cycling · fitness · Zwift

Sixteen weeks since total knee replacement and Sam is checking in

I checked in one month after knee replacement surgery.

I checked in at the twelve week mark too. Also here.

Now it’s been sixteen weeks and here’s the tl:dr version: everything is still very much a work in progress, with giant ups and downs, and a ton of physio.

Some days I feel like I don’t really even need the cane. Everything feels great and I’m looking forward to getting my right knee replaced and having all of this behind me. I can feel dancing in my future.

Other days everything hurts–both my left knee that’s recovering from surgery and my right knee that’s waiting for surgery–I can’t walk much without my cane, I can’t ride my bike on the trainer very far or very fast, and I just want to curl up and cry. Sleep can be challenging and I wake up during the night and struggle to get back to sleep. On those days, I can’t believe I’m going to have to go through this again with my right knee.

I need to remind myself that progress isn’t linear. There are ups and downs even if the overall trend is up.

So I am going to share some of the progress I’ve made.

First, this is the first week I’ve met my new distance goal. Yes, I won’t make my goal of 5000 km for the year. And yes, I’ve reduced my weekly distance goal from 150 km to 50 km. But I made it.

Second, I am continuing to pick up speed even if I am nowhere near as fast as I once was.

Third, in physio we are still working on surgery rehab on my left knee but we are also spending some time on my right knee working to get it ready for surgery this spring. It’s getting a brace to help it along until surgery.

Fourth, in physio we’re still finding new things that help. The latest is fancy physio tape. Once on, it stays on through the shower and lasts 2-3 days.

Left knee with total knee replacement scar and snazzy physio tape

Fifth, a work friend is also going to have knee replacement surgery in January and I’m happy to be lending all my stuff to her in between my surgeries–crutches, walker etc. That’s not progress for me but it is a reminder that I no longer need these things.

Sixth, it feels good to be doing personal training as well as physio. Today is both, Meg in the morning at the university gym and Estee in the evening. Sarah put my physio tape on today so this definitely feels like a team effort!

Anyway, wish me luck. It’s a struggle. And I’m hoping I actually get to ride a real bike outside before surgery #2. I’m making big plans for summer 2024.

Sometimes I wonder if my bike is thinking about me too

4 thoughts on “Sixteen weeks since total knee replacement and Sam is checking in

  1. Eight months out from surgery and I’ve been back to commuting by bike since late summer. Keep up the great work, and good luck with the second surgery.

  2. I like your graph re: progress. It illustrates what I told a lot of my patients. It’s good that it includes some downs, not just plateaus. The worst thing about the cane at this stage is when you only sort of need it and start to forget it places and then have to backtrack to find it. Kinesio-tape is useful for pain and swelling. I used it a lot for broken ribs.

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