You never know when life is going to throw you a curve. My curveball came the week before Memorial Day, when I tripped in the garage (on my way to exercise) and broke my patella, i.e., kneecap.
Wrapped, Wired, My Wounded Knee
Two days later, Dr. Jason Sadowski bolted the kneecap, wrapped it with wire and sent me home in a leg brace designed to keep my right leg absolutely straight for six weeks. Yep, zero degrees at all times. The first two weeks were the toughest, not only because of some pain, but because I felt so limited. I couldn’t drive, I had to take stairs one at a time, and when I walked, I looked like Frankenstein’s monster.
Of course, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would ever walk correctly again. Would I be able to do yoga again? Take the dog on long walks? But I had heard about the x10 machine years before from a friend (never imagining I would someday need it!), so when the six weeks were up and it was time to start moving my leg and knee, I was thrilled to take the X10 for a spin.
It was surprisingly simple to use; the set up and explanation couldn’t have taken more than 30 minutes. Basically, you put your leg in between two rollers and the machine helps move it out and back. The great thing is you determine how far you can comfortably go — no one is pressing on your knee asking if that hurts. I consider myself fairly determined, and when I saw that the flexion number was 130 (I was at 63 the first day on the machine), it was like okay, I’m going there. Every day there was progress, and I could see that I was getting stronger and better. The machine comes with a phone coach and Erin checked in with me regularly (my progress was also sent to her electronically) and gave me tips about managing the stairs more fluently and using the machine to strengthen my hamstrings.
An X10 Coach for Linnea and her Wounded Knee
Each X10 patient has the benefit of partner in recovery. A confident. Advocate. Buddy… Coach. Erin Rempher, PTA, worked with Linnea on her recovery on the X10.
Erin share’s her perspective on Linnea’s post-surgery recovery here.
Linnea had an incredible recovery! After being in a brace that held her leg in full extension for 6 weeks it was amazing to see her make consistent forward progress to get the knee bending again. She was motivated to get her life back, especially walking her dog, which was a part of her daily life that was missing. Her determination was perfectly blended with patience and she following coaching instructions exactly, making gains of a few degrees each day.
She never seemed discouraged and was aware that this path was going to get her where she needed to go. As her range of motion improved she was able to resume daily activities with practice including increasing her walking distance, going up stairs normally, and by the end of it she spent 4 days walking all over New York!”
So in three weeks, I progressed from 63 to 130 degrees, got rid of the brace, and started walking the dog a mile or two a day. A day after I finished on the machine, my husband and I headed to New York, where we walked 4 or 5 miles each day, saw shows and generally gave my knee a workout. When I returned home and followed up with a physical therapist, he was really impressed with my range.
I credit the X10 for bringing my knee — and life — back to normal. I wish everyone with knee issues had access to it — it was a lifesaver for my wounded knee.
The X10 Meta-Blog
We call it a “Meta-Blog” because we step back and give you a broad perspective on all aspects of knee health, surgery and recovery. Linnea Got Her Groove Back After Wounded Knee. Patella Fracture Rehabilitation.
In this one-of-a-kind blog we gather together great thinkers, doers, writers related to Knee Surgery, Recovery, Preparation, Care, Success and Failure. Meet physical therapists, coaches, surgeons, patients, and as many smart people as we can gather to create useful articles for you. Whether you have a surgery upcoming, in the rear-view mirror, or just want to take care of your knees to avoid surgery, you should find some value here. Executive Editor: PJ Ewing (firstname.lastname@example.org)