Recovering From Injury
By: Queue Murphy
Last December, I took a group of kids ranging in age from 7 – 14 years old rollerblading. I grew up ice skating and roller skating and really love it. Some of the kids knew what they were doing, but some didn’t, and I was skating around and helping them. One of the boys was struggling to get around the rink, so I showed him how to push his feet out, when I turned around, there was a 4-year-old stopped inches in front of me. I ran into her and we started to go forward. I quickly grabbed her and threw myself backwards so that she wouldn’t get hurt – the bottom half of my right leg stayed behind me as we fell backwards. Even over the loud music of the arena, I could hear my knee pop and a sharp pain. My son helped me up and I hobbled to the edge of the rink. By this time, my knee felt numb and I could put some weight on it. When I got home, I started icing it and elevating it. I called my sister who is a PTA (physical therapy assistant) and she gave me some advice, including going to the doctor. I didn’t have time – I had things to do….
For the next few weeks I hobbled around – when the pain got excruciating and icing didn't help, I got into my car and drove to the nearest emergency room. Whenever I got there, it was full of sick people with the flu so I turned around and went home…it would get better – right? Wrong.
By the time I did get to the doctor, it had been 2 weeks – they gave me some X-rays and an MRI – I had a torn meniscus, sprained MCL and slight tearing of the MCL. They advised me that I wouldn’t need surgery, but a brace and physical therapy.
The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that provides a cushion between your thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia). There are two menisci in each knee joint. They can be damaged or torn during activities with knee rotations. This YouTube video demonstrates what a meniscus is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x78k1JEjCfw. The MCL is a thick band of tissue located on the inside of your knee. It connects the thigh bone to the shin bone and provides stability to the inside of the knee. Here is a video describing the MCL injury: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2gglSSzVDk
So began my 6 weeks of physical therapy and hobbling around in a knee brace. This website describes some of the exercises I did at physical therapy and at home: http://www.summitmedicalgroup.com/library/adult_health/sma_meniscal_tear_exercises/. I also made sure I kept my knee moving by slowly riding my stationary bike. I used my opposite leg to keep my right leg moving on the pedals. As long as I kept my knee straight ahead, the pain was not so bad. I iced my knee every night. This Youtube video demonstrates some of the physical therapy I also went through: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uEmnz5prNo. I tried swimming for a while, but whenever I swam, it felt like everything below my knee was being separated from my thigh. I also had to stop swimming for a while also – my very favorite sport!
It has been 7 months since my injury and I still experience a burning pain in my knee – I’ve been told this is nerve repair going on inside my knee, but I continue to do research….I will let you know what I find out! I am now going on longer walks – up to 1 hour, slow swimming – flutter kick as frog kick still hurts, and bike riding. This has definitely taken longer than I thought to heal and has slowed me down quite a bit in chasing down kids and running around at work!