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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

1 year ago

1 year ago on this day, I was lying in a hospital bed, right leg stuck in a weird looking contraption moving it up and down and throwing up. Friends had shared with me their friend’s experience or their refusal to operate fearing that they will never be able to run again. And there I was wondering whether I had made the right decision to go for the op. Nevertheless I went ahead because the nice Doc had assured me that he learnt from the very best, Dr Steadman who operated on Alan Shearer, Michael Owen etc etc and if they can go back to football, I can go back to running. So I went with an open mind. The way he describe it sounded so simple and I expected to be up and running within 3 months. To my horror, after the op and in my first session of post-op physio, the physio took one look and said 6 months at least.

It is now exactly 1 year later and not only have I resumed running, I have done 2 half marathons plus a few other races here and there, The first half was done just 6 months after the op proving the physio wrong. I was up and running within 3 months (December to be exact). So was the physio wrong in his analysis or just being careful?

To prepare for the op, I went for 2 months of pre-op physio. I also saw an Osteopath and both the physio and Osteopath help me prepare for the op by putting me through a lot of lower legs exercises. The purpose was to build up the strength and muscle on the leg so that after the op during the recovery stage, when the atrophy set in, the impact will be reduced and hence recovery faster.

After the op, while most people would content themselves with just going for the physio session twice a week, I worked like a man possessed. While the leg was still immobilized and cannot bear weight, I contend myself with doing single leg pushups, and all the other jazz that the physio showed me and all this on a daily basis. Even while out with the Mrs and friends while they trained for their maiden half, I would make use of every single time waiting for them to do some sort of exercises like push up, squats etc.

Once the crutches came off, it was on to upper body weight as well. I put in 2 hours of work daily including the twice physio sessions. Than when the physio decided that it was time for me to start on the bike, I added that + swimming to the daily routine. The workout session increases from 2 to 3 hours. By mid December, the physio had commented that I was recovering faster than he expected so in end December, I did my first run on the treadmill and never looked back from there. Sure, the leg is still a bit stiff and cannot bend all the way back but hey I running without pain. I reckoned I back to 80% of my original fitness level although the recent races timing have been encouraging - almost at the old level.

To this day, I continue my daily workout 6 days a week doing strength training (not bodybuilding or weight training), stationery bike, swimming and running 3 – 4 times a week. I take more precaution now though and generally do not push myself all the way.

Why am I rehashing this? I know there are people, friends and runners who are suffering from injuries and are upset that it is taking a long time to recover. I am sharing this to show that it is possible to come back in a short time but one need to put in a lot of effort. Simply wallowing in pity is not going to get anywhere. Neither is it sufficient to just go for weekly treatment or exercise. The whole thing got to be an ongoing process. Workouts can be done at home with some light weights, maybe a gym ball and a theraband or even just body weight exercises (squat, pushup, lunges, calves rises, crunches etc). The important thing is to keep working on it but with care. Increase the mileage slowly (I started at 1km in December and move up to 21 km only in June). Don’t be dishearten; work hard and you will get there.


  1. Wow, Tekko.
    Really inspiring to read about your path to recovery.

  2. Yes, inspiring i must say... I like reading ur entries... keep writing : )

  3. You are an ideal patient Tekko! :) Well done on your remarkable recovery - you certainly deserve it because of the outstanding commitment and effort that you put in :D

  4. when u going to write a book on this? maybe to share your pre-op exercises and post-op workouts

  5. congrats...ur patience has paid off... your perseverance and sheer determination is worthy of emulation...*kudos*