The treatment of a cartilage defect: microfracturing

Jolein's experience story about her cartilage treatment.

I am Jolein, 29 years old and I live in Amsterdam. I work as a clinical obstetrician in a big city hospital and in my spare time I can be found a lot at Rocycle. For years running was my sport, yet my knee remained a concern. Because of my job, I cannot afford to experience knee problems in daily life. 

In the winter of 2020, the knee problems arose. The exact cause cannot be traced back, but after the VKB reconstruction I did not keep up strength training properly. At the time, I was not told that this is the key to a functioning knee. After careful consideration, I decided to have surgery, icepicking. Through an arthroscopy, five holes were made in my knee, creating scar tissue to fill the bare spot on my knee joint. Consequence: no loading on my left knee for six weeks. 

I found the first two weeks of my rehabilitation extremely tough mentally. The surgery itself went smoothly and within 30 minutes I was back in recovery. But then the trial began. The helplessness was enormous. I couldn't shower, dress myself or make my own sandwich. I needed help for everything. Beforehand I could not estimate how intense these first weeks would be. A tip for everyone: make sure you have a good network. My salvation was staying with my parents and having my boyfriend help me with everything. Purchasing a shower stool and a wheelchair were not a luxury. The days were long and I was extremely tired. My body was working hard to recover. The first few weeks were all about rest, regularity and cleanliness. Twice a week I was at my physio, Michael de Levie. Through the BFR device, I was able to start with a very low intensity of training. 

The biggest setback in the first 6 weeks was the uncertainty that arose after surgery. I struggled with color differences in my leg and suffered from temperature differences in my leg. Many examinations followed, and this affected my mental strength. Visits to the physio provided support. Not experiencing pain gave me courage. I faithfully followed the exercises and after 6 weeks I was allowed to start cycling on the exercise bike. That was literally a highlight of my first part of rehab. Becoming active, instead of passively waiting for the first 6 weeks to be over. 

Estimating in advance when you will be back on your feet is actually impossible. Every week I had to see what I could and could not do. Because of sitting still, there was muscle loss. Try not to set big goals, but look at your progress each week and be proud of it. My goal is that in 7 months I can dance radiantly in my wedding gown and then exercise weekly and do my workout pain free.