Week 7: What is 25 Percent?

As my team rebounded last weekend and beat Tacoma, I crutched along the sidelines filming in chunks to try to get some exposure for the team via my Facebook page. Let me tell you that crutching and filming is kind of difficult but I got it done. This is an example of what my mentality has been like. It’s not always pretty but I find a way to get it done.

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This was my first week of physical therapy. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. I have been warned about how long a climb it is and I understand but as an athlete, I have been craving progress that is tangible and although PT is a long journey, it is one I can measure which makes me happy.

I went in on Tuesday for my first appointment. I made sure to request the clinic that is closest to my work to make it more convenient, knowing I’ll be going there a lot. I filled out some paperwork and waited in the lobby until I was met by my physical therapist who I am now entrusting with the road map of my recovery.

We went into a side room and went over my info. She let me know that she has not seen my combination of injuries before and only 1 other person in the clinic has seen anything close. This has been a theme as I previously stated, when I tried to research it, I can’t find anything.

This in itself has been challenging mentally because you want to feel like the people around you know exactly the timeline you should be on and they have been through it before. ACL’s are so common now that they have really gotten so much better at getting people back from them. This combo of injuries just apparently has not had as much time to perfect the process.

Because of the many unknowns, I’ve had to try to rely on my internal strength and basically tell myself that this path is not well worn and that I will have to keep my focus on smaller goals as I go, rather than compare my progress to others. This will be my journey and I’ll have to make it on a path that is not well marked.

I laid out on the table after I took of my brace and we worked on firing my quad. My quad has been reduced to a ghost of itself as not putting weight on your leg for weeks will definitely weaken it.  In order for me to be able to start walking again, I need to rebuild the quad so my leg can support my weight.

Since my quad was not firing well we hooked it up to a TENS machine for elecro therapy. It’s a little box that has 2 wires attached to it. At the end of the wires are patches that you put on your skin like stickers. One wire is the positive end and one is the negative end. You turn on the device and it sends electric pulses into your muscle. When the volume gets high enough, it can make your muscle contract basically on its own. When I felt my quad twitch I would work with it to try to get the quad to fire.

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We then worked on heel slides where I would see how far I could bend my knee. I was at around 60 degrees and we need to get to 100 degrees in next coming weeks. The other enemy I have to deal with is swelling and soft tissue which makes my knee stiff and hard to bend. This combined with my weaker quad makes it harder to get range.

I left that appointment with my schedule of 2 appointments a week for the next 6 weeks for my next leg of my rehab and a list of exercises to do at home.

On Wednesday, I received a package of supplements I had ordered called Primaforce Cissus which helps with joint pain. I’ll be adding that to my arsenal and seeing how that helps but I’ve heard good things about it.

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Thursday, I went back to PT. This time it was my physical therapist and her assistant. I think the assistant gets my dry sense of humor so we will be just fine. We started by doing the electro therapy again. I could feel my quad responding slightly more than last time.

We then went to attempting to lift my leg off the table and doing leg lifts. Sadly, I can’t yet do this but weirdly, I still liked it because I could feel the quad kicking in, despite its weakness. I felt the resistance and I knew at least it was being worked.

I then got a soft tissue massage from the assistant which felt nice. I think I need to get that more.

We then worked on ankle pumps where I basically just move my foot up and down to help with swelling.

Then I got down and braced against the table and worked on weight baring. I’m supposed to be at 25 percent. I actually think I’m further along in this area. Maybe it’s from when I have to cook or clean in the kitchen and have to put my crutches down to move around. I don’t put full weight on my foot but I think it’s more than 25 percent.

I might have to work to reign that back in as my therapist was adamant about 25 percent. Although, 25 percent is actually kind of hard to do!  Seriously, stand up right now. Now stand on one leg at full weight and the other at 25 percent. Kind of awkward huh? I’ll have to work on this.

We then did hip abductor exercises where I moved my leg sideways. Then backwards for the glutes. Both of these were completely fine.

We then retested how my bend and I’m up to 70 degrees. An inch at a time we go.

I left this appointment, trying to concentrate on this 25 percent thing.

I will say in a few short days I do feel more range coming back. I’m excited to see how I progress. My next appointment is on Tuesday and I have homework to work on.

In the spirit of the NFL draft where the 1st rounders who get invited to be at the draft live all get to pick a walk up song, ala baseball players when they approach the plate, I leave you with what would be my walk up song:

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