We all have our flaws; one of mine is a lack of patience. In fact, I admit to passing this gene to my kids because they have zero patience, as well. I do not like to wait for anything, and injuries are at the top of that list.
With the exception of some reoccurring lower back issues, I have trained for 37 years with very few significant injuries. You could call it luck, but I would consider it to be related more to training intelligently. My decisions these days are based more on longevity than they are on ego. This is not to say that I don't train hard. Though I will never be the strongest person in the gym, I want to be considered one of the most intense. As we age, intensity is a better option to gain muscle tissue than progressive overload. If you disagree, argue with someone else because I don't have the time nor the inclination to debate it right now.
I know some people are questioning whether I can come back from this knee injury. I can tell by the way they phrase their questions. Admittedly, sometimes it bothers me, but I WILL come back from this injury. I am getting older, but I am not too old to bring this knee back to 100%—not yet, anyway. That time will come, but it won't be any time soon.
I have zero questions or concerns about making it back to 100%. My only real question is how long it is going to take. This question brings me back to the topic of patience.
The injury happened in late February. I am bothered that it is taking so long for this recovery, but then I remind myself that I am consistently improving. It's just taking longer than I would like. However, the injury was bad enough, but it would be even worse if I came back too hard and too fast, only to set myself back farther. I would much prefer slow, steady progress that allows more time to heel and the confidence of knowing that I will not reinjure the knee. Could I be training legs heavier right now? Yes. Do I want to be training heavier right now? Of course. It is a constant battle every leg day, but I am forcing myself to be patient and do it right.
Two months ago, I couldn't leg press even the platform without pain. I am now working with two plates per side on the leg press and doing relatively easy sets of 20 repetitions. There is no pain, but there's a caveat: I have to perform all of my reps pressing from the balls of my feet. If my heel is down, there is still some pain. It isn't horrible pain, but when I keep my heels elevated, there is zero pain.
Two months ago, I could not even squat my body weight without pain. Now, I am doing high-angled hack squats with two plates per side for 20 reps. This machine has a low angle, so it is not very heavy, but the point is that I am doing it without pain and building my strength every leg session.
Two months ago, I could not even do a leg extension with just the carriage. Unfortunately, I still can't do leg extensions due to pain in the right knee. However, if I can do leg presses, hacks, and other compound movements without pain, I am certainly not going to complain. I don't rank leg extensions very high on the priority list, anyway.
It has been five months since the injury. It has only been within the last month that I have been able to do leg work without pain. At this current pace, I feel I will be back to regular leg training in roughly another two months. Of course, this is my best guess, but I think this is entirely possible.
If I move too quickly and don't remain patient, I will not reach my goal. Of course, the better the knee feels, the more I want to push it. It's a tough spot because we are built to want to push boundaries and challenge ourselves. So, it is going against everything I know to hold back. Still, I know that it's the best move and the best option to get back to 100%.
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I wish you all the best in your rehab!