Monthly Archives: March 2011

Total Knee Replacement 4.0 The First Ten Days

Believe it or not, but it has been ten days since the TKR.  Where does the time go?  Today was another challenging day of PT with range of motion exercises along with some basic strength exercises. But another big thing that happened today was that I got my staples out!  All 23 staples came out.  I wasn’t sure what to expect…I mean, there were 23 staples that needed to be pulled out!  But long story short, they all came out fairly smooth.  A little tug and pinch here and there but seriously, compared to the other stuff, I didn’t feel a thing. 

The other big thing that happened today…a walk outside! Granted, it was down to my neighbors driveway and back but hey, ten days ago I was going from a bed to a chair with a WALKER! So all in all it was a pretty good day.

So a little PT, time in the CPM, staple removal, and a brief walk outside…not a bad way to celebrate 10 days with the new knee.   Here’s looking to the next 10 days!

Total Knee Replacement 3.0 Beginning PT

One of the most important things that is going to be done after surgery that will contribute to the success of the TKR is going to be physical therapy (PT).  Beginning rehab after surgery is something that is going to happen, whether you feel like doing it or not, so having the mind set of doing everything possible to get better will help you succeed.  PT is going to happen while you’re in the hospital until you go home.  Since I’ve gotten home, I have had a visiting therapist come to the house as well.

I remember my first session of PT was great…I got out of bed and walked over to the chair in my hospital bed, with the use of a walker. Session over. What? Huh? That’s it? 

Yeah that’s it, my therapist said.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back later, he said, and we will try to take some steps down the hall.  Plus, we still have to get back into bed.  That made me laugh.

Oh great, I can’t wait. I was thinking this is going to be great.

So after lunch my therapist came back to see if I was ready to take those steps down the hall.  I said sure, let’s do this.  As I got up and began to take a few steps, I realized that this was going to be a challenge.  And it was.  But we were able to walk down the hall and make it to the doorway of the next room.  When we got back to the room, I was able to get back into the bed to finish day 1.  Wow.

After day 1, the progression while still in the hospital was steady.  I improved on walking, getting out of a chair, handling stairs, and other basic movements.  Stretching and range of motion exercises,  as well as simple strength exercises have been challenging.  I remember my doctor asking me to do a quad set, which is flexing your quad for 3-5 seconds while keeping your leg straigh.  It was like I had to pull out the owners manual on my body again.  But I have been able to flex the quad again, and I have been able to do some basic exercises as well.  Challenging but successful.

Everyday has brought to me a new challenge that has been humbling too.  I’m not going to say that frustration doesn’t knock on the door every once in a while, but I try to focus on accomplishing my task.  Whether it is a quad set, hamstring stretch, or straight leg raise, I treat them all as a challenge and I do not look at them as just a simple exercise.

More to come on the challenges in PT…stay tuned…

Total Knee Replacement: 2.0 Pain

Yesterday I wrote a quick post talking about my decision to have a TKR on my left knee. Today I would like to bring you up to speed on the first week post-op.

The decision to have the TKR was not made on a whim. In fact, prior to having this surgery, I had multiple arthroscopies, synvisc treatments and other treatments to add years to the joints.  Along with all of this, I continued to have check-ups to monitor any changes in status.   So when was the decision made?  I remember having a conversation with my doctor a few years back about when having the TKR would be best.  I asked, when do you think my time will come?  When your knee negatively effects your quality of life and you’re in constant pain, it will be time to start thinking about it.  Another thing that I remember my doctor telling me was that the TKR is going to be the biggest surgery we’ve done…with the greatest amount of pain too.  The TKR is not like a “scope” or other type of surgery.  You’re going to be in pain post-surgery…and I was.

The most important thing with pain is being able to manage it. Pain management helped me get through the first day to the current day. Managing the pain is so important because after surgery you get up and start moving. From being in the cpm machine to using a walker to crutches, you’re moving…and you’re going to be in pain. So by managing the pain, the recovery process is better.  During my time in the hospital and my time since the surgery, I have become very familiar with “on a scale of 1-10…”  Staying on top of the pain, I try to keep the pain around 7-9 during therapy and around 3-5 outside of therapy.  Last week was a hard week.  There were times that 9 and 10 krept onto the scale.  And yes, it was painful.  But as the days went by, I began feeling better.  By the time that I was discharged on Thursday, I was ready for my first home session of pt.

More on that later…

Recent Development…

The site for Strength Training, Conditioning, and all the Happenings at Glenn’s Gym; That is the sub title of my blog here.  Well, I am going to make a little addition to it:  and rehab from Total Knee Replacement surgery.  A little history here for those new to my blog and maybe a little added information for those who have followed me for some time now.  Besides all that you know of me from a professional standpoint in strength and conditioning, personally I have been diagnosed with degenerative bone disease, osteoarthritis from over 20 years.  It has been an issue that I have dealt with proactively during that time.  I honestly believe that my profession as a strength and conditioning coach has helped me extend the life of my original joints which delayed the inevitable Total Knee Replacement (TKR).

Over the years, I made adjustments to my activities, in life and in training, that extended the life of my joints.  Although the genetics card plays a huge influence on osteoarthritis, your activities contribute heavily on how long  you have with what you’ve been given.  Smart strength training, cycling, weight managment, etc., all helped me extend the life. 

Well, the extended life ended last Monday, March 21.  Seven days ago I had my left knee replaced.  What I plan to do for a period of time is to switch from sharing the research posts to posting my experiences through rehab.  As I will be back to post updates, I wanted to give a quick preface to upcoming posts.  Stay tuned as I get ready to release the next post.

But first, I want to thank everyone who has texted, emailed, called, and visited me over the past week.  It has been awesome to see all the support that I have in getting back to normal.  Thank you.

Sharing the research…

Are you following a periodized program with regards to your strength training?  In the latest issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Kell looked at the influence of a periodized program on strength changes in men and women.  His findings showed that following a 12 week periodized resistance training program produced significant gains in strength in both men and women. 

The take away message here is that if you want to see significant improvments in your performance, you should be following a comprehensive strength and conditioning program based on the theory of periodization.

This is why we do it…

This week at work is going to be one of those weeks that we are going to look back on and say, “wow, that was a busy week.” If you want, check out for all of the details but I’m going to give you a quick summary of the events going on. Starting today, we are going to have at least one game every day possibly until Sunday. Today we will have the lacrosse team taking the field for a game. Tomorrow, Men’s ice hockey will begin their hockey east playoff series. This is a 3 game series with games scheduled Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. That then brings us to Saturday. Talk about a busy day. The day will begin with a 12:00 conference championship game for Men’s basketball, a 1:00 regular season game for lacrosse, a 3:00 NCAA game for Women’s Ice Hockey, and a 7:00 conference championship game for Women’s Basketball.   Four home contests on one day.  For sports fans, this is a great opportunity for you to catch some great competitions.  And for all of us who work in college sports, this is why we do it.

Hope to see you at some of the games this week.

Guaranteed to put a smile on your face

I was sitting watching the Today show this morning and they had this segment on about a baby who was filmed laughing while his dad was opening some mail.  The parents were filming it and posted it on You Tube.  Watch it, and I am pretty sure you will either be smiling or laughing at some point…