You never fully value something until it is gone and I am becoming all to unfamiliar with that again. One of the first big hurdles someone faces after undergoing knee surgery, especially reconstructive surgery, is regaining range of motion. This is currently a hurdle that I am working on clearing. Even after having two prior ACL reconstructive surgeries, I took being able to freely bend my knee for granted. Immediately following surgery, and for the two weeks after, my knee was securely fastened in a knee brace that was locked and did not allow me to bend my knee. During my post-op appointment last Wednesday, my doctor opened up my knee brace so that I can now start working on bending my knee to regain my range of motion. He also gave me the green light to go to the gym to ride the recumbent bike. While I am not cleared for aggressive physical therapy, my at home therapy and rehabilitation process certainly is underway.
My first time at the gym was met with disappointment. I went on the Thursday immediately following my appointment and at first I was not able to complete a full rotation on the recumbent bike. The swelling and pressure in my knee was too much and it caused pain when I would bend my knee as I tried to complete a full rotation. I did not want to let that stop me though; I kept at it and did a half rotation one way and then did a half rotation the other way. The bike wasn’t even on! I did this for about 45 minutes and each time I was able to go a bit further. After about 50 minutes of doing this, I was able to slowly make a full rotation. Success! I had to pedal backwards though, because pedaling the correct way put too much pressure and resistance on my knee. Plus, I was not even able to pedal fast enough to turn the bike on. I don’t want to overdo anything, so I took Friday off (and just worked out on my newly acquired CPM machine, see below) and went back on Saturday. Saturday was much more successful. It only took me about 5 minutes to warm up my knee enough to be able to complete a full rotation. While I still pedaled backward and wasn’t able to turn the bike on, I was able to complete several full rotations going the correct way! YAY!
On Friday, my CPM (continual passive motion) machine was delivered. I had this machine for my first knee surgery and I loved it. Naturally, I am thrilled to have it again. I am supposed to use it everyday for six to eight hours a day! That is a full time job! Good thing it is summer and I am only taking online and independent study classes this summer. Currently, I have the machine set to 90 degrees and I will continue to increase the degrees that it moves until I get into therapy and regain all of my range of motion.
As far as my swelling is concerned, I thought that it was going down a bit more, but when I compare it to my other knee, it is still very swollen, even almost three weeks after surgery.
Thursday – an hour on the recumbent bike
Friday – several hours on the CPM
Saturday – an hour on the recumbent bike
Sunday – several hours on the CPM (currently in progress)