Browsing all articles from March, 2013

Knee Surgery – Onward and Upward

Posted Posted by DetectiveEstes in Detective Estes' Corner     Comments No comments

My last post was from Day 31. It is hard to believe how far my knee has recuperated. Today is Day 50 following my surgery! I have been remiss in not posting recuperation, but until last week the exercises were essentially the same and the recuperation was also about the same. Last week, however, new exercises began. The new exercises were designed to strengthen the push-up power as opposed to the first exercises designed to get me walking and also to be able to bend the knee as much as the un-surgered knee on the right side.

On Day 44, last Thursday, Jorge bent my newly surgered knee to 121 degrees! This is nearly the same as my unsurgered, right knee which can be bent to 124 degrees. Jorge said that they are looking for me to be able to bend the left knee to 120 degrees unassisted. Unassisted means on my own power, without me pulling the knee up with a strap or my other knee. In short, pulling it up with my own, left knee muscles.

On Day 42, new exercises began. Ugh. I thought the first bunch were hard. The new ones put the others into the easy category! I just have to describe them; otherwise a reader may disagree with me on their difficulty. I certainly wouldn’t want that! Two are difficult enough that when I told a personal trainer about them at my gym he decided to incorporate them into his own stomach tightening routine! To me, that REALLY means it’s difficult!

Jorge was my therapist on Day 42. Somehow the hardest exercises are always devised by Jorge. We began, as usual with the bicycle. Jorge took the seat down about two more inches than the previous week. This caused a lot of discomfort in attempting to turn the pedals all the way around both backward and forward. It took nearly 6 minutes of back and forth turning before I was able to complete a full turn backwards, almost 8 in forward. Most of the time I do this for 10 minutes, but today Jorge ran this exercise for 15 minutes. I guess the full turn times were not enough turns to get warmed up.

From the bicycle, we went to the floor mat. This was the first time I got fully down on the floor and it was difficult, but not due to my ‘new’ knee, but from the pain from my Old knee! The right knee was giving me some payback in pain. Meanwhile the new knee was like, ‘ho-hum let’s get on with this’. No pain, or discomfort at all from the new knee! What a fine feeling! The exercise on this was with the inclusion of the large ball. One exercise was the usual where I placed my ankles over the ball and pulled it back toward my butt then back out again till I could reach no further forward. Did those for 15 repetitions. Next exercise, same ball, me in the same location. This time, Jorge demonstrated first. Legs on top of the ball, lying down. The exercise was to pull the middle of my body up with my leg muscles while they were still on the ball, keeping my shoulders on the floor. 15 more reps. The last exercise was a variation of the last one. On this one, when the pull up of the body maneuver was done, I was then to use my feet to pull the ball to me, and then push it back. Very difficult exercise. 15 more reps for this one.

Following this exercise, we went to the highest step. I did step-ups for a count of 20 reps. And following that exercise next was to balance on the foam pad on the left foot. Jorge forgot to say how long to balance so I did it for 30 seconds, 5 repetitions. The 30 seconds came from ankle therapy where I had to balance for 30 seconds, then on my right foot after surgery. Same pain now, as then.

Following this was yet another new exercise. This one again used the large ball. Jorge had me place the ball between my back and the wall, move my feet out to about a 30 degree angle and squat as far as possible. After the squat, I was to push back up using the ball to roll up easier. Easier is always relative. Hard is simply trying to use the quad muscles to push up from a low squat! I suppose using the ball was ‘easier’, say than shooting myself in the foot. But it sure wasn’t easy to push up after that first squat. I did 5 squats and raises.

And that was Day 44.

On Day 46, I had Liz. Until this day, I thought Liz was a bit easier on me. Not to be. After the initial and usual bending my knee beyond what it was ever designed for, we then went to the bicycle, where Liz set it down more than it was on Day 44. I only had to do it 10 minutes, but amazingly, since the bike seat was lower on Day 44, it seemed much easier to make the full turn after only a couple tries at the turns! It’s always just a bit short of amazing how much is healed after each therapy time.

