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).