One Year After Knee Surgery

fully healed

Overall, A Very Successful Surgery

First and foremost, for me the extraction of the ossicles from the patellar tendon was a complete success!

I no longer have any pain in the patellar tendon. I can run, bike, hike, and lift, all without pain. Rigorous exercise does not produce any pain.

Bumping the patellar tendon also does not hurt. Kneeling onto my knees does not hurt the patellar tendon area, but it can bother the chondromalacia in the knee joint.

That being said, the results of the knee scope were a little disappointing, because it took so long for me to heal from the arthroscopic surgery. I should say that it is possible that the pain I experienced in the patellar tendon before surgery might have been masking pain in the knee joint itself. After surgery, tenderness in the knee joint was more apparent for a few years.

Issues in the First Six Months to One Year

Skin Numbness

I was not told this before surgery, but the skin on the knee will be numb after surgery, possible for quite some time. The longitudinal incision on the patellar tendon cuts nerves that run horizontally through the skin. For me this resulted in an approximate three square inches of numbness from the patellar incision to the outside of the kneecap.

The surgeon said the size of the numbness will diminish, but it may not fully go away. At times, the lack of feeling can be weird, even uncomfortable. For me, the numbness was most noticeable when I would rest on me knees, such as when playing with the kids on the floor or working in the yard.

While on your knees, the numbness will feel like you have a glob or a thick pad under you skin. Disappointing. Also, for me there has been a little bit of numbness on the scope holes. Honestly, the knee numbness has been the biggest issue of the surgery, compounding any minor pain and swelling because it just feels funny.

The numbness does diminish linearly over time, but was not quite completely gone after three years.

Activity Issues

In the first six months to one year, I also noticed that the knee tends to swell after long runs, especially on the outside of the kneecap. I had the most trouble where the scope holes are located. I also notice a mild ache from time to time on the inside of the knee near the kneecap by a scope hole.

On occasion, the inside of the knee can be tender. I habitually sleep with a light pillow between my knees to remedy that issue, and doing so has improved my sleep.

OSD knee after one yearOSD knee one year post surgery

Healing Takes Time

Different parts of the knee heal at different times. Below are some of the major issues I faced while healing. Some went away quickly, while others lingered for years.

I noticed very little improvement after three years, except for perhaps incision numbness.

Knee Surgery Issues Over Time
Knee Issue 2 mo 6 mo 1 yr 2 yr 3 yr
Pain in patellar tendon N N N N N
Popping/snapping N N N N N
Incision numbness Y Y Y Y Y
Swelling w/ moderate exercise Y Y N N N
Swelling w/ rigorous exercise Y Y Y N N
Occasional minor ache in knee joint Y Y Y Y Y

It is possible that you would heal faster if you are younger. I was 39 when I had the surgery.

Activity Improves Over Time

Here are the activities I was able to perform over time. For a sense of reference, a rigorous bike ride was 12+ miles with hills twice per week, without swelling. Rigorous running was a 10k, without swelling.

Activity 2 mo 6 mo 1 yr 2 yr 3 yr
Walking Y Y Y Y Y
Gentle Biking Y Y Y Y Y
Moderate Biking N Y Y Y Y
Rigorous Biking N N Y Y Y
Moderate Running N Y Y Y Y
Rigorous Running N N Y Y Y
Soccer N N N/Y Y Y

One Last Comparison

This one compares my knees before and after surgery.

Condition
Healthy Knee 100%
OSD Knee Before Surgery 75%
OSD Knee 6 mo After Surgery 80%
OSD Knee 1 yr After Surgery 90%
OSD Knee 2 yr After Surgery 93%
OSD Knee 3 yr After Surgery 95%

Bottom line: For me, the knee continued to heal and get better for approximately three years after surgery. My knee is much more improved than it was prior to surgery.