After the bike, we next went to the highest step. Only this day, step-ups were not the program. This time, I was to begin already on the step, left foot close to the right edge of the step. The exercise is to lower the right foot down and touch the heel of the foot to the floor, then return to a level position. Did this for 15 repetitions.

Following this was the on-the-mat ball exercises again pulling my middle off the floor while pulling the ball to me. Had to do 15 reps of these.

After this exercise, Liz took me to a universal gym in the office and set up the leg lift exercise for me. She place 3 plates on the machine (don’t know how much weight that was, but definitely enough). I lifted these up for 30 repetitions. It actually felt good to do the exercise.

Following the machine, the next exercise was the balance pad for 10 reps. And then the cool down.

That was Day 46.

On Day 50, I was back to Jorge. I had gone to the gym a few times since Day 44 and worked at the bicycle, leg press, elliptical, the squats using the gym ball, which was smaller but no less difficult, and on the last time, did the leg lift as well. I was feeling fairly good about doing the exercises.

Another couple of new things I personally did without the therapy on this day was that I cleaned the bathtub. Now, lots of folks may not think that’s such a great thing, but if you read the blog I wrote about trying to get down on my knees to pray in church, then you can see the benefit, and general goodness of being able to get on the knees to clean the tub. I used a hard foam pillow to kneel on. It was definitely needed, but not near so much as when I was attempting to get down to pray. So even THIS has improved! One more thing done was I high stepped over a couple baby barriers I had set up to keep my dog in one room. These barriers were about 24 inches tall. I had attempted this previously, but had stepped over them with my right leg first, and had to drag my left knee over. One time, I ended up removing the barrier as my left knee simply could not be lifted far enough to drag it across. On this day, however, I decided to try stepping high enough to clear the barrier with my left knee first. It worked!! I did it several more times just to make sure it wasn’t a hoax in my own mind.

Upon arrival at therapy, I told Jorge what I had done today with the barriers and the tub. I guess he used those things to make sure I had enough achiness in therapy on this day. First Jorge bent my leg back to where it wouldn’t go any further. He did this a couple times. Then he stretched it and pushed the knee around left & right, I suppose, to warm it up. Following that, bicycle for 10 minutes, then ball on the floor exercise for 15 reps, then a new exercise on the step-up. The new exercise was to step-up, left foot first, then bring the right foot up to a step over position and hold for 2 seconds, but don’t step down with the right foot. This was also 15 reps. After that was the leg press for 30 reps.

Following that was the ball in the back squats for 5 reps. That was still very difficult. And next was the machine again. Jorge set the machine up for single leg reps. He asked me to try it and I couldn’t even move it! So Jorge set the machine up to the same as it was when I did both legs previously with Liz. The exercise then was to lift the weights with both legs, but drop the right leg and slowly let the weight down with my affected knee only. This worked for 15 reps.

After this was completed Jorge had another new exercise on the foam balance pad. This exercise was to balance on the left foot, and kick the right foot to the front and return, then to the side and return, and then kick to the back and return. It was fairly easy, except for the back kick. For whatever reason nearly every time I did the back kick, I would twist right off the pad backwards. Eventually I managed to do them all though. Following this was the cool down period.

If I have not explained the cool down period; it’s as follows. The exerciser lies down on the assigned cot and the therapist applies a cold compress around the affected location, in my case, the left knee. The compress remains for about 10 minutes and the therapy is over till the next time.

Today I went for a walk. It is Day 51. It was relatively short, a bit less than a mile. I noticed that my right knee was aching within a hundred yards. My left knee never hurt. At all. Truly, this therapy business works!

About Detective Estes

Detective EstesMr. Estes has lived in the DC Metropolitan area for most of his life. His father’s influence and expertise in firearms resulted in Mr. Estes beginning to rifle shoot at a young age and eventually shooting on the Washington-Lee High School rifle team in Arlington, VA.

Detective Estes’ Corner Archives