This little old bionic knee has now had its 5 month knee-versary and I am slowly and gradually seeing good signs on my road back to the fitness that I once had.
I achieved another massive and important (for me at lease) milestone, in that I attempted Forest Hill. This hill (short and steep) was the hill I was walking up the day I got the call telling me my op date, and it was also the hill that I did the day before my op. So getting back up it again was important for me and I had no idea how long that might take me.
I took the challenge head on, 1 week short of 5 months post TKR. And… had very surprising results.
I have to say, I was pretty astounded with the result, it just goes to show how much I had been affected pre op and how much my positive spin was keeping me from realising the full effects of the knee injury on my fitness and mobility
I have sustained a significant amount of muscle loss, which will take me a long long time to get back, however I struggle to make people properly understand the implications of that. So, here is a visual illustration, as best I can.
I am working hard to get my fitness back, sometimes it feels like an insurmountable task, however I keep reminding myself that I have done this before, FROM SCRATCH… so surely this time will be easier?
In the process, I am, tiny bit by bit, starting to like myself again.
I am back at the pool and loving being able to swim properly again without any adaptations. So much so, I am now knocking out around 5km a week (200 lengths) and it is all completely pain free. That weird clunking has gone when I kick, which is nice (haha) and I can only assume it is because my muscles are improving at their job of supporting the joint!
I even managed to get back to the hairdressers, which was sorely needed (6 months of grey hair roots to show for it!). I left it so long because I was not sure about remaining seated for a long time while they apply the colour. It was just fine!
I went to see a new physio as well, because I was disagreeing too much with the district health board physiotherapists and felt like I needed a little bit more sports specific assistance.
I have always argued with the medical professionals because I always aimed to get this new knee back to the same functionality as the original knee I still have in my left leg. I knew this was a tall ask but no one could give me a sound medical reason why this was not possible. I was just told no – that will not happen.
So when my new physiotherapists opening question was the same and my answer was that it was not possible, I said
biomechanically it may never be the same as the other knee, but functionally, I don’t see why it cannot be the same.
BINGO. He agreed with me. So, I now have a brand new much more meaningful exercise program.
I go back to see him in a month, then we will see how it is REALLY doing!
As a side effect to this new program, I am starting to see some real function return into the leg. When I cycle, I can now say it is completely pain free. It did not used to be, specially under load. I have not tried to stand up pedal, I don’t think it is ready for that yet, but, I can push force throughout the pedal stroke and feel like the right leg is doing at least something to help the left out! It is by no means equal yet, far from it!
But, I am now knocking out 3-4 bike rides a week and 2 swims a week, which is making me feel a tiny bit more like my old self again!