DIARIES => Post-op diaries (50-100 posts) => Topic started by: agilk9 on February 17, 2004, 10:20:19 PM

Title: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on February 17, 2004, 10:20:19 PM
I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee on 12-5-03. What was thought to be a "standard" meniscal tear repair turned into debridement, chondroplasty and microfracture of the medial tibial condyle. Apparently, the pain I had been having was due to articular cartilage damage.

12-5 It was a surprise to wake up and be in a CPM machine that was moving the knee from 0-70 degrees, when I thought I'd be walking out of there... a little depressing, but I thought it was the pain meds.

First week - just keeping the pain under control, and getting used to crutches, since I was to be no weight bearing for 6 weeks. The enormity of the surgery and the changes it was going to mean in my life were depressing.  I was unprepared for hearing things such as "you'll have to give up waterskiing, definitely this year, maybe forever", "no running with planting and pivoting of your leg, this year, maybe forever"  My true joy in life is training dogs in agility where I compete at a fairly serious level.  Combine the pain meds, the laying on the couch and the news, it was a difficult week, only made better by good friends and wonderful husband. Stayed on CPM machine entire week for as many hours as I could reasonable handle.

Week two - saw the OS first thing, everything looked good, swelling was fairly minimal, he was pleased. Told me to start Physical Therapy, sent the order for the therapist Wanted me to continue CPM for another week. No weight bearing.   PT guy showed me quad sets, ROM exercises and said little could be done for muscles as long as I was No weight bearing. This proved to be disastrous.

Week 3-6 -- Gradually weaned from pain meds, with some discomfort, and maybe half a hydrocodone for nights. Continued quad sets, and ROM exercises. Went to PT where the guy did zippo, zilch.  I asked about EStim and he said that stuff doesn't work,  I questioned it since OS wanted to use it. He said he'd called OS and everything was ok. It was getting harder to move my leg in/out of bed/couch. You could see the quads turning to mush.

Week 6+  OS visit....he was pissed, the PT guy didn't follow orders. My patella, due to lack of VMO strength is not tracking properly. I had NO strength whatsoever in quads.  I changed PTs (obviously) and started working with a gal who had similar surgery (OATS) and put me right to work. Got the ok to slowly increase weightbearing

Week7-10  Worked hard on strength training,  weight bearing is slow due to pain in both patella and what appears to be the VMO.  The IT band gets knotted up too.  But, I was gaining strength, saw some muscle definition using Russian Estim and lots of leg raises and stationary bike stuff.  Hamstring curls were good, but quad knee lifts were impossible. Worked hard these weeks to just get my leg straight while in a seated position.

Week 10+ Saw the OS again, he's much happier now that I'm getting around. Went from two crutches to one, to now just a cane.  Full weight bearing is still very painful, and walking from sink to fridge (very important  :D ) is about it.  My patella is still off and now I'm wondering whether I have scar tissue issues.  I'm swimming/water walking, take no heavy pain meds and am continuing to work on strength and movement.

If you've read this far, thanks.  I wrote this because I know there are other people out there who'se microfracture surgery is not healing as fast as either OS or PT folks would like you to believe.  I get scared to death that maybe I'll never be able to walk normally again, but that is followed by trying to keep up the spirits so I don't sink into a well of dispair.  I'd invite anyone who has had microfracture etc to let me know how they are doing.

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: stgiles16 on February 17, 2004, 11:01:43 PM
Boy was I happy to see your post. I posted something similar last week with almost no response. I was beginning to think that I was the only one around who had this surgery!!!! I started out with the same diagnosis (men. tear) WRONG! Came out with chondroplasty and microfractures just like you , but wait it gets better. Microfractures didnt work ! Second surgery same as the first but add plica removal, bone spur removal, debridement of pre arthritic deterioration. This is not a fun thing. You lifted my spirits just by acknowledging that the recovery for this thing is awful! :) I am 7 wks postop and weight bearing some now. Not going to PT yet and my thigh muscle is mush  also. Quad sets do not work. I have a very hard time lifting my leg straight from a sitting position. I also have very strong pain when doing any leg lifts at all. Does it hurt you to do leg lifts? i would love to compare notes with you but dont know how to leave an address on here that not everyone on earth will get (there are nuts everywhere so dont get offended anyone).I can walk a little now, pretty much what you said, fridge to sink lol. I can use one crutch but the cane is not working for me. I also fully understand the depression.  I have really battled it after this last surgery. We will get well, just keep positive and work hard.
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on February 17, 2004, 11:18:05 PM
Hi Missy,

Run, don't walk (I know, bad joke  :-/ ) to your OS (maybe just call him/her) and see if you can get started on PT.  Those quads are so darn important to the wellbeing of your knee that I firmly believe part of my rehab slowness is the fact that I didn't do anything those first six weeks.  I also know that not all PT or OS believe in electrical stimulation, but doing the russian Estim really helps when quads are total mush!

WHen you go to PT don't be afraid to shop around.  Find someone who will listen, who will not pawn you off on some hired help and who will look at a total plan for your strength....not just your knee!

Doing straight leg lifts doesn't hurt me anymore. I can put on about 5 pounds of ankle weight and do them.  However, if I bend my knee over a towel, or ball, and then lift my lower leg til straight, THAT hurts because of my patella.  PT keeps telling me it's the quad muscle that runs on the inside from knee cap to thigh (VMO) that is the first to turn to mush, the last to come back.  It's a hard one to isolate and work on.

Keep talking, we'll work our way through this yet!!!

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: stgiles16 on February 18, 2004, 12:28:38 AM
I did a ton of exercises for my VMO before this last surgery. They thought that fixing it might let me escape surgery. It was mush from the last operation. OS says walking will help build up my thigh muscles. Pt suggested Electronic Stim. but havent gotten it yet. I am waiting on an e-mail from him about it. OS is 275 miles away from home so alot is done by phone and e-mail. Did you get the message I sent you? I dont know how it works but I tried.
I will e-mail PT again tomorrow and check on that machine.
Keep me posted
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Marie on February 18, 2004, 05:52:50 AM
Hi there,

Wow... I didn't realize that recovering from microfracture would be such a big deal..... I feel kinda silly now.  I had 5 procedures done on my knee in September - the main one was the TTO, but I also got some stuff that I hadn't bargained for, like the microfracture!  

That may explain part of the pain that I was in post-op and some of the difficulties I've had in recovering (regaining ROM & getting VMO strength back).  I'm still having problems distinguishing between my recovery & each different procedure that I had done, but this is certainly something new I hadn't really considered before.  Thanks for the postings.

Aggie, I'm writing to let you know that it is definitely possible to walk again like you never had a problem in the first place.  I started walking normally about 4 months post-op, which was later than expected, but is definitely better than never.  My IT band & VMO get very tight, so my PT massages them before working on me (we're still working ROM).

Missy - walking will help A LOT, even if it's cane or crutch assisted walking.  Just so long as it doesn't kill you to weight bear, just do it!  And then ice & elevate as needed.  My saving grace was a crazy conference at 6 weeks post-op where I was walking (with my crutches) 5-10 miles a day!  Was I ever glad to see the ice machine at our hotel at the end of our day!!!   I must've been doing e-stim/Russian for nearly 3 months before I could do a straight leg raise (SLR) on my own, and even then it took all the strength I had in me being redirected to that  darn VMO!!!  The VMO has only stopped hurting within the last couple weeks & I so I've just recently started weights with the SLRs.  It definitely helps to point your toes out laterally when doing the SLRs.  If you can lock your good knee & do a SLR, try & do the same thing with the bad knee.  Also, take the advice about finding a PT who can really help you... I found someone excellent & it's made a world of difference.

