Well, it has been nearly three months since my knee replacement surgeries and I wish I could report that everything is going smoothly.
I am still struggling in choppy waters! My knees are very stiff and tight with limited range of motion. This is still causing me difficulty with walking, negotiating stairs, and even sitting in a chair. It has been very frustrating to be working my knees very consistently, yet not make any progress in the range of motion department. After consulting with my surgeon, I underwent a bilateral manipulation under light general anesthesia nearly 4 weeks ago. My surgeon was able to achieve 130 degrees of knee flexion bilaterally in the Operating Room with manipulation. immediately after, I went right to Alpine Sports Medicine to begin my Physical Therapy regimen. I utilized a CPM machine set at 0-120 degrees at home as much in the daytime as I could and at night while trying to sleep. The best I was able to get was 130 degrees on my better knee and 120 degrees on my worse knee. Both my knees have since stiffened up and I am currently in the 100 degree ball park with my better knee cold and 115 degrees warmed up and stretched out. My worse knee is about 90 degrees cold and 100 degrees warmed up and stretched out.
I am still having a significant amount of pain and discomfort associated with my knees as well. I am still utilizing pain meds 2 x daily, otherwise I can hardly move my knees are so stiff and hurt so much. My daily routine consists of waking up at 5:45 am and stationary cycling 1 hour daily, knee Range of Motion and stretching exercises. I also jump back on the bike in the afternoon and evening for 10-15 minutes as well. I am performing resistance exercises 3 x weekly, but I feel that I can’t proceed full speed ahead with strength exercises while I am still having so much difficulty with my knee-joint ROM.
I am still not back at work yet treating patients. My original plan was to return to work after 6 weeks. I am now almost 12 weeks out and still feel as if I am not capable of returning to work in my usual capacity. If I only had a desk job, it would be no problem at all. But with all the up and down, running around, standing, kneeling and walking required with my job as a physical therapist, I still feel that I am not ready. I am very concerned that my knees will stiffen up even more! I am returning for a consult with my surgeon in two weeks. There just might be another manipulation in my near future.
This has definitely been the most challenging recovery I have gone through in my career of 12 knee surgeries. I know it will all work out in the long-term and I am willing to make any short-term sacrifices necessary to achieve a good long-term result. My experiences throughout my own rehabilitation are serving as a good reminder of what many of my patients have to deal with on a daily basis. It really is a good example of how everyone’s body reacts differently. I will try my best to keep chugging forward and hope I can return back to work soon! I will update you all again following my consult with my physician!