Hi! My name is Greg and I want to share my last few weeks in which I torn my quad tendon. I’m keeping a day by day diary which I think it can be useful to other guys for the same type of injury.
I hope you find it interesting! Let me know
ROAD TO RECOVERY
THE DAYS BEFORE BEFORE THE INJURY
It was the usual leg day. It was a Wednesday morning. I didn’t max out that day because I was feeling pretty tired (I was eight weeks in a cut). I did some squats, leg presses, RDLs and calf raises. Not too much for a leg day, but it was a deload week anyway. I took the rest of the day off, I went to the grocery store getting some food and that was it for the day. No pain whatsoever.
The next day I had to wake up at 6 am for work but I didn’t get a good quality sleep. I went to work and then I got a pretty bad headache that healed in the late afternoon. I went to work for my night shift and that was alright. Again, I didn’t have any pain. Just some DOMS for Wednesday’s workout.
Friday. I woke up and I was feeling pretty good. I run some errands in the morning, I ate my lunch and I went to the gym. It was shoulder day. I was pretty strong that day. I showed how to perform some exercises to a friend, mainly leg movements, with no weight: leg press, hack squat, squat and some lateral plyo squats. That was it. I started, by the end of the workout, feeling a bit of discomfort in my upper patella. Nothing serious, 'cause I could bend the knee all the way and it didn’t really worry me at all. I went to work for my night shift and that pain wasn’t going away. After an hour I checked on my knee and it was a bit swollen. Shit. What was it? 30 minutes later it got swollen like a watermelon. I called my mom and we went immediately to the ER. At that point I couldn’t bend the knee nor walking. I knew it was something serious. It was my body telling me that I fucked something up real bad.
THE INJURY AND THE E.R. - February 24th
I waited for about two hours. It was almost midnight. First, they did an X-ray scan which resulted negative and then they sucked out the ‘blood’ accumulated in the knee. About 65cc. Quite a lot.
I could almost walk. I was relieved. Was that it? The next day in either case I should have returned for the visit with the orthopedic.
On the way home, the knee swollen again like before. That was a sign that it really was bad. I knew. I tried to get some sleep, but couldn’t. I was too tense and I continuously googled the symptoms. Yes, wrong thing to do.
The next day I returned for the visit with the doc at 8 am with my girlfriend. He showed up pretty quickly and he told me in a matter of minutes that what he suspected was a tear of the quad muscle but he needed an ultrasound and an MRI to confirm it. We waited all morning to get the ultrasound done and another word with the orthopedic. In the end he still needed the MRI so my only option to do that in one or two days was to get hospitalized. In the meantime they put a cast around my whole leg to immobilize it so the swelling would go down.
HOSPITALIZED - February 26th
I got hospitalized the next morning. I was pretty low, but that was my only choice. The first day passed pretty quickly. I had my mom, my girlfriend and some friends visit me.
The knee didn’t hurt though. I still had some hopes that I wouldn’t need surgery but to me it was pretty obvious at that point.
On Monday morning I got the MRI done and the answer was that I had a partial tear in one of the four quad muscles. Shit. They told me that if I was 80 they wouldn’t do surgery, but in my case with the lifting and sports it would be a good idea to have the tendon back strong and ready to use for my activities. I needed surgery. They didn’t tell me how I actually ruptured it and really, I have no goddamn idea.
SURGERY - March 28th
Tuesday morning they came in telling me that in the late afternoon I would go in. Good thing! The waiting was horrible. I was sweating and I was worried about the whole thing, I couldn’t help myslelf. Good thing my girlfriend tried to talk some sense into me.
They had me wore a vest for the surgery and then they anesthetized me.
The surgery consists of doing a pretty large cut above the patella lenghtwise, getting back the tendon and reattach it to the patella. Pretty easy, right?
I was pretty much awake all the time but couldn’t see a thing. The whole thing lasted about 2 hours.
They told me that the surgery has gone well and brought me back to my room where there were my mom and one of her friends. They even made me laugh a bit.
I was fasted all day and all I could eat were some breadsticks.
DAY AFTER SURGERY - March 1st
The day after surgery I woke up with a better attitude, the sun was coming in through the window and the worst seemed to be gone. They told me that the next morning I could go home. It was during this day that I started realizing that a bad attitude is just wrong and it doesn’t lead to anywhere. So only good attitude.
They medicated the wound which at my first sight appeared to be really large: about 4 inches! It was kind of scary but you just get used to it.
It’s not very painful, probably because the painkiller they gave me after surgery is still lasting. From now on we’ll count days from 1 starting tomorrow.
DAY 1 - March 2nd
That was the worst night: all the painkillers and the anesthesia faded away and the pain was brutal at night. I didn’t really sleep a lot. But in the morning it seemed better and they told me that I was free to go home. That was a relief even though maybe it was better one more day so they could check on you.
I checked out and they told me that at the end of week 4 I could take the brace off and beginning from the second week start to bear some weight on it. It wasn’t that bad considering everything.
This days have been the hardest. Learning to go with the crutches, feeling useless and spending all day in bed have been really excruciating on the mind. But by the end of day 5 I can tell that I feel better and more optimistic. The pain is pretty much gone and I can start to see some improvements. I can lift the leg a little bit, which is always in a brace locked in extension, thing that I couldn’t do the first days. I can bear some weight on the injured leg without pain, so I guess that’s positive. I already have an appointment with my PT which I really look forward to. I have a lot of questions for him, including if I can do some light upper body workouts. That would be gold for me! Something I got to point out is all the support that my family gave me: without them, my mom and my girlfriend in particular, I don’t know how I could have gone through it. It’s really in these moments that you realize how much they value and how much they love me. I can’t thank them enough.
DAY 6 (a week after surgery) - March 7th
This is the best day so far, more on the psychological side though: I feel stronger and more motivated. I’m starting to clean up my diet because these last few days I ate a lot of junk food, but hey I had a goddamn surgery! I went outside a little bit and I felt really good!
As for the physical side, I don’t have any pain in the knee but the brace is still locked and I didn’t bend the knee still. So I’ll have to wait 'till thursday (today is tuesday) for the PT appointment.
DAY 7 - March 8th
Another positive day. I can finally walk with both legs, always supported by the crutches though. It’s a good achievement for me, even those little things can mean a lot when you’re in this condition. Always icing the knee a couple of hours a day, which seem to do a lot of good. I stayed away from painkillers, never had the urge to take one if not for the first night. Everything seems to look good but I’ll wait tomorrow for the PT visit.