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Road to Recovery – My Therapy Blog

Check out my weekly progress on my road to recovery.

Week 1 – Post Surgery
Post Surgery Surgery went great! They repaired my right ACL and my medial meniscus today. I am so lucky to have gotten surgery from the world renowned Dr. James Andrews!! He has done surgery on some of the best athletes in the world, Adrian Peterson for example, and to know I had the best possible Doctor work on me gives me the confidence to know I can come back better than before.

The past few days have been extremely tough and uncomfortable. Its so strange that something as simple as lifting your leg and bending your knee is so hard. Especially when it becomes your biggest goal of the week.
Click here if you want to check out more pictures and videos on my road to recovery.
Post Surgery

Week 2 – Positivity
Crutches So happy to be one week down!! I know that these first few weeks are going to be the toughest so i’m trying to take one day at a time, stay positive, and get a little stronger each day…

I’m not able to do too much yet in physical therapy. I’m working a lot on getting back my range of motion and simple leg lifts, quad exercises for strengthening, and LOTS of ice. My biggest goal this week is to get rid of these crutches!

I can finally see my quad muscle starting to come back, thanks to all the stem i’ve been doing!

Click here if you want to check out more pictures and videos on my road to recovery.
Crutches

Week 3 – Balance
Balance Finally off the crutches! Feels great to walk on my own again. Now if only I could get decent sleep! I’m a stomach sleeper and I had no idea how bad it was going to suck sleeping in this huge brace and having to sleep on my back. I only have one more week until I get my stitches out and no more brace, thank goodness!

This week I’m progressing into single leg squats but its not as hard as it sounds! I can only squat down about 2 inches. I’m also excited to be getting on the balance board and waking up my leg muscles!

Click here if you want to check out more pictures and videos on my road to recovery.

Week 4 – Stitches finally came out!!
Which means lots of good things: no more brace, I can finally sleep how I want and the most important, I can shower comfortably again and without having to wrap my leg with saran wrap!

The only bad thing about the stitches coming out was that it hurt pretty bad. But it was worth it!
Here’s a video I took of them coming out. Warning: its pretty gross!!
Click here if you want to check out more pictures and videos on my road to recovery.

Week 5 – Progress
Week 9I’m really starting to feel like myself again. Able to walk without a limp, tie my own shoes and most importantly drive my car!
I am starting to progress so much in rehab and can really tell a difference how much stronger I am getting each week. I am lucky enough to be working with Scott Rusin at the iPerformance center in Destin, FL. I have worked with him for a few years now, even before my knee injury and he’s definitely the best in this area. He really knows his stuff and how to push you out of your comfort zone. If y’all have any aches or pains I really suggest going to him! You can find his info on my Sponsors Page or by clicking here.

Later this week I started incorporating single leg RDLs into my therapy routine, these babies will make your hamstrings sore for days!!

Click here if you want to check out more pictures and videos on my road to recovery.

Week 6 – Stem Cells
Week 9 Its amazing how time flies. This week I had my 6 week check up with Dr Andrews and he says everything is looking great and progressing really fast. What every athlete wants to hear:) Being off the courts and not “working” right now, my goal is to give myself the best chance to heal and recover from this injury as fast and safe as possible.
Having surgery at the Andrews Institute gave me access to some the best doctors in their field and this week I am fortunate enough to be doing a stem cell procedure on my knee. If you don’t know what that is, which i didn’t, is that they take stem cells from your bone marrow with a needle (they put me to sleep), and then they do one injection into the joint line of my knee. Fairly simple procedure that only lasts about 30 minutes. But for those that don’t know, stems cells serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells. So basically they are being injected into my knee to find the inflammation and cells that need healing and repairing. I decided to do this procedure to give myself the best chance at coming back from this injury quicker and stronger.

Click here if you want to check out more pictures and videos on my road to recovery.

Week 7 – Baby Steps
My stem cell procedure went great and without a hitch! I was just a bit sore that same day and the next but was already back to my normal physical therapy routine in 24 hours.
A lot of people have asked if I feel a difference from my procedure but to be honest I don’t really have anything to compare it to. I feel great and feel stronger every single day. With that being said after 83 days of not holding a tennis racket in my hand I finally was able to play some tennis today! Not the kind i’m used to, but its better than nothing! I was able to do some drills sitting down in a chair and on a stool. It felt so great to be able to be out there again but also a little frustrating not being able to do what I normally do. But I understand its a process coming back from an injury and I’m just so happy to be taking steps in the right direction, even if its only baby steps!

Click here if you want to check out more pictures and videos on my road to recovery.

Heres a video of hitting some overheads on my first day back:

Week 8 – Pool Therapy
Week 9 So many positive things happening just makes me so happy! This week I started doing some jogging and jumping exercises in the pool at the Andrews Institute. I go over there two days a week and I am so lucky to have access to state of the art equipment like they have. I mean, I’m running on a treadmill in a pool, how cool is that?!

