Jun 14, 2017

A Pain in the Knee: Part XII (aka 6 Months Later)

It's hard to believe that it's actually been six months since my knee surgery. That hardly seems possible. Technically it's been just over six months now but details. But that also means it's a good time to give an update on my knee and how things are going.

For anyone who is new to the blog or have just missed it all, I have linked below the entire story. But the short version is that for the last 16 years of my life (more than half my life - what?!) my knee would dislocate at random. It would slip out of place then back in on its own. Back in October I had just put Connor in his exersaucer then turned to sit down and I hit my knee on the bar and it dislocated. This time it didn't go back in by itself and I shoved it back in. Yes it still makes me shudder just thinking about it.

Usually the pain only lasts a day or two then goes away and go back to life as normal. But this time the pain wouldn't go away and it was getting harder to walk. So I went to get it checked out. I had X-Rays and an MRI, and I ended up with a knee specialist. None of my scans showed any signs that my knee had ever been dislocated. I had nothing torn or any damage at all. But everything I said lined up with dislocation. It was further confirmed by the fact that my kneecap was really loose.

It was then that I was told about the surgery to tighten my kneecap to keep it from happening again. So I did it. I was told that six months to full recovery. I would be in a full knee brace for a long time after surgery then even longer of PT.


I'm long out of the knee brace, long done with PT and been cleared by the doctor to go back to life as normal, and officially at the six month mark.

So something I didn't fully understand at the time was that the surgery meant they would cut the tendon from my quad to my knee which is what is supposed to hold my kneecap in place. They would then fold it over and fasten it in order to keep it from slipping. All that means that my quad basically freaked out and atrophied. And I mean seriously atrophied. There was no quad muscle left. I had to stay in the brace until I had enough strength (and flexibility) for my kneecap not to move and the whole surgery to have been a waste. We had to work on getting flexibility back which meant it was painful and awful while we worked on bending my knee again (let's just say I have had two kids and this was way worse). Then I had to start working on my quad strength in order get out of the brace and not fall down.

It took awhile to get there and me even longer due to some problems in PT. But I worked hard and stuck with my PT. I had my doubts from when I started at PT that I would be full recovered by six months. But there was part of me that was hopeful.


Looking at my leg now you would definitely know that I am not fully recovered. I'm not completely sure I'm even halfway there.

I can bend my knee again - I will never again take advantage of being able to bend my knee again. I am back to exercising (with a compression brace on - mostly for padding when I have to kneel). I can jump again. I can alternate feet walking up stairs (although I don't always, so if you want to speed up or down stairs, don't walk behind me - I'm really slow). I can't really run yet but I can do a slow jog in place but sometimes that's pushing it for me. I can kneel and crawl with only a little pain.


Life has mostly returned to normal. I have my bad day for sure. I have days where my leg just hurts all day. I have days where I have sharp pain along my scar. I have days that my leg wouldn't stop cramping. I have days where it just keeps giving out on me. I have days where I can't keep up with my kids.

I'm also not going to say that I don't have moments where I hate that I had this surgery. I know in the long run I will be happier but it's hard to feel that way now when my knee hurts often (it didn't hurt before I seriously dislocated it). It actually never really bugged me. But now I feel it every day. Plus the super annoying numbness and tingling I get along my inner thigh and knee (basically it feels like when your foot falls asleep and then starts to wake up again and it tingles so much it hurts - that's what it feels like).

I'm exercising five days a week working on getting back to full strength. But I still have a long way to go. Like I said I am definitely not a full recovery yet and most days it doesn't even feel close. But I'm trying and working and maybe in another six months I will actually be at full recovery. Only time and continuing to work at it will tell.

A Pain in the Knee: Part I (aka The Backstory)
A Pain in the Knee: Part II (aka The Surgery)
A Pain in the Knee: Part III (aka The Recovery)
A Pain in the Knee: Part IV (aka Physical Therapy)
A Pain in the Knee: Part V (aka Still Recovering)
A Pain in the Knee: Part VI (aka Knee Surgery & Recovery + Being a Mom = Really Hard)
A Pain in the Knee: Part VII (aka Brace Off)
A Pain in the Knee: part VIII (aka Walk Faster!)
A Pain in the Knee: Part VIIII (aka Outer Quad vs Inner Quad)
A Pain in the Knee: Part X (aka The Discharge)
A Pain in the Knee: Part XI (aka Life Since Discharge)

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