Last week (5th September) I celebrated a year since my infamous injury that caused me extensive bone bruising to the femur and tibia. A lot has happened since I last wrote about it back in March and as I learned many new things I thought it was time to record my progress for posterity and in hope that anyone in my situation will find it useful.
Between March and the end of May not much had changed in the way of my regimen: I still had physiotherapy sessions albeit further apart and I carried on exercising at the gym at least twice per week, most weeks. I went for it wholeheartedly within my limitations. I had to make up for muscle loss in my left leg possibly due to nerve damage and had to improve my ROM as the joint was still rather stiff.
It’s all about QUALITY of exercise, not QUANTITY
This meant sticking with the basics for a little bit longer. Basic leg exercises like static lunges and squats are a great way to develop strength and co-ordination when we get back to working out after a long break. By focusing on technique rather than number of reps I was able to encourage my joints to work correctly and therefore make them stronger rather than compounding on the damage. I can’t emphasize enough how important this aspect is. Using mirrors for this purpose was key to making progress.
For example, although it felt right my squats were all skew-wiffy as the left knee wasn’t keen on bending in the correct way and so I was shoving my right hip out to allow myself to go into a deeper squat. Bad Crissy!! When I corrected the technique I could no longer squat particularly deep and it hurt like buggery as soon as I tried to go past doing 1/3rd of the movement. Not only that, it made me really wobbly and had to hold on to the punch bag at the gym to be able to do anything at all, ready to pull myself up with my arms in case my legs refused to budge.
It was scary and depressing at the same time and on occasions I found it hard not to burst into tears. Still, I carried on and lo and behold the rewards of consistent training, self-Thai-Massaging myself and physio came. I became strong and lean and my cardiovascular fitness also improved. By the time I had my last physio appointment at the end of May I was told that the progress I made was beyond any expectations from both the knee specialist at the hospital and the physiotherapist herself as she said many people in my situation make only small progress and don’t regain full ROM in the joint. Bollocks to that!
More enforced rest
As I approached the end of June I hit a massive roadblock in my convalescence. For some reason my knee started to hurt again all the time and so I was forced to stop all non-essential movement, i.e. I had to give up the gym temporarily. On top of this I had to deal with a wounded cat who didn’t like the idea of being on lockdown that much and did his utmost to drive us up the wall in his attempts to escape!
Why do I mention my cat in this story? Because his slow healing wound was the key to the next step in my recovery. He appeared to be suffering from Flea Allergic Dermatitis which caused him severe pruritus (itching) of the wound that he kept on licking and biting like a feline emo. This caused all sorts of issues that required many rounds of steroids and antibiotics plus the purchase of several buster collars. As I was looking for natural remedies that I could give the fluffy beast to help him heal I discovered that MSM was the closest to a magic potion as I could get.
As well as being ace as a joint supplement, MSM is also a great supplement if you suffer from allergies of any kind and it’s especially useful in keeping the pruritus at bay. So I went shopping and purchased a large bag to cover both of our needs.
I review my supplements regime every month to make sure I am still on target and after reading up on healing times for bone bruising I decided to carry on with my usual Lysine, Cysteine, Vit C and D3 and Omega 3 supplements plus my very strong multivitamins and Kombucha. I simply added 2 doses of MSM every day. Oh and carried on resting.
As I approached the anniversary of my injury most of the pain in the left knee subsided and almost suddenly my ROM in that joint increased significantly. The healing hasn’t stopped and I still have some way to go however the swelling in the joint is almost completely gone which is now leaving room for the nerves to do their job and communicate with the mitochondria in my quads. As a result my thighs are now virtually the same size and the muscles feel plump and bouncy on both sides.
The possibility of having suffered from permanent nerve damage became a major concern but it seems that 2 months of almost complete rest was what I needed to let this phase of healing complete before moving on to the next one. The physiotherapist warned me that it would be a very slow process from now on but I am happy to report that as of now I hardly get any pain from the bones and only a few twinges from the soft tissues which I would say are congruent with the nature of the injury.
I am now in my second week of training again working on basic movements and have even managed a few rounds of switch jumps on a soft surface without negative consequences. I call this a win as I can now focus on rebuilding the physique as opposed to thinking about the rehab. Admittedly during my latest period of enforced rest I kept on eating like a bodybuilder without exercising like one which means that my clothes are a snug fit and the steps make creeky noises when I go up and down the wooden staircase.
Because I am exercising again I am back to using the post-workout recovery blend and this too is making a major difference. I am planning to increase my workload in the next week or so by going back to the gym and resume using the cardio machines to increase my range of motion further (the rower is marvelous for this purpose) and also to burn some of the extra fat I acquired during the Summer.
When I stretch my quads I am three quarters of the way to touching my glutes with my left foot whereas the right knee is already 100%. In view of all this I am now almost certain that in time I will make a 100% recovery and I look forward to be able to kneel down without seeing stars. The cat is almost 100% too, by the way.
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