Monday, January 3, 2011

My PT Workout

A couple of easy days later, swelling is under control. Thank goodness, since this morning's physical therapy was quite a workout and lasted 1 1/2 hours. I thought I'd try to list the exercises we did today, which included a couple of new ones:

*First, ice on the knee, with a pad under my heel, with slight electrical stimulation, designed to relax the knee, reduce swelling, and prepare me for the workout to follow.
*Next, several minutes of biofeedback, 10 seconds of working the quad (intensely pressing the back of the knee into the table) followed by 10 seconds of rest.
*Not sure of the name of this next machine. It's sort of like a stepper. I step down with the tkr leg, pushing it back until it locks, holding for a few seconds. Then I push down with the other leg. Repeats for 6 minutes.
*10 minutes on the bike. No resistance. Simply meant to loosen up and work the bend. It's kinda hard to get the seat at the right height for the pedals and NOT stress the knee on the upstroke. Ouch. But it gets easier as the time progresses. I usually try to get a bit of an aerobic workout with this exercise. It's just 10 minutes but it's better than nothing!
*With this next exercise, the knee pushes against a pad with moderate resistance. Straighten, hold for a few seconds with knee locked, then bend. 3 sets of 10.
*The same machine is then set to do hip abductor exercises for the tkr leg. Push leg out to the side, bring back down slowly. 3 sets of 10.
*Since my quad is getting stronger, they have added in the machine where you lie back and push with your legs against a resistance. 3 sets of 10.
*I refer to this next exercise as self-torture. For some reason they have replaced the machine that bends the knee with a do-it-yourself routine. I lie on my stomach and hold a strap that is slipped over the shoe of my tkr leg. I pull the leg towards my buttocks, holding the knee at an uncomfortable stretch for 10 seconds, then slowly lower the leg to the table. This self-torture is repeated for several minutes.
*The leg curl is an easy one, but only if I'm on the right machine. For some reason, the "other" machine causes my knee to "pop". 30 reps on this and then calf stretches. With a strap hooked over the toes of both shoes, pull back for 10 seconds, and relax. Repeat for 3 minutes.
*Another new one, this exercise involves walking backwards (with a strap and moderate weight) for a few paces (until the end of the rope so to speak), then walk slowly forward. The backwards walk works the knee which is straightened pulling back until locked against the weight. Walking forward works on balance as the weight is pulling on the one knee while walking towards the machine. 15 repetitions took probably 15 minutes. Whew...I could really feel this one on the back of the leg!
*Finally, time to ice the knee and work the quad with electrical stimulation of the muscle.

After such an intense therapy session, Tommy was surprised to see me doing my at-home exercises this evening. LOL!

Saw "god" today. My surgeon. The guy I've only seen three times in my life for probably a total of 10 minutes (not counting the time he spent in surgery with me unconscious)! And I'm being generous. I am so used to NOT seeing him, that I had already asked the PA all my questions and was getting ready to leave, when she said, "Hang on, he'll be in to see you in a few minutes". Huh? And he really did come in to see me. Looked at the scar, pushed the kneecap around a bit, had me straighten and lift, then bend to my maximum. Everything looked fine, fine enough that I don't see him for 6 months!

Oh, and now I am a card-carrying metal detector setter off-er. When I cause the alarms to go off at the airport, I'll have a card to show the TSA employee who will be eyeing me quite suspiciously and take me off to be searched anyway. I'm sure it will be fun.

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