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The knee is getting there

03/29/2013

I had a doc last Friday to see how my knee is progressing.  The doc was very happy with the progress I was making except when I told him my ankle was giving me issues whenever I walked.  He seemed concerned, but after talking about the different possibilities and treatment we decided on just working on the ankle in physical therapy.  He wanted to xray the ankle at first, but I refused since I saw no point.  The bone probably wasn’t broken since it only swelled up whenever I walked on it and I only felt the pain in the front of the ankle.  Also if the bone or anything in my ankle was broken or injured with my initial injury, I would think 2 months on crutches would’ve caused it to be healed by now.  So we believe it’s just a mild case of tendonitis which my PT also agreed with.

Physical therapy has been going great for me.  Every time I visit they either up the number of reps, the weight, or give me a new exercise to do.  Just thinking back to my first physical therapy session, it’s like night and day.  The first day my knee was stiff and I couldn’t bend it and the leg was so atrophied that I can only do lifts with a 1 lb weight on it.  Now they’ve got me doing squats and on the elliptical.  My knee still feels not quite 100% though.  I still can’t run or jump on it since I feel like the support isn’t there.  Also the knee doesn’t feel quite as fluid as my other knee.  I’m hoping that feeling will go away eventually and I’ll be able to at least jump on it in the next month or so.

One thing I’ve greatly appreciated since I started walking though is just appreciating walking in general.  It is such an awesome thing to walk.  You don’t have to rely on crutches or others to help you out.  Yesterday I was at the gym and I started talking with a guy.  Turns out he broke his ankle before and was on crutches as well.  We were talking about our respective injuries and the recovery and both of us agreed, being able to start walking again and to carry something while walking was the greatest feeling ever.  You never realize how walking is awesome because it’s such a mundane task, but after not being able to do it for only 2 months, I missed it greatly.  I’m just glad I’ve been able to bounce back from this injury and hope to be on the slopes soon 😀

It feels good to walk again

03/12/2013

So a little over a week ago, I decided to see if I can actually get around without my crutches.  My goal was getting a hot cup of tea from the kitchen to the couch without spilling.  I’m not sure why, but I felt like my leg could support the weight so I tried it.  Surprisingly, even though my leg felt super unstable, I managed to shuffle to the couch.  After I managed that small shuffle, I was beaming and so proud of myself.  It has been about 2.5 months since I was able to hold something with both hands and bring it somewhere without hopping or dragging myself along furniture to act as a support.

I just felt liberated, even though my walking was limited to a zombie shuffle.  Just not having to rely on something to get myself around was huge.  I could finally see I was making progress with my physical therapy.  After that first shuffle, I started to gradually take myself off my crutches.  I just shuffled in my apartment for a couple of days so it would be inside and I would be near something for support if my leg felt like it would buckle under me.  My next step was just putting as little weight as possible on my crutches while I took my dog for a walk outside.  I then wanted to see if my leg could actually support my whole weight.  In physical therapy I was doing leaning exercises where I would lean onto my injured leg and put some body weight onto it.  I would get to a point where almost my whole body weight was there, but I would pull back because I was afraid.  I told myself, you’re shuffling around so you’re putting enough body weight and the leg is stable.  So I just went for it…needless to say, I went for it in the shower which in retrospect is probably not the best place to see if my injured leg could support my whole weight.  The knee felt wobbly, but stable enough.

During the weekend, I then decided to try walking down and up the stairs without my crutches.  Going down is definitely a lot harder to do than going up.  Just the thought of extending my leg down and placing all my weight on it, the falling part of walking down the stairs scare me.  I’m still a bit uncoordinated so the jolt of feeling the stair as I go down is still unnerving to say the least.  Going up the stairs though has been a breeze.  I then went on a mile walk with my dog on a route with uphill and downhill sections.  It was tough and tiring, but I somehow managed.  My knee has held up well, but my ankle is what is killing me.  I just need to keep working on my ankle it seems and just stretch it out so it doesn’t become too tight.

I feel normal again.  Even though I’m walking I still have work to do.  I’ll need to get rid of the limp I have right now as well as still strengthening my calves to have it more even with my right leg.  Hopefully I’ll be able to ride in mid April at this rate! 😀

A little vid

02/20/2013

Top to bottom park run of Forest trail.  Nothing spectacular, but it was a fun day and I’ve never been filmed doing a top to bottom run before.  Talk about the pressure of doing something neat and not falling every feature.

Physical therapy time

02/11/2013

After 7 weeks of breaking my bone, I finally was able to start physical therapy.  I can’t put weight on my leg so right now we’re just working on the range of motion.  I had my first physical therapy appointment last Tuesday and the first thing we did was measure how much I can bend my knee.  I can bend the knee 80 degrees, but the average is 140 degrees.  Also I still have 10 degrees for the knee to unbend for the knee to be completely straight.   So it seems like I have half the range of motion of a normal knee.

