouble, do it with the ‘good’ leg for a while, paying close attention to how I move when there’s plenty of strength and no pain.  Then switch over to the bad leg and try to duplicate the exact move.  The exercise that is giving me trouble is still step-downs.  I really haven’t progressed this week on these, and it seems, if anything, that they’re becoming more painful to do.  Anyway, after paying close attention to form with my good leg/knee I tried again and they seemed at least a bit easier to perform.

Another disconcerting thing: The passive extension has started to hurt more than it did before.  I really don’t like the weird way that my progress moves forward then backward, swelling goes up and down, pain decreases then increases again.  With luck it’s nothing bad and just part of the normal process.

Day 23 (Thursday, May 19th)

Today is the first day that I drove the car to work.  Parked in the ‘close’ ramp, but up on the 6th floor.  That meant a lot of steps to traverse but not such a long walk (one city block in St. Paul).

Day 24 (Friday, May 20th)

There must be something psychological about going to Physical Therapy; this morning my knee felt better than it had in a long time while I was doing my PT.  (Later when walking in to the PT area I was walking the fastest I have since my surgery.)  Passive extension still feeling a bit off, and Step-Downs still giving me trouble, but otherwise a smooth start to the day.  I didn’t have time to ice before heading out for Tria.

Kammy drove and I sent off a couple emails, then we talked about my ongoing fantasy of creating (or even imagining) a fully functioning Utopian society.  She shares the view of many (most?) people that human nature is basically incompatible with Utopia; that once you take away any struggle that people might experience to acquire basic comforts that they all become sloths.  I have to admit that it is one of my stumbling blocks in my mental exercise trying to imaging how we’d get from here to there (there being utopia).

Once we got to Tria we checked in and I paid for my last-week’s visit too; then it was back to the PT room with Adam.  He immediately noticed I was off of the crutches and watched me carefully as I walked back.  He said I was looking strong.  He examined my knee and asked about my progress; I complained about the painful passive extensions and the Step-Downs.  Next he took flexion and extension measurements, both of which were great!  I got to -5 degrees with extension and 125 degrees of flexion which was 4 more than last week.  Adam said that the passive extension might be hurting just because I’m at the full extension and there’s still swelling…and that I can drop that exercise going forward unless it feels good to do it.

Next he took me over to a stationary bike to limber up a bit.  I talked with him about leg stiffness…it is stiff so much of the time.  He said it was something that would be with me for the better part of 6 months, and that it would come and go with the swelling that will also take that long to be rid of.

Adam led me over to the horizontal squats machine and he had me do some exercises; first both legs then just the bad leg.  It felt good to work it this way.

After a few minutes of those we went over by the mirror to look at my form and progress on the Step-Downs and Knee Bends.  Watching me struggle, he pointed out that I was going way slower than he recommended, and showed me how to tweak the exercise to make it better (and easier) for me.  My Knee Bends were coming along well so he had me try a couple of single-legged ones…they are hard but I can feel how good they’ll be soon.  He said I should start doing 15 normal then 5 single legged Knee Bends and slowly reverse the proportion over the next week or so.

I was feeling a bit short of time so I didn’t get iced with the game-ready today…Next time!

Day 25 (Saturday, May 21st)

Hey, my leg is feeling a bit better, and the swelling is down some more…I can see my kneecap, well almost.

Day 26 (Sunday, May 22nd)

Stay the course!

Day 27 (Monday, May 23rd)

Walking: Almost normal pace today…Almost.  I’ve been watching morning news channels while exercising, and I think that I was better off for not knowing what was going on in the world.  During my evening PT I’ve been watching “The IT Crowd”.  If you’ve never heard of it it’s a British sit-com about a couple of IT guys and their boss who knows nothing about IT.  Mindless humor ensues.

As for the PT itself, it is going slower now (less progress per day) but that’s just as Adam said it would.  Getting range of motion back happens pretty quickly, getting all the strength back will take the rest of the 6 months.

Day 28 (Tuesday, May 24th)

I don’t know what happened today, exactly.  I think maybe I stood up too much.  Whatever the reason, by the time I got home my leg was pretty swollen and walking was harder than it’s been recently.   I suppose that some elevation and icing will do me well this evening.

Today marks four weeks since surgery.  Adam (my physical therapist) says I’m doing well, well ahead of the curve.  It feels sloooowwww though.  When it feels slow it’s good to reflect on what all has happened and just how far I’ve come in four weeks.  Stairs are very manageable (up is easy, down needs handrail help); Walking is almost back to normal pace most of the time; Getting up from and down to floor is pretty reasonable; Driving? No problem.  What’s left to go?  I still have a ways to go before I’ll kneel again, and there’s no running yet.  Obviously sports are a several months off too.

So, my initial Injury was at the end of February, pre-hab lasted 6 weeks, now I’m 4 weeks beyond surgery.  I am 2 ½ months into an approximately 7 ½ month process.  Hey I’m 1/3 of the way done with this.  From here on out it’s just a matter of staying the course with PT and waiting for everything to heal and strengthen up.  I can’t decide if 5 more months feels like a long time or a short time.

Posted by Greg on July 24th, 2011 :: Filed under ACL Files
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