Week 4: Bend it like Beckham

So today is the 4 week anniversary of my knee being sliced open and stuffed full of a dead guy’s body parts, which means that I get to do new stuff in physical therapy. This is good because I was getting extremely bored with doing the same things every single day. One thing I’m doing which is completely different is actually trying to bend my leg. I’m still not allowed to use my hamstrings, so I just have to pull on my foot with a towel until it bends about 75-80°.

As you can tell by my face, this is rather uncomfortable

I asked my physical therapist why it takes such a long time to be able to use your hamstrings, and she told me that it’s possible to tear out the PCL graft if you contract your hamstrings too forcefully. When I jokingly asked her if I should run a few sprints to test that theory she gave me a dead-serious, wide-eyed “no” in response. I don’t know if that graft is being held in place by chewing gum or what, but it’s a 3 month wait before any leg curl-type activities can be done.

To hear my therapist tell it, this is exactly what would happen if I contracted my hamstrings before week 12

In addition to the bending stuff, I’m also doing some hip adduction/abduction, calf raises, body weight “squats” (more like slight bends), and I’m starting to get used to walking without my humongous knee brace. Prior to yesterday, the only time I’ve not worn my knee brace is while sleeping or showering, so the fact that I walked around and did exercises without it on for about an hour straight was pretty exciting. The first few steps I took without it were a little squirrelly, and I felt a little like Bambi in the scene from that movie where he’s just learning to walk and he falls on his ass a bunch of times. Luckily, I didn’t have a bunch of woodland critters running haphazardly around my feet like Bambi did.

"After we're done here, let's go trip up that baby deer while he tries to learn how to walk"

In other news, my new favorite thing to do at physical therapy is to mess with my therapist, Ginny. Over the course of our therapist/therapee relationship, I’ve pretended to scream in agony when she touches my knee, switched the E-Stim electrodes from my right knee to my left knee (to make her think that my left knee is the injured one) and then jerked my left knee way past 90° (which almost gave her a heart attack), and I constantly badger her with ridiculous questions about when I can start practicing my trampoline routine for the next Olympics.

How on Earth is this an Olympic sport when baseball isn't?

Ginny’s a good sport, and she has a good sense of humor so she can usually laugh about these things after her blood pressure drops a few points. Yesterday, though, she finally decided to start firing back. This is a verbatim transcription of a conversation we had yesterday while I was practicing balancing on my right leg:

Ginny: Now…if you feel like you’re going to fall, just grab the bar there and put your left leg down.

Andrew: Oh, really? Are you sure you don’t want me to just fall down?

Ginny: I actually kind of wish you would fall down, since you’re being such a smartass about everything.

We have a real good time in therapy, Ginny and me. Her time for revenge will come, though, when it’s time for her to start bending my knee for me. This is about how I imagine that day is going to go:

Oh my God I'm SORRRRYYYYY!!!!

About Andrew Sacks

I'm a 27-year-old former college baseball player, currently working as a strength and conditioning coach in Baltimore, MD.
This entry was posted in Knee injury, Recovery and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Week 4: Bend it like Beckham

  1. Christine says:

    hi there, You have a great sense of humor ! I thank you for taking the time to write this blog, almost 2 weeks ago, I had a partial knee replacement , redering me as the ” Bionic woman due to the metal that was put in as a replacement and I came across your blog. How are you doing ? I pray you are doing well and gain mobility every day !


  2. Helena says:

    Oh my! I am 4 weeks post surgery for an MPFL reconstruction, old screw removal and some patella “smoothing” (I did a nice job roughing up the edges, I guess it wasn’t secure or something). This is surgery #2 for my right knee, the other I broke the patella bone and had a screw put in. I start physical therapy today and I’m dreading it! My zombie parts aren’t ready to be tortured!

    I laughed so hard at the “felt like Bambi” comment about your first steps. I attempted some first steps without crutches yesterday and even in my brace they were not so fabulous.

    Thanks for writing this. I’m still looking over pages and pages, but to know that many other people go through these post-surgery/recovery phases and challenges is great.

  3. Pranav Khattri says:

    Hey…My name is Pranav Khattri. I play soccer for my College Football Team and have been a regular Right Back for the past 3 years. Recently, I twisted my knee and have been out for 5 weeks. The ortho I visited told me that there was no problem with the bones and ligamentsaround my knee and on doing exercises for a a week or two I would be fine. I resumed playing a little after a week but, am getting a ‘pull’ at the back of my knee…You have any reasons for that? Do I need a surgery?

    • Andrew Sacks says:

      It’s hard to say with that amount of information. But I would guess that if your ortho said you were OK then you’re probably OK. As long as your knee still feels stable you probably don’t need surgery.

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