Monday, March 3, 2014

8+ Weeks Post-Op

I wanted to write a quick update as tomorrow I start my ninth week post-bilateral knee surgery. I've previously written a couple of detailed blog posts on the subject: Rehab on the Double and Knee Surgery Times Two.
Shoveling snow on February 8th - 5 1/2 weeks post-op
I had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon last week. When she walked into the exam room, she introduced me to her two resident interns by saying "This is my bilateral patient. You won't come across many of these." Most doctors won't operate on both knees at the same time because they know the rehab will be much harder. I can say from experience this is absolutely true! But we decided to do both of mine on the same day for insurance reasons (saving at least $2000) and so I would be close to 100% in three months. Otherwise I would be facing another surgery around April 1st, followed by another three months of rehab.

Dr. Herzka examined my knees and pronounced all six incisions well-healed. I walked back and forth across the room so she could check my gait. No issues there. I sat on the exam table so she could feel my knees as she moved my lower legs up and down. I've been having sharp pain, particularly in my left knee, at a certain degree of flexion, but she didn't find anything to be off track. The pain is most likely caused by muscle weakness in my glutes and thighs, which forces the wrong muscle groups & tendons along my knee to compensate. The key to overcoming this issue is to focus on strengthening those key muscle groups (hamstring, quadriceps, and adductors).
my therapist tried kinesio tape to help with the pain in my right knee
Next, Dr Herzka extended my legs completely and moved the kneecaps from side to side. I experienced sharp pain when she moved my left kneecap inward, but she said it was probably scar tissue, which we may be able to lessen with deep tissue massage. Finally, I laid on my side with knees in a slightly bent position while Dr Herka extended my leg backward from the hip. I knew what her comment would be: my IT band(s) are very tight. I am already dealing with this in physical therapy, using a roller to release the tissue. It is extremely painful but produces noticeable results within 10 minutes. However, it is a short term solution; the only way I will get past all of this is to strengthen my thigh muscles & glutes!

The prognosis is still good, although I need to continue physical therapy for the foreseeable future. I meet with my therapist once a week and do daily exercises at home. I still can't ride my bike outside but Dr Herzka told me to gradually increase the resistance on my exercise bike. With hard work, I will eventually be back to something near my pre-surgery (and pre-damaged) condition!
enjoying a sunny day at the coast - 7 1/2 weeks post-op

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