My dislocation of the patella – physiotherpay and beyond
This is the third and final segment of my lateral dislocation of my right patella saga. The journey has taken us through the early stages, the middle stages, and now its ultimate conclusion: the physiotherapy.
The first week of physio was really tough. My quadriceps had completely disappeared. I had no muscle, it was weird to look at and depressing to see how quickly muscle can deteriorate (the doctor and physiotherapist both said that after 3 days of inactivity your muscles will start to deteriorate, your body determines that it isn’t essential so it breaks it down ). But my quad wasn’t the focus; it was my knee, and getting its full range of motion back. At the beginning of the week I could barely bend my knee at all, but after a grueling week of physio my range started improving. Aside from the exercises, I also had the electrodes hooked up to the knee; this would work the muscle around the knee. I also had an ultrasound type thing that was rubbed around the knee and surrounding area to break up the scar tissue that had formed on the tendons. What happened in my situation was that I had stretched my tendon to the point of just about breaking it apart, and because of that trauma there was a lot of micro fibrous tears throughout the tendon; and that is what the physiotherapist needed to repair as well.
This aspect of my recovery stayed consistent throughout. The other areas came once he felt my range of motion was good, as well as my balance and step.
From there I moved into doing the bicycle as well as the leg press, and the kick-back/kick-forward machine. The leg press wasn’t too bad, it was low weight with increasing repetitions (over time the weight was increased as well). Once again it is amazing how weak my leg had become because of this whole situation. However, my progress was good and I kept on trucking. The kick forwards were really really bad though, and painful too.
The bicycle, well, at the beginning it was DEADLY! At first I couldn’t do a complete rotation, it hurt way too much. Being the guy that I am though, I thought “let’s just give er a bit more shall we?” and by accident I made a full rotation; dear sweet-lord did I pay for it, it hurt something awful and the physiotherapist gave me some harsh words as well. It was a stupid move on my part and I never tried to be a rock-star in my recovery from that point forward. I did what I was told and went at my physiotherapists pace.
As I had mentioned in the previous post, after the first week I switched the crutches for a cane, which wasn’t too bad since he taught me how to use it properly (parallel with your bad leg as you walk and not out in front of it like a lot of people do), and after a week of the cane it was no aids whatsoever. It was a bit tricky at first but I eventually got the hang of it, although stairs were still quite hard and I had to concentrate and take it easy.
Another great recommendation by my physiotherapist was water therapy. All I needed was a swimming pool that had a shallow area that got progressively deeper. The reason for this was that in the beginning I was simply to just walk around in water that was up to my waist, what this allowed for was my body to get that sense of balance and the walking movement/motion yet still having the benefit of the water to help take the strain of weight and gravity off my leg. After doing this for a while I also added in periods of doing the bicycle motion under water as well. I really felt that this additional component of my physiotherapy really helped the progress of my recovery.
All in all everything was slow and took time but I kept progressing well. The only problem was that work was pushing to have me return to work, and before I knew it they asked my physiotherapist for his recommendation. Being the ethical gentleman that he is (which is important to me) he let them know that although I still required therapy I wasn’t in a position where I couldn’t travel to work and do my job. And that was the end of that. I was back to work and my life returned to its normal state and physiotherapy fell by the way side. It is completely my fault for letting that happen. I could have found some way to balance a strong continued recovery regimen but I didn’t. And I know that I am not 100% recovered because of it. My leg gained some muscle back but not close to what I had before. My knee still hurts from time to time depending on my level of activity, and the weather tends to affect it also, especially when it is a damp and rainy day. It makes crunchy noises too at times, which has me worried that scar tissue may have built back up. That being said, I need to fit my recovery back into my schedule or else things will never get better. I don’t want to be the person that says oh well, I guess that is the way things are and I am just going to have to live with it; I don’t want to live with this discomfort and pain, I don’t want to think that way, and I agree that right now this is the way things are but they don’t have to stay this way. I can do something to change it. And I will.
If anyone else has a knee injury recovery story I would love to hear it.
All the best,