November 20, 2005 at 9:59 pm
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It’s time for a knee update since I’ve been posting a few messages on
I am coming up on my one year anniversary () of my ACL reconstruction (hamstring autograft) and dual meniscus repair (bio-absorbable screw repair to lateral menisus, excision of 30-40% of my medial meniscus that was irreparable).
I’ve been mountain biking for about three months now — not as often as I’d like, but not because of the knee.
I can tear down winding singletrack with my hair on fire and enjoy it. Yes, the knee occasionally
gets iced afterwards just as a precaution, but just for one 20-30 minute sitting (love my Elastogel pack — wrap it around the knee and walk around without it slipping off or losing its cooling properties for 30+ minutes!)
I’ve even fallen on the knee, hard, once while mountain biking and been fine — it happened right before an OS checkup, so he got to see the bruising, and took the obligatory x-rays to check things out.
I have NO stability issues and NO pain except when I play human barometer/weathervane or push myself too hard (like, oh, 9 straight days and 20+ miles of walking around Washington, D.C. with 19lbs. of camera equipment). My repaired knee is definitely sensitive to changes in air pressure and humidity.
The numbness I felt along the lateral portion of my lower leg has gone away completely (and, if you’re numb, don’t wish for the numbness to leave TOO soon — I sort of wish mine had hung on a little longer, at least until my knee felt connected to my body again!)
I was one of the lucky ones, I guess, in that I never had problems with extension, and flexion gains came pretty quickly in PT.
My flexion is equal to the non-affected knee on most days, unless I’ve just done a mountain bike ride, hike or other activity — then it’s usually a little sensitive if I try to kneel fully on the operated knee or bend it to the full flexion the non-operated knee can do.
I can kick, hop and pivot on the operated leg with no pain or issues, although I’m not a particularly agile person so I don’t tend to do any of those things unless I have to on the operated leg — that’s a mental decison, not a physical limitation, however. I am definitely more careful when doing the types of activities that caused my ACL tear, namely climbing ladders and going up/down stairs. I suspect I will continue to think about my knee when climbing a ladder or going down stairs with a heavy box/basket for some time to come… at least until my knee has graduated past it’s “warranty/break-in” period of 1-2 years.
I lost weight during PT and have kept it off ever since, so in that regard PT provided an unanticipated benefit to me.
I weighed over 153-155 lbs. at surgery time, and I’ve weighed 140-143 lbs. ever since about midway through physical therapy.
In part, now that my knee is repaired I have a built-in inspiration to exercise (mountain bike, hike, etc.) — I like to make sure I get my “money’s worth” out of my new knee, after all!
I’ve never regretted having the surgery, and I have been blessed with a remarkably smooth recovery, I think.
But I also know I worked my tail off in PT and at home, doing those damnable flexion and extension exercises and muscle strengthening movements even when I felt like that was all my life had become for awhile.
I see my OS again in January (note to self: need to schedule the appointment). I last saw him in August, and I suspect he’ll be as bored of seeing me as I am of seeing him. I never have any issues to report, and suspect that will be the end of my knee stories unless I get so starved for blog material that I start posting knee weather reports like: “Sunny, highs in the mid-80’s, breezy with slight tenderness above the medial meniscus.”
So, knee rehabbers or pre-oppers, there is life after ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair. Your life will BE your knee for some time, but normality will be restored and all you’ll be left with as reminders of your ordeal are your scars (if that, depending on your genetics and the skill of your surgeon.)
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