Back on the bike, again! What does that mean? I've had four different surgeries on my left knee going back to 1971 when I had the medial meniscus removed. Then in 1976 I had the lateral meniscus removed. Since those two surgeries I've been bone on bone for all those years.
I've been very active all my life and eventually my knee wore out. I've had pain in my knee for what seems to have been my whole life, although not so.
Eventually it got to the point where I would rather be biking with some pain than walking with lots of pain. Then trying to sleep with the constant pain....that got old, also.
Back in the early 2000's I saw Dr. Owen O'Neill, with Twin Cities Orthopedics, when I racing canoes and doing a fair amount of running. I had some "chicken juice" injected into the knee to try and alleviate the pain caused by the bone on bone, but that didn't seem to work. I also had a cortisone shot. I don't recall if I had them done at the same time. I'm thinking I didn't.
I retired in 2014 so I had some extra time during the day, so I started biking more miles. My knee felt so much better biking. In 2015 I put on 14,434 miles. It was a good year of biking. In 2016 I had slightly less mileage of 11,574 miles, but I was off the bike for about 3 months. One month because I crashed while winter biking and broke my clavicle and the other two months while recovering from a Total Knee Replacement.
Finally, in the summer of 2016, the knee was so bad that I needed to do something about it. I was still putting on the miles on the bike, but not doing much else. I certainly couldn't walk far.
I finally went in to see Dr. O'Neill and he discussed some options for the knee, including information on a Total Knee Replacement. Before leaving I received a cortisone shot in the knee.
A couple days later I left on my first (10 days / 755 miles) of two bicycle tours from my house. I remember my knee pretty much being pain free. Oh, did that feel good, but it lasted only a couple weeks.
I made the decision after my second bike tour, 20 days /1300 miles, to proceed with having a Total Knee Replacement.
My surgery was on 11-7-16. They had me walking and doing other exercises almost immediately. They hooked up the CPM fairly quickly and was walking shortly after the nerve block wore off. I got out of the hospital on the 3rd day.
Once home the next day I was on my trainer rocking back and forth on the pedals four times a day. A couple days later physical therapy started. There's a lot I could say about the physical therapy, but words alone couldn't do it justice. I figured I only had one chance at recovery so I did all my structures exercises, walking and biking at least 4 times a day for the first 6 months. This was both physically and mentally demanding.
First Revolution going forward....
In the middle of February 2016 I was able to start riding my bike outside. I rode for two weeks in Minnesota before going to Florida for a month to continue my rehab and biking.
Everyone was telling me the knee wouldn't be completely healed for about one year. Early on I would bike a day or two then take a day or two off the bike. Eventually, I worked up doing more miles per day with less time off in between rides. I ended up riding 11,189 miles in 2017. These weren't pain-free miles.
I was approaching a year with the new knee parts, but I still had pain on the backside of the knee. The knee was supposed to be healed by now. Actually the Total Knee Replacement was probably healed, but the pain I was feeling was another issue.
I went back to the doctor for my one year check up and told the him that I could feel what I believe to be a tendon popping over a bone on the back, outside of the knee.
The x-rays of the Total Knee Replacement looked fine. I scheduled a CT scan of the knee. It showed a bone spur on the back of my tibia. The doctor said he hasn't seen a bone spur in that location in his 22 years. When he did the total knee replacement he removed several other bone spurs that were seen, but when they do the replacement the back of the knee isn't opened up. The bone spur was probably the result of my lateral meniscus being removed in 1976.
My popliteus tendon kept popping over the bone spur causing pain and stiffness. Everytime I would make one revolution while pedalling this tendon would pop over the bone spur. It would never get better the way it was. My only option was to have some additional surgery to have the bone spur removed. I was more concerned about this surgery because of the large nerve near the bone spur. The doctor explained that he would have to make a 4 to 5 inch incision toward the back of the knee, find and move the large nerve, then remove the bone spur.
Last bike ride of 2017
The surgery was scheduled for 12-22-17. I wasn't able to speak to the doctor right after surgery, but I was told the surgery went well. I wouldn't be able to bike until the incision healed up.
On Thursday, 01-04-18, I had my follow-up appointment. I was given the ok to get back on the bike, no restrictions, just let pain be my guide.
Friday morning I submitted an organized bike ride with the Twin Cities Bicycle Club for Sunday, 01-07-18, called "Back on the Bike, Again". I had two days before this organized ride to see how my knee was going to feel.
Friday, 01-05-18, was my first ride after surgery. I only went 15 miles, but I wasn't having any pain that I was feeling before the bone spur was removed. Another test was that I wasn't getting sore after the ride like before. What relief!
Saturday, 01-06-18, I woke up and I was relatively pain free in the knee. I haven't felt that way for many years, except right after my cortisone shot in the knee in the summer of 2016.
I rode again on Saturday, 01-06-18, for 20 miles. Same thing...basically no pain!
On Sunday, 01-07-18, my ride "Back on the Bike, Again" was held. Tony showed up to do the ride with me.
My knee is still mostly pain free after three days of riding. It will take another 6 to 8 weeks before it's completely healed, but I'm really looking forward to riding and walking pain free.
|Getting my bike ready to ride on Friday, 01-05-18. The first ride after surgery.|
|It feels good to be back on the bike, again. |
|The temperature on Friday, 01-05-18, was between -10 to -5 degrees F.|
|Nice to have studded tires....|
|My 15 mile route on Friday...|
|On Saturday, 01-06-18, I came across 2 rafters of Wild Turkeys. Believe me...that's what those brown dots are :). I was actually much closer than what my iPhone shows. |
|Turkey's over the shoulder...|
|Saturdays temperature was between 2 and 5 degrees F.|
|Tony showed up for my TCBC Back on the Bike, Again ride on Sunday, 01-07-18. Tony didn't have studded tires, so I was able to get a head him and take a couple shots. |
|I wanted to show Tony the stone structure that Thaddeus Giddings built in the 1920's.|
|Tony and the stone structure on the Rum River...Anoka, MN.|
|Coffee shop sign on Main Street in Anoka, MN|
|My route on Sunday, 01-07-18|
|I just threw this one in....someone asked me what I wear on my feet while winter biking....|
FB: Charles W. Ryan II