I may feel young, but my knee and hip have been feeling old though. I think the hip pain is correlated with the knee hurting. That plus sitting too much - sitting isn't good for me, and I find my hip, butt, lower back, and leg all the way down to my foot aching sometimes. I've still been favoring my knee a lot, which probably makes me all out of kink too. Nighttime is the worst, sometimes everything starts throbbing and I can't find a comfortable position.
Yeah, I sound like somebody in my twenties. Right. (sarcasm) But it's all injury-related, I swear! I'm not old, it's just this stupid knee that is messing up my body.
I was really depressed about the knee thing last week, because everything was hurting so much. I was particularly afraid that the pain I am feeling right now was as good as it gets. I'm a month out of surgery, so I thought that should be mostly healed. Stiffness and swelling from surgery doesn't scare me, but what I think of as the "cartilage pain" does scare me. The inner joint still hurts a lot, and I can feel where the exposed bone rubs when I walk or go upstairs. I was sad and worried, because I thought that was going to be how my knee always felt, and it was only going to get worse as time goes by.
However on friday I consulted with my Personal PA, and he reassured me that even the cartilage pain is temporary (or at least some of it probably is). Right now the area is inflamed from the surgery and cleanup, and it's still healing. As it heals, it will likely go back to pre-surgery levels of usefulness, which while not perfect were better than it feels now. The fact that it hurts now does not mean it will always hurt like this.
That may seem obvious, given that I just had surgery. But I thought the recovery would only be about a month. I knew it was still stiff and healing, but I thought that the lack-of-cartilage pain was unrelated to the healing pain. (If that makes any sense.) Anyway my PPA says it may take as much as another month before I can consider the surgery to be healed. Not until then will I know what my knee will "really" feel like, as opposed to its still-healing state. Only then will I really know the results of the surgery.
This rambly explanation may make no sense to anybody but me, because it's the weird stuff that was going on it my head. But it makes sense to me, and it's making me feel more relieved and hopeful about things, so that's good.
To be honest I've been incredibly discouraged about the whole knee thing. I really don't want more surgery, I don't think this surgery actually did anything, and basically I'm afraid that with or without it -- I'm just never going to have a knee that functions at the activity level I'd like to keep. I worry that all I'm doing is making things worse by trying to repair it, and I'm chasing after some unlikely dream of knee health. So.... it's good to know that things at least might be better than they seem.
I've been resuming activities gradually. I have gone for several short-ish bike rides outside, in the vicinity of seven miles, taking it fairly slow. Last night and this evening I rode on my bike trainer for around 40 minutes, pushing it a bit more but still more gently than normal. It gets sore after 30 minutes or so, and it hurts if I really dig into the pedals -- but otherwise it's doing well. The actual pedaling motion doesn't hurt at all, and my range of motion is pretty good.
I haven't tried skating, or anything more tricky than walking and cycling. Given that even walking still starts hurting pretty quickly, I figure I should save the skating experiment for a little while longer. Not that I see myself doing tons of skating, but I want to have that as an option. That and skiing. And other just general fun activity sorts of things. I don't want to run a marathon. Just be able to play without significant pain. That doesn't seem like toooo much to ask.
[I have a bit of an advantage, dating a PA in orthopedics. He's consulted with some of the U-M knee docs he works with. Unfortunately, it also just kind of complicates matters. So far, of four doctors who voiced opinions (mine included), I have four different answers. 1: carticel injections. 2: cadaver cartilage graft. 3: just use an unloading brace, see what happens. 4: use an unloading brace, microfractures, and a minor osteotomy.
I'd love to be able to get all four of them in a room and listen to them debate it, like on House! Unfortunately since that's not possible, I just have to keep thinking it over and figure it out on my own. For now, I'm still working on healing and the wait-and-see approach.]