Browsing all articles from April, 2013

Knee Surgery – No More Therapy

Posted Posted by DetectiveEstes in Detective Estes' Corner     Comments No comments

This is the continuing saga of left leg knee surgery.

On Tuesday, April 16th, I had my last therapy for my knee after surgery. The therapy took a total of 105 days after surgery. My therapist, Jorge, said 100% would not be for near a year, but I could have the other knee done in August. Jorge commented that one day I would notice that I had not had any aching from the knee and would realize it had been several days since I had felt anything amiss. Jorge also said that I would have the knee strength built back by August.

At the end of the therapy, I received several more exercises to do daily. I’ve described the previous exercises and will describe the newest ones as well. I am fortunate that my gym has all the machines as well as the large balls I can use for squat exercises.

Here are the exercises: 1) leg press. Using a machine, sit on movable table, with as much weight as I can stand in addition to my own weight. Feet up on a non-movable table. Push my body & added weight till legs straighten. Do this 30 times once per day.
(2) Leg raise – Using a machine, sit, adjust a pad over my ankles, and add weight. Push legs forward until straight out, lower slowly until all the way down. 30 reps once a day.
(3) Hamstring exercise. May be called something else on a leg machine. Legs straight out, pad under the ankles, add weight. Press leg down as far as possible. Slowly rise back to level. 30 reps once a day. On all three of the above exercises, do with only the affected leg. So far, the weights added on the machine are only about an extra 30-50 pounds low to high. This means the weight begins with the first 10 reps at 30-35 pounds and ends with the last 10 reps at about 50 pounds.
(4) This is a kind of stair exercise and was done at therapy on a step of less height than a regular step. Now that I’m out of therapy I can no longer find a lower step so I use either my own stairs in my house, or the steppers in the gym which are about 13-14″ high. The first exercise of this kind is step up on the stair, then step back with the right foot and lower that foot down till just the toe touches the floor behind me, then push back up with the affected knee till the right foot is returned to the step. 30 reps, but I can do these exercises anytime during the day.
(5) Similar exercise as #4, except that I step up with the affected foot onto the stair, then bring the unaffected foot over the step and forward of the step as though I will step down, except don’t step all the way down. 30 reps, but again I can do this as many times as I want during the day. (5) Very similar to # 4 except my affected foot is on top, but close to the right side of the step. I bent my affected leg and lower my right leg down until the heel touches, then raise back up till my affected leg is straight. (30 reps. (6) this is done with one of those large exercise balls. Put the ball behind my back, legs out in front of me at shoulder width. Squat as far as I can, hold a few seconds, raise back up to legs straight. 30 reps.

Two other exercises are done with strap equipment. The first is to place a strap with a loop in it so the loop is around the affected leg’s foot. Lying on my stomach, I pull the leg up by the strap until I can feel a pull in my muscle on top of my thigh. Hold for a count of 20, release. 30 reps. By this time the therapy had me doing this; I had no ache at all from bending this sharply of my affected leg. The second exercise is done with an elastic strap. It’s sold under the name of ‘Thera-band’. There are several colors which correspond to how much tension the strap has. I used the green strap for this exercise. Green is next to the highest tension. In this exercise, the strap is placed on an immovable object and around my leg. It is pre-tied so it’s one continuous loop. Placing the affected leg in the loop and stand with feet a bit apart, but parallel, I raise the affect foot up and push forward with it. It appears to be a kick to an onlooker. 30 reps. Another exercise with this strap is to swing the affected leg forward and back. 30 reps.

If you get the feeling that 30 reps is a lot, but seems to be the usual number, you would be correct. The therapists say to do the exercise with 10 reps 3 times. This makes it seem less difficult when you are told to do this. In reality though, it’s just as tough to do 3 x 10 as it is to do 30 in a row.

Since I’ve been away from therapy, I’ve tried to continue with the same therapy. I have to say it is far easier to attend a designated hour of therapy than it is to attempt to designate an hour out of the day. My wife and I go to the gym every day, but still, in the time we spend at the gym there isn’t enough time to do these exercises, get some cardio workout, and do some weight lifting as well. So far, I’m doing stationary bike for a while and splitting my leg exercises on one day, and the next day using the lifting time for my arms. So far it has worked out ok but it sure isn’t as good as having an hour of therapy plus an hour of gym time.

Knee Surgery – Forward

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I’ve been remiss. I noticed my last post on this subject was on March 13. It has now been 76 days since my knee surgery on January 21st. This is the continuing saga of my recovery until return to 100% knee usage.

As stated in other previous posts, one of my reasons for having this surgery was to return to rifle shooting correctly. On March 17 I competed in a high power rifle silhouette match. I won part of that match. My replaced knee did not hurt at all.

I am getting close to the end of therapy. Jorge has set up two more therapies and both he and Liz have measured my range of motion recently. Jorge got my knee to bend at 125 degrees, and this past Thursday Liz got it to bend at 127 degrees. Their goal was to get the bend at 120 degrees! I’m there!! I can also straighten my leg completely out so it is flat, or even if the heel is raised somewhat, I can stretch the leg so it bends backward some. Jorge & Liz are introducing new exercises to regain leg strength to go with the range of motion. Jorge said that the therapy is to bring my range of motion back to 100% or beyond what it was prior to the surgery. He also commented that the strength will have to be worked out by me after therapy ends.

Recently, I noticed that I am having some difficulty and achyness going up stairs, coming down stairs, getting out cars, especially on the driver’s side, squatting & returning to standing, and in general, things that require bending the knee and returning upright.

This evening I went to a viewing of a friend who used to work at the PD and then at the Sheriff Department. I arrived there around 6:20 and left at about 7:30. I stood the entire time I was there. By the time I left, my right knew was nearly to the point of not being able to function. The right knee is the knee which has not been replaced. My left knee, on the other hand, was slightly achy, but only when it was severely bent getting back into my car to go back home.

Another thing that is bothersome is I feel like I’m not quite on balance. I can walk. I can turn. But I am not easily able to walk and turn. For example, to turn my body to enter the car, before surgery I could step on the ball of my foot and turn 90 degrees then step forward into the car, and bring my left foot in afterwards. Now, so far, it’s difficult to get in and out. I have not done the ball of the foot & turn since the surgery. When stepping into the car, my right knee aches. After stepping in with right foot, and sitting (which is now a relatively slow process), I then attempt to drag the left foot in while lifting it up over the floor. This is an achy proposition at this time.

Now, all of this may seem like I’m whining. Not so. This is a blog to all who read so they might know my feelings as I recover from knee surgery. It’s also for myself so when I get my right knee done I’ll already know the facts of recovery and what to expect. I am trying to show that not everything is peaches and roses during the recovery. Even though this surgery has been a great change from a knee which was near useless to be able to do things I wanted to do, it has not been simply a surgery and off I go living happily ever after with no pain. Not quite true, but almost.

I guess this is why Jorge commented that I would be 100% in about 6 months to a year.

The saga continues….

About Detective Estes

Detective EstesMr. Estes has lived in the DC Metropolitan area for most of his life. His father’s influence and expertise in firearms resulted in Mr. Estes beginning to rifle shoot at a young age and eventually shooting on the Washington-Lee High School rifle team in Arlington, VA.

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