Minus Two Weeks

It’s just a couple of weeks until my 6-month post-op with my surgeon. I’m guessing that this will be a mostly pro forma session. Of course, I’ll have some question about what to expect from here on out. But really my recovery seems right on schedule, and I don’t expect any surprises.

My Knee: the good, the great, and the strange

Near the end of my “six-month recovery period,” the only thing I wish were better are the muscles and tendons around my graft incision. They’re strong, but they tire out very easily and feel tight and “twingy.” The knee itself is very noisy and is nowhere near as readily flexible as the other.

The great part is that the joint is rock solid. There’s no bouncing or ‘tricking’. I can go up stairs two at time at pretty quick clip and change directions at an easy run almost without thinking. I can get down fairly low in all my karate stances, and when warmed up can even kneel comfortably (though getting back up can be a slow and arduous process).

The strange thing is that, in some ways, my injured leg is stronger, has better balance, and can extend higher than my good leg. And I mean a lot higher. My left front kick now reaches up a good 8+ inches higher than my right. It kind of blows my mind how easily it does it. Gotta be all that extra stretching since March. A bonus, no doubt, even if hard won.

My Shoulder: the bad, the good, and the strange

The last time I did an in-depth update I was making good progress swimming. Well, that’s on hold, because a number of weeks ago I strained my shoulder enough to make swimiing impossible and some of my karate difficult. I may have to drop lap swimming altogether.

The good news is that, after a couple of weeks of resting and several more of some targeted weightlifting, the pain is now limited to occasional twinges. I’ve never really liked weightlifting but I’ve come around to its great benefits beyond body-building for its own sake. I’m not out of the woods yet here, but I’m definitely beter than I was.

The strange here is that the swimming may not be to blame. Because of my knee, I’ve been going through my Niage (Naihanchi/Tekki) handwork in a high stance. When my shoulder started hurting, doing some of the in-to-out strikes became nearly impossible. However, when I got well enough to practice in a good, deep horse stance, the pain all but disappeared. Maybe swimming was the original cause, but it is possible that high stances aren’t great for certain kinds of techniques. Yet another reason to stay low.

Staying the course

Aside from adding weightlifting for my shoulder, I’m still doing pretty much the same exercises several times a week, with more weight or for longer periods. The best new thing I’ve started doing is squats on the Bongo-Board at my gym. Bong-boarding is simply just fun and does the same things as the balance board, only better. Since I’m not likely to build one at home, I’ve put it on my wish list for impending birthday.

Until my appointment with the surgeon I’m back to karate once a week. There are still many things I won’t do. But there’s still plenty to do, and I left my last class with a worn-out but happy knee and a nicely sopping gi. Bliss.

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4 Responses

  1. Wow! You’re doing well. I’m not even doing full strength kicks yet. Slow and steady is my modus operandi these days. You should be very proud of your progress.

  2. BBM: Well, I wouldn’t say I’m doing my kicks full strength, though with front kicks I’m about 80 percent, I think. The other kicks I’m doing slow and am using tweaky feelings to help correct my techniques. When I do them just right, my knee is silent.

    I am very pleased with my progress, though I feel more lucky than proud. When I can get up for an exam and not get stage fright, then I’ll be proud :-)

  3. Great knee report!

    It was interesting to read that your injured leg feels stronger. I am sure all the stretching helped. Hope you shoulder heals quickly!

  4. Michele: Yeah, it’s weird. The injured leg is stronger for some things. I can lift about 20 more pounds in a single leg press with my injured leg than my good leg. I can also do a one-leg balance on it longer.

    Where I’m weaker is on a certain section of one of my hamstrings. Hamstring curls with my injured are almost torture, whereas they are a breeze with my good leg. This is what makes pivoting difficult for me, I think, and what probably makes rest of the leg tire out so quickly.

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