We started out with the physical therapist manually bending my knee and just getting the knee a little less stiff.  I can tell you it’s weird bending my knee and it’s definitely painful, but it’s something I need to do to get that range of motion back.  I’m already not that flexible to begin with so I have a feeling this would be the hardest part for me to get back.  I can see the strength coming back quickly once I’m able to start putting weight on the leg.  After the physical therapist bent my knee, she then worked on trying to straighten my knee.  She said the knee needs to be able to straighten in order for me to not have any issues while walking.

After manually having my knee bent and straightened, we moved onto quad exercises so that the muscle can be more active.  They were pretty much leg lifts that I can do while laying down.  After that the knee was iced for 10min (brrrr) and I was sent on my merry way with a sheet of all the stuff I did that I’m supposed to do at home.

I’ve been pretty diligent about working the leg and the range of motion.  I don’t want my range of motion to hinder my progress when it comes to walking again.  At home, while I’m sitting on the couch I just place my leg on my coffee table and let gravity pull my knee down to help it straighten.  I’m just glad I’m able to start physical therapy because before all I did was sit around.  Now I feel like I’m actively helping myself on my recovery so that in itself is a huge mental/emotional boost.  I look forward to my PT sessions and hope that every time I go I’m making good progress 😀

MRI and follow up

02/01/2013

I got my first ever MRI experience last Saturday.  You see on popular doctor tv shows about people getting an MRI and how it doesn’t seem so bad, but it’s a pretty boring time in the machine.  You have to lay there while still for a good thirty minutes as they imaged the knee at different angles.  They let me listen to music, but it was so hard to not fall asleep.  I fought it because I knew if I fell asleep I would jerk my leg and then they would need to retake the image.

Today I had a follow up to my MRI and the good news is…the ligaments are good!  The bones are what took the brunt of the impact so in about 4-5months I should be good for most activities.  Hooray!  The MRI was pretty neat to look at since they took slices of the knee so you could scroll through it.  One thing that showed up a bit better was the fracture starting at the joint.  That fracture just goes from the joint all the way to where the fracture from the side is.  You can barely make that out in the xrays.  The intact ligaments were dark colored and the ACL looks good and contiguous, a bit of tearing (spot of white) where the fracture is.  There’s tears here and there in the meniscus, but that’s to be expected since that’s where the slow sign hit me.

It’s a huge sigh of relief that the fracture is the only thing that needs to heal.  I was really worried about what I would’ve done if one of the ligaments were actually torn.

Going to start physical therapy next Tuesday and there should only be about 3 more weeks of non weight bearing.  In the meantime, I’ll be strengthening my quad and also trying to regain that range of motion I’ve lost for keeping the knee in a brace all the time.  I also finally got the application for a temporary disability placard signed so I can finally park in the handicap spots.

I can’t wait until I can start walking 😀

One month checkup

01/24/2013

So it’s been about 5 weeks since I broke my leg.  Today I went to see a doc for the 1 month follow up to see how the injury was healing.  The doc looked at the xrays taken a month ago and asked how my knee was feeling.  Also he made sure I haven’t been putting weight on it which I have been good about not doing.

He took a look at the knee and said the swelling is minimal yay!  He then had me lie down and started to see where the pain was in my knee.  Minimal pain everywhere except the inside of the knee where the biggest fracture is located so that’s normal.  He then started to move my knee around and check for instability of the knee.  After that we discussed the extent of the damage the slow sign inflicted upon me.

He’s concerned that I partially tore my MCL.  The extent of the tear he’s not certain of, but by feeling around and moving my knee around he says there’s instability.  Damn it.  The other ligaments he’s not too concerned about, but since there’s a fracture where the ACL connects to the bone, he wants to get that checked out too.  So I’m scheduled for an MRI in a couple of days to see if the bones or the ligaments took the brunt of the damage.  I’m hoping for bones.

Then I went and got xrays taken of my leg and man the bone is less white compared to the xray taken a month ago.  My bone density!  Nooooo!  However, there’s new bone at the fractures!    The doc said it’ll be another month of non weight bearing booooo.

Oh and if you’re scheduled for an xray on your leg, bring a pair of shorts.  They gave me these gigantic pants and walking back to the examination room, the doc was like…ummm your shorts are falling down.  Turns out I was showing my underwear to everyone in the hallway.

Packed out boots

01/14/2013

You spend a lot of time and money to find the perfect boot for your feet.  I say boots are one of the most important part of your setup since if your feet are not comfortable, you’re not going to last a long time on the hill.  I’m currently unemployed right now and I was a student before that so boots can get pretty expensive especially if you can’t find the ones that fit your feet on sale.  Usually after about 100+ days on them, I feel the boots starting to pack out and my heels begin to lift in the boots.

One way you can help to lock down your heels is to use j bars which you can buy online or you can make some on your own with some foam.  Here’s a diy for foam padding inside your boots to make them last a bit longer until your next paycheck comes in.

All you need is some foam with a sticky backing that you can buy at any arts and crafts store.  I found it in the kids crafts section for about $1 for a 8×11 piece.

Now, I lied…you also need scissors and the inner liner of your boot.  Cut the foam to where you feel the looseness and stick it on the outside of the inner liner.  Place the liner back into the boot and feel around, adding more foam as necessary.

Sorry for not having pics…the foam piece is way up in the closet and in my current condition I can’t grab it 😦