Take care all!
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on February 18, 2004, 06:32:50 PM
THanks for posting, Marie.  It's hearing about length of time for recuperation that is lifting my spirits!  It seems my full weight bearing/walking is going awfully slow.  The knee just doesn't feel stable when I walk unassisted.  There's always the fear of this being something more, something worse, something not healing, etc etc.  It's nice to hear that it may just take time, time, time!  ARGHHHH!

5-10 miles a day on crutches at 6 weeks, wow!  :o  :o  :o   I think that would have put me crying in a corner!  Five procedures, that's a lot.  What all did you have done, Marie?  When you say you started walking normally at 4 months, did you use a cane prior to that? Gimped around without one?  How'd you feel at about 3 months or so?

What I've decided to do is to start walking more (hard to do here in icy weather) but Walmart is as good a place as any.  Instead of pushing the weightbearing issue, I'll gently use my cane til some of those muscles are built up again.  Funny thing is, I can do straight leg raises with 5 pounds of weight til the cows come home.... hamstring curls, no problem.... I just feel lots of pain in the VMO/patella area.  The actual microfracture site aches so now and then, but it's really not that bad unless i do a quick accidental sidestep and then it lets me know it's not fully healed yet.

My OS told me that it takes 6-9 months before the fibrocartilage is completely "organized".  Right now, according to him, there's a layer of cartilage but the fiber bonds are not well aligned. As time and pressure/effort are applied, these bonds align themselves into the best possible matrix for a functioning cartilage.  This is what takes time.  

Oh well, Onward, Ever Forward -

Aggie (who's off to go stationary bicycling...trip around the world. yeehaw!) ;D

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: stgiles16 on February 20, 2004, 03:57:04 PM
Hi guys, my weight bearing is going pretty well. I can walk around the house for a good 10 minutes now before i have to grab a crutch. But I still cannot do the dreaded SLR. When I try to do those, I get terrible pain under my knee cap. My VMO doesnt hurt but it may be causing this part of my knee to hurt. The only time that particular section hurts is when I try to do the SLR.  I got in touch with my OS about a stimulator but havent heard back from him yet, I am giving him until Monday and then I will call again. It makes me feel better knowing that my recovery is not unusually slow. Thanks for posting guys.
Lots of LUck
Missy ::)  ;D
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Marie on February 21, 2004, 03:05:55 AM
Hi Aggie,

It's DEFINITELY too cold & icy here in Canada for a safe walk outside..... my real walking at 6 weeks post-op was done in New Orleans at a conference in November.  The conference center was probably 1/2 mile from one end to the other, maybe more, and I wanted to see soooooo much while I was there (at the conference & in the city... I got catcalled "crutches" on Bourbon St  :-[, but I'm glad I experienced it), so that helped A TONNE (the walking, not the catcalling).

I tried to ditch the crutches after that trip (7 weeks post-op) since I built up so much quad strength during that week.  Then I walked with a cane probably until 10-11 weeks post-op.  At 3 months, it was Christmas.  I was feeling pretty discouraged, but since I had time off I spent most of it rehabilitating & consequently I saw much improvement in January.  I was BRUTALLY slow and walking with a limp until 4 months post-op.  Now it's no hassles & I can walk on uneven ground, snow & ice w/o even worrying about falling.

Walmart is definitely just as great a place as any to go for a walk.   :D   Just don't let the Walmart greeter get you a wheelchair!  (haha... by the way, I actually bought my cane at Walmart... they had quite a selection!!!).

Glad you can do the SLRs & the biking... my OS is big on both for getting strength back!  

If I can give you any advice, just be patient, learn to appreciate things that you may have missed before your knee began to slow you down, make your recovery a priority, and try to stay positive.  You can do it!!!


P.S.  The operations I had included arthroscope, tibial tubercle osteotomy, lateral release, medial plication & microfracture.
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on February 21, 2004, 10:27:31 PM
Thanks's wonderful to hear about other people's recoveries.  Intellectually I know that everyone is different,  but the emotional side of recovery/rehab is always loaded with "what ifs" "what if it didn't work?" "what if I'm different and I'll always be like this".  Therefore, it's great to hear real experiences.  I'm sure your long walking experiences at 6 weeks helped your quad strength tremendously. But then it still took a while for you to get rid of the cane, which is encouraging to me since I went from two crutches to one crutch to a cane in a matter of less than a week, so naturally, I thought I could ditch the cane after a week or so.  That's not happening yet.  Although I am noticing longer periods of walking around the house without it.  I've also been told to back off of some of my work at home, I was doing too many, and too much exercising....I think that's helping my muscles/tendons to calm down a bit too.

Thanks again for your  sharing your rehab/recovery, it means a lot...

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on February 24, 2004, 06:48:26 PM
Thought I'd post an update -

Week 12 -

After spending a week "taking it easier" on the knee to let strained muscles calm down a bit, I'm back at hitting the PT pretty good.  Continuing to walk with a cane, although at times I don't really use it.  Any inactivity seems to lead to tightness in the knee, so when it feels tight, I just get on the stationary bike (low tension) for 5-10 minutes to loosen things up.

Even though the physical aspect of this rehab are pretty big, the mental aspects are huge.  It's the fear of something being wrong that drives my day, and it's bound to go up and down several times in that day. Seems like everyone tells me that "this just takes time", at which point I want to scream at them, "but you don't know how bad this feels".  

Oh well, onward ever forward, I guess.  There's no doubt my knee is stronger than two weeks ago, no doubt that there are small changes occuring, it's just not fast enough for me! ;)

I do think that a lot of OS's do us a disfavor by not being more up front about the rehab after some of these procedures.  The impression I got was that I was to be non weightbearing for 6 weeks after surgery, after which "I was on my own"....which I interpreted to be fully capable of getting around and being done....oh foolish me....  I do think my fears would be somewhat allayed if I had been told that it takes months and months to get back to having a fully working knee.  But, I guess, that's hindsight now....

Happy Healing all -

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: stgiles16 on February 24, 2004, 07:06:37 PM
Aggie, you worded my feeling perfectly. Keep plugging along girl, we will survive this (i hope) lol :D
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Marie on February 25, 2004, 02:17:25 AM
Hi Aggie,

Glad you're seeing a little glimmer of light at the end of your tunnel.  

I had ample warnings about recovery periods before my surgery, but somehow still expected that since I'm young & athletic and had an aggressive approach to rehab that I'd recover even more quickly than expected.  Unfortunately, my body had other ideas.  

You seemed to say it right about the mental aspects.  I've grown a lot as a person these past few months, and nothing (not even the best OS in the world) could have prepared me for that challenge.

Cheers to everyone fighting battles of the mind (not just of the knees).  May you all be victorious!  ;D
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on February 27, 2004, 03:00:30 AM
Hi Marie -

You've been a bright light here, thank you. Wanted to share that, although I'm even scared to say it lest I jinx it, I think things are improving. (sitting here with fingers, toes, eyes crossed just in case :D )  I'm thinking that the light at the end of the tunnel may not be an oncoming train!
PT is going fairly well, I'm doing some very short times on an elliptical trainer, and longer times on the stationary bike.  We tried the stairstepper, and although I can do it, the PT said no, my gait was too lopsided for her liking.
At home I'm walking mostly without the cane now, and in places outside where the ground is even and predictiable I can also walk without a cane.  It's very slow going, but that's ok.
The area of my surgery (femoral condyle) doesn't seem to be putting up a fuzz, it's the kneecap and associated ligaments and VMO muscle.  That's where the tightness is and that's where the work needs to happen.
My PT also has pointed out that while I can do nice short squats, my good leg appears to be taking 90 percent of the weight, and she wants me to concentrate on putting more weight on the "operated" (I'm not going to call it my BAD) leg. So, I have some things to work on.

