Well it has been 3 full weeks since my skiing accident on New Year’s eve. I finally made it to the orthopedic doctor this week for a full evaluation. As we suspected, I suffered a full ACL tear. After an extensive evaluation he determined that I still have fairly good stability and mobility in the knee. So, despite the results of a tear, my doctor and I have decided not to have the surgery to repair it. We talked in length about my fitness level and the types of activities I like/want to do. Since the majority of my training has been swimming, biking, and running the doctor felt like I may not need surgery after good rehabilitation.
We also discussed the Ironman I’ve been training for in April. While he warned me that it may be difficult, he did feel like I would be able to complete it. He is going to monitor my progress closely. If things don’t appear to be progressing as they should, we will consider scrapping Ironman and heading on to surgery. If I do make it through rehab and training, we’re still going to re-evaluate my knee post-race to determine if surgery is a better option long term. Although, my doctor is confident that if I can gain enough strength to complete an Ironman, I should have enough strength to continue without surgery. We are not taking any of the options permanently off the table until we see how my progress goes. He’s going to let my physical therapist make those decisions.
So, with that in mind, I started physical therapy this week! I met with my PT on Wednesday and we discussed my current activity level, my goals, and my limits. She gave me a full assessment and then we talked Ironman. She cringed a bit when I told her it was in late April and then she said, “I understand, I did a half Ironman myself”. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to know that I’m in a triathletes hands. She was honest with me and voiced her concerns regarding the run. The next few weeks will be quite revealing I’m sure, but I’m willing to give it 110%. This week we set some pretty high goals as we don’t have a lot of time:
- Regain the ability to walk normally (not just unassisted by crutches and brace, but without limping and such)
- Regain full range of motion
- Introduce strengthening exercises
- Get back on my bike and back to swimming
I’ve also made an appointment to be fitted for a sports knee brace to help with running. I’m sure I’m far from being able to run, but I will need one long term. Hoping it’s not too bulky and that it doesn’t inhibit movement. I’ve been wearing a Mueller brace since the accident and it really prevented me from walking normally. It did, however, give me the stability I needed to get around. My PT gave me the OK to stop wearing the Mueller brace on a day to day basis and that, in itself, has really helped my knee.
Tuesday I got back in the pool for the first time. My only goal was to see how things felt. I did 1000 yards and was a bit slow, but overall things felt pretty good. I know I’ll need at least a couple of weeks to get back to the fitness level I was at before the new year.
Thursday I got back on the bike for the first time and was so incredibly surprised. After only a day of physical therapy there was hardly any pain or stiffness. I was fairly reserved and only rode 30 minutes on the trainer with very low tension and moderate cadence. My heart rate was in Z1 for most of the ride, rose to Z2 for a few minutes and peaked at Z3 for just a few seconds. It was just enough to break a small sweat and then it was over, but it was just the confidence boost I needed.
I’ve been doing my PT strengthening exercises every day after dinner and on my lunch breaks. Any time I walk anywhere I focus on my form, which is kind of weird looking. Sometimes I feel like I look like I’m marching. I walk much slower than usual, but it also allows me to make sure I’m extending my knee and lifting my heel like I need to be. From a far, you can still tell there is something wrong with me . I’m not walking 100% normal just yet, but every day I make progress. Now that I’m finally able to ride, swim, and walk unassisted I know that it will only get better and I will only get stronger.
Thanks for checking in on me! My spirits are high this week and I’m feeling great! Remember, nothing is ever easy. If it were, it wouldn’t be worth it.
Happy running babes,