Physical Therapy Gives Added Strength to Teen After Knee Surgery
Christine was an eighth grader when a casual bike ride ended with a trip to the emergency room.
“The chain on my bike broke, and I went flying over the handlebars, landing full-force on my knee,” she recalls. “My neighbor drove me to my house, and my brother carried me in. Then we called my mom, who was at work. By the time she got home, my knee was the size of a football.”
Christine was taken to a hospital. An X-ray at the hospital showed no broken bones, but an MRI revealed a tear in her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Hoping that the injury would heal without treatment, Christine wore a brace and stayed off her feet for a few days until she was able to bear weight on her knee again. She soon forgot the injury, even though she had been advised to see a specialist for follow-up care.
By the time Christine was a high school sophomore, her knee started popping out of place at odd moments. That’s when she realized that definitive treatment was necessary if she intended to stay active in soccer, cheerleading and step dancing.
After considering several different specialists, she and her family decided on Dr. Randolph Cohen for his extensive experience in the treatment of pediatric athletic injuries. “He was highly recommended in our area, and he was also a very cool guy, down to earth,” says Christine. “He was someone I could depend on.”
Christine’s long-overdue follow-up showed that in the two years since the injury, her ACL had deteriorated and a partial tear had developed in her meniscus, a wedge of cartilage in the knee. Dr. Cohen recommended that she have an operation very soon to repair both problems.
Christine went in for surgery at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital a mere three days after her sixteenth birthday, and in just a few months, she was fully recovered. Like her friends, she is now able to enjoy the newfound freedom of a driver’s license. But it’s her hard-earned physical mobility that matters even more.
Christine credits her post-surgical physical therapy regimen for challenging her mentally and physically, with excellent results.
“Having to do those exercises actually made my body even stronger than it was before,” she says. “I’m now able to run full speed. And at my homecoming dance this year, I could do all the moves I wanted. I feel great like I did years ago.”