But, I've been happy to see that the little I've written here about the MPFL surgery has helped some people gain confidence. One year later, I feel great. Sure, there is still a little bit of pain and some atrophy, but my doctor told me it would be nearly 1 1/2 years before I'd see complete recovery. Regardless, the pain is minimal and nothing compared to the stability I've gained in my knee. I followed my physical therapy regimen to the letter, including a lot of stretching at home on my own. I bought one of those yoga stretching straps that I hooked over my foot, and then I laid on my stomach and pulled my heel toward my butt. The first couple of times I could only get about 30 degrees. That bothered me, because the doctor said he wanted 90 degrees by the end of the second week, and I wasn't even half-way there! So, every hour on the hour, I stretched. Each stretch was painful, but I found that by taking very deep breaths, I could breathe through the pain of each stretch. At the end of the third week, I was nearly at 90 degrees. At the end of the fifth week, I was able to go all the way around on a bicycle, and the whole staff at therapy remarked how far I'd come. They also mentioned that they knew a lot of my progress had come from my at-home stretches.
So, for those of you who are contemplating the surgery or are in recovery, I highly recommend a yoga stretching strap. Here's a link to one like I bought: http://www.amazon.com/Body-Back-Company-Stretching-Strap/dp/B001I1OYP2
Of course, ask your doctor and physical therapist about if/when/how to use this strap, but I have to say, this was one of the most valuable pieces of rehab equipment I had. Another invaluable tool for me was Kinesio Tex Gold sports tape. Here's a link to that: http://www.amazon.com/Kinesio-Tex-Gold-Tape-Blue/dp/B001VNKNPC/ref=pd_sbs_hpc_3
Again, ask your doctor or therapist if/when/how to use this tape, as there is a technique to taping it correctly. The tape helped tremendously with the pain and swelling, and if applied properly, it will last on your leg for several days--even after showering. I loved this stuff, and I've actually been thinking about buying some more for now. I don't need it much, but once in a while I still get some swelling, and this really helps.
Many people have asked me about my scars, and in some of my earlier blogs, I posted some gnarly post-op pictures. I will try to post a new picture soon so those of you who've asked can see that there is really minimal scarring involved with the MPFL surgery.
Overall, I now have full range of motion (got that back at about 8 weeks post surgery), and I feel great. I'm very thankful I got the surgery, and the doctor who performed it, Dr. Rick Csintalan, was amazing. He practices in Irvine, California, so anyone who lives in Socal and is looking to get this operation should seriously consider him. He, in my opinion, is one of the best doctors I've ever been to.
So, please--keep the questions coming! I'm happy to answer any that you have and I wish everyone the best of luck with their knees!