Now I was able to crack on with the next stage of my recovery I couldn’t wait to start. The beginning of a long road but I was moving forwards regardless.
After the consultation and the good news I had received, I was on a high because I was able to start some form of exercise, albeit minimal. The first few days of exercises went ok and even though they were tough and uncomfortable, I was able to complete the exercises I had been given by the physio and surgeon.
However, a few days later I hit a mental wall and found things tough. I feel like I had been pretty positive regarding my recovery up until this point, but the deterioration in my leg and the lack of range in my knee made me question whether I could do this.
I am used to my body being able to do simple tasks like flexing my knee and extending my leg but now I can’t. Even simple tasks like walking are now complicated and I find myself struggling to get my correct walking pattern back.
This lasted for a couple of days and made me appreciate my health and the fact that I WILL be able to play football again one day. Yet there are people in the world who would love to be able to work towards the opportunity to walk again or run. So although I had this huge task on my hands, this experience has humbled me. Not that I was ever ungrateful, I know how fortunate I am, but I have an opportunity to get my knee back to almost full function, whereas some aren’t so lucky after injuries and accidents.
I knew that I had to try and refocus my mind and “get back on the horse”. Speaking with family and people around me put things into perspective which helped me get over that mental hurdle.
Thinking like this is how I try and remain positive in life in general. Rather than focusing on the struggle I am facing at that moment, I think back to when I wished to be in the position I am now struggling in. This allows me to realise things will get better but also appreciate the progress I have already made.
For example: when I find myself frustrated because I have lost a game of football or made a mistake, I remember the times I have been unable to play because of injury, or when I was a young boy dreaming of turning pro, which puts things into perspective for me.
In the gym, I am now on the static bike slowly spinning so that I can improve my range. This will help me regain a basic level of strength in my quadriceps (especially the injured leg), which will help with extension. I am also doing some light bodyweight exercises on top of my range of movement exercises.
This video is a few exercises I am doing to regain my range of movement.
Some exercises that I am doing to work on my core and hamstrings (video below):
- Bodyweight squats to where my knee will allow
- Single leg balance
- Single leg RDL’s
- Planks and core work
- Pelvic tilts
Getting my range of motion back is important but that will come with the more I am able to do. However, regaining full extension, (well as much as will be possible), is the priority at the minute. Without that full extension, I will find things a lot more difficult and won’t be able to begin the next stage.
I am aware that my extension may not get back to what it was before the operation but the closer I can get it to how it was pre-op, the better it will be for my recovery.
After 9 weeks, I am now out of the brace fully. Hopefully, this will help with the extension as I get used to walking unaided. I will have to be careful though because I don’t want to adopt an incorrect walking gait. So I am paying extra attention to how I am walking and concentrating on the movements as I walk.
As my knee extension improves so will my walking gait. 6 weeks ago I couldn’t contemplate being able to walk without pain and with my knee free from the brace, so this is another big step in the recovery process for me.
Although I am out of the brace walking around and in my daily activities, I am still sleeping in the brace. This is because even though the knee itself IS stable for daily activities, I HAVEN’T got any real strength yet so I wouldn’t want to make a sudden movement in my sleep whilst I am not in full control of my body. My main injury was with the ligament in the knee that prevents any excessive side movement, so whilst asleep I may jolt or kick out which could do some damage and set me back. So for peace of mind I will sleep in the brace until I am advised that I can sleep without it.
5 months later and I am finally out of the brace. My next target is to achieve full extension so that I can really push on with strengthening the knee and the surrounding muscles. It has been good to be able to get into the training ground a couple of days a week to start some work in the gym and to see the boys. I feel like I have some normality back in my life and although I am a long way off of where I want to be, I am making progress. It is all slow and measured at the minute but it is still progress and steps in the right direction. If you aren’t already, please follow me on Instagram where I am posting bits from my rehab programme and my progress in general (like the videos above). I hope the next time I update you all on my knee I have achieved full extension and have begun my strength programme.
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