Once again I’ve slipped behind in my updating, but it’s been a busy couple of months. I got back to Seattle and slipped right into 2016 and the return to a schedule for my kids. They had been off of school and sports for the holidays and it’s always an adjustment to get back onto a tight schedule.
Making everything a little more difficult was the knee brace that I had to wear for 4 weeks after my procedure. I also relied on one crutch for the first couple of weeks to keep as much weight as possible off of my knee. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the “recovery” from my Microfracture last year but it still slowed me down a bit. I took it pretty easy for the first couple of weeks and worked back into walking and riding a stationary bike. At 3 weeks out, I was cleared to do the elliptical machine and at 6 weeks out I started doing spin class again. The bike and elliptical felt fine (about the same as pre-stem cells), but I noticed early on that I was able to walk normal again. Ever since the Microfracture, I had a (fairly unnoticeable) compensation that I would do with my right leg. I couldn’t put weight straight down on it so I would swing my leg out just a little bit because it hurt too bad to walk normally. I can now put my full weight on my knee although I’ve had to think consciously about doing so because I’ve become so used to walking the other way. It still doesn’t feel normal to walk this way- I still have a bit of pain in the kneecap but hopefully with more time and healing I will walk normal and pain-free. So I’ve been walking slowly and mindfully, and hoping that this is one more step forward in getting my knee back to normal(ish). I am also still having a hard time going down stairs. Most of the time, my knee will crack and it hurts. I hold onto the handrail and descend like I’m 80 years old….something else I’m really hoping will improve over time.
Around the 6-week mark, I did a fast walk on a treadmill and this caused me some pain both during and afterward. I was worried because at this point I was cleared to walk as much as possible (and even run if I felt I could) so I felt like maybe this was a bad sign. I talked to the Nurse at my Doctor’s office and she said as long as the pain was gone the next day and it didn’t cause any swelling (I didn’t notice) that it was okay and might have just been sore because I hadn’t walked that hard on it in a while. We also discussed my progression thus far and she said some people don’t even notice a change this early on and that I should expect more progress so I was/am very encouraged. At the 3-month mark, we’ll talk again and discuss the possibility of doing another PRP injection to help with further stem cell growth.
So far, I’m pleased with the results I’ve seen. I really wish I could go back in time- I would NEVER have had the Microfracture surgery and I would have just started with the Stem Cell treatment. Although I obviously had issues before the surgery, things got so much worse for me afterwards. My plan for now is to keep up with my spinning classes and work on doing non-weight bearing exercises to get my quad built back up.
This time of year, we start to have a lot more people out running because the sun starts to shine and it doesn’t rain every day. It’s really hard for me to watch everyone around me out running while I can barely walk down stairs. Every year I think, maybe by next Spring I’ll be running again. Maybe.