I am back in physical therapy this week, which is such a relief after missing a week because I had to wait for insurance authorization. To date, I am a little more than 10 weeks past my surgery. My therapist told me that at about this time after surgery, the ACL graft is stronger and there is more blood flow and circulation to the area. This means that I can now start doing open-chain exercises in addition to the closed-chain exercises I am already doing. Currently, the closed kinetic chain exercises I am doing in physical therapy require that I always have my foot planted on a firm surface (leg press), however, now that I am okay to do open chain kinetic exercises, my leg is free to move and my knee is bending (leg extension). This is a big improvement for me because now I can work out my quad muscles more.
My first and only open kinetic exercise I did today was the leg extension with 5lbs of free weight. It was tough, but I was able to complete my 5 sets of 10 reps. In addition to the leg extension exercise, I also did two different lunges. I did full walking lunges (still without any weight) and I also did stationary lunges with my front leg on an inflated disk. That one was a challenge.
Next week will be a very big week for me in physical therapy. On Thursday, I am going to get hooked up to the biodex machine to test the strength of my right leg compared to my left leg. The Biodex machine is an isolated joint isokinetic system used for neuromuscular evaluation and therapeutic exercise to measure the amount of strength produced at different velocities. The machine will conduct this test by measuring the strength I produce in a series of hamstring curls and leg extensions. I will first have my left leg tested as a base measure, and then my right leg will be tested. The therapist told me that he is hoping I will test in the 70 percent range fore strength, which would be a good measure because that would indicate that I have regained about 70 percent of my strength back in my right leg. This test is critical because depending on how I do will determine if I can start with agility and jumping exercises, and eventually running. If I do really well on this test, I may be jogging in about a month. I really hope that I will be back to running soon, but I am not going to push it. Also, my knee is continuing to “pop,” which has me slightly concerned, but it isn’t painful yet, so I am hoping that this is just temporary.