Knee update

Following my escapade on the stairs and the resulting torn quadriceps tendon, I had the surgery to fix it on the 21st November. I was called in at around 11:00am and went down to the operating theatre at about 4:30pm. Following the op, they woke me in recovery at about 7:30pm and I was back up to the ward by around 8:30.

If you’re not squeamish, there’s a video of surgery for a quadriceps repair here. Be warned!

Back on the ward after surgery to repair my torn tendon.

Throughout the night they woke me every hour (not that I slept much) to check my vitals. The painkillers helped so I wasn’t too uncomfortable considering. The surgeon popped in early the next morning and said everything had gone well – he said my legs were in good condition because of all the cycling and that had made his job a lot easier. I now had a more solid leg brace and had to have the leg locked so stayed in bed for much of the day. The consultant, on his rounds said I could go home later that day. Before that I had to show I was mobile enough to go home, so went to the physio section on the ward to practice walking with crutches and getting up/down stairs. I coped ok, so they said there was no problem with me going home. I texted Karon and we decided that Cas’s car would be better suited so she picked up Karon first then headed for the hospital. In the meantime, once I had all the meds I needed, which took a while to get together, they wheeled me down to the main entrance and out to the car.

The journey home was a bit painful, especially getting in and out but it went without any problems. The leg brace has to stay on for 2 months. It has locks both sides that must be engaged – initially at all times, but after a few weeks I could unlock the leg when sitting, to allow me to bend the knee a little and start to work the rejoined tendon.

Locked and loaded!

A return visit to the fracture clinic followed a couple of weeks after the op and a nurse removed the bandages and cleaned up the wound before applying a new dressing. A week later I removed the dressing. Another week passed and I went for my first physio appointment. Christmas came and went and early in January I went back to physio.

Around Christmas time I stopped wearing the brace at night, which made sleeping so much better. I am pretty sure it helped too, as my leg had time to recover from the constant pressure of the brace bindings. I saw an improvement in discomfort and mobility as a result.

Progress was good, the wound was healing nicely and I had almost 90° movement in the knee, though it felt very tight. I went for a few walks, initially with the leg still locked, but then I released the lock to the 30° limit. It allowed me to walk almost normally (as much as one can with a leg brace), bending my knee a little and removing the need to rotate my hips. The 30° lock ensured my leg would not fold completely if my knee did give out.

As of Jan 5th 2024.

On 23rd of January, after 9 weeks of wearing the brace I was signed off by the surgeon and was told I could ditch the brace. The following day I had physio and tried a static bike – I could not quite get to the top of a pedal rotation, but I felt it wouldn’t be long before I could. Once home I set up my road bike on a supported roller and sat on. Top of the rotation was possible with the flat of my foot.

My road bike set up on the roller.

The next day it gave it a tentative first go…

Within a few days I was comfortably spending 15 minutes on the bike. Interestingly, my knee felt much better after a session on the bike – more supple and less uncomfortable.

Late in February Karon and I took the Pino out on a Tandem Club ride and lunch. I didn’t use the SPD clips, staying on the flat side of the double-sided flat/SPD pedals but had no issues. We had to work the motor a bit harder on the climbs to take pressure off my knee but by the end of the day we had cycled 30 miles with no ill effects.

A couple of days later, back in physio, my exercises were changed to help improve and strengthen the hamstring behind the knee. I have another physio late in March but think this may well be the last visit I need as the knee feels pretty much back to normal – apart from using the stairs where I still need a little support.