Just thought I'd share what is hopefully a brighter update. I have a long way to go, and I'm doing it slower than most, but so every now and then I get a glimpse of progress.

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: stgiles16 on February 27, 2004, 05:16:40 AM
HI Aggie, Hi Marie, I got an update from my OS today too. Things seem to be improving here also Aggie. I have been walking mostly with no assistance.  Os said today that he will order the e stim ( i have no clue how to spell that thing) for me to use to help my quads and vmo. He also said that the reason my knee hurts so bad during slr is because of scar tissue and to massage it. I know, I know, yall told me to do that already lol.  He is gonna call me in a month for another check up and the machine thingy will be shipped to me to work out at home. NO PT YET LOL LOL LOL ;D ;D ;D ;D

Great news about your progress Aggie. I am soooo happy for you. Keep up the hard work girl and you will be well in no time
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Marie on February 27, 2004, 05:49:58 AM
Yay Progress!

Awww... thanks Aggie... you're sweet!  And great news about the unassisted walking!

Missy - glad you're getting the e-stim/Russian!  It made a huge difference for me in getting that VMO firing.   I think for me the SLRs hurt b/c of scar tissue, but also b/c I had a medial plication & my VMO hadn't been all that active before surgery (in fact, I couldn't do a SLR before), so it got stressed everytime I tried to make it fire & do actual work.  

Good luck to both of you!

P.S.  Measured my ROM at 111 today!  
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on February 27, 2004, 07:13:32 PM
Hey Missy,
Glad you are going to get the Estim/Russian (which I fondly call "Vladimir")  I think you'll see an improvement.  My PT had me doing SLR when the ESTIM fires the VMO.  The belief being that when the VMO "gets fired" electrically it's good to have it DO something.  The firing is akin to a contraction of the muscle, so it feels more natural to have it do something, good for muscle memory too.  Good luck with that!  You're moving way ahead of me on the walking front, girl!!!!  WOOHOO..... I really don't know why my walking is coming back so slow, but that's the way it is, I guess.

Marie....111 degrees're getting up there!!  What are you doing to increase ROM?  One of the exercises that helped me was to lay on my stomach (with a pillow strategically placed under my "affected thigh" so the knee is NOT on the ground) Bend my affected leg as far as possible on it's own, then use my good leg to verrrrry gently push it a bit further.  That stretched a lot of the "front of the knee" scar tissue for me and has helped.  BUT, that depends on where/what type/restrictions you have as far as exercising.  The other one that has helped is to do the "standard" heel slide as far up as possible, then I gently raise my toes (kinda like toe tapping with the heel on the ground).  Man, the front of the knee, below the knee cap is tight, and this really helps that.  That might be a good one for you too Missy!  Of course,  maintain your limitiations, cause what is good for me, might be the wrong thing for you to do.

We'll get there, ladies!  I just know it!
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on March 01, 2004, 06:18:02 PM
Another week post-op - This week will make three full months after the day of infamy.

I have mixed feelings today. I am improving ever, ever so slightly, but it feels wrong.  It's almost as if my improvements are my body learning to compensate for the knee's instability.  I don't feel stronger, I don't feel like I'm healing, however, I can mosey around more without the cane.  Walking unassisted is still very scary, feels like my knee is not stable, yet at the same time it feels tight and unmoving.  Strange feelings.  I see the orthopod on March 23, and will give this process til then to improve.

I wonder if scar tissue is becoming an issue here. I've started deep ice massaging some of the areas and then moving it through ROM, hopefully, something will loosen.

Other than that  8)  I'm not doing too bad.  I'm sick and tired of this knee being my entire life right now, but ya can only suck it up and go with it, I guess.  I have PT today, so I"ll be checking in with her on this "somethings wrong" feeling I have.

Best to all of you -

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: stgiles16 on March 01, 2004, 08:17:57 PM
Aggie, I understand the unstable part, I fell and busted my rear end on Thursday,  my knee just collapsed. It does it on a regular basis. I havent worried about it because it did this after the first surgery and the OS said that it was normal for this surgery. When I feel like my knee is more unstable, I grab the trusty crutches (had to use them Sunday, knee collapsed in the hall) luckily I grabbed the wall that time lol.
   I also have posted about the tightness feeling. When my knee feels this way, it makes bending it more difficult. Is that what yours is doing? I think the tightness must be swelling inside for me because it happens most often when I have walked too much.My knee doesnt look swollen, only feels like it.

 Dont get discouraged girl, I may walk more than you are right now, but you can kick my rearend with the SLR. I still cant do the darn things without severe pain.
 Hang in there. You will be fine in no time. Power of positive thinking does wonders (I hope )lol I am pulling for ya girl
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on March 05, 2004, 05:56:27 PM
Just a little update....

Getting around now without a cane for the most part (still take it with me to places, especially, if I know I"m going to be walking on uneven ground).

Over the past few days I've been massaging (thanks to this site) the portal area, one specifically, that feels quite lumpy.  Deep ice massage first on the area, then a gentle, but firm, massage over the "lumps".  Well, I must have done some massage last night, for this morning that whole "portal" area is sore, and I can feel it when I"m walking on it.  This gives me some perverted hope that maybe part of the pain I still feel on walking is actually a "lumpy" scarred portal area.  I'll check with my PT next time I go.

Which brings me to PT.  I've reduced the frequency to one day a week, mainly for direct Estim on the VMO, and ROM  exercises as well as picking up new balance exercises and an increase in the weights that I'm using for the exercise machines.  She gave me a "roll on  a round styrofoam thing" exercise the other day for massaging the IT band, felt really good on the good leg, hurt like heck on the operated knee leg. Hmmm...guess that ole IT is pretty tight. I'm still going into the gym (where my PT is located) 3-4 times a week, trading off swimming with weight exercises. Seems to work well for me.

My mood is pretty good, I still get frustrated, especially now that a lot of events that I used to participate in are upcoming, but it's all hindsight and ya gotta make the best of it.  I'm seeing very slow, but rather steady, improvement, and am heartened by the knowledge that this procedure takes a good 6-9 months of rehab to get back to a decent place.  Just read the other day how some professional football (American) players had to go back and rehab more because their microfracture had not fully healed. And that was 7 months after surgery, considering the full time trainers, equipment etc that those guys have, it's nice to have confirmation that it JUST TAKES TIME.

Marie, Missy, how are you guys doing??

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Marie on March 05, 2004, 10:27:59 PM
Hi Aggie,

Where are you at in terms of ROM & being able to do a straight leg raise on your own?  I hope once a week with Vladimir is good enough - I was going 3x per week until I got the hang of contracting my own VMO.  Do you still have any pain & if so, what does it feel like?  Sometimes I get pain, but I have no idea which part of the operation and/or recovery it would stem from.

Awww... which events are you missing?  That's crazy about the football player - I guess recovery does take a while for some more than others even when the best help is available!

