Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

They tried to make me go to rehab

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I said no, no, no. (If you don’t get that reference, please introduce yourself.)

I started this post to show you some of the things that I’ve been doing in therapy following my knee surgery (DeNovo NT tissue graft and tibial tubercle osteotomy), but I totally got sidetracked by all the songs that come up when you type “rehab” into the YouTube search box. There’s seriously a song for every type of rehab. Alcohol. Drugs. Love. But there’s nothing for the type of rehab that follows surgery. That’s just crazy. I bet there’s more people in PT than needing rehab for illegal substances. I want a song to motivate me!

Well, anyway. Right now, I’m doing mostly range of motion (ROM) exercises to regain my extension and flexion. Extension isn’t nearly as painful to work on as flexion. When I bend my knee, it feels like my incision is going to rip apart.

To work on my extension, I’m doing prone hangs 3 times a day and towel stretches 6 times a day. Prone hangs are the ones that make me feel the stretch. I have to lay on my bed on my stomach and let my lower leg hang off the side of the bed. With a 3-lb weight attached. This is close to what it looks like, but there’s no weight here. And I only hold for 6 minutes. The towel stretches are a bit easier on me, perhaps because I’ve been doing them since post-op day 1. Here’s what they look like.

To help increase my flexion, I’m doing heel slides. These started out in a chair for a week, and I wasn’t allowed to go past 90 degrees. Now that the 90 degree restriction has been lifted, I’m able to push it a little further. My PT told me to be careful with just how much I push it; I don’t need to push it too much because it’s coming along well. I really hate this exercise, and it’s rare that I can do much on the first couple reps. So instead of not pushing it, I tend to get upset and push it as far as I can possibly push it. Pulling my heel toward my rear end is not the problem (that only hurts on the incision line). The problem is when I release my heel and need to slide it forward again. This I cannot do without intense pain. I have to use both hands to hold my leg as I gently release it and let it slide on its own back down to the starting position. We haven’t worked on active extension, so I’m not sure what’s causing this particular pain.

I can tell that I’m getting some more flexion. But I can’t tell if my extension is improving. It will be measured in therapy on Friday, so I’ll know then. In the meantime, I’m going to keep entertaining myself with ridiculous songs about rehab. Have you met The Jolly Boys?


Author: Laura

I have a fern I named Frankenstein. I like leprechauns, practicing kung fu moves on my dining room furniture, and pretending that one day I will move to Fiji. I dislike my neighbors' kids, anything that is chartreuse, and Ben Roethlisberger.

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