It’s a big day in my rehabilitation program – 18 months since surgery. Why is this significant? All the literature surrounding tibial plateau fracture and surgery says that
improvement is most noticeable in the first 12 months of rehabilitation and can continue for up to 18 months. There is no suggestion anywhere in the research that recovery
continues after 18 months. So what I have now is what I will have for the rest of my life. It’s worth a review to see where you get to after 18 months of continuous
rehabilitation, involving weekly sessions with a personal trainer concentrating solely on post-surgical recovery.
In essence I can:
- Walk continuously, climb up and down hills, climb up and down stairs and hike carrying a heavy backpack with no sign of pain or discomfort. I have tested my climbing ability on a very steep cliff near the Grand Canyon and found no noticeable difference in strength either going up or going down in either leg. There was no noticeable difference in fatigue in either leg
- Perform sophisticated gym exercises including heavy leg presses, one legged squats and numerous sets on a leg extension machine without any pain or excessive fatigue
- Perform exercises that require balancing on the broken leg while performing other exercises. My balance on the broken leg is now almost as good as on the unbroken leg although it has not recovered completely to where it was before the accident
- Get shoes and boots on and off with no difficulty or discomfort.
- Get comfortably on and off an escalator leading with either leg.
Most significantly, I am not in any pain. In this sense, being pain-free, I have made a complete recovery.
What I can’t do:
- Jog or run more than about 25 m e.g. running to catch a ferry. To do any more than this brings on severe pain in my knee
- Jump down from a height of one meter or more, landing with all my weight on the injured leg. This causes severe pain. I can do this easily on the unbroken leg.
What are the unknowns? The most significant unknown is whether I can ski comfortably again. I attempted skiing in January and February 2016 and was only able to ski
about half the days of the holiday and then in considerable pain. I did not ski during the Australian winter July to September 2016. The next effort will be a heli skiing
trip in Canada in January 2017 followed by several weeks in Montana and Idaho. I will not know until then whether all this has been worthwhile.
Still things could be worse. Except for the unknown in relation to skiing I have made, as near as practicable, a complete recovery from the accident.