"The Wall" or "1 Limp Forward, 2 Limps Back" [22 Days Post-Op]

Pre-injury I had a half-marathon in mind as one of my next physical undertakings. I'll probably do one, eventually, but clearly my focus is elsewhere now. However, I feel like I'm hitting that 'wall' that runners speak of in full marathons (when they hit the unbelievable distance of 18-20 miles and just can't seem to keep going); but this time, it's not running, it's walking.

Since I'm a big fan of trying to keep positive, I drove to PT today with my music cranked, windows down, and saying to myself, "Today will be great!" Monday was a tough PT for me (summary: on the verge of tears the whole time with various frustrations; and oh yeah, the pain!) but Tuesday I felt like I was starting to get trust back in my walk, and didn't seem to be limping as much. I thought I'd walk into PT today and wow them with my improvement!

I posted before, and it was to describe the troubles I'm having in getting a normal gait. I know this is all part of the process of recovery, but as of today (Wednesday) the task seems daunting again. My trainer spent 1.5 hours with me today trying to problem solve, and I must say, his actions and conversations make me think I have him stumped. First, it seemed I was having trouble with extension. However a few exercises later it became clear that I have no additional pain, nor problem, in getting my surgical leg completely straight. Then, it was a backwards-skateboarding sort of motion on the treadmill, which didn't seem to loosen me up any more or get rid of the pain I was feeling. If this particular pain is normal, Drew did not verbalize that!

We did an ultrasound to send waves of heat deep into my knee to help break up scar tissue and "promote healing", and I was told I may feel less pain immediately after treatment. Honestly, I didn't feel a difference (...and they said I was on a 'high' setting!). Then, when icing, instead of putting a cold pack on my leg (which is typical), we took a block of ice and rubbed it directly on my knee near my incision, and kept the cold localized in the area I feel a 'twisting pain' when trying to walk. Once done with these treatments, I tried walking again, and with a numb knee and my poor walking habits, I still couldn't seem to shake the pain.

So, I wish I was writing to say, Hey, more improvement today! But in actuality, I must say this post is more of a release of my frustrations in my lack of improvement. I know it's a tough road ahead, and I'm not giving up, but knowing walking is my next 'big thing' to overcome makes the frustrations mount as I go in to PT and can't find hint of improvement. Additionally, the incision seems to be stuck in place (skin doesn't move freely over top of the knee/cap area, so there must be scar tissue to break up) and even after going through ~5 minutes of torture/manipulation by Drew today, he didn't get it to loosen any more. How am I supposed to manipulate it at home and see improvement, when there's no way I can inflict that much pain on myself??

To think back on the recent physical pain and mental frustrations I have gone through gets me worked up all over again, and it really is turning into a [negative] vicious cycle. I know I can overcome it, it's just a matter of how.

Just over 3 weeks out, I am still proud of how far I've come and the pain I've tolerated, but I am ready to conquer that next step... this time, without a limp...


  1. Oh sweet Sum, I now want to go back and re-write my blog post to give you some positive inspiration! I have complete faith that soon you will be on a court, a field, a zip line, a beach, the top of a mountain or one of the many other action-packed places you frequent, looking back on this as just a bump in the road. You are amazing and strong and will get through this! I love you!

  2. Keep it up! Positivity really is the best medicine. You'll be walking normally in no time!

    I have that problem too with the skin stuck where the scaring is. That will just take time with constant gentle massage before it loosens up.

    That's the one thing that gets me with this recovery, some things you just have to wait and let time do it's thing.


  3. Hi! I just discovered your blog and already read all the entries.
    I torn my ACL on March 20th and I just finished my 3rd week in Physio.

    Tomorrow I will see my doctor again and probably I will book my surgery... for the fall!

    I wish you all the best and please, don't give up. I know how hard it is to keep positive, but do your best!

    And keep posting all the pictures. It's great to see all your improvement!

    Take care,

  4. Hi,

    I had my surgery exactly one week after you! I had an ACL and meniscus tear and had the surgery only a few days after the injury occurred.

    I found your blog while researching "ACL Recovery" on the Internet last weekend. I just want to tell you that your blog has been very helpful to me and given me great insight into what's to come. I had a terrible PT session this past Monday and just wanted to cry the entire time - from both pain and that terrible feeling of defeat when you can't make your leg do something that seem so simple! I went back two days later and had a great session. I was like a new person. I am still walking with 1 crutch and my brace, but hope to be walking without crutches soon. I can't believe you were off crutches by week 2! My surgeon would not even allow me to start my PT until week 2 - so jealous!

    Anyway, I have only been in therapy for almost 2 weeks, but I have learned that one day can be the pits and the next, a complete 180! Hang in there and keep posting please!



    P.S. I totally agree with you about the PT "massages" where they work on the scar tissue - that is one part I dread everyday! However, we have to keep telling ourselves it is worth it. Thanks to your posts my new motto is "I am only cheating myself!"

  5. summmmmer it's maddie! Your favorite cousin! Wow, I just looked at those pictures in your albumn, you are one heck of an active girl! I locked the text you sent me with your website and I decided to check this out! It's pretty awesome, text me when you get this!

    maddie (: