Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Week Two

When people ask 'how's the knee doing?', I find myself answering something like "Oh doing great. Could always be better, but it all depends on how you look at it." In some ways I'm where I expected to be two weeks post op, and others not so much. But I'm ok with that, as every knee is different and there's no one recovery timeline that will be 100% customized to you.

Week two observations:

- I'd say after day 6 was when I really noticed that not just my knee, but my whole body was tired and sore. It's quite the core workout getting in and out of bed (it's like doing V sits multiple times a day!), and my upper body got its fair share of work as well given the crutches, getting in and out of the car, using the handrails going up and down stairs, etc. Who needs P90x? 😆

-I realized that rest days are necessary for your muscles during recovery (well that seems like a no brainer now that I type it out and read it like that... 😋  ). This is quite the oxymoron as you might be thinking hey but you are already resting all the time... when really it is just like any other training regime. Your weak quad/leg can only do so much so fast, and building back quad strength takes time, even though you want to get it back as soon as possible and work on it hard every day. Working on ROM is another story however, but when it comes to the quads, the same basics to gaining muscle apply. Stretching, foam rolling, etc. all still comes into play no matter how much or little quad muscle you have at a given time.

My circle of PT exercises I do multiple times a day- Side leg raises, hamstring leg raises, straight leg raises and inner leg raises.

-As I mentioned above, ROM (range of motion, aka flexion of the knee) is a new concept to me, and I'm finding out you can't treat it like a muscle. I've never in my life had to work on getting back a basic physical movement before, so I was not sure exactly how much to actually push it/work on it. Thankfully, between a friend on her third ACL recovery (who had 90% ROM in her week two!) and my PT, I was able to clarify just how much is ok to do... which btw was alot more than I was doing. With the stitches out, I feel so much more confident with flexing my knee. I went from 90 degrees flexion to 110 degrees (see this pic for ROM knee measurement). But working on my flexion brought back a little swelling, which in turn decreased my stability in my knee. A brace here helped me alot. Wearing a brace post op is all personal opinion, as it can have hindering effects (e.g. mentally thinking that knee is weaker because it's in a big brace, so you end up using that knee/quad less). I really didn't want to pull a crutch back out, so I decided to use my brace in this situation... and it's definitely doing a good job. Felt it catch my knee a few steps so glad to be wearing it now. And it honestly reminds and helps me from being too ambitious (instead of not using it enough)! Once the swelling goes down though and stabalizer muscles are able to wake up, I probably won't wear it then.

These pictures are 10 minutes apart- the picture on the bottom is before and top is after. This is from spending just a few minutes bending past and enduring a few moments in the "uncomfortable but not painful" zone, then releasing. Quite the difference, and it certainly is almost all mental. And yes, I changed pants and rooms between the two pictures as well :P 

Post working on ROM and icing... not a very happy knee!

Towel bends
Looking forward to what week 3 holds :)

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