Knee Surgery Prehab

Before I continue writing about the excitement of my recent trip and encounters with some very cool people, it is time to come back to the knee article I promised a few months ago.

In November my cat ran into my leg and my knee popped.  By the middle of December I was using crutches most days and looking forward to the doctor appointment after the first of the year.  In January an MRI was ran and the back of my patella (knee cap) looked like confetti while there was also cartilage torn from the femur with a bit of bone ripped away from it…definitely time for surgery.

For those who know what an avid CST practitioner I am, I can assure you that the damage was not done via my training.  The damaged area was greatly weakened by a nasty infection.  My cat and then my dog ran into my leg and finished off the damage.  However, the rest of my knee was picture perfect, and that I will attribute to my daily practice of Intu-Flow®.

Since I knew surgery was coming but the surgeon I wanted was out of the country, I had a few weeks to prepare.  There was a chance that I wasn’t going to be able to put weight on that leg for as long as 3 months, so I had my work cut out for me.

A quick run through of what was needed yielded the following list:

Crutches

  1. Arm and core strength:  If you want to avoid an impingement syndrome from the crutches smashing into your armpits, and you do, you will be using your arms and core a lot.  Walking is an illusion with crutches.  The healthy leg acts more like a pivot.  If you think it is easy, try doing burpees from your bedroom to the living room while using only one foot—welcome to crutching.
  2. Compensation for so much pushing with the arms and abdominal contractions
  3. An uneven pelvis from holding one leg up while standing on the other
  4. Compensation for the uneven pelvis

Non-weight bearing on the right

  1. A strong left leg while standing
  2. The ability to move around with both hands and one foot without touching the right leg to the bed/floor/etc.
  3. Balance—if you think you have it, wait until you test it by crutching to the bathroom and successfully sitting on the toilet after a drugged night’s sleep. (When the pain meds bottle says not to operate heavy machinery, I’m pretty sure that includes me on crutches.)
  4. Compensation for the left leg doing all the work

Unable to bend the right knee

  1. Enough flexibility to put on clothes… you don’t want to be trying to lasso your foot with your undies.  Plus, once you get them on the injured leg and over the brace that runs to your upper thigh and the sutures, you have to get the other foot in there too.  Flexibility is major.
  2. Sitting requires that the left leg can lower and raise you either by itself or with some help from your arms.

What I did:

  1. Intu-Flow® every day—got to have nutrition pumped in and gunk pumped out.  My knee was injured, but there was no need to starve the rest of the joint or the rest of my body.
  2. Forward Pressure on day 2 of 4—I did the beginner version and because I couldn’t tolerate any weight on the knee cap at that point, I did it with the right leg held up and back.  I also removed any of the flow that wouldn’t allow the right knee to be modified out of it.
  3. Forward Pressure compensations daily—I kept these up even after the surgery
  4. Quad hop switches on day 3 of 4—the ability to balance and be strong while moving around in that position was priceless.  I used it getting on and off the bed, getting in and out of the shower, getting in and out of the CPM machine, etc.
  5. Crab walk, shoulder bridges, and 1-legged shoulder bridges on day 3 of 4—all of these helped me move and get clothes on and off
  6. Seal pose and “superman” on day 3 of 4—to help counter all the forward contractions
  7. Forest flow (from the Prasara Series “A” DVD) on day 4 of 4—balance, balance, balance with strength, strength, strength.  After a few weeks, I could stand on one leg for as long as 5 minutes before the burn was too great.  It allowed me to have some independence to cook and brush my teeth, etc.  Plus it was where the flexibility to also get the good leg in my pants was created.  I also practiced this entirely on the floor so it could serve as compensatory work post surgery.
  8. BeBreathed and Coach Murdock’s “Beyond Sit-ups” on day 4 of 4—I now have a stronger core than I have ever had in my life.  As a result of the work I did with this and the attention I paid to proper crutching technique (plus Intu-Flow®), even after months on crutches, I had zero low back pain.
  9. Leg swoops on day 4 of 4—These were modified a bit and mostly it was the right leg I trained because it couldn’t take being squatted.  I sat on the floor and tried to get up without putting any weight on my leg.  The only way I could do it without furniture near was to perform a modified leg swoop that led to me standing.  Reverse it and I could sit down.

That’s the program I did and the reasoning behind it.  Other than wishing I had started Forest earlier, it served me very well and kept my frustrations to a minimum.

Post-surgery I did daily Intu-Flow® for everything but the right knee.  I also did yoga to compensate for all of the time in bed.  You can see the leg all bandaged and in the CMP maching if you look to the left of my very attentive “helper” in the above picture.

After the first week, I worked out every other day.  It took some creative thinking to design a program that would allow me to maintain balance, keep making physical progress, and to leave the repaired leg out of it.  In another month, I’ll film and post the entire progression.  I think that even those who can use their legs will enjoy it.  😉

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