Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

Not anyone? Ever?


My PT told me that she’s never seen anyone correct a hip issue the way I do with my ankle/foot. #special

It’s hard for me to explain because I didn’t spend years in school learning all about how the joints, muscles, tendons, etc. work together to function as the musculoskeletal system. What I can tell you is that I walk on the outside of my foot. All the time. I walk up/down stairs by rolling my leg to the outside in an almost circular motion, rather than the hinge motion through the knee that “normal” people use. Not only do I walk on the outside of my foot, but that’s my preferred stance; I pretty much always stand with my knee relaxed forward and the outside edge of my foot resting on the floor with my toes curled under. This isn’t something that I intentionally do. It’s something my leg figured out on its own to combat the pain that I have with the normal motion of the knee, so it’s hard to correct. I have to think about literally every step I take in order to force my leg into more correct alignment. If I’m not actively thinking about it, at any given moment, my leg will just fall into this abnormal way of being.

Over-correction of a hip problem.

This is how I roll. Fairly typical for how I stand. My knee is bent forward and out, and my foot rolls completely to the outside. I do this with or without shoes.

I’ve been doing deadlifts for months to help strengthen my hips/glutes. I’m definitely better than I was, but I still have a large margin for improvement. I can do them correctly, but I have to take a few seconds between each rep to make sure that my core is engaged, that my hips are aligned (I tend to swing whichever one I’m not standing on), that my thigh is not rotated internally and that my foot is correctly placed on the ground (but without digging in my toes to help balance).

PT said that she wished she could show me a video of the first time that I tried the deadlifts with her because I’ve made significant improvement and I’m able to better critique and correct my own movement. I can tell, too, that I’m getting better. What frustrates me is that my improvements with strength and balance don’t seem to translate into improvements in pain.

Because I had the setback at the three-week mark, I spent last week doing everything possible to calm the knee back down to where it had been since surgery. I focused on exercises that I could do with a straight leg that don’t put much pressure on the front of my knee. In the four days between PT appointments, I was successful in calming the knee down quite a bit. Not completely, but noticeably.

The scary part is that, while it calmed down, it settled into a pain on the lateral side that’s eerily similar to the pre-surgery pain. So, for the last three days, I’ve been working diligently to try to calm it all the way down. PT noted when I was there that the knee was warm to touch and was a bit swollen, so she used kinesio tape to help allow the knee to drain. I’m also massaging the knee and thigh to try to help the fluid move out of the knee joint. In addition to that, I’m spending thirty minutes three times a day flat on my back with my legs propped up against a wall (almost perpendicular to my body) to help combat swelling. And I’m using the NMES on a setting that simulates a TENS setting for 20 minutes after I complete my PT exercises (to help with the pain perception). Some days I feel like I do nothing more than cater to my knee, but this new voodoo seems to be helping.

Kinesio tape for knee swelling.

This is the taping (with kinesio tape) that is intended to help the edema. It’s put on with no tension; I can’t even feel it, really.

I see my doc later this week for the first post-op follow-up visit with him. I asked PT if there was anything specific that I needed to tell/ask my doc (other than the obvious). She said, “Oh, I’ll talk to him. I’ve already talked to him, actually. I said, ‘Laura is getting sore again,’ and his response was, ‘Shit.'” That kind of response honestly makes me like my doc more. Because he’s right. It’s shit.

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.

4 thoughts on “Not anyone? Ever?

  1. Hi Laura!

    Hey, you have groovy tape too!! Actually this looks very intricate. I hope it helps your knee as much as my tape helps mine. And it looks like there’s an interesting bit of zebra going on there in the background… unless you took the photo whilst out riding one?! (I’m sure your horses and llamas would like a zebra to play with – and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you had one…)

    I’ll have to catch up reading your blog, as you’ve obviously been and had more surgery. I hope it went well and you’re recovering well,
    Lyn x

    • This tape is definitely interesting. My PT actually put it on again just this morning. I’m just sad that it’s a boring tan color and jealous of your blue and pink! And there’s definitely some zebra print going on there (no zebra though); zebra print goes with everything in my world. :)

      It does seem we’re quite a pair, having now both undergone more surgery. Things are progressing, albeit slowly, on my end. How are you doing? I’ve been catching up on your blog a bit as well. Hope you’re doing well now!


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