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Back in The Saddle…Again

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Recovery has its ups and downs. I was feeling great after my last post. The knee pain was under control and I could really feel the upswing of recovery. Unfortunately, I overdid it in Seattle and have been slowly getting back to where I was this past week.

For starters, we just couldn’t find rental bikes that were affordable (I’m talking $180/wk, the same as our rental car), which put a damper on my plans to bike. It also didn’t help that we stayed in Mapleleaf, which is a long haul to downtown Seattle so the feasibility of riding daily was greatly diminished. That said, I did manage to do my PT exercises five out of the seven days we were there, and I also did laps in a pool for one day and yoga on one day. Obviously, compared to my normal workout schedule that is a drop in the bucket.

The real thing that set me back was, unfortunately, the walking. I was told walking was ok, and even light hiking would be ok. Apparently, my knee did not agree with the hills in Seattle. A few days into the trip a group of us headed to the Locks and Discovery Park. It was a long walk, up and down many hills. I was doing ok for the first few hours, but the last stretch of the hike took us up several staircases in the park and that’s when my knee pain really came back with a vengeance. I made it to North Beach and sat for a bit. By then my partner could see I wasn’t doing alright and he started trying to figure out how to get me back to the car without hiking the whole way back. He knew I was stubborn enough to just walk back, but I’ll admit I was glad he stepped in. He and a friend ended up jogging the three miles back to the car and picked the rest of us up. Since a couple of his friends were beat by then, they were happy to stay behind with me, which made me feel like less like a cripple.

By then the damage was done, so for the rest of the trip walking hills was painful both in my distal quad tendon and under the kneecap. I ended up skipping the group hike at Rattlesnake Ridge and hung out at the lake there instead, which didn’t feel like a sacrifice at all; it’s gorgeous!

Tuesday I was back in PT and let my therapist know what was up. She found that the quad tendon is doing much better, with noticeable improvement to the scar tissue, but the big issue now is the tracking of my right patella. I’ve always had tracking issues with my knees, but apparently right now the right patella is trying to go too far laterally when I bend my knee so it’s grinding on the bursa and bone beneath it, causing the pain I’m experiencing. She did the usual ultrasound, TENS and massage and we tried some kinesiotape to see if that would help.

Wednesday I was back in the gym for a “normal” workout:

  1. 30 mins on the spin bike
  2. Circuit x 2:
    1. Double-leg-lift w/ crunch x 15 (wearing 5 lb ankle weights on each ankle)
    2. Side leg-lifts x 15 each side (wearing 5 lb ankle weights on each ankle)
    3. Superman arm/leg lifts x 15  (wearing 5 lb ankle weights on each ankle)
    4. 30 KB swings (26.5 lb KB)
    5. 10 KB Press each side (26.5 lb KB)
  3. 10 mins stretching, including full leg stretch series with resistance band
  4. 20 mins swimming
  5. 5 mins in the hot tub

Unfortunately, my knee actually hurt while biking, which was new. It seemed fine during the circuit but I felt the pain when I bent my knee swimming again. On Thursday I opted to just swim for 40 minutes, which was fine but kind of boring.

By the time I went to PT on Thursday I was not feeling great. My therapist spent a full hour with me, doing assessments and additional treatment. She decided the kinesiotape wasn’t enough and that I should try a thin knee brace for patella tracking. I have to say I felt great after her treatment. I picked up a knee brace that’s intended to be lightweight and is used for patella tracking. I used it for yoga last night and overall I have good things to say. It’s a bit thicker than what I’d ideally use for yoga, but I’m struggling to find a thinner product; the tape was really the ideal thickness. I did feel like the thickness compromised my flexibility since it bunches up a bit behind the knee. Per the PT’s advice, I did play around with bending my knee a bit, and it was a rigorous class and my knee didn’t hurt afterwards! I’m going to take the brace to the gym on Monday and see how I do. I was also told to not use spin bikes since the clips cause some shearing of the bone that my patella is coasting over, and the position one rides in uses more range of motion than I should use right now. So back to the normal bikes and we’ll see how it goes!

I’m so ready to be recovered. 🙂 Hoping to climb next week too!!

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