It’s been a little over a week since I heard the big “pop” in my knee and damaged my meniscus. Here is my week one injury update.
I am in the process of getting an appointment with the orthopedic doctor. I had x-rays last Friday. You can’t see meniscus damage in an x-ray, but the Ortho docs won’t even see you until you’ve had them done. All they could see was swelling in the knee. I’m not in a huge hurry to see the docs. I’m more curious as to what type of tear I have. I won’t even consider surgery for 6-12 months, so if it takes a few weeks to get an appointment, I’m good with that.
I am grateful for the work I do for a living and to have the knowledge about physical therapy that I have. I know the protocol well. I have been actively engaged in keeping my body moving as well as possible over the past week beginning the day of the injury. The big challenge is to focus on exploring what I “can do” not the “can’t do’s”
Pain has been significant and pretty consistent. Some days worse than others. Yesterday was a good day. Today has been rough. It doesn’t so much hurt to move. It hurts more when I don’t move. Sitting is the worst. Up and down hills and stairs are tough because of pain. Hand foot crawls are impossible at the moment. I’m starting to get some compensation discomfort in my left calf and right side low back.
Week One Knee Injury Update:The Can Do’s:
Even though pain has been significant, I’ve seen some substantial improvement in knee function.
-I have 95+% range of motion of the knee, which bodes well for recovery. I can do a full deep assisted squat without pain. The primary range I don’t have is foot loaded tibial rotation.
-I’ve quickly gone from 10 minutes on the stationary bike at level 0 to 4 sets of 10 minutes at level 3. Hoping to get on a real bike in a week or so.
-I can now transition side to side shin box without my hands on the floor without pain. It took 4-5 days to get that function back.
-I can swim. Kicking feels good, although pushing off the wall can be painful. So I have to go super slow. It feels good to have some kind of movement I can focus on.
-climbing and floor work. Push-ups, pull ups, parallette bar work. Upper body is going to be beast by the end of this.
This is the toughest part of a big injury. Toughest to feel and definitely toughest to express. I find myself putting on the straight face with most people, including myself. But the reality is that I feel this injury even more emotionally than I do physically.
It sucks. Movement is a big part of my life. Feeling capable is where I feel strong. The first few days I was constantly seeing all the things I could not do. They started adding up. Emotionally, I was feeling hurt, sadness, uncertainty, and fear. Over the past few days, it’s been anger. I’m basically a big ball of swirling emotions.
This is the hardest part of getting injured. The last thing I want to do is to push these emotions down. I don’t want to suppress. I don’t want to hold onto it. I am willing to feel, even if feeling sometimes feels uncomfortable.
At the same time, I don’t want these feelings to rule my thoughts and choices. It’s easy to spin into a deep dark place and give up. Giving up will not help me heal. Giving up will not teach me about myself. Giving up will not put me in a better place on the other side of this injury. Giving up is not an option. Surrendering to the fact that I am an emotional human being going through a challenging experience; and allowing myself to be ok, is the only choice I see. I will cry when I feel tears come up and I will continue to step, or at times limp, forward.
I am grateful for this opportunity to learn something about myself. I look forward to the person I meet on the other side.