Injury Log Part IV – Back on a Bike

In the previous log I described how I got back to walking. Great! That means I’m cured, right? Actually, 5 weeks post op, I could barely walk, keeping my right leg completely straight and relying on one crutch. The joint was still painful, especially when putting my weight on it. Stepping with the right leg while also flexing the knee was out of the question for a few more weeks. The new cartilage growing behind my kneecap was not strong enough to support weight.

Week 6

Started the week with a shot to the knee, literally. Inserting a needle into my knee, the doctor first removed whatever fluid I had in there. All 17 ml of it. It felt like draining a juice box with a straw until the box collapses over itself. He then injected some lubricant (4 ml of hyaluronic acid). The good news with this shot: from the following day onward the knee pain was no longer noticeable. The bad news: during that day’s afternoon, the knee pain was comparable to the one after surgery. Makes you appreciate the simple things in life, such as lack of pain.

The doctor was not impressed with my range of motion, so he suggested to keep the CPM machine for one more week.

Ditched the crutch, as I was stable on my feet and able to walk confidently (albeit still slowly).

Week 7

Started going to physical therapy (PT). During this and the next week I did only easy and cautious exercises, as to not put any pressure on the new cartilage. Below you can see some inflatable bag thing that tries to drain away fluids from my knee.

Week 9

Started working on a home trainer. The first sessions were with the lowest possible gears. Slowly I worked my way up from there. You can see below I needed many breaks – I was unable to pedal for more than a few minutes without pain in my arms, shoulders, butt.

Pedaling slower now than I used to run before the injury

Week 10

While pain has mostly faded away, I’m still experiencing some with what seems to be a collateral ligament. Got some new strengthening exercises which seem to keep it under control.

Week 12

Went on a week long holiday. I kept training, with about one hour a day of exercising. Had lots of walking every day and I can finally say I have no problems walking (on flat terrain). Unfortunately my collateral pain sprang back up after briefly pulling a heavy trolley bag uphill.

Week 13

Finished July with the most hours of exercise ever – 66. Finally overtook the record set during the Nepal trek in 2014.

 

Week 14

First ride on a bike outside. Slow and unsteady, but it’s a start. No longer depending on taxis.

Briefly sprinted in place on a trampoline. My feet haven’t moved this fast in months.

Met with the doctor for the 3 month check. He told me whatever pain I’m feeling, as long as it’s not inside the knee joint, is perfectly normal and will disappear in time given enough PT.

What’s next

If all goes well, I can expect to start running in 6 weeks. I was told to expect pain and swallowing as I build up the distance. Jumping exercises will come sometime after, as I start to rebuild some strength into my right quads. Hopefully I’ll be strong enough to take my road bike up some hills in a few weeks.

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