As for me, there's not much to report.  We measured ROM on Tuesday and it was 113.  Stairs are becoming less of an issue.  PT says that ROM through 120 should progress well, but that after that we may hit another plateau area.  I've developed a large golf-ball sized bursa on the lower lateral part of my knee just under the patella.  PT says we'll try treating it with ultrasound for a few weeks to see if this brings the swelling down at all.  Full ROM for me is about 145, so I have 32 degrees more to go.  Seeing my OS for my 6 month post-op appt in about 3 weeks time.

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on March 06, 2004, 02:47:59 AM
Hi Marie -

Hey, you've gained a couple more degrees since the last time you posted...that's progress and we'll take it! ;D

My ROM measured in at 131 the other day, prior to that (about a week prior) it was 129, so a few degrees more here too. My left leg is about 146 so I, too, have a quite a few degrees to go.  It's really getting harder now, isn't it?  Most of my ROM stuff I do AFTER I ice the knee to numbness! Then I seem to be able to push it a little further (something I feel the next day)  I do a lot of ROM exercises while laying on my stomach, with pillow under operated side. Putting a belt or sash around my foot and ever so slowly pull my foot towards my butt.  When I do that it feels like I'm really close to my butt, but when I look back it's still "a mile" away!  :P

I can do SLR's with about 5 pounds, no lag.  I use a lighter weight to work the VMO out towards the side.  I think it's Missy who's having problems with her SLR' are you doing, Missy?????? ??? ???

I'd love to continue to go to PT 3 x a week, but my insurance doesn't cover it and it's quite the chunk of change every time I go.  Short squats are really helping the VMO I think, as are the short step up and downs.

Good for you for getting more comfortable with the stairs.  They are still pretty daunting to me  :o, but I have small blocks at home that I'm trying to work on, once I can do a "normal" gait over those, I'll progress to real stairs.

Have a huge snowstorm here today, so much for my outside walking....hello....stationary bike!

Good to hear from you -

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on March 10, 2004, 06:26:49 PM
Update:  Rehab is continuing and I'm gaining a bit more strength measurable only week to week.  It seems incomprehensible to me how I can now do, say, the elliptical trainer for 10-15 minutes and feel good, but when I walk on uneven ground (grass) I hurt like crazy. But, hey, at least I'm walking!
This whole process is much longer than I ever would have dreamed. The knee, although not visibly swelling, is often sensitive to minor bumps (let's say from the dog) and walking later at night when I'm tired will cause it to want to hyper-extend.  Sure hope this is all part of the healing process and not "another" problem.

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: stgiles16 on March 11, 2004, 04:29:32 PM
Aggie, I have a question for you, When you walk on uneven ground you say it hurts like crazy. Is the pain like deep inside? Does it feel like the bone is hurting? When I had my first microfracture, if I stepped wrong (uneven ground) it felt like the pain would radiate up my thigh bone. Weird feeling but I was just curious if it bothers you the same way.
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on March 11, 2004, 06:02:49 PM

I wouldn't call the pain "bone pain all the way up my thigh", however, it does have a bit of a feeling that I can only describe as "knuckling over" feels like what I would think is "bone on bone", however that may be my overactive imagination thinking that the surgery didn't work  :-/    
On the positive side, I hope it is just positioning of the knee that's "new", rather than the usual straight forward steps.  No doubt I have scar tissue in there, or whatever, that needs to be moved around to loosen, and I hope that's what I'm "knuckling over"'s not a pleasant sensation.  Another one for the list when I go to the OS.

Did you get your E-Stim? :D

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: stgiles16 on March 15, 2004, 07:32:03 PM
Hi Aggie, I finally got my e-stim Friday evening as I was going out of town  :-[.I wanted to work with then and there but had to wait. I started with it this morning and so far, it feels great. When it grabs the muscle, I feel like I used to feel when I was an athelete. I had forgotten how good it felt to tighten those muscles so well. The pt said to use it three times a day. I really want to use it more,,, I am impatient lol ::) How often did you have to use it? Can you give me any tips? Mine doesnt say russian but I am to place one pad on my VMO and one mid thigh. Is that russian? Any advise would be appreciated.
Missy :)
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on March 15, 2004, 08:32:08 PM
Yea!!! You got the Estim!  Russian is a setting on the machine that usually ramps the electrical impulse up in about 3 seconds to your max, then keeps it at max for about 15 seconds, then it goes back to zero for 10 seconds or thereabout (most machines will let you adjust the timing)  Having the pads over the VMO and the mid-thigh quad sounds good.  Make sure you try to do either some SLRs or bent knee raises while the machine fires your quads (and holding the "raise" while the pulses are at their max). PT says it's good to "make em work alittle".

I'm doing a little better. Darn this is a slow process!!!!  I'm not using the cane anymore, am able to (with help of the banister) go up and down stairs the "normal" way (foot over foot). That still feels very stiff and somewhat painful, but it's coming.  ROM is well into the 130's, am getting a bit closer to touching my butt with my leg (my goal).  Pains are constantly changing, as if every adhesion in the knee is hanging on for dear life.  The "knuckling" feeling is still there, worse at night. Pain/discomfort still there, but not bad enough to require drugs. No doubt I'll feel fine when I go to the OS next week, followed by feeling terrible the day after....isn't that the way it goes?
Don't overdo "Vladimir".....your muscles will need recoup time too!  HOw are those SLR's coming??

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on March 24, 2004, 02:44:07 AM
Post-op  - 15 weeks - OS visit today!

Just got back from the OS and although the whole process of healing is S-L-O-W....the OS seems happy with it.  My complaints of tightness, "burning muscles", patella discomfort, yada, yada.....are all signs/symptoms of continual healing.  I got the "lecture" once again that microfracture is a LONG process with healing taking place over MONTHS. The actual matrix of the new fibrocartilage needs months to stabilize and become as capable as possible. I know, it won't be hyalene cartilage, but with careful, proper rehab protocol it will be "as good as it gets" (hey, wasn't that a movie? LOL)  Told me to lay off knee extensions under load since they put too much pressure on the femoral/patellar area (he'd told me that before), no full squats either, and to minimize stairs where possible.  Doesn't want me to avoid stairs all together, just NOT use them to rehab. Yea, like I'm gonna be running up and down the bleachers  :P  BTW, no running for another three months.

He does want me to get an "unloader brace", for when I walk on uneven ground, and when I get back to my dogtraining.  That should help protect the femoral condyle while it continues to heal. It also is supposed to help stabilize side to side pressures somewhat.  He did say it's not a panacea and to use it when needed.

As far as future visits, I'm more or less cleared, unless I still exhibit DAILY symptoms by 6 months.  Either way, at 6 months I'm supposed to check in....

I kinda feel some mixed emotions.  Part of me feels like this knee is a lot worse than he, or my PT thinks, yet, I can't argue with the fact that it is getting better over time.  SOOOO, I MUST be positive and look for betterment over the next few months, and pray that these symptoms indeed do diminish over time.  Of course, the other side of me is skeptical and wonders if most OS'es don't say that since there isn't a whole lot they can do until at least 6 months out.  I suppose again, that I have to stay positive.  I've had no reason to doubt his ability.

So that's it, I'm going to mull this visit over some more (do you all do that too??) I had my list of questions which were all answered, so now I need to absorb the info.

Be well -

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Marie on March 24, 2004, 05:33:58 AM
Oh Aggie,

I'm so happy that your appointment went well.  It's totally natural to try and spend some time letting everything sink in afterwards.... you take your time.  Good job on getting all your questions answered!

I saw my OS today buying coffee at the cafeteria in the hospital where we both work.  Of course, he never recognizes me, and I realized that it would be rude to go pester him with questions, but just seeing him made my mind race a mile a minute with things I want answered NOW.  Next time he might not be so lucky to get away... bwahaha!   Oop... did I say that out loud?  :-[  6 months post-op appt coming up in 2 weeks... guess I can hold out until then.

