I’m now in the sixth week of my quadriceps tendon repair recovery. At this point, I can walk about without crutches, which is nice. I also started physical therapy on Monday, although what I am supposed to is rather limited.
Rather than just “blah blah” about me (although I’m sure many folks would love to hear about me), I’ll say a bit about the sort of exercises you can expect, should you suffer the misfortune of tearing your quadriceps tendon. Naturally, what your doctor and PT have you do might vary from this. Also, it is very important that you do what they say. I am just blogging about what I’m doing-not what you should do.
At week six, the exercises are very limited and quite basic. The first is called “patellar mobilization.” While this sounds like an alien army gearing up for war, it is simply manually moving your knee cap (patella). To do this, you sit on a firm, flat surface and gently move your knee cap side to side and then up and down with your hands.
The second is the quad set (sometimes called “quadriceps setting”). To do this, you lay down and bend the healthy knee. You then tighten up the muscles on top of your thigh and hold for about 5 seconds. Then you relax. Then you do it again. A variant of this involves pushing your knee down so that the underside of the knee is pressed against the surface.
The third is a hamstring set, also known as a heel slide. To do this, you lay down and bend your knee to a height of roughly six inches. Then, push the heel down and pull it back towards your body, holding for 5 seconds. Repeat.
The fourth is an assisted knee bend. It can be done lying down or in a chair. You just slide the leg so the knee bends, using your arms to assist (not force!) the motion. Repeat.
The fifth is another knee bend. For this one, you sit in a chair (pick a stable one with room to move), bend your knee and then gently slide your butt forward, thus causing the knee to bend more. Repeat.
The sixth is a hamstring stretch. It is just a hurdler‘s stretch without bending the other leg. Lie down and gently stretch out over the injured leg, reaching for the foot. Hold about 15 seconds and then repeat.
As you probably noticed, the exercises are all fairly low effort. The idea is to help increase flexion while restoring some basic strength to the muscles. Once the repair is properly healed, then real exercise can begin.
Obviously, it is vitally important to follow your doctor’s and PT’s specifications While it is tempting to try to push it, it is wisest to take it slowly and sensibly. While I am normally the sort of person who pushes his recovery, this time I’m being sensible. Thinking of going through the past five weeks again after having second surgery makes it easy for me to stick with what I should do.
In two weeks I’m supposed to be able to start doing exercises in the pool and to start using a stationary bike with both legs. I’ve been pedaling with one leg since my injury, so it will be nice to be able to use both (albeit at very low resistance).
SPARTAN-367 (PAT) says
Keep moving forward you’ll be back in no time!
Michael LaBossiere says
Error Mike: the hamstring set is an isometric exercise, meaning that there is no movement at the knee or anywhere else. You just activate the hamstring and contract, as if you were digging in with your heel. The heel slide is an isotonic exercise, meaning you activate and contract the hamstring and the knee joint will decrease its angle because there is movement; so your heel will actually get closer to your butt and back and forth. During the hamstring set the distance between your heel and your butt stays the same.
Michael LaBossiere says
Heck, that would explain why the cats exploded when I did it. Fortunately, I can clone them from the fragments. Again. 🙂
I really hope that things are moving along well with your recovery. Just do what the rehab people say and you’ll be fine. Strength training will be an absolute must when your tendon is strong enough to begin. I would suggest continuing strength training even when you restart running.
Here’s my article on the NASA workout, you may have read it:
Yes, this means getting as strong as possible. And never stopping. Ignore the purists who say that weight lifting hurts running; they’re wrong.
As you know, weakness is not a virtue.
Michael LaBossiere says
So far, so good. I’m recovered enough that I’m getting those “must run” feelings again. Fortunately, the exercise bike eases the cravings a bit.
Strength training is an excellent idea; especially since I’m getting older and will certainly need that extra boost.
Weakness is an engraved invitation to victim hood.