Dec 19, 2016

A Pain in the Knee: Part IV (aka Physical Therapy)

So interesting fact about my knee surgery: they cut a tendon that connects to my quad, basically folded it over and tightened it. That means that my quad muscle is really really weak - surprisingly weak. Which is why I'm on crutches because it can't really support my weight - although I am allowed to put weigh on it. I just have to do it as I feel comfortable.

Which is also why I'm in a full leg knee brace. This knee brace is quite the thing. It latches together with basically a dial on the side that is set so I can't bend my knee past 30 degrees. Yes, that's right - I can keep my leg straight or I can bend it 30 degrees. Let me tell you that's not much.

But as it turns out, I can't really bend my knee much anyway. Which is why, I have now officially started physical therapy! (You were waiting for me to actually get to the physical therapy part, weren't you?!)

So exactly two weeks after having the surgery I went in for my PT evaluation. I wasn't sure to expect because I had never had PT before but I expected they would see what I was able to do and all that in order to make a plan moving forward. 

Turns out, it was exactly what I expected. I went in and answered a lot of questions. Most things I'm not able to do without difficulty or without help which was what the physical therapist expected so fresh from surgery. Then we went through a series of measurements. He would measure what my right leg could do, bending and around my knee to check how swollen my left was. Then we would measure my left and see what I could do. We basically needed starting point. 

Then we started running through a series of exercises. He would walk me through how to do each of them and what I was working and all that. I would do the complete exercise then we would move on. By the end I had about seven or eight exercises that was highlighted for me and put in a folder. I was to do those two times a day every day. Then my rehab schedule was two or three times a week for 6 weeks as long as it equaled 15 sessions. Then I would have be reevaluated and we would figure out how my new PT schedule would go.

But for now I have officially started my PT journey. So the biggest take away is definitely that what I do at home is 80% of my recovery progress. But that doesn't mean I don't go in on a regular basis and get my leg worked.

And I mean my whole leg. Just doing my exercises at home I have felt more pain in other parts of my leg because it's all getting worked now. My hamstring hurts. My foot hurts. My quads are being worked hard (which is what is really weak so duh). The side of my knee which has been hurting all along continues to hurt because I'm working on bending my knee (and boy is it glorious!).

My first actual PT, I wasn't sure what to expect. It was about a 30 minute session, which was good because I couldn't have handled much more. It started out with stretches which basically felt like my leg was being ripped apart. For the first time in almost three weeks, my knee was bent way more than 90 degrees and it hurt. It hurt a lot. But stretching helped because it also meant I was able to do my heel slides (bending my knee on my own) 90 degrees. I joked after that I survived PT and I truly meant survived because ouch. But one down and many more to go but every PT I do - there or alone - is a step closer to getting back to normal.

So that's where the story is now. Lots of PT. When I'm not at PT, I'm doing PT at home. I'm working my leg constantly and in many different ways trying to get my mobility back. I just want to get back on my feet and out of the brace, which means I'm working my butt (or more accurately leg) off to do just that.


Check out the whole story:
A Pain in the Knee: Part I (aka The Backstory)
A Pain in the Knee: Part II (aka The Surgery)
A Pain in the Knee: Part III (aka The Recovery)

xo, B

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