After all of the talking I did back in the spring after my surgery, it has felt good to take a little break from posting about my knee. Dealing with an injury is very mind-consuming and I have definitely used the past 6 weeks to focus on more positive things. But having said that, it has been 3 months since my knee scope and I wanted to share where I’m at in my recovery.
A lot has happened since the last time we chatted about this back in April but overall my knee is still the same.
I finished my 8 weeks of formal physical therapy mid-May. I really loved my physical therapist and made great progress improving my range of motion and regaining muscle strength in my leg. I think back to my first PT appointment when I could not complete 1 rotation on the stationary bike because my knee would not bend that far, and I’m so glad I’ve moved on from that point!
I had my 12-week appointment with my orthopedic surgeon and I am now finished seeing him for follow-ups. Am I disappointed that I have found no resolution to this issue? Absolutely. But I am also incredibly thankful to have been seen by a doctor who took the time to listen to all of my concerns and fully explain things to me in a way that was easy to understand. Because of this, I feel very confident that I have taken all of the right steps so far to get to the bottom of what’s causing my pain. He gave me a lot of suggestions of options that I could still pursue and I’m thinking about what I want to do next.
I got a physical just to make sure there wasn’t anything else going on that could be manifesting itself into my knee… my PCP agreed with my ortho that this is not likely since my issue is in only 1 joint. Everything was normal with my physical except I had low Vitamin D (which is not a surprise for me). I started taking prescription Vit D again 6 weeks ago but have not noticed a difference in terms of my knee.
My doctor stressed to me that it was important for me to maintain some sort of level of activity to keep my leg muscles strong. I really took this to heart and have been making an effort to get in *some* form of exercise 3-5 days per week.
Prior to my knee injury, I mainly focused on intense workouts. That’s not really an option for me anymore, but I have been able to tolerate the elliptical for 15 minutes at a time as well as all sorts of stretches and strength-training exercises. This has actually been humbling for me because I generally made little effort to exercise prior to my knee surgery since I was so focused on the fact that I couldn’t run or cycle. These lower-impact/intensity workouts have actually really increased my overall muscle tone and I’ve been sleeping better.
Remember how much I hated the pool? Well swimming has been a complete godsend to me lately. I love the buoyancy of the water and being able to push myself physically. It’s just funny to think about because I seriously used to hate swimming.
Other Physical Therapy Options
I am completely blessed to work in a hospital with a great rehab facility, and the guys there have kept up with me after I finished my first stint of PT with them last fall. This has given me a great opportunity to keep up with extra PT stuff without a lengthy drive. I have been walking on an Alter G (anti gravity) treadmill for the past 2 months or so to build up my leg muscles without putting extra stress on my knee joint. I honestly haven’t noticed much difference but I also reallllly exacerbated my pain when I moved, so that muddied the waters a bit.
I also tried dry needling for the first time last week. I’m not quite sure of the science behind it…. I just know that I got stuck with 9 needles, it stressed the hell out of me, and I probably embarrassed myself a little bit.
I haven’t done it enough to tell if it will help with my baseline pain BUT it actually really cleared up a lot of the flare-up I’d been feeling with the move. I’m cautiously optimistic.
If dry needling doesn’t help, I have several options of things I could still try:
- see a chiropractor
- get referred to one of the big orthopedic practices in charlotte
- go to the Steadman Hawkins clinic in South Carolina.
My doctor supported any of these options so I’m thinking of what I would want to do next. The main consideration for me is that I’ve already met my insurance deductible, so I would like to exhaust all options covered by my insurance before the end of 2015. How sad it is that we have to make medical decisions based on things like that?
My top choice would be to go to the Steadman Hawkins clinic, but knowing that it will be out of network and that I will have to travel out of state makes this option a bit unrealistic for me right now.
So- that’s what has been going on. I really hope one day I can sit at my computer and write a post about how I went for a run, hopped on my bike, or did an awesome workout class. For now, I’m just trying to stay positive and keep exploring therapy options.