The day after the hospital doctor cleared me to try riding, I gave it a go.
I was feeling pretty good, my knee hadnt given me issues in a while, I could basically get it straight. I could stand on one leg and do single leg squats (not many but some), surely riding would be fine on a nice groomed baby slope.
I had anticipated pain in the MCL from hitting bumpy bits or the general juddering (there’s not been much snow recently so its quite hard packed), but that was pain free. Instead I had a blocking kind of burning feeling on the complete opposite side of the joint, but only on heelside.
When I returned to physio a few days later, we came to the conclusion that it was calf or hamstring tensions being really sensitive. We did a lot of excruciating calf muscle release and stretches of both that and my hamstrings. I also have a lot more strengthening exercises to perform- think 1 legged and sumo squats.
The next morning I had another go at heelside and then a couple of turns. The pain was still there on heelside but it had decreased so I definitely think the release helped.
Every day since I have been doing a slide down the beginner slope (approximately 20 metres). The last time I tried 1 footed sliding, climbing etc. the kind of stuff I would teach in a First-Timer lesson. Unfortunately I caught the free end of the board and tweaked my knee a little which seems to have resulted in a relapse into sporadic pain, so I’m taking a couple of days to rest it before I try again.
While it still hurts, there is progress, I just need to be patient and not rush back too fast.
After a few days off the board I returned to my tentative riding, but grew my confidence to try a chair lift. It went pretty well and I ended up doing 3 lower runs that day, but spread out by at least an hour.
That night I returned to the physio and while she was poking around the back of my knee and calf she found a lump on my tendon. We weren’t sure what it could be so decided to keep an eye on it. It did however explain why I was getting pain in the back of my knee instead of around my MCL when I rode.
On my days off there were a few good days of snow so I tried riding with Adam, managing about 3 top to bottom runs of riding before I needed to stop. I was really conscious that my technique was not good though, so decided to not return to teaching so that I would save my knee for my riding and not inadvertently reinjure it with a client.
Over the course of the next week, I started doing daily morning rides. At first these were alone, but eventually I joined in with the ski school training. It was so nice to ride with friends again, but obviously they have all improved a lot while I have been sat around healing so I struggled to keep up.
I was determined to keep riding though, so on another day I went out riding and managed 9 runs, 3x more than I had previously achieved. The next day I was really sore though. My muscles just weren’t strong enough to not get DOMS from it. That put me out for a couple of days and once I felt better I could feel that my knee was a bit funky and the weather had got a bit warm so snow conditions weren’t really good enough to go back out.
I did go out one day that was so icy we only did 2 runs before I went to take photo’s in the park.
Meanwhile, the physio has got me started doing agility training. This actually is not like something you would see at Crufts and more like a hockey warm up. Lots of dymanic movements like side stepping and lunges.