I was really able to test my knee today with some jumping, running, and stretching exercises and it felt awesome. My knee responded great. It just took a little mental courage to really trust that knee again and thats something that I’m going to have to do each and everyday as these exercises become more difficult.

Click here if you want to check out more pictures and videos on my road to recovery.

Week 9 – Explosion
I’m so happy with how quickly I am recovering. I feel like I’m progressing quickly and ahead of some of my peers in therapy, which really motivates me. But its also hard not to get bored with therapy. With the exception of adding the pool exercises once a week I feel like I’ve been doing the same exercises everyday and it gets pretty boring. I know I need to be patient and not rush anything but I’m so ready to keep incorporating new exercises.

Later this week I was finally able to gain enough strength to start working on some explosion exercises and it felt great! My knee really responded well to some of the new exercises. Click on the video below to see!

Click here if you want to check out more pictures and videos on my road to recovery.


Week 10 – Jump Jump
Week 9This week started out as my best yet! I started off by trying double and single leg jumping for the first time on a shuttle machine. I was so nervous at first, but the more reps I did, the quicker my body responded and more confident I grew in my knee. The shuttle machine is awesome, you are sitting in a leg press position and it allows you to train in a less than body weight environment, which is rare. You can add weight to the shuttle to make it back up to body weight or even up to 600 pounds. Its great for athletes coming back from an injury and progressing into normal activity again or for training a healthy athlete.
As each day passes I can feel my knee gaining strength and am thrilled with the way its responding. I feet like I can actually start to see the light at the end of this long rehab tunnel.
The next day I had another pool session where they were able to lower the water from chest level to right under my belly button.This allows me to put more weight on my knee as I do my running and jumping. I ended my day hitting tennis balls with my Dad, standing up, for the first time!! Words can’t describe how overjoyed I am to have conquered a lot of my goals this week, mentally and physically.
I wish I was able to end this week on high notes that it began on, unfortunately that wasn’t going to be the case. I took two days to off let my knee recover from the all the jumping and running this week and decided to spend my off days on the beach and get some sun both days. Little did I know that walking on the uneven surface of the sand would really effect my knee, mostly my meniscus that I had repaired. I could feel my knee wanting to give out as I walked on the sand but just took it slow and was careful and thought it would be fine…The next few days in therapy were so much tougher and my knee felt so much weaker. My therapists and I think the cause of my set back is definitely a combination of pushing my knee to its limits in the jumping exercises and the beach walk. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and need to learn from the past and mistake I made in pushing it a little too much. Also just to be smart on my everyday decisions and how it can effect my knee without even knowing.

Heres the video of my single leg jumps on the shuttle, enjoy! Don’t forget to check out more pictures and videos by clicking here.


Week 11 – Hola!
Week 11

I am so excited to start a new week and to continue my progress onward and upward from last week. I’ve learned a lot the past few days and even though it wasn’t my best week physically I still have a lot to be proud of. I am ahead of schedule in my recovery and hit a major milestone at the beginning of last week, JUMPING!
But again, things often don’t go as planned. I woke up this morning with a sinus infection, ugh. Instead of taking a negative outlook on this I’m only going to turn it into positive! The next two days that I’m out of commission I decide to take advantage of the extra time on my hands and work on my Spanish! I’ve been putting it on the back burner lately in my list of priorities. Learning Spanish is important to me because as of last May, I now represent Chile in my tennis and need to be fluent in the language!! Like most things it takes time to be good at something but most importantly it takes consistency, which I’ve been lacking in lately but is something I can fix.
Finally after going to the doctor and getting the right meds I’m starting to feel so much better. I went out to the courts today and played with my Dad. My tennis is feeling awesome, considering I can only really hit forehands and volleys. I can feel my muscle memory coming back quickly and feel a little stronger out here then the last time. I ended my session with serves as usual, but this time I was actually able to fully serve! Before I was pretty hesitant only going through the motion and too scared to move my legs. Today I was able to jump using both legs and then land on my left leg, my uninjured leg. But after about 20 minutes of being so excited and hitting serve after serve I could feel my knee getting tired, so I listened to my body and called it a day.
Today I went to Andrews Institute for therapy. We sure did vamp things up, higher weight and reps on all my exercises, whew! I’m so happy to be feeling back to my normal self since being sick and hurting and being weak from all the jumping and walking on the beach from last week. During my session today Dr. Andrews came in to check on some patients and he took a look at my knee and my progress. He said everything was looking perfect and it was time to get me fitted for a brace.
Then I got back to my exercises where at the end of our session we added ladder drills into the routine. The first few times through as you can imagine weren’t great. It took a few times through the ladder to get my mind and my feet working together again. By the end of the drills I could really feel my footwork starting to come back. Most importantly my knee is feeling great and i’m trusting it through these exercises.
As the week went on I continued my therapy routine adding the ladder drills and other footwork exercises and feeling better and quicker each day. I can’t do any one leg jumping and landing on the ground yet, right now my biggest goal is to conquer the two leg jumping and landing exercises and having my weight equally balanced when I land.
A lot of positives and momentum to build off of this week and excited to see what i’m going to conquer next week!