Anyways - enough about me.  Thanks for posting about how your appt went... I was wondering.  :)  Now, now... don't neglect your ongoing rehab since you've been cleared by the OS for a few months on your own.  ;) ::)

Sounds like you're doing well, even if not 100% yet.
Take care.  Big hug!
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on March 24, 2004, 05:53:51 AM
Thanks Marie....

Now, about are you doing?  What are your thoughts, feelings, concerns??  Are you satisfied with where you are?  

And, no, I won't forget my rehab, it's the only thing that keeps me sane.  A big lesson too, to have to work so hard for so little gain....something I can sure use in life! Besides that, everytime I swim it seems like I've "jiggled" something around, usually for the good! ;D

I'll be thinking of you when you go in for your 6 month PO...that is, if you don't corral him in the cafeteria sooner. (If you "tackle" him, he'll pronounce you cured for sure!  :D )

All the best -

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: stgiles16 on March 24, 2004, 11:39:20 PM
Hi Aggie, glad your appt. went well. I have a stupid question. I have heard of this but dont know anything about it. WHAT IS AN UNLOADER BRACE? I am really following your recovery since we had the same surgery on the same spot. My OS is supposed to call tomorrow and yes I have my list of questions ready LOL. I will let you know what he says.
Talk soon
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on March 25, 2004, 04:53:50 AM
Hi Missy,

An unloader brace "unloads" (for me) the medial femoral condyle, by putting more pressure on the lateral side of my knee.  It changes the load that the condyles "see".  The OS wants me to use one while the microfracture is healing, so I don't damage it with extreme loads (such as running, jumping or hopping sideways.....all stuff I do in agility).  ALthough I can't run with or without it yet, he thinks that I should be able to do some of my dog training stuff (done on grass) while wearing the brace to help protect the microfractured area.  If it's comfortable and works well I am thinking that i may ALWAYS use it for agility, for that sport includes stops and starts as well as turns and of course, running. It's the only thing I do that involves running.
I was so impressed that the OS actually THOUGHT about my sport, and wanted to accommodate me returning to it.
Oh LA LA,  got fitted for the brace today....over $500!!!!!  And I haven't met this year's deductible yet!  But it should be here in 3-5 days.  Decided to go with a DonJoy because there are no reps here nearby for a Townsend, which I understand is the best.  Our local football team uses the DonJoys and I'm getting the model that is considered the one for active people.

Hope all is well with you -

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on March 29, 2004, 07:13:44 PM
In roundish numbers, this week will make 4 months post-op for me. Thought I'd share an update....

This whole recovery has been very slow, very gradual, and has changed my whole outlook on life in general.

Physically I'm still recuperating, getting better every day (although progress has slowed and the "better" feeling is measured in weeks) BUT.....little things are telling me that I'm still making progress.  I was able to put my pants on while standing up...silly thing, maybe, but before this the operated leg would not hold/balance me long enough to do that. Small victory.  I actually stepped up a curb the other day with my operated leg first and didn't even realize it until I was 3/4 of the way up.  Another small victory.

That brings me to the mental aspect of this whole "knee thing".  It seems as long as I stay in my "knee rehab" mode, I'm happy with what little progress I make, I'm happy that I can weed my garden some (did I say that?   ;D ) etc.  However, when my "old life" intrudes in the form of friends who are running their dogs in agility ("my" sport) and other friends returning to hiking in our beautiful mountains I can easily get down and depressed.  So, I'm starting to understand why people with disabilities, temporary or permanent, often seem to cut ties with their former life and friends.  What a complex lesson this "simple" knee operationg has turned out to be.

I'm expecting my DonJoy Defiance Unloader any day now, and I'm hoping that with it I'll be able to increase my walks, do a little dog training, and eventually, when I get clearance, be able to run the dogs again.

The sun is shining, I have 99.9 percent of my health and I'm thankful for many things.   It's a hard road to climb back to "knee health", but the journey truly is one of self discovery.

Best to all -

Aggie :)
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Beauzer on March 29, 2004, 09:00:20 PM

Glad to hear things are improving.  Don't give up hope on activities yet.  It takes a while after microfracture for things to plateau.  Also, the unloader should help some.  They are expensive little buggers are'nt they?  Mine was $1400.  Thank god for insurance.

How did you get into agility?  It's always fun to watch.  What kind of dogs do you have?  I thought it would be fun to do agility, but alas, my overgrown Laborador can't jump and runs like a lumbering rhino. ;D

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Barbs on April 05, 2004, 01:35:51 AM
Yes, I too, had the famous Microfracture Chondroplasy!  I am 5 weeks post op this Tuesday the 6th.  All I knew about the recovery period was that I would be non-weight baring for 6 weeks.  Gee, I didn't even know what I would wake up to after the surgery, as the doc said it was a possibly I would need it.  Well, PT is now my life 3 times a week.  Working on straightening my leg plus walking like I know how to use crutches.  My PT is working on me moving forward in my walk instead of doing the hop with the left leg!  I am hoping to be able to walk in about 2 months.  Is this doable?  We are adopting a son from Russia and will probably travel early summer (June/July).  

Is anyone driving?  We had to buy a used minivan because I am unable to get in and out of my Acura safely.  I actually test drove it around the lot!  Then drove the real test drive and then after we bought it I drove home!  

I just found this site and I am more motivated reading everyone else's experiences.  I welcome all replies as I too sit on a couch daily with a computer!
Take Care All.
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on April 05, 2004, 03:27:39 AM
Hey Danielle -  it's always good to hear that this procedure (microfracture) takes a long time to heal.  I'm just about convinced that something went wrong!  :-/  
I miss agility incredibly!  Had to "unlist" from my training lists, and had to ask our local club to quit sending me entry forms for trials this year, it's rather sad to not be able to participate.  I run a goofy golden retriever, and am just starting to train a hyperactive sheltie. I'm missing some prime training time with the little guy and I just sit here and curse the knee sometimes.  But, life goes on, and even if I can't ever get back to agility (right now that possibility gets more real every day) then I'll just have to do something else with my life.    BTW, I love retrievers......

Hello Barb - welcome!  It sounds like you are doing well!  Nasty surprise to wake up to this microfracture, right??  ::) I'm amazed that you drove! :o  Oh, wait, it's your left's my right, so driving was out until I could easily move from gas to brake pedal. (one of those neccessities)  ;)  
The first six weeks are hard because of the no weight bearing.  Are you doing some SLRs (Straight Leg Raises) and using some type of electro stimulation to keep your quads (VMO) in shape in PT??  What happened to your knee that you required surgery?  Hey, it sounds like you have a wonderful goal to reach!  Going to Russian, fabulous, I hope your adoption works out for you! I think you should be walking in two worst you may need to bring a cane along if you'll be walking long distances, but I think 2 months is doable!  Where did you have your microfracture?  Femur, patella??? Medial, Lateral?
I'm sorry you had to join our microfracture club, wish you hadn't needed it, but you're welcome to ask really helps to hear from others what they are going through.  Sometimes I get very down, very frustrated at not being "where I was",  and being sure that it's all a big failure, but then things are ok again.

