I thought the one week post-surgery point would be a good time for an up date so here goes. (warning, there is a shot of a knee with some stitches in lower down)
Suffice to say it has been a pretty uneventful week. I got sent home from hospital with slight nausea, as sore leg, some pain killers and a list of physio exercises.
Overall, the pain stayed relatively the same. After the first couple of days though it began to really hurt when I stood up, so what I was doing was setting my alarm an hour early in the morning, taking some co-codamol, going back to sleep and then getting up. This combined with doing a few exercises to get the blood moving before standing up seemed to take the edge off. I thought I was ready to start coming off the pain relief at about day 6. Boy was I wrong. The pain was pretty bad this morning, to the point where it was effecting me getting about and using my leg, so it was off to the chemist for some more co-codamol. So first top tip, stay ahead of the pain. If its not hurting, that’s probably because of the pain relief. I plan to reduce the pain relief a little at a time over the next couple of days.
As for rehab the exercises so far are very basic, but prior experience has taught me they’re pretty important. The first 4/3 days after surgery I did a set of each, religiously on the hour followed my icing the knee with a cryocuff (an ice bucket and knee wrap, an absolute god send lent to me by my physio). The exercises constisted of: static quad hold (pushing knee into bed and holding to get the quads firing), heel slides, standing calf raises and mini squats. Tedious, yes. Boring, yes. Pointless, absolutely not.
Yesterday (day 6), I had my first physio appointment. It went really well. All the hard work I put in before the surgery has really paid off. Quads are firing well, glutes are firing well and current flexion is around 120°. Needless to say I was well happy and so was the physio. So to the previous exercises I’ve now added glute bridges, seated exercise ball lunges, seated exercise ball single leg balance and a type of static-hold hamstring exercise. That might sound a bit like mumbo jumbo to some of my readers, but what it means to me is that I’ve got plenty to do and I don’t feel like my strength has taken too much of a a hit. In fact, so far it feels easier than recovering from my meniscus repair and being immobilised for 4 weeks but we’ll see.
Moving away from leg stuff I was also back in the gym for the first time today, doing some leg rehab work and seated OHP/shoulder press. I dropped roughly 10% off my upper body lifts, firstly since I can’t use any leg drive, secondly because I don’t want to stress my recovery too much and thirdly I fancied a deload and a bit of a break. The great thing about the program I currently run is that you don’t just aim to increase your 1 rep max, but also hit rep PRs too. Take today for example, I hit 47.5 for 7 reps compared to 4 in late Jan and 32.5 for 19 reps compared to 12 in Jan. Even though the weight is lighter, I still feel motivated to try and improve on my old numbers.
Finally, here’s some more top tips that helped me get through the first week:
- Have some strong support at home (thanks again Nic). You won’t be an invalid, however getting around and carrying things can be hard on crutches, as well as tiring.
- Get comfy. I was advised to prop leg up by the heel, in order to help keep full flexion which is really important. What I did was use a chair I could easily move, so that when I felt I needed a stretch out I could move it further away and when I needed a rest I could move it closer.
- Get stuck in to some netflix. Completely mindless, but passed the time.
- Stay ahead of the pain. Set timers/alarms to remind you to take your tablets on a schedule. It’s honestly not that bad ( I had a worse time with my meniscus repair), but maybe that’s because I RICEd and managed my pain relief better.
- Painkillers can block you up. Eat plenty of fruit and veg and drink plenty of water. (or be prescribed a laxtive)
- Keep up with your exercises, again set timers/alarms.
- Have lots of tasty food in the house
- Start a blog if you get really bored.