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Start running

Week 10 to 14 after cruciate ligament surgery

"My kneecap is still sensitive."

To start right off, my kneecap problems still haven't gone away. It varies a bit. Some days I notice pretty little of it while other days I suffer a lot of it. This difference is mainly in whether I slept well or poorly, stress, etc. I still notice that my knee is sensitive to these things and that it reflects in a mirror how well I feel. So I still try to pay extra attention to that, because otherwise it only works against you.

Start jumping

squat jumps

In terms of exercises, things are actually going pretty well otherwise. I'm currently expanding the squat jumps a bit; I'm trying to jump higher and forward and backward jumps have also been added. Speaking of jumping, I've also just started doing some supported "jumping" on one leg. It's actually more like hops where you spring from one leg to the other where I can still hold on and control how much weight I lean on it. The first couple of times this is still heavy, especially when you try to sink a little deeper, but that's why you can lean. Now the task is to reduce this leaning and eventually be able to hop on one leg independently. 

Back to school

On a completely different note, but since the surgery I have not been to college. Where everyone else was allowed to come back after being home for several weeks due to Covid, I had my surgery at exactly that time. Partly because my kneecap continued to bother me for a long time and I was a little afraid of too much strain, I kept postponing coming back. Now the time had come that I had to come again, so we were going to try. In the end, of course, it was no problem and I didn't suffer from anything. But from as few steps as possible to more than five thousand in a day, you definitely notice. So at the end of the day I had a somewhat tired knee and was very happy to be able to sit again for a while, but perhaps most importantly: no fat knee. 

Meanwhile, the hops have improved so much in about two weeks that I was allowed to try them without help. Like almost everything else, this is still a little scary. Still, you're afraid you won't be strong enough to catch yourself, or of course: pain. The same goes for jumping on a plyobox, which I also did for the first time. But in the end, I didn't suffer from anything with either. 

Start running

The thing that every rehabber secretly works toward and looks forward to from the beginning is running. So was I, although I don't fully understand that about myself since I don't like running at all. But I got to go, the very first time running again after surgery. With slight tension, but also self-confidence, I started the short intervals on the treadmill. I couldn't complain about the pain, because there was hardly any. Successful, you might say, but that was not necessarily the case.

squats met stang

When I continued with the rest of my exercises after, I noticed that all of that did suddenly hurt. Especially the exercises for my quadriceps, such as the leg press, pulley leg extension and while lowering deeper with the deadlift, all caused pain. With some even so much pain that the exercise was no longer possible. Unfortunately, running is not (yet) a success. Fortunately, my knee was not swollen the next day, so the plan was to train with the same load to see if the pain would subside. I noticed the times after that that "after pain" slowly improved, but running, however, began to cause more pain. That kept fluctuating a bit; sometimes a little more pain and then a little less, but it didn't really go away. 

One step back and two forward

There was so little improvement in running that I just took a break from it. I didn't get on the treadmill for almost two weeks, but in that time I focused on other things. I was doing running exercises, deceleration exercises, practicing patterns with the running ladder, dribbling, etc. When I started running again after those two weeks, I quickly noticed that I was getting sore again while running. Every step when I came down, I was bothered. The conclusion was that my left leg was flopping a little too much and that there was still some kind of hitch in the movement of that leg. I then had to try to run without shoes. This would ensure that you automatically land more carefully (so less of a blow for your knee to absorb) and that you land more on your mid/front foot. And what a difference I noticed in that. Running was suddenly just doable in terms of pain. The pain was still not completely gone, but this way I managed. For now this was the new way I had to try to run. 

The fact that it worked this way was a small relief. As an athlete, your goal is to be able to run again as soon as possible, and if you keep failing and the pain doesn't seem to decrease every time, you start to wonder if it's not your fault. So I am very relieved that we have found something that allows me to run again. consistent can run without too much pain. So we're just going to give it a try and see if it works out this way. And who knows, maybe next time I'll be back on the treadmill pain-free.