Het dagelijks leven
Week 6 through 10 building up daily activities
"The weeks fly by"
The first six weeks have already passed. To me, the duration of the first six weeks and the next four weeks were entirely different. The first six weeks seemed to last forever, whereas the next four weeks quickly passed. The latter, however, were not without struggle. As I had mentioned before, I had started walking again without crutches. This didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped it would because of some problems with my kneecap. I think I can best describe it as if my knee sometimes ‘locked’ whilst walking. I couldn’t bend it past a certain angle. I also had the same problem with my other knee when I was rehabilitating the previous time, but that went away rather quickly. Not this time… I continued to be affected by the problems with my knee with every step I took and also with a couple of exercises. These problems should go away on their own as the swelling goes away and the leg muscles get stronger. The only question is how long this will take.
"My knee locks up with walking"
One to two weeks went by with hardly any improvement to my kneecap. Walking was still far from symmetrical, I noticed little to no progress with exercises and really wanted to put as little stress as possible on my knee. At this point, it started to slowly creep into my thoughts when (and if) it’ll go back to normal. You know you have to be patient with this kind of stuff, but you still wake up every day hoping that you can walk normally again. Unfortunately, so far without success. That’s why my PT and I decided to have me cycle on the hometrainer three times a day, to counteract the swelling, and train with BFR (Blood Flow Restriction) to try to get stronger with less strain on my knee.
There was a lot of frustration - and it required a lot of patience - but eight weeks after the surgery, it was finally that day. I woke up and was able to take a few steps without my knee locking up for the first time. It was only a couple of steps before my kneecap started acting up again but it felt like an enormous achievement. My PT noticed this as well because (let it be coincidence or not) the day before, he said that the exercises went a lot better and the swelling had seemed to lessen.
Fellow rehab patients also slowly began to notice this difference. Every Tuesday evening we train with a small group and every time we were together I was told it looked like I was walking better. That's great to hear and a nice confirmation for yourself that things are going in the right direction.
The fact I became stronger was not only noticeable with my kneecap, but also my stability and the exercises I did. I had started with some (preparatory) running exercises, split squats and the crosstrainer. The weight that I could leg press with one leg went up slowly as well. So more and more things went better. Then, at 8.5 weeks, I was suddenly allowed to do squat jumps for the first time! If you had told me two weeks ago that I would be doing this now, I would have made fun of it. It's amazing how fast things can suddenly go.
"One legged squats!"
Around week 9-10 I was working my way up to a one-legged squat. Every single time I tried to accomplish it, I failed. In the end, of course, it worked. Looking back on it, maybe there was a part of my brain subconsciously fearing the possible pain which prevented me from succeeding. This is because the first single leg squat that I finally completed successfully went suspiciously ‘easy’. So it’s not just your body that has to be capable, also your head.
Where it was very difficult in the beginning, it is now going much better. a lot better. My kneecap is bothering me a lot less, but unfortunately it is still not completely gone. Hopefully next time I can say that I no longer suffer from it. Furthermore, I'm really starting to notice I am getting stronger and can do more and heavier exercises which makes training more fun. So it's carefully going in the right direction. Now on to even more steps forward!