Taking a Knee: What’s Up, Doc?

I know, I know. I’m late. Monday morning posts. That was the deal.

Well, I request special dispensation for the Monday following my annual St. Patrick’s Day Party.

Sam Adams: Ready to Party
Sam Adams: Ready to Party

Progress!

Last week was pretty good PT-wise. I mastered the side-step that gave me trouble the week before. I increased to more difficult Theratubing and a more difficult surface to balance on for my 4-way leg…er…kicks? I don’t know what they’re called. Even PT Greg calls them my “tube kick things.” It’s kind of like the video below. Only with a tube not a cable. And I am standing on an oval balance foamy thing (that’s a technical term) not the floor. And I do it in four directions (heh) not just the one shown. And I don’t hold on to anything other than the knowledge that my glute will cease to be ON FIRE when I’m done. Otherwise, it’s exactly like this.

Hammies

PT Greg also added this little ditty.

Only I do it with both heels digging in at the same time. On carpet.

This is currently my least favorite of all my exercises and it is Karma’s way of reminding me it exists.

Story Time

As an Athletic Training major at Springfield College, most semesters we were assigned a team to work with – we were the student trainers and we assessed (never diagnosed, right Ryan/Shawn/One L/KK???) and treated injuries sustained during practices and games. We provided pre and post-practice/game treatment – taping, bracing, stretching,  wound care (The blisters. OH THE BLISTERS), icing, etc.

In my four years, I worked with:

  • Men’s Gymnastics where I managed to fall off the high bar foam pit, land on a outstretched arm and break my wrist. Best trainer ever, right? Wait, it gets better.
  • Track and Field (snore) Sorry Track & Fielders but could you please come to me with something, anything, other than a pulled quad or hammy OR shin splints? PLEASE? I don’t mean to wish a blown ACL on you or anything but….I kinda do.)
  • Men’s Soccer (and here’s where it gets “better”) where I – yes me, not a player- sustained a Grade 2 concussion from an errant pass during a pre-game warm up. I still might not be right.
  • Women’s Rugby. I might be the only trainer in the history of rugby trainers to have a team with an injury-free season. That’s not to say there wasn’t drama. I did have to backboard a player from the other team. She was wearing a legit helmet because of previous head injuries. Yeah. Keep playin’ rugby.
  • Westside (Westsi-yeeeeeeeeed) High School Football where not much happened. Except that time one of the players went down with a possible head/neck injury and while we were waiting for the ambulance, the coach called a play that ran directly into me (holding said player’s head in place), my co-student trainer, Ryan, who tried to warn us but there was no time, the world’s best ATC Mentor, Deb Coutu, taking out her ankle and of course, the player who rolled over, sat up, and THANKFULLY didn’t collapse paralyzed.

But senior year, you also have to do a semester of rehab. Not drug or alcohol rehab – though – that might have been more enjoyable than a semester led by creepiest creeper creepy guy on the SC Athletic Training Staff. He ran the rehab portion of our program where, instead of working with a team, we worked with injured athletes coordinating their physical therapy. Only, we’re not allowed to call it PT – but don’t get me started on that.

I had an athlete, a hockey player named Brian. Brian was fun. Brian was a cool guy. But more importantly, Brian had a gnarly injury. While down on the ice during a game, another player skated over his leg, severing his hamstring.

Severing.

His hamstring.

And I got to help him through rehab. I was pretty stoked. This was by far the worst injury I had seen to date.

He had already been rehabbing for a while when I rotated in so I did more functional things.

Like stool scoots.

Blake Arena. It's a long way around.
Blake Arena. It’s a long way around.

One-legged stool scoots.

Around Blake Arena – our sports complex.

Brian, I’m sorry. Stool scoots are horrific. Also, you’re welcome. Because MAN are they effective.

I reached out to Brian to see if he has any pictures of his injury. I’ll update if he sends me any.

Three Weeks Post-Op

First of all, I can’t believe it’s been three weeks. I feel so good, it seems like it should be three months. On the other hand, I can’t believe how quickly my next check up with Dr. Sports Medicine (SM) came. PT Greg took my measurements on Wednesday so Dr. SM had them at the appointment Friday.

Highlights:

  • Extension. Pre-surgery, I’d have to guess I was missing 10 or 12 degrees at least. The day after surgery, I was missing eight. At my first appointment with PT Greg, he said he was hoping to get maybe two more degrees back total by the end of therapy. Well, as of Wednesday, March 11th, I’ve gotten FIVE back already! I’m only missing three degrees of extension. So basically, if I still taught BodyCombat, my side kick would look a hell of a lot less wonky and you pretty much couldn’t tell I still can’t get to terminal extension (zero degrees). Boom.
  • Flexion. Pre-surgery I was at about 45 degrees of flexion. The day after surgery I was at 120. (This is still unbelievable to me) On my right side (the uninjured side) I can only get about 140 degrees so 140 would be the goal but let’s be honest. I haven’t had much range past 90 degrees in YEARS, so, 120 is already pretty awesome. PT Greg said when all is said and done, I might get 10 more degrees back. Or….how about I get those 10 degrees back in 3 weeks instead? Boom shaka lacka Boom. 130 degrees of flexion.

In case all this talk of degrees means nothing to you, let me refresh your memory with that pic I showed you in Taking a Knee: Post Op:

Degrees of Flexion and Extension at the Knee.
Degrees of Flexion and Extension at the Knee.

What Say You, Doc?

Friday, March 13th, I saw Dr. SM. He did not seem as impressed with my progress as I’d hoped. Not that I wasn’t doing well, but I wasn’t blowing his mind either.

I was kind of hoping he’d tell me I could start doing something that vaguely resembled cardio.

Instead, he told me that I am in control of three things:

  1. Flexibility  *that reminds me I still need to do my hamstring stretches today*
  2. Quad Strength because it is essentially the only thing keeping me from a partial knee replacement
  3. Regularity of Routine – I can’t let up

He stressed the importance of taking this slowly to give myself time to build up my quads.

He stressed the importance of not loading knee past 60 degrees of flexion because that’s were the patella begins to make contact with the femur.

He told me if I really need to work up a good sweat, pool workouts are the only acceptable way to do so for several more weeks. Only, I can’t start yet; I have to wait for the last portal to completely heal.

Ok. So in other words, SLOW YOUR ROLL. Got it. Loud and clear.

But it’s all good because I feel so freaking good and I feel so freaking hopeful because if I can bend and straighten my knee this well, this fast, that just means I’ll be ready to get stronger quicker. Range of motion first, strength second. I know this. Severed Hamstring Brian knows this. PT Greg BETTER know this. He does – I kid.

So bring on the stool scoots. Bring on the five pound ankle weight for my straight leg raises (I used a four pounder today, ssshhhh….don’t tell PT Greg – he gave me two pounds for homework. Too. Easy.) And bring on the pool workouts.

I’m gonna need some waterproof ear buds…

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