Check out this video of my serve…..click here to see more videos of my practice this week.

Week 12 – 3 Months!

I can’t believe its been 3 months since my surgery. Time really does fly. My main focus is still to strengthen my right leg while also incorporating jumping exercises and foot work drills. I’ve already started to notice a difference in my footwork speed only after a few days of doing ladder drills.
Week 12

To start my week I went to the Andrews Institute and they did a reevaluation on my knee. They are able to test my recovering leg to my good leg and see how i’m progressing and if my strength is close to being even. They said i’m just 5-10% away, which is really encouraging. I can still feel and notice the difference, just need to keep working hard!

After my reevaluation I did my usual rehab, which entails lots of strengthening and balance exercises. At the end of therapy I was able to get my new brace! I’m excited to finally get it because now I can start doing a little bit more moving during my tennis practices. I can start testing my knee a little bit more, but nothing crazy and will know I have the support of my brace.

The next day I had tennis practice and was able to test it out. It was definitely weird at first but its so light, which makes a big difference. I felt really stable and comfortable and was able to do some backhands for the first time and really shift my weight onto my right knee and test it out. My knee responded great and my backhand felt great. Also I was able to go after my forehand and use my legs more than I have and my knee still felt stable in the brace. i’m going to have to really get used to this thing since I’m going to have to wear it for the next 6 months or so! I’m just not looking forward to these tan lines I’m going to get this summer! :) Week 12

The rest of my week was great. Did a lot of strengthening, jumping and footwork drills with Scott. Also, something new I’ve been able to do for cardio this week is the stair master. I have a love hate relationship with that machine because it really kicks my butt but also gets you really fit! I’m so happy I can finally do something else besides the bike and elliptical and really feel like I get such a better workout with the stair master.

Well thats all for this week! Check out how my footwork is progressing in the video below and don’t forget to check out my photos page by clicking here to see more pictures and videos on my road to recovery!

Week 13 – Box Jumps
Hitting the 3 month mark last week was a huge milestone not only because I’ve come so far so fast but that means I am getting closer to being able to run! They say its around that 4 period when you can progress into straight line running. But first I have to get most of my strength back in my right quad and be able to do controlled single leg jumping and footwork drills so I am able to control my knee and hold myself up while running. Week 13
I started my week feeling great and using my momentum from last week to gain even more this week. I went to Andrews Institute today and began with a pool workout. I was able to progress to more jumping and was even doing box jumps! It was difficult at first because it was hard to tell how high the box was and to land right and be balanced. After the first few I was able to get a rhythm and do them without any pain!! After a few more of my usual exercises in the pool we began with our running routine. I did a few sets of side shuffling and back peddling and then proceeded into normal running. The fastest speed I’ve gotten up to is 4.0mph and today I went up to 5.0mph for 1 minute intervals 10 times. It felt so good to be able to run and i’m so happy I didn’t have any pain.
After having such a great day but also pushing myself further than before my therapists thought it would be a good idea to take the next few days off of doing strengthening exercises and let my knee recover. I spent those days having active rest by still doing cardio on the bike and getting in some upper body workouts.
During those days of active rest I could feel my knee starting to bother me a little more than usual. I went back to Andrews for my next therapy session and we had to back off a little bit with the jumping. We focused on strength and balance exercises and would wait for the jumping until my knee started to feel a little better. As the day went on my knee did start to feel better the more exercises I did. Its all about finding that fine line where you don’t overdo it but still able to push yourself. Week 13
The rest of the week I worked with Scott at iPerformance and continued work on my strength and balance and also incorporating some single leg jumping on the shuttle because my knee was feeling up to it. I also continued with the ladder drills and was able to increase my foot speed then ever before!

Click here to see the box jumping video and also a video of a new balance drill I started this week that incorporates my tennis swing!

Week 14&15 Strength –
I decided to combine these two weeks of therapy because my rehab was so similar. I started week 14 as usual going to Andrews Institute and doing my pool therapy. I noticed when I got there my knee was pretty sore and was bothering me doing any kind of squatting exercises. My therapist evaluated my knee and decided that we just do some strength and balancing exercises instead of doing any running or jumping. My knee did well through those exercises and my therapists wanted me to rest my knee the next 3 days but I was still able to do cardio on the bike, upper body and abs.
Week 14&15

My next day back was at Andrews again and we did the same pool workout since my knee wasn’t feeling any better. Anytime I squat to a certain point it feels like its going to give out. They said we just need to keep focusing on strength before start back with the jumping and running exercises.

I decided to play tