PT 411

8 May

I’ve been promising a physical therapy recap, since well, when I started physical therapy. So let’s do it!

Before we scheduled the surgery Dr. Carey outlined the projected recovery process. I’d be walking a few days after the surgery, and I’d start physical therapy as soon as possible. Once I started PT I would go for twice per week for three weeks, and then once per week for an additional three weeks. More importantly I could start running (and biking, playing soccer, etcetera and so forth) between four and five weeks after the surgery. So physical therapy for six weeks, and at week four-five I can start to run again. That was pretty much all I took away from the conversation.

I started physical therapy last Tuesday, which was four days after the surgery. My physical therapist is pretty much amazing. Or at least, I think she is, and that’s what counts, right? She’s offered the right amount of support, while still pushing me to work hard. And she gets my sense of humor, which is essential. My first visit was mostly a “meet and greet,” you know, between Allison and my knee. We tested my range of motion, which was apparently rather impressive, and then outlined what needed work.

During this first visit I learned some fascinating tidbits about anatomy and physiology. Apparently, what we are working on has little to do with my knee itself; it seems it will do just fine on its own. Our goal is to rebuild my quadriceps muscles. It seems that any sort of trauma or swelling to your knee region deactivates, or shuts down, your quads, like that (imagine I just snapped my fingers). It explained a lot. Most of the issue I was having with walking was not as much pain in my knee as it was weakness in my leg. Talk about an “ah ha” moment. At my first visit even doing simple leg lifts was difficult, so difficult in fact I was afraid that I was just generally weak. I tried the lifts with my left leg and had no issue, so we’re safe.

At this point I’ve completed three of my nine PT sessions, and I can see some improvement. We start out with a warm up, my first two sessions I rode the stationary bike for a while and yesterday I got to rock out on the elliptical. After the warm up we check back in on my range of motion to ensure that is improving, and then I get to do more leg lifts. I mostly follow Allison around the gym and do as I’m told. Which can include standing on one leg and throwing a ball against a trampoline, doing squats on a balance board, or doing leg presses on a weight machine. Once the circuit is done I get to lie on a bed for 10 minutes with a bag of ice on my knee and reflect on the world around me…or play Draw Something on my iPhone, whichever seems more entertaining at the time.

Generally, in terms of strength, I think we’re seeing progress. In terms of pain in my knee, however, today it hurt more than it has in about a week. I am displeased with what I see as a setback, and also concerned in a paranoid “I broke it!” sort of way. But as people have reminded me several times today when I whined about being in pain, “I just had surgery.” Which reminds me of something my husband often says to me, “patience is a virtue…which you don’t have.”

Do you have any PT stories, good or bad?

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