I can’t believe it’s been eight, almost nine months since my double knee arthroscopy! What a difference! I just had my checkup with my orthopedist and thought I’d give an update for anyone that’s interested or may be having the same surgery. To recap, I had a torn lateral meniscus tear and a patella tear in my left knee along with some arthritis cleaned up and a fat cap removed. My right knee just had arthritis cleaned up and also had a fat cap removed. Sounds like fun right? Could have been so much worse!
At eight months out, I’m not completely released from the doctor yet but most people are. I’ll tell you why later. At this point in the recovery, I am doing great! I can pretty much do whatever I want. The only things I can’t do according to the doctor are no running on uneven ground so no trail running and no knee bends past 90 degrees. No burpees ever! Which is great because who wants to be able to do one of those? I am going to the gym about 3-4 times a week and continuing my physical therapy there at least 2 times a week on various machines. The only cardio machines that bother my knee are the elliptical and the ARC trainer but as my quads and hamstrings get stronger that should improve too.
I can finally get up and down from the floor with no pain! It’s not like I can just plop down to the floor like before surgery, but it’s closer every day. I can at least do it without trying to figure out how to do it. I can finally get into Child’s pose, not a full one, but I’m so happy that I can even remotely do it. This means I can start yoga back! I really need to so I can regain my flexibility which sounds like a contradiction since I have EDS Hypermobility and we’re like stretchy rubberbands naturally. But, one side effect of this surgery has been what’s called Secondary Tightness. In other words, I was gaining flexibility back in some muscles during physical therapy but others were tightening up. But even that is getting better with exercise and stretching.
I can actually make it through an all-day shopping trip without hurting too badly. I may be a sore and a little swollen by the end of it, but that’s so much better than a few months ago. To tell you the truth, everything with my knees is so much better! I’m at a point now where the doctor has released me to step up my cardio. Two months ago I was told I could start walking on the treadmill and trying some of the cardio equipment and that was a challenge to make it past 15 minutes on no incline and at a speed of about 2 mph. Now I’m doing inclines (not further than 6) and can feel a good workout at 3.5 mph. I can do the tough walking loop in our town and make it for two miles and not be in any pain!
Eight months out from surgery is a huge game changer. For most people, it’s probably around month six, but because of other issues I was having it took me longer, but I’m ok with that. Which brings me to the reason I’m not released yet. I had lots of damage to my knees and quads prior to surgery and because of that, my quads didn’t want to wake up and work for several weeks post surgery. My hamstrings were doing a lot of the work. I also had major issues with my IT Bands. That was excruciating and is something I may have to deal with for the rest of my life. Last but not least my knee caps weren’t tracking correctly either, meaning they weren’t in their groove and moving correctly. So I’ve had a ton of issues to work on in physical therapy. We’re also trying to make sure that there is no scar tissue in the way. It’s been crazy but so worth it.
For now, I’m going to the gym with my youngest daughter and a group of friends and it has made all the difference. I have even gotten the courage to go by myself a few times. We’re even starting to try out all kinds of equipment that’s new to us. Even the terrifying PF360 room at Planet Fitness is now fun instead of intimidating. The support and encouragement from family and friends have been a huge help, especially mentally. There were times I just didn’t think my body was ever going to recover from all the injuries and surgeries, but our bodies are amazingly resilient, you just can’t give up.
So at eight months out, I have lost 3.5 pounds! I know it’s not a lot yet, but it’s a start! I am able to start jogging and running if I want to. I can really start back to yoga and pilates and can do all the equipment at the gym now. I still have to work on strengthening my quads, hamstrings and VMO muscles to keep my knees strong. But at this point, I feel like I have my life back! I can do pretty much anything that I want to do, except burpees and oh, no Crossfit!
If you have knee surgery, it’s tough and I’m not gonna lie to you about it. But if you listen to your doctor and your body and make the most of your time with your physical therapists, it will be so much better. If you continue to work hard after your PT time is over, it will be that much better. The pain of surgery and physical therapy is nothing compared to the pain I had before it and I would honestly do it again. I’ve learned so much about my body during this time. It is amazing what it can do. Now to get working on that beach body because I have a class reunion coming up and possibly a beach vacation!