Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

The mysterious VMO

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I tried to get a picture so that we could play a rousing game of “Can You Spot the VMO?” Irritatingly, Mowgli would not get out of the way. He’s super helpful like that, and he thinks he’s better than any PT. You can also see some evidence of his ridiculous haircut. He yowled loud enough that I was concerned my neighbors would call animal control, so I had to stop before I was finished. Now, he looks quite terrible. Like rats chewed on him. But I digress.

Mowgli, my cat, helps with PT.

“See? I’m helpful! I’m holding your heel in place. You couldn’t do this without me.”

I have heard about my VMO (vastus medialis oblique) for something like two years now. It’s been the focus of physical therapy through three different PT’s, and now I’m on to the fourth who thinks that getting the VMO to fire correctly is key to making my knee work. I think that, at this point, it’s clear even to me that my knee will never function the same again. This truth has taken a long time to sink in, but it’s been staring me in the face for years, and no amount of stubborn is going to change that. Our goal now is to get it to a point where I’m not thinking about it all the time and wondering if some activity is going to wreak havoc and cause pain or swelling. Our goal is simply to be able to live my life.

I was frustrated last week that it took me an hour to do two sets of four exercises–four extremely simple exercises–because I couldn’t do them all correctly, and I can’t count the ones that aren’t done correctly. Well, I probably could; I just can’t bring myself to count them. I simply had to make my VMO fire for two of the exercises, and I couldn’t do it every time. My brain apparently ended its relationship with my muscle. Clearly, it was a bad break-up because my brain has no desire to rekindle the relationship. You can see in the picture up there that it’s not exactly anything to write home about, so I don’t blame my brain. But it’s going to bend to my will sooner or later. If not, I will shock it into submission. That’s right. Electro-shock therapy for my VMO.

In the meantime, I’ve now added a couple more exercises to my routine. More super simple exercises that are incredibly difficult for me to execute correctly. Grr. A couple of the exercises are to strengthen my hip because the muscles up there are allowing my leg to rotate internally, screwing up my knee. Unlike Shakira’s, my hips apparently lie. But sooner or later, those muscles will submit to my will, too. Mind over matter!

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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