Well, I got the unloader brace and so far I think I like it.  Still getting used to it, but I can certainly tell a difference at the medial side of the knee, it feels much steadier when I walk, this lasts even after I take it off for a little while and then I get that painful feeling again if I use the knee a lot.  Gotta share this story.....last night I was asleep, and somehow decided I once again needed to try to sleep on my stomach (my favorite position, that I've been unable to comfortably be on because of Da Knee)  So, I roll over, feel pretty good, am thinking that maybe I can now sleep this way when all of a sudden I get this SHARP stabbing pain on the back of the knee. This was a serious stabbing.  I won't write the expletive I was thinking, but you can image..... I thought for sure I'd torn something, pulled something or worse.  So,  I roll back over still feeling the pain.  Eventually I fall back asleep, wake up this morning and I have this HUGE spider bite on the back of my knee!!!!  Needless to say, I'm "happy", "freaked" and have clean sheets, clean mattress cover, clean blankets etc etc on the bed for tonight! No torn muscles though!!!  Woohoo! :P

later -

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: stgiles16 on April 05, 2004, 03:56:58 AM
OH Aggie, only you would end up with a spider bite in bed instead of a new knee problem. I am still laughing, (sorry but the picture in my head just wont stop) LOL
Barb, I am sorry to hear that you joined our microfracture ranks, it is no fun but,  walking in 2 monthss is definately doable. Aggie is doing rehab much better than I, but I beat her walking LOL. I am currently 3 months post op and am entertaining your line of thinking aggie, I wonder if something is not working correctly. It would help if my dear OS would call me back. I had a weird one today, was resting with the knee elevated for about 30 minutes then decided to bend it, my scar was on FIRE.  I have no idea what happend and there were no spiders there but it felt like it does when you put alcohol on a scrape. Anyone have this feeling and please tell me what it  was if you know. Dumb thing feels ok now, why cant this rehab stuff just be sim ple and straight forward? OH well, hope everyone had a good weekend.
Title: I Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Barbs on April 05, 2004, 05:19:23 AM
Thanks Aggie and Missy for the Welcome!  Aggie, it is my right knee that had the surgery.  I really didn't have any trouble driving our new van off the lot.  Haven't driven since, because I just don't feel safe yet.  I have a great ::) PT who has his Doctorate in PT, so I feel really lucky to have him.  PLUS he is very nice looking  ;D and we all know honw motivating that can be!

Well, how did I end up in surgery?  I have a long history (20 years), with aerobics, exercising etc.  I had some knee problems as a teenager but mostly just due to injury that healed on its own.  I was asymptomatic UNTIL......I wore heels  :-/  a week before Christmas 2003.  Now I hadn't worn heels in years and don't ask me what prompted me to wear them but by the end of that week my knee was so swollen I couldn't bend it.  It eventually went down.  I had another episode while trying to stretch easily.  The next day I was swollen plus had a huge 'knot in my calf in the back.  I ended up having an MRI and that showed I had a lot a lot of fluid and a 10cm Baker's Cyst.  The next time I saw my OS I got the "Well, we can do one of three things...." talk.  I am 47.  He gave me the least case scenerio and the worst (mircofrac).  I was curious about this surgery tried to find out as much as I could but could not remember what it was called!  I was still in shock about the possibilty.  I asked the doc about it on the day of surgery and he said I was a good candidate for it.  I openly asked him if afterwards if I would be able to run after my toddler this summer and he said yes
Yet, I had no forcoming information from him about the recovery time period and the amount of PT that would be required.  Well, now that I have had 2 full weeks of PT, I have seen marked improvement in my knee.  I am used to exercise (as a discipline) but I have to just remind myself to get up off this couch and do them!  I am NOT a crutch walker by nature so they give me a bit of a time but Steve ::) is helping me walk better with them.
Tomorrow we are taking our old car to our mechanic and I will drive the van.  It is a good thing I have long legs and the brake is very close to the accelerator.  I will not drive much though.  Hubby is taking the day off and we are running a lot of errands new van and adoption related.

So, that is my story.  Oh, I am not sure where the MCF was done - maybe the tibia?  I had little to no cartilage left and the back of my patella looked like 'crabmeat'  I had debridement etc.   So, by the time of intial last straw from wearing the heels (Dec.17) until the day of surgery (March 2) I was progressively getting worse with pain and swelling.  Now I am recuperating and join the ranks of learning patience mixed with the sheer frustration of being able to just walk around like everyone else and the humbling dependence on my hubby for nearly well a lot.  

Well...Time for bed!
Take it easy everyone!
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: MB on April 06, 2004, 04:54:28 AM
Hey all,

just came across this site. Interesting reading.

I've just had :
1) revision ACL with Tutoplast patellar tendon allograft
2) meniscus debridement
3) Two areas of femoral micro# - one on the lateral femoral condyle , and the other in the intertrochanteric notch

About 12 days ago.

I was due to have surgery as part of a phase I trial (histogenics) but unfortunately the initial arthroscopy (where the cartilage biopsy would have been taken) showed the second area of damage which ruled me out of the protocol. You guys may find it interesting to read up on, it's a bit like the Genzyme carticel technique, only the chondrocytes are grown under pressure.

Already had enough of the CPM, and the dog has given up on me as a source of fun (which is probably a good thing) and is hassling his 'mum' instead. Any CPM management tips welcomed!

Anyhow, just starting off on the post op, and read with interest all your comments and advice. Will post with any revelations if I'm lucky enough to have them!


Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: mayme on April 06, 2004, 06:30:02 PM
Hello MB,

Just read your post and glad you're doing well and that the dog has given up on you.

You mentioned the Histogenics procedure. Is that being done arthoscopically or is it an open joint procedure?

Thanks for your input and healthy, happy knees to you.

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: MB on April 06, 2004, 07:41:38 PM
The Histogenics procedure is arthroscopic - but it's a phase 1 trial so won't be available (if it makes it) for another 5-7 years I'd guess.

I think there are two sites taking part in the phase 1 - UCSF, and one in Boston (I think). If you're interested the company may be able to tell you more, but I just lucked out that my surgeon was involved. Well, I would have lucked out if I hadn't had the extra area of cartilage damage which ruled me out of the protocol.

I don't have the protocol in front of me, but as it's a phase 1 it's aimed at proving safety rather than efficacy - hence they were limiting things to pretty small isolated lesions - I think the maximum was 20mm (my femoral one clocks in at 19mm).

...and of course, it could prove to be ineffective or worse still unsafe. But I thought the science looked good enough to risk.


Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on April 06, 2004, 07:51:03 PM
 Hey Barb how are you doing today??   I got a good chuckle about Steve the pt guy!  My first PT guy was good looking too, unfortunately, he didn't have a brain, so now I'm with this wonderful woman who has gone through knee surgery herself!  But, you're right, a little looking ain't bad  :o

Ouch, about the heels!  Doesn't it get ya that we do ONE thing and everything goes to heck?  Well, now everything is cleaned up and it's time to recuperate.  Take it easy with the driving, don't put any undue pressure on that knee!  Are you icing the knee ALOT???   I've found that when I use the knee a lot, it can really tighten up  (read...swell inside) on me and I think that's the time when scar tissue can become a problem, so I try to ice it whenever I do something intense.  Interestingly, my knee has never swollen grossly (other than right after surgery), yet there's a lot of indication that there is swelling inside.  Although not diagnosed with a Baker's Cyst, my knee does have the tendency to "drain" it's excess fluid into my calf muscle.    Hope you're doing well!!!! How's your pain???

