Start running

Week 10 through 14 building up to running

My kneecap is still sensitive

Getting straight to the point, the problems regarding my kneecap aren’t gone yet. Some days I hardly notice them but other days they are a real nuisance. This difference seems to stem from whether I had a good night’s rest or not, how much stress I had, etc. The situation surrounding my kneecap almost seems to be a mirror reflecting how good I feel that day. That’s why I try to have as few nuisances as possible so that I have a higher chance of feeling good. 

Start with jumps

Exercise-wise I am doing well. Currently I’m broadening the types of squat jumps I do a little; I am trying to jump higher right now and forwards- and backwards jumping have also already been added. I’ve also started doing a small supported ‘jump’ on one leg. They are really more like hops where you bounce from one leg to another, but I can still hold on to a bar and determine for myself how much force I use to support myself. The first couple of times it is still difficult, especially if you try to go lower, but that is why you can support yourself. The task at hand now is to reduce the amount of support and eventually be able to hop independently on one leg. 

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Back to school

Shortly something completely different, but I haven’t been at university since the surgery. When everyone was allowed to go again after being at home because of covid, I had had my surgery. The reason I kept postponing going to university again was because my kneecap kept being a nuisance and I was also afraid of it causing too much load on the knee. Now, the time had finally come when I was mandated to go again. So, I gave it a try and… no problems whatsoever. I was definitely able to tell the difference from the few steps per day I was doing before to the multiple thousands I had to walk now. At the end of the day, I had a somewhat tired knee and was very happy that I could have a seat. The most important thing that day however: I didn’t have a swollen knee. 

In the meantime, the hops had improved enough in more or less two weeks that I was allowed to try them without any support. Like basically everything new, it was a little scary. You’re afraid that you aren’t strong enough, afraid of the possible pain, etc. The same goes for jumping on a plyobox, which I also did for the first time. In the end, I didn’t have problems with either of them. 

Start running

What every rehabber secretly works towards and looks forward to from the start, is running. So did I. Although it is weird for me since I don’t like running at all. But then it happened, I was allowed to run again for the first time after the surgery. With a little bit of stress, but also confidence I started running on the treadmill in short time intervals. In terms of pain, I couldn’t complain because there hardly was any. You could say I was successful, but that seemed to not be the case later on.

Voorste kruisband oefeningen met een verstoring van gewichten.

When I continued with the rest of my exercises afterwards, I noticed that they all suddenly hurt. Especially the exercises for my quadriceps, such as the leg press, pulley leg extension and while lowering the deadlift, were all causing pain. Some even caused so much pain that I couldn’t continue doing that exercise. So unfortunately, the running was not that successful. Luckily there were no visible changes to my knee the next day, so the plan was to train with the same intensity as last time and see if the pain would go away. The following times doing the exercises I noticed that the ‘after pain’ gradually lessened, but the running started to hurt more. This kept fluctuating, sometimes more pain, sometimes less, but it never really passed. 

One step back and two forward

There was so little improvement in the running that I took a break from it. I haven’t been on the treadmill for almost two weeks, but in the meantime, I have been focusing on other things. I’ve been doing running- and deceleration exercises, practicing patterns with a speed ladder, dribbling, etc. When I started running again after these two weeks, I quickly noticed that the pain hadn’t gone away yet. Every step I took while running hurt. The conclusion was that I still land too hard with my foot and that my movement is still kind of choppy. I then had to try running without shoes on. This was so that I would subconsciously land more carefully and a bit more on the middle/front of my feet. What a staggering difference that made. Running was suddenly doable in terms of pain, not completely gone but manageable. This was the way I had try running for the time being. 

As an athlete your goal is to be able to run again as soon as possible. If it doesn’t work out every time and the pain doesn’t seem to get any less, then you start to doubt yourself. So, you can guess how relieved I was when this worked and was able to run without too much pain consistent . For now, I’ll just have to wait and see how well this actually works and who knows, maybe next time I’ll be running on the treadmill free of pain (and with my shoes on?).