Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Carticel @ 8 months
I had my 8-month post-surgery check-in with my carticel knee doc yesterday and got a very positive review.
First, here's a recap of where I am @8 months: after Carticel implantation for a defective femoral condyle last summer, I am fully mobile, with roughly equal strength in both my "good" and "recovering" knees. Knee pain has been minimal, and typically only after prolonged effort, although I have occasionally had sharp pain when torquing or turning my knee. Walking straight and climbing stairs are completely without issue for me, though my walking gait is not totally back to normal.
(Here's my prior Carticel patient blog entries, from oldest to newest:
For the last ~2 months I have been doing my own exercise and PT after completing formal PT. I have been wearing a short unloader brace on my recovering knee for short periods on strenuous days and during all physical activity (e.g. biking, PT.) Exercise has been limited to no-impact activities (elliptical trainer, stationary cycling, swimming, etc) though on warm days this winter I have cycled outside, racking up ~140 miles over ~10 rides. Doctor's order were to limit biking to routes that do not require me to 'stand up' on the pedals, so I have minimized hills - not an easy task when you live at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. My longest ride is ~1:30, though around 1:15 I start to "feel it" in my knee.
I passed each knee test with flying colors - the doc reported knee flexion at 145 degrees, and he was very happy with the tested strength of the knee. I was asked to squat and also to lightly jump with my feet shoulder width apart. Doctor Z reported mild surprise at how well I managed both tasks. (These were both things things that I hadn't tried since surgery 8 months ago, and my initial (internal) reaction when asked to squat was "are you sure that's a good idea?")
I mentioned my (minimal) knee pain and knee tenderness (especially after prolonged activity, like biking for 1:30). Doc reported that this is normal - the new tissue in my knee is only 8 months old, and the analogy he used was that in the case of newborns, new tissue doesn't handle full weight stress until 9-12 months after birth. (i.e. when the baby starts walking.)
My guidance going forward is basically a continuance of existing guidance: continue with no- and low-impact exercise (biking, swimming, etc.), though I can now restrict brace wear to only those times when there is an obvious need for care. (In other words, I do not have to wear the brace while biking, but I should put it on if I know that I will be spending time walking over uneven ground, such as a walk in the Blue Ridge.)
I'll see the Doc again in 4 months, at which time I will probably (possibly?) be permitted to do some light running and other physical activities involving turns.
So, I'd say this sums to "so far, so good!"
Uncommon Man's Creed
"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous