Microfracture Surgery Recovery: 1 Year

I can’t believe it has been a year since my microfracture surgery. A year ago today, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through the next 6 weeks of my life on crutches. A lot ended up happening in those 6 weeks.

Some of the highlights and down points were the identification of blood clots, living with the CPM machine, still being able to play with the kids, getting off crutches, making strides with rehab, having setbacks with rehab, getting back on the bike and getting back to my life. Today I still fell a little pain in my knee. It is mostly when I get up and start walking.

If I were to give the one year summary:

  • I am much better than I was before the surgery.
  • There is still some pain
  • I’ve got some more work to do for rehab, but I have come a long way

Many people said that the time would go fast. It didn’t while I was working through the rehab. The days of hard work were slow. Now, in hindsight, it did go pretty fast. More and more these days I don’t even think about my knee. I think that speaks volumes.

I think that some of my pain and extra time it has taken to recover is because of my job. I sit at a desk. If I were to stand up more, loose up more and spend more time doing basic rehab; I think I would be better off today. How much better? Maybe I would have been at my current activity level a month or two sooner. Maybe I wouldn’t have had some of the painful setbacks. Ultimately the worst part of the setbacks has been the emotional strain.

So my final message in the post is to keep your chin up and don’t let your mind make the recovery harder. There are rough spots. Use them to stop and smell the flowers a bit. You have been working hard and you need to take some breaks. I think that is enough bad cliche phrases for now. Ultimately this can be a very successful surgery, but the success will take a lot of mental fortitude.

  5 comments for “Microfracture Surgery Recovery: 1 Year

  1. Namon,

    Thank you for the report. Glad to hear you are doing well.

    I think a lot of the challenges with going “all out” are the lack of muscle. The bicycling rule of thumb is 1:1 for rehab to time off. I was off for 8+ months, build up over 8 months.

    I had to run to catch a train the other day, and it was the only running I’ve done in a long time. My OS says not to run if I don’t need to because of the weight bearing. It hurt a little, but I ended up ok. So I am very happy about it. I’m moving down the road still.

    Good luck getting back into action!

    Steve

  2. Hello, next week will be eight months for me. I was fortunate to have my microfracture procedure done on a non-weightbearing part of my right knee. My OS told me that I should be able to do everything after six months. I had a 1 cm lesion in my trochlear groove, and for the first couple of months after surgery, it hurt to bend my knee. My patella went right over the location of the lesion. I could hear my knee click every time I bent it, and I felt a twinge of pain too. It was similar to someone poking a really painful bruise over and over. My OS told me that as the “scar” filled in, it would click less and less. He was correct. I was able to walk without crutches three days after the surgery, but I quickly realized that I pushed it too far too fast. I was able to walk without crutches, and without discomfort after a week. After three months, I could walk up and down stairs normally. That was a big milestone for me.

    I had my 6 month checkup a couple of weeks ago, and got clearance to play basketball, etc… I started working out again, and there is a HUGE difference in the strength of both knees. The right one is way weaker than the left. I have been lifting weights, to try to get the right leg caught up. I finally ran on a treadmill this past week. It felt good (and extremely tiring) to be able to run again. The last time I did anything remotely athletic was playing basketball the day before my knee “popped”, and had me figuratively running to the doctor. I ran for a few minutes Monday, and felt good enough that I ran for a little longer on Tuesday. I have a little soreness in the knee today, but it feels good overall. I plan to run again today after work. I’m still a little nervous about going all out though. I want to get back to how I was last year before having knee problems. I can totally relate to what you have gone through, although I have had a far easier road. Thanks for putting your experiences out there. It let me know some of the things that I can expect. I do have a lingering suspicion that I will need to have microfracture done on my left knee at some point too. So at least now I know what to expect.

    Thanks,
    Namon

  3. Hi Tabitha.

    You are in the thick of the worst part. I think most of the hard stuff is emotional.

    I think there are different types of microfracture, at least in location. Mine was in a load bearing location, so I had to be off of it for 8+ weeks. From everything I know, it does seem you need to be off of it, or the new cartilage may not set right.

    I am no expert, but I think that being a little older will make it take longer. My tendons were tighter, and my muscle generation is slower than when I was younger. Rehab has been slow. A lot of that is because I lost all of my leg muscle and it has been work to build it back up.

    I know/knew my PT before I started (ok, restarted) therapy and told him what I was coming if for. He researched it and we set a program appropriately. There is no hard in talking to other therapists. I was an anomaly in the office since they don’t see a lot of them.

    Time is important with recovery. You need to do you work, but not too much too soon. Good luck.

    Steve

  4. HI there,
    I saw your post on Knee1.com. I am now 3 weeks postop and am concerned about my Physical Therapist and his knowledge about the surgery. He is located in the same office as my OS but due to my age (38) he seems to feel I can do alot more and I stressed the importance of Non-weight bearing to him and actually printed up some info from Dr Steadman’s website to take with me today. Do you recall what your rehab was like? What types of activities at this stage?
    I would appreciate any info you may have – I just want the best result possible. Thank you in advance for your time, I am glad you say it was a positive result – it is hard to be patient when you have small children/ husband and house to take care of – but I am trying to be very positive.
    Thanks you, Tabitha

  5. Great to see the progress – last weekend, 11 months and 4 days post microfracture surgery i ran my first race. trail marathon in Oregon, clocked 3:15 even. Was amazing to be back at it regardless of the result. You’re right – it’s a long road but in the end it’s worth it. Keep progressing –

    Jim

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