Sorry for the long story, I have two questions at the end please help me
I am looking for some advise. Over ten years ago when I was in my teens I crashed training for a mountain bike downhill race and completely tore the PCL in my left knee. The doctor at the time told me the same story that most of you may be familiar with. That I could function without my PCL as long as I kept my leg muscles strong because they would act as the stabilizers in the absence of the PCL. He said I could have the surgery much later if I started feeling pain and instability. I listened to his advise. I have always been extremely active and an adrenaline junkie so I worked out my legs pretty hard at the gym and when riding my bike. My quads and gluteus grew and my legs got very strong which also helped me during my Downhill races and for protection I would ride with a custom PCL Cti brace for my knee which became my best friend. All was fine and dandy till last year when during a strenuous hike I felt like something was not right with my knee, it just did not feel stable and I remembered what my old doc had told me a long time ago.
I will tell you that February of last year I had my first bundle of joy so the working out all the time had to be replaced with taking care of the baby and going for walks and not sleeping enough and changing diapers, which by the way made me extremely happy and I enjoyed being a first time dad. But as my schedule changed my leg muscles started shrinking; I was not able to work out as much. I decided to go to a doctor to see what would be the verdict. I knew deep inside that the time for surgery had come. Long story short I ended up needing surgery to avoid wearing off my knee and developing arthritis later on. Fortunately since I worked out pretty frequently my Knee was still in good condition with no cartilage degeneration. Surgery was a no brainer since I would not be able to work out my leg as much and keep my muscles strong would mean a life of being tied to the gym and with a family that can be a challenge.
My surgery was a success according to the doctor. He used an aquilles tendon from a cadaver since it is a very strong tissue. I had a nerve block so the first 2 days were not painful at all and I started taking the pain meds the moment I got home the same day after my surgery. I was very excited and motivated and the first 3 months I was doing great going to PT 3 times a week, my quad was getting its definition back I was doing light leg work outs at the gym doing different type of light leg presses with different angles, calf raises , light weight squats in addition to going to PT 3 days a week and my knee was at 90% compared to the other according to the Physical therapist. But then one day I started feeling a lot of pain under my knee cap, like something scraping the crap out of it when i would bend it or tried to raise my leg and bend it. That is when i started getting worried, I started reading stories about people and patellar arthritis and how the instability degenerated their knee cap etc, etc... so obviously i was thinking that was happening to me. The doctor said that was not my case since i did not have arthritis to begin with according to MRIs and when he performed the surgery he said the meniscus and knee cap looked very clean and healthy. He said it was a case of my knee cap not tracking correctly. Seems like i may have over done my excersises trying to get better so my quad was getting stronger but my hamstrings were not so my quad was grabbing my knee cap and causing an imbalance not letting it track correctly. I was concerned and still am. Since we are no supposed to do any hamstring exercises like leg curls and don't even mention leg extensions because that one is the worst, it will stretch the graft, or open chain ones because they pull on the graft it is quite a challenge to get that balance back.
The pain lasted for 2 months and I had to pretty much go back to the basic exercises with the PT guy, it sucked. Finally it got manageable and i was able to start working out at the gym but my quad definition was totally gone it is like jello, the leg is getting stronger but no matter what i do the quad is being very stubborn and not wanting to come back to life therefore my knee cap is not being able to track correctly. I can walk normally and ride my bike with my baby in the child trailer but i still can't go hiking or go snowboarding or do more fun stuff. Some days it hurts some days it does not. Working out definitely makes me feel much better, at least for a few hours following the workout.
It has been 7 and a half months since my surgery and I am trying to stay patient because the doctor says that my tracking issues will get better but sometimes it takes a year to 18 months for my knee muscles to get back to normal. At first he said 9 months.
SO... my question is, has anyone experienced the knee cap tracking problems due to the quad being weak? Is it just a matter of time before it gets better or am I screwed?