Monday, March 31, 2014

Knee Recovery Week 4 .. making great strides!

I've ran a few times, about 25 yards at a time, but I continue to use the elliptical. My longest elliptical session to date has been 30 minutes for 2 miles, climbing 3000ft, and it felt glorious.. I hadn't worked up that much of a sweat in a very long time!

My range of motion is back to where it was before surgery, and I've got almost no swelling. I do continue to get some soreness if I sit with my knee fully bent for extended periods of time.. I do have a little bit of pain first thing in the morning, and my knee is a little stiff at first.. otherwise, I'm pain free.

Joe understands my goal of finishing Pine to Palm, and he's nothing but confident that he can help address my running mechanics and efficiency to set me up for success. I've got a couple of new stretches, and I'm replacing my old PT exercises for very specific exercises to dial in my core and glute strength.

A few of my new PT exercises are freakishly tough, although you might not realize it by looking at my position while doing them. I'm feeling fatigue deep in my core, and my glutes are sore in new/different places than what the leg lifts were causing. Change is good.. I'm getting stronger.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Knee Recovery Week 3.. pulled out of Mac Forest 50k

I've got no limp, my knee does hurt a little first thing in the morning or if I'm sitting with a fully bent knee for a long period of time. I've continued the elliptical, PT exercises, and icing/elevating.. I'm still walking a mile a day.

I decided to schedule some PT with Joe Uhan, at Transegrity Physical Therapy, down in Eugene. What I know about Joe makes me confident that he can help me to get on with fixing my running gait and posture. Joe is a physical therapist who specializes in running biomechanics, and he's an elite ultramarathoner, a rare combination and exactly the person I want to set me up for success. Because I'm not running yet, we do a walking gait analysis which gives Joe some hints as to what to address. My left hip seems to rotate forward and inside, and my right foot is angled outward quite a bit more than my left. The right foot angle might not be as important as the left hip is and so we focus on the hip alignment and flexibility.

I've pulled out of the Mac Forest 50k, it just isn't going to be possible for my knee to be right and ready for that course in time. So instead of just sitting on the sideline, or getting upset with the situation, Wendie and I decided to offer our time as volunteers at the race. The ultrarunning community is chalk full of really cool folks, and the Mac Forest 50k is a big deal in our city and something that will be fun to be part of as a volunteer. Looks like maybe next year I'll have another shot at checking this one off my bucket list.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Knee Recovery Week 2

The swelling has gone down significantly, my range of motion is about 80%, and my PT exercises are keeping me busy. I've been working my upper body a lot with pullups, pushups, and a ton of core. I've been on the elliptical a couple of times for 10 minutes per. I still walk about a mile a day, and my limp has all but disappeared. My knee doesn't feel 100% stable, and walking downhill gives me twinges of pain every now and then. My PT exercises for the past two weeks have been laying leg lifts on all four sides, leg extensions, and to move my knee cap around to help reduce scar tissue.

My followup appointment with the physician assistant was a waste of time and pretty disheartening... Stephen Bennett, in Corvallis, was clearly not interested in spending any more time than necessary talking to me about what to expect for recovery. I was never asked what my goals or intentions were, and his suggestions were initially pretty much to not use my knee and to avoid walking or running downhills or down stairs. Wendie was at the appointment with me and we both mentioned that I'm a trail runner and what my intentions were.. Bennett pretty much disregarded what was said, reiterating that I would just be damaging my knee and to expect I'd see them again. I don't know what his problem was, but that appointment was a train wreck.

To give you a feeling for his complete disregard to cause/effect or understanding more about his patient, I asked "Why was my left knee the one that had this problem and not the right?".. he told me we have two knees and it was a 50/50 chance. Are you fucking kidding me? At this point it was clear there was nothing more to discuss with this guy.. I left the appointment really pissed off. I understand that my knee was just operated on and to expect it is going to be less than 100%.. but don't waste my time by completely glossing over cause/effect, or even giving one moment to discuss biomechanics.. let alone to suggest that I seek a PT who might be able to help me do the work necessary to get me running in the way that I want. Bennett wins my "Don't waste your time. Ask for someone else." award.