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Recovering from knee surgery

(10 Posts)
user1492765388 Tue 16-May-17 13:16:14

I had a skiing accident in the Easter hols where I severed my MCL (grade 3) and damaged my ACL (it didn't tear as is usual for people my age, my ACL actually pulled the tip of my tibia off resulting in a fracture). I had an op on 20th April for both ligaments. I've been in a hinged knee brace since then and also on crutches. I'm not allowed to fully weight bear yet due to fracture.

01st June is the date when I'm allowed to take leg brace off and start phasing out the crutches. Although my knee is bending ok now (up to 90 degrees), it is a long way off from being anything like normal.

Just wondering if anyone has been through something similar before and can let me know what I'm likely to be in for over next few months. Cannot wait to get my old life back at the moment, life is a lot more difficult with brace and crutches sad

MrsGotobed Tue 16-May-17 13:27:35

I had knee surgery over 20 years ago and had to wear a leg brace for a while afterwards whilst gradually increasing the angle I could bend it.

I remember at the time being shocked at how long recovery was. TBH I think I underestimated how serious an op it was and the recovery implications.

When the brace comes off it leaves you feeling quite vulnerable (or at least it did for me). The leg felt weak from muscle wasting and my knee felt as if it wouldn't ever be strong enough to walk on again. I felt as if I'd never be confident in using that knee ever again.

One of the things that I was worried about was driving again as the op was on my left (clutch) leg. I had visions of the leg not being strong enough to hold the clutch down for any length of time so DP took me to an empty car park to practise when I felt ready.

I'm sorry if that all sounds very negative but I did find it difficult, partly the loneliness (it was pre-DC, all friends were at work and I couldn't get out and about very easily where I lived).

It was a slow and gradual process but you do get there in the end!

ProphetOfDoom Tue 16-May-17 13:33:03

Have they suggested hydrotherapy?

And get a gym referral through your physio when you & medics feel you're ready. You need to do non-impact muscle-building exercise for your knees and to maintain your core strength. The hip abductor machine will be your friend. Keep using ice packs to reduce knee swelling.

If you're sporty then a custom made lightweight brace might be the way forward - message me if you want the details - but they are ££. A friend in the US bust both his knees doing the sport he loves - he's back, albeit at a non competitive level, after flying over to get the brace, secure that his knees are now indestructible lol.

user1492765388 Tue 16-May-17 14:30:44

Thanks both for your replies. Mrs, I completely echo your thoughts of not realising how serious it was to start off with. My leg feels like an alien leg at the moment and I'm just only just coming to terms with how long it's going to take to get some strength back in it (despite Dr telling me it was a serious knee injury and would take until early next year to recover, somehow I thought I would just recover more quickly than average!).

I'm lucky to have private healthcare thru work, so I can have as many physio appts etc as I need. Currently seeing the physio twice a week, but there isn't much he can do at mo as I'm not allowed to bear weight or do any resistance training until 6 weeks post op. I will ask about hydrotherapy - thanks, I didn't realise that was a suitable option.

Just feeling down really and hoping to hear stories of people who have made amazing recoveries and whose knees are all back to normal.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 16-May-17 18:44:04

Knee injuries heal really slowly and almost imperceptibly. My third and worst knee injury - dislocation/tear/fracture - occurred over a year ago and I'm still in physical therapy.

Some people swear by taking high dose glucosamine chondroitin but you don't really feel benefit until after taking it for a number of months - so you have to persist to see if it works for you.

Regarding getting the bend back in the knee the simplest and most effective exercise I personally found after all the high tech stuff was sitting on a high table and swinging the knee using gravity/pendulum swing to gradually increase the angle.'ll get there x

stabilolikeaboss Tue 16-May-17 18:50:08

I had my ACL reconstructed (complete rupture) and repairs to the MCL which was also torn. They said full recovery a year and I was shocked by how little I could move it afterwards and sitting with it iced was all I could do for weeks. After the initial weeks it then started healing more quickly and amazingly was able to play sport at 4 months. That was probably quite silly but by 6 months it was better than new and 9 months perfect. Long term, it took 18 months for the feeling to come back into the front of my knee, it was numb until then but did eventually return.

7to25 Tue 16-May-17 20:34:43

I had a worse knee injury as a result of a traffic accident. In my case hydrotherapy helped immensely but it was at a later stage than you are.
Recovery took about 18 months but I am now "normal" and can walk without aids and mostly without a limp.
Good luck with your recovery but fighting it is of no use at all you are better to go with the flow. Try not to be frustrated and accept your current state of health won't be permanent.
I feel for you.

user1492765388 Wed 17-May-17 11:38:10

Thanks all for your replies. It's heartening to know that things should get back to normal eventually and that the slow progress I feel I am making is just par for the course.

I'm normally the sort of person who is rushing around everywhere and am finding everything very hard at the mo, especially being so dependent on other people.

I will look into all the suggestions you have made above flowers

rubybleu Thu 18-May-17 07:40:18

I had an ACL repair and MCL repair in March 2013 after a bad skiing accident - I ruptured the MCL on both sides so I couldn't have surgery until the less injured knee recovered enough. I ran London marathon in 2016 so it hasn't been all bad!

The key thing is to take your physio very seriously. It will hurt, I specifically hated lunges for a long time. You will probably need to physically bend your knee & break down scar tissue to get back range of motion < 90 deg - this made me cry as it was so painful. It feels like forever to see some progress and you will be horrified at how simple things are nearly impossible. For me things turned at about the 2 month mark.

I got back in the gym under a PT about six months post surgery, weekly sessions for a year, which was the key to getting my knee 95% of what it was. I sat out one ski season, but now ski with no issues. Albeit, I take the last lift rather than ski tired smile

You will need to be in the gym regularly for the rest of your life, unfortunately. My knee twinges if I don't exercise.

user1492765388 Thu 18-May-17 09:44:04

Hi Rubyblue, congrats on your marathon and very encouraging to hear. Me and skiing are over, so I'm not bothered about whether or not I can do that again!

I've not been able to start proper physio yet because of my fracture. I've 2 more weeks to go before I can fully put weight on my leg. I'm looking forward to starting, even though I'm expecting it to hurt like hell.

How long was it before you were walking normally, without crutches or a limping? I'm dreading walking with a strange walk for a while tbh. Am going to Ibiza at end June and would love to think I could be walking normally by then, even if I won't be tearing up the dancefloor!

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