MB  How are you doing?? You're about 2 weeks post op now, right?  Feeling ok?  Getting tired of those crutches???  HOw long are you non weight bearing?  What do you have the CPM set at?  When I came home from the hospital it was at 0-60, then about a week later I got the clearance to move it to 0-100.  I did that for a week and that was the end of CPM.  I worked daily on heel slides (after the first week) but 0-100 is as far as my doc wanted me to go until a month post op.  I now have almost full ROM, and after exercising, I can touch my foot to the back of my butt while I"m standing (barely, but it does graze it  :D )   How's your pain level?  Don't brave it out, you heal better when your nerves aren't screaming!!!

The histogenics sounds very interesting and promising, too bad you weren't a candidate.  I know microfracture has a limited life, so I'm always thinking about what will be next.  How'd you injure yourself?  Take care and welcome!

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: MB on April 06, 2004, 08:08:06 PM
Hey aggie,

thanks for the welcome!

Very tired of the crutches, probably more so because the pain is pretty good - as in I'm largely pain free. (On the occasion that I've accidentaly put weight on my leg I discover that I wouldn't be if I was weight bearing but as I'm not, that's ok!). Was on a mixture of vicodin and diclofenac (my favourite drug from when I had my initial ACL done in the UK) for the first week, but have now largely dropped those as well.

NWB for six weeks is the plan, so I've got another 4 and 4 days (not that I'm counting!) to go. CPM was set at 60 but I turned it down to 50 straight after the op and slowly moved it up. was about 55 on day 3 when I had my first post op and my surgeon told me to crank it up - so it's now on 105. Feels fine, but seriously disturbing my sleep - actually gave up on it about 3hrs into the night last night as have a big day at work today, but need to get busy on it again tonight. I tend to strap in when I get back from work, and then again at night, and then try and get some first thing in the morning before heading off.

As for heel slides and touching my heel to my butt - I can't even do that with my 'good' leg! Heel slides are interesting, I can't get nearly the same ROM as i do in the CPM.

FYI the injury has a long Hx. I initially bust my ACL landing a snowboard badly about 5 years ago. No Rx initially, just PT - but it wasn't good enough for me to get back to sports so about 6 months later I had a patellar tendon autograft. The result was adequate but not great according to my surgeon in the UK at the time, and I was back playing hockey (field) and skiing and stuff - without support after a season. Then 18months ago I went down playing hockey on turf and the MRI showed a bit of damage and the ACL. No rx again just watching and waiting. Built up and felt fine afterward - skiing, hockey etc. then almost exactly 12 months following that incident (now having moved to the US with work) I played a 2 day tournament on turf and then got straight on a plane to the east coast. When I got off the plane I had a massive effusion and was in all sorts of trouble!

I've also bust my right ACL (clinically) but am holding off to see how the L knee recovery goes before making a decision on that one!



PS - a Q, did you guys really keep your braces on at all times whilst you were NWB?
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Barbs on April 06, 2004, 09:36:00 PM
Hi!   :)

MB I don't have to wear a brace.  But I see the doc next week and who knows.  Do MCF usually have a brace?  You take it easy MB.  If you live on the east coast the weather is just starting (finally) to get better and these weeks will fly by if you can sit outside at all.  What state are you in?

Aggie - I am aching a little today.  I drove yesterday but my gorgeous pt said it is ok.  He says if I can reach the gas pedal and brake, I should be doing some more exercises to get ready for walking.   I can do full revolutions on the recumbant bike now!  AND he wants me to ditch the crutches and call the doc about getting a walker (zimmer).  I have never been good at crutching it.  The walker make my foward motion smoother whereas I was doing a lot of hopping on the crutches.  Steve (sigh), has been trying to move me ahead to bring my left good leg forward while keeping my injured leg straight until the left hits the floor.  I do this better with the walker.  I am really hoping to see if I can get one today.

My flute student is here so I have got to go!
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: MB on April 06, 2004, 10:49:17 PM
Hi Barbs,

I'm in california so thankfully the weather is pretty good already (actually it's fabulous, I'm from the UK and this would be summer weather back home!).


Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: missmyknee on April 06, 2004, 11:00:18 PM
Hi to all you microfracture patients

I have a question.

Did any of you have it to the back of the patella? And do any of you fall between the ages of 40 - 50 ?

If you had it to the patella, how large was your defect?

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: stgiles16 on April 06, 2004, 11:22:34 PM

hi Miss, sorry, mine two micros were to the medial femoral chondyle, but I do just barely fall into the age catagory. I had my first micro at 39, second at 40 (hoping this is the last one for a loooonnnngggg time).
AGGIE I am still waiting on my phone call from the OS, turns out he is without his PA and no "fellow" at the moment so he is seriously overworked. I did talk to the receptionist about the weird burning sensation in my scar and she spoke to him, he says it sounds like a nerve is caught up in my scar tissue. It even sounds painful to me Supposed to massage it vigorously to work the nerve loose. What fun.
mb It sounds like you are doing well after that major surgery. I had one good looking pt, turns out he didnt like doing what the  OS said so I got rid of him, but exercising is still more fun when you have eye candy to take your mind off your troubles. About the knee brace question, I am still not in one at 3 mnths post op but it is on my question list whenever the OS gets time to talk to me UGH,
HOpe all is going well for you guys
Missy ;D
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on April 07, 2004, 04:51:47 AM
MB - I was not wearing a brace at your time post op.  I think you have one cause you had ACL work done also.  I now have an unloader brace, which is like an ACL brace but it also "unloads" the medial condyle where my microfracture was done. Hopefully, it will help with the healing by not putting so much pressure on the site when I'm walking. Over time, I will probably only use it when I run the dogs.
Heel slides are more difficult and harder because you are contracting your muscles.  Doing them as much as you can will help I think, you just don't have to push it at this point.
Owww  :-/ I can't imagine flying with a swollen knee, the pressure and the sitting there must have been agony.  THat hurts even thinking about it!   I probably would have ordered a gigantic Gin/Tonic on ice, and used the ice for the knee, the G/T for the pain! ;D

Hey Barb -  check with your OS before weight bearing, even if the PT guy says ok.  I think it's pretty important to stay off of the knee for at least 6 weeks.  Completely off :-/   Dr Steadman, the guru of microfracture says as ong as 8 weeks.  That new cartilage in the making needs time to form/harden and any weight bearing on it may ruin it.   Missy - didn't you start walking early on your first one??  Just be careful, ok? :)
You teach music lessons?  Flute and other instruments??  

Pam - I'm sorry I can't help you. There is a guy who has a website (google-microfracture/knee) who had it done on his patella and ran a half or full marathon within something like six months.  I had such high hopes after I read his website, only to find myself still struggling to walk at a faster pace at four months!  Hope you find your answer. Mine was on the medial femoral condyle.  I DO fit the age category though  ;D

Missy - I'm thinking that the unloader brace is a good thing.  For uneven ground, longer walks, "faster" walking it seems to steady my leg nicely, and I don't feel so much pressure on the medial side.  Since we have "limited mileage" on this new cartilage, the idea of having one to "offload" that side will probably be a good idea for the long term also.  They are not pretty, but if it does the job, well hallelujah!

