T Nation

Activate Quad Post Knee Surgery

I recently got my knee operated on. What was to be a simple scope turned out a litlle bit bigger. My miniscus was well beyond when they usually operate and normally they would just excise it. However i somewhat knew the doctor and he at least knew my situation (football player) and saved it. He did microfractures in my knee so that bone marrow (stem cells) would mix with blood in my knee and rebuild the cartilage.

Anyways that was june.1st and here i’m today jjust got back from first day of physio ( yes i know late starting). Anyways the physio girl said my quad is pretty deactivated. I can barely flex it. While my other leg is big and defined my operated on one is very flabby and doesnt flex hardly at all. i was hoping for some input on how to recover. I got some excercises through physio but i thought some T-members would have some good advice regarding lifting and such.

I had a meniscus repair two weeks ago and I also do not have total quad activation. My PT said that it was due to swelling in the knee which causes weakness. I hope you get some good advice as I would like to get the same info. Good luck with the PT.

If you have swelling, the VMO simply isn’t going to fire the way it should. The swelling has a way of “inhibiting” the VMO, specifically when we are talking about terminal knee extension/hyperextension.

The best thing you can do is get the swelling under control and then work on motor control for the VMO. Good luck!

Stay strong
MR

Thanks mike. i dont know what VMO is. lol. But yes, it is swollen, not nearly as swollen as it used to be. It seems i can flex very hard right at the start of the knee but not the rest of the quad hardly at all. And im told alot of the swelling could be because of the bone marrow/blood mix deal i have.I wasnt prescribed any anti-inflammatories , just painkillers t3 and percocet. Ive hardly needed either.

I can walk pretty solid now. But the knee is still swollen and my quad is still pretty limp. I must say those these excercizes work alrite. Oh and incase this matters apparently my knee is 15 degree up when layed flat as possible. Meaning it doesnt hyperextend at all like the other does.

I found muscle activation was sped along quite a bit by touching the muscle I was trying to tense. Don’t try to overload your CNS and allow adequate time for recovery, don’t forget to stretch your quads either!

In the beginning Isometric contractions were helpful for me - over numerous points on your range of motion.

It’s important that you get your ROM equal to your other knee or you could be heading for a compensatory injury! Slow and easy does it for that one… the movement that I did involved sitting down, putting my ankle on something higher than my hip and gently attempting to straighten it. Pretty simple but it worked.

Whilst isolation exercises are ok, I think it better to move onto more ‘natural’ movements when you can. I found the muscle balance between my legs really started to improve when I started doing bodyweight ‘front’ squats in a hip width stance (feet parallel) with a ball between my knees. (Gradually ease into a greater range of motion.) Terminal Knee Extensions as per Dave Tate’s Toolbox were also good for my lagging leg. (Extra protein was useful to stop muscle wasting, but I don’t think anyone at T-Nation will be missing out in that department!)

After that, bodyweight full squats, lunges etc worked a charm. My advice is to hit the weights after you’ve got your muscle balance back, the swelling is gone, and your patella is tracking properly.

I had to see a whole bunch of doctors and physios who had little idea of what they were prescribing before I found a selection that worked for me. I hope you fare much better in your recovery than I!

Good luck!

[quote]Mike Robertson wrote:
If you have swelling, the VMO simply isn’t going to fire the way it should. The swelling has a way of “inhibiting” the VMO, specifically when we are talking about terminal knee extension/hyperextension.

The best thing you can do is get the swelling under control and then work on motor control for the VMO. Good luck!

Stay strong
MR[/quote]

That is basically what I was told as well. How are you feeling?