The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Knee Update

It's been over five months since I had surgery -- and two months since my last update. In December I went to physical therapy for the last time, and since then I've been exercising on my own.

My usual routine starts with some sort of aerobic warmup, on a treadmill or just walking outside. Then I do a "single leg squat" where I stand on my (bad) leg on a stairstep, stick my good leg straight out in front, and bend my knee until the straight leg gently touches the ground. After 15 of those I turn around and do calf raises on the step. In the gym I use a leg press; at home I jump rope.

One change is that the knee feels very solid. This is more psychological than physical. Over the past few years I've learned to avoid subjecting my knee to lateral force. And after the surgery I treated my knee gingerly, since it was swollen and inflexible and sore. Now I no longer worry about whether my knee will buckle.

Last weekend I went for a run, which was not a success. I felt sore, and alternated a few hundred feet of jogging with walking. That I didn't mind so much, but afterwards my knee swelled up. On Tuesday I played some volleyball at Google, and that went much better -- no pain, no swelling. My therapist told me that running applies 8-9 times the body's weight to the knee every time one strikes the ground. Perhaps the knee needs to adjust to this amount of force.

Softball season started in two months, and I'm still hopeful that I can play. I've made a lot of progress in the past two months; for instance I am able to run up stairs two at a time (though I have to make a special effort to do so).

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