Things are going fairly well here...did a bit of gardening today, AFTER I went to dog training with my little guy.  My knee feels a little "tight and abused" but can't say that I"m hurting. It's still getting just a teensy tiny bit better every day, although I feel like I still have a long way to go. Once again wish that the OS folks would be more realistic with this recovery time frame.  I mean, depending on where and what and the fact that we all take our own time to heal, I still think that most of us are looking at about 6 months for healing.  And I thought I'd be done by 6 weeks!!!! OI  :-/

But, the sun is shining here also, and we have to take life as it comes.  Be well,


Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Barbs on April 07, 2004, 05:09:29 AM
Hi ya - Aggie, my os recommended I start driving.  I am still non wt bearing for 1 more week.  Get this... I'm now using a walker (zimmer)!!  I have never liked those crutches.  With the walker I can move forward without fear and simulate the walking gait while remaining non wt bearing on my right leg.  My pt suggested it after he saw me use it today.  I said well if it helps me get where I am going (Goal- to begin to wt bear) then Let me have one!  I drove and got it today.  I told pt that I would have to start talking like a little old lady using it!  LOL  ;)
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on April 07, 2004, 05:34:08 AM
Hi Barb - I just went back and read that you ARE pretty much at 6 weeks post op!! ;D   For some reason I thought you were not even 2 weeks post op and I was having visions of you walking on that tender, new, fibrocartilage.....   ::)   I'm glad the walker is working for you!  I figure, whatever it takes!!!  I went from one crutch to a cane pretty quick, and took that cane everywhere.   I was so delighted to have one hand free again!   So, roll on!

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Barbs on April 08, 2004, 12:56:54 AM
Well, I thought I was going to be able to 'walk' better using a walker, but I am having trouble with that too.  Besides the walker I got yesterday is too low for me and I have to take it back.  Back to the walking....It seems I have everyone's attention at the PT gym!  I am the really gimpie one who cannot manuever crutches or a walker!  So, Steve (sigh) tells me to go back and get the taller walker (I am almost 5'8").  I'll do that tomorrow.  Ok, the real problem with my gait is that my right leg (the op leg) needs to stay straight as I push my left leg ahead with a step.  While I am doing this I need to lean into the walker and let my arms/wrists take my weight.  Which is where I think the real problem lies.  My right wrist has been aching a lot lately and I have even had to use the wheelchair during the  day to give them a break.  I have less than a week left of non wt bearing and I will see what the os says next Wed.  Yippee!

I was just feeling so frustrated today at pt.  I just had to write about.  Thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on April 08, 2004, 08:30:55 PM
Hi Barb - how are you doing today?  Did you get the new walker??

PT can be frustrating at times, I know.  My frustration with PT sometimes is that at PT I'm feeling well, able to do a lot of things, walk naturally, even do stairs, then I get home and I seem to be a bowl of quivering jelly.  Walking stairs is painful, "loading" the knee hurts and even the same exercises as in PT seem to hurt more....what's up with that?  Does my mind kick into "can't show weakness at PT" mode?  Guess I should move into the PT place for awhile!  ;D

Hang in there, it will get better!  All these steps seem so slow and so "never ending" but it WILL get better!

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Barbs on April 09, 2004, 02:14:49 AM
Hey there Aggie and all!

 Yes, I went and exchanged the walker.  After Wednesday's little scene....I 'walked' in with the junior size walker in the middle of a staff meeting (hey, I was on time!) and all eyes were evaluating me!!  I was really off guard.  Later I had 3 PT's offering their advice to Steve (sigh) all commenting on how I 'walked'.   :-/

This other walker is definitely the correct height.  I am so looking forward to my os appt next Wed.  Tuesday the 13th marks 6 weeks!  

I am fighting a cold today, but feeling better with some Advil (ibuprofen), rested mostly, except went out to exchange the walker and went through a drive through for lunch.

BTW, Steve told me my MCF was on the femur.  I will ask doc more on Wednesday about all he did.

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Barbs on April 10, 2004, 05:52:42 AM
YAY!!  Success!!  With this walker I am now able to do what my PT is asking of me.  I am able walk with my right leg locked straight (surgery leg), while my left foot goes forward taking a step.  It's funny, because I walked in close to tears.  As I entered the building another PT said "I was watching you walk across the parking lot and I didn't see you putting that foot down!"  Well, this was not the day for me to hear criticism!  This was they day that I drove myself.  There were no parking spaces close by so I had to hobble across the parking lot.  It is that time of month.  Well, I got a private room for pt because all the tables were full.  I made use of the room and cried while I was getting the heat applied.  I was down right frustrated.  It will be 6 weeks this Tuesday and this is the first time I broke down.  Hearing that woman's comment didn't help.  But I did feel better afterwards.  

Now that I can walk correctly, my wrists are about to give out!  Oh well,  I least I am not falling apart all at once!

Barb - who is looking forward to her OS appt. on Wed. April 14th at 10:45am!!
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on April 10, 2004, 06:08:10 AM
Congrats on "walking the walker", Barb!  I think you are doing fine!  This surgery has a  surprisingly involved rehab, and its a lot of little steps.  I'm surprised it took you 6 weeks to break down and have a good cry!  I found myself incredibly emotional from the day I stopped taking percocets  8)  Seriously, it seems that sometimes right before you have a "physical knee breakthrough in pt" you get very emotional.  Don't know why that is, but I've experienced the same thing.  Totally frustrated with my situation, totally down, close to bawling in the street and then all of a sudden there's a silver lining to the cloud!   Sometimes I go off by myself and have a good cry for having lost these past months, for not being able to be active and feeling cooped up,  and for being scared that it's not working.  Somehow, out of these good emotional releases I seem to be able to pick up and continue my PT, my exercises, and live with the limitations.

You still have a long way to go, that's not meant to discourage you, it's meant to "allow you" to take the time it takes to heal. To minimize the feeling of inadequacy and to let you know that while people around you might think you should be totally well now, it's going to take quite some time to get the knee back.  BUT, it WILL come back.  It gets a little better everyday.  Try writing in a journal what it is you can and can't do. Write your progress once a week and you'll see that maybe you walk a little straighter, maybe you can go a little further before the wrists hurt, etc etc,  You are getting better!!!

Hang in there girl!

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Barbs on April 10, 2004, 06:17:10 AM
Thank you Aggie!   :)  You are really encouraging.  I forgot to mention that I was so pleased with myself today that I took myself one step further ::)  and went and got a manicure!  Just had to celebrate!

Take Care - How are you feeling?  Where do you live? UK or US or ??

Title: I'm walking!!
Post by: Barbs on April 13, 2004, 09:11:23 PM
Hey All!  I'm walking!  Well, to be honest, it's more like a shuffle, but I'm getting there!  I turned the corner (so to speak) last Friday, learning the one step.  Yesterday, I learned to 2 step!!  This is all done keeping my MCF leg straight with maybe 20-30% weight bearing.  Today marks 6 weeks, ;D and my dr appt is tomorrow.  Oh happy day!

Hang in there post-ops!
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: stgiles16 on April 13, 2004, 09:18:16 PM
Congratulations Barb!!!!! ;D That is wonderful. Keep up the hard work and you will be well in no time. We are routing for you!
Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: MB on April 13, 2004, 11:20:21 PM
Hey Barb - congratulations, Sounds like a big step!!

(Sorry, that was crap, but I couldn't resist  :-[ )

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: agilk9 on April 14, 2004, 03:12:44 AM

Way to go, Barb!! :D

I love hearing about successes!  I'm excited for you, for I know you were a little concerned about your ability to walk.  Bet Steve is proud of you too! :-*   ;D

You're doing great!  Can't wait to hear what your OS has to say!

Title: Re: Post-Op: Microfracture/Chondroplasty
Post by: Barbs on April 15, 2004, 02:29:03 AM
Hello all - I had a great os appt. today!  He did a rom test on me though and bent my leg all the way OUCH!  The really great part is that in PT I can now move forward to full wt bearing as tolerated with full rom exercises.  Hey, I'll be trading my walker in for a cane REAL soon!  ;D