Saturday, December 6, 2014

More Thoughts About MPFL Surgery and IT Band Pain, Bunion Surgery

I haven't checked in for a while, but I've gotten quite a few messages and comments asking how things are going with my knees.  It has now been exactly 5 years since I had the injury that necessitated the MPFL surgery, and it has been about 4 1/2 years since MPFL surgery.  Some of you may remember that I also had an additional surgery in 2011 to clean out scar tissue that was causing my knee cap to "catch" when I walked.

Reflecting 5 years later, I am pleased in the way that the MPFL surgery turned out.  However, I will say that the IT band problems remain, and the pain in my outer knee area can get intense.  I also feel a grating feeling when I bend and straighten my leg, but I'm not sure this has anything to do with the MPFL surgery or IT band.  I continue with foam rolling, but it is an arduous task.  What I've learned about foam rolling and IT bands is that you have to keep at it.  I've made the mistake of thinking that since the pain has subsided, the problem must be fixed, and I stop with the foam roller. (Let's face it--that thing feels like a medieval torture implement!)  But, the thing is--you can't stop.  The problem is ongoing and requires diligence to remain pain-free (or, more likely, just to minimize the pain).  I never have days where my knee doesn't hurt a little, but honestly, to me, it's a small price to pay for knee stability.  And the scars---hardly even visible!  You really have to look closely to see them.

Now...I also had bunion surgery a year and a half ago on my left foot, and I'm going to have it soon on my right foot.  When I told people I was going to do this, many people told me it would be a mistake.  I would regret it.  People said that it was the most painful surgery they had ever experienced.  Once again, I have learned that I either have an amazing tolerance for pain, or I have an amazing podiatrist, because it honestly did not hurt at all.  I only took the pain meds for two days, and after that, I really didn't use any pain meds at all (not even Tylenol).  And, I still feel that like with the MPFL surgery, the temporary pain is well worth it when the daily persistent pain is gone.  Bunions hurt!  But, my left foot now feels amazing--so great that I'm eager to have my right foot fixed.  Dr. Kahen at Southern California Kaiser Permanente is my podiatrist, and I couldn't be happier with his care.

I'm going to keep posting more blogs during the upcoming weeks while I have time off from work (Winter Break!!)  See you soon!


1 comment:

bonbuttercups said...


Thank you for the read on the MPFL surgery.

I posted pretty extensively on the "1 year after MPFL..." page regarding several challenges I'm still facing. Can you pop over there and give me your thoughts?

This is the bulk of it; any advice would be greatly appreciated by both Sara and myself.
This is a serious problem still. I was never a runner as I’ve been dealing with both knees dislocating since I was 11 (I’m 46 now), but if there was a zombie apocalypse, I would definitely become zombie food. I cannot run to save my life. I can’t jog, saunter, skip, or even walk quickly without issue. If I need to “run” back into my house on the way out the door to work because I forgot something, it isn’t going to happen. Is there even one person out there who’s had this surgery that was able to run again?

There is a girl I wrote about, Sara, who had the same surgery on the same day as me by the same doctor. She also cannot run at all. Can anyone tell me how long it took to be able to even do some light jogging? I’d love to start playing sand volleyball again but I can’t run – at all. Any advice from anyone out there would be greatly appreciated.

Since I was released from PT, I’ve been in the gym 4-5 days a week religiously and for the life of me I cannot seem to gain strength or bulk in my quad muscle (medial, or inside portion). Sara is having the same issue… no strength in the quad. Junkyard Girl, your original post was June 2011. Do you have your full strength back? I’m thinking the reason Sara and I can’t run is because the muscle is still real weak. Can anyone give some insight on how long it took to gain full strength back?

I still feel the tightness of the ligament all the time. I know it’s not the same as the other. Is there anyone out there who just doesn’t think about it anymore, like the surgery is a distant memory? Both Sara and I can feel the stiff ligament with every step. Any words of encouragement?

Other than running or hiking downhill, I feel I’m at about 85%. What I don’t have any longer is the fear of dislocation on the left – that is gone. I know it’s not going anywhere, and I thank God for that. But I would really like to get back into playing Frisbee and sand volleyball, and I need to be able to run short distances, which I can’t.