info on rehabbing knee and shoulder

A friend of mine suffered serious injuries to her shoulder and knee in a fall. Facing yet more surgery but not wanting to do so, she asked me if I could find information online, but I ended up wading through a lot of stuff that was either non-specific to her injuries or just plain useless.

Therefore I’m hoping one of you can fill me in on…

[li]rotator cuff injuries and how long they usually take to heal and what’s good for helping to rehabilitate them[/li][li]ways to work on stretching and bending a surgically repaired knee (including a messed-up patella) that has become quite stiff[/li][/ol]

My friend feels that her doctor is too insistent on further surgery to cut the muscles or something to that effect to help with the bending, and she really doesn’t want to take him up on that offer. An avid runner, she would like to run again but doesn’t want to endure more pain and costs if it’s not completely necessary.

Let me know if more information is needed. Thanks.

Have your friend look into Active Release Therapy.

The best way to rehab both injuries is through physical therapy. It has been my experience that doctors tend to “fix” whatever gets messed up. However, they seem to drop the ball when it comes to “restoring its utility” to anything close to what it was before the injury. A perfect example is a broken bone. They will do all they can to ensure the bone heals correctly. But when that process is done, you still have a lot of work to do to rehab all the atrified muscles and stiffened soft tissue. This is where physical therapy comes in. It is important to let your PT know about your lifestyle (running, etc.), as they will tailor your program to get you back to where you used to be.

The bad news is that iit will be painful and it will cost you. Your friend’s insurance should kick in for some of the costs. And don’t let them short-change her - they have some “statistical guideline” that indicates the “average” amount of PT required for such and such an injury - and it is ALWAYS on the short end. Your friend will likely need to get her PT and her doctor to pull for her to get extra (required) sessions. This is part of the “pain”, by the way :wink:
The other bad news is that it will take dilligence in doing her “homework” - it’s all a matter of how quickly she wants to recover. You get out of it, what you put into it - as unpleasant and boring as that may be. There will be stretches and exercises to be done in conjunction with her PT sessions, and the ever present icings.

Depending on the extent of the injuries, the PT may take some time as well. But the best part is that it does work. It’s a lot of work, not very pleasant, but the benefits are there.

I don’t know much about the rotator cuff, but I had an ACL reconstruction a few years ago in my left knee. After surgery, I had something called a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine. You’d strap your thigh and calf to it and sit down to relax - the machine would, as the name indicates, continuously flex and straighten your leg. It had a setting for the degree of flexion; every day, I’d have to set it so that it flexed a little more. For about a week after the surgery, that was the only thing I could do.

I don’t know how much the CPM machine cost, but I remember that it was rented, and my insurance covered most of it.