Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

Better days


If you aren’t familiar with Paul Thorn, please introduce yourself by way of his “Better Days Ahead.” This has been my mantra lately.

The last two days were largely spent flat on my back with my leg as high in the air as it would go. I had plenty of time to think about the bad attitude I copped last week. I know that a lousy attitude isn’t going to help me, but it felt good to just complain for a while and get things off my chest. I had that moment, and now I just need to buck up.

I had another PT session this morning, and while I wouldn’t categorize it as good, it was better. I managed to stay away from the ice most of the weekend, and the swelling wasn’t much worse this morning. “No worse; no better,” according to T-Bone. I started out with 10 minutes on the bike at moderate resistance (same as I’ve been doing for a couple weeks now). Then I was hooked up to the e-stim again. It seemed to help a little bit last time, so I welcomed it this time. Next, I did the 3-way SLRs (excluding the fourth way, which would require laying on my affected side). I then managed to do my active extension pretty well–I was able to completely straighten my leg with minimal pain. This is getting noticeably better, and is one thing that I can mark down as significantly improved over the last month.

Then came the tough stuff. The step-ups, step-downs and the dreadful squats. The step-ups aren’t horrible. I can do them, and I don’t have a specific pain, only a stretching sensation throughout the front of my knee. The step-downs are much more painful. I have a pain below my patella (not under where the cartilage was transplanted). It feels like there is a big lump of swelling, and it pulls on whatever part of my knee that is down there. T-Bone had me switch to lateral step-downs, but that hurt more. Then he had me stand on a slight ramp (facing the downward direction) and do a step-down. I nearly punched him in the throat for that one. It HURT. I refused to step back on to that board, so we moved on to terminal knee extensions (TKEs).

T-Bone mentioned that usually where I indicated I have pain, it means that there is a problem with the tendon. But I didn’t have a problem with the tendon before surgery, so he doesn’t think that’s my case. He said again that we just really need to work to get my VMO going. I asked if there is anything else that I can do to help things along, but I guess I’m doing what I need to be doing. How exasperating.

We’re stepping PT up a notch this month, and I’ll be having twice weekly formal sessions for the next few weeks. I feel like I’m facing a bit of a challenge now, trying to be the valedictorian of knee surgery. The last four weeks have progressed much more slowly than the first two months, so I’m worried about being behind.

Author: Laura

I have a fern I named Frankenstein. I like leprechauns, practicing kung fu moves on my dining room furniture, and pretending that one day I will move to Fiji. I dislike my neighbors' kids, anything that is chartreuse, and Ben Roethlisberger.

2 thoughts on “Better days

  1. hang in there on the step ups and squats – you’ll thank yourself in a couple months!

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I think part of my problem is that, for the first six weeks, I could see almost daily improvements. Progress has been much slower over the last several weeks. I need more instant gratification!!

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