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Posted in Team Finish Line.

March 4th, 2016

What Does a PT Do to Rehab?

Despite what you might think, PTs do get injured. We’re human just like you!

Last week, I talked through how I injured myself and my thought process for running through pain (not something I necessarily advise). Now I want to talk through how I have rehabbed my injury.

The Injury: I had a slight avulsion (detachment) of the patellar tendon at its insertion on the tibia. Basically a small portion of the tendon pulled off the shin bone.

The Symptoms: I had intense pain to touch where the tendon attached to the shin bone. My knee would buckle while walking, and going up and down stairs was very difficult. I basically had pain with any contraction of my quad or bending of my knee.

The Treatment:
Week 1-4: Rest! I did not do any cardio or lower-leg exercises that would contract the quad. It takes soft tissue about 6 weeks to heal. Yes! You heard me correctly: 6 weeks! There was no point in pushing it now.

In order to improve healing time, I wanted to increase blood flow to the tendon. I used every recovery tool I could think of: voodoo band wrap, compression sleeves and foam roller on my quad. I moved my knee as much as possible without cause a lot of pain. I included 3D stretching to all muscles except the quad since I did not want to pull on the tendon.

I also decided to work on my upper body and core strength, which included the push-up and pull-up matrices, standing core strengthening, plank matrix and hamstring strengthening. All exercises were 100% pain free to my knee.

Week 4-6: After 4 weeks my knee started to feel much better. The pain was not as sharp with activity, although it was still pretty tender to touch. I was able to add in biking. I started with 15 minutes and have worked up to 40 minutes. I also added in some light lunging and hopping.

Quick Tips:

  • Allow the injury proper time to heal! Do not rush the process. Rushing it might end up prolonging your recovery.
  • Figure out ways to improve healing time. For soft tissue injuries, improving blood flow to the area is important. Using recovery tools such as voodoo band wraps, compression sleeves and foam rolling can help.
  • Move as much as you can without causing more damage to the injury.
  • Work on other parts of your body that may be weak. I don’t often spend enough time improving my upper body strength, but this was a perfect opportunity for that.
  • Find a professional to help. You will get better faster and return to running stronger.

Stay tuned for part 3 next week. I’m going to talk through how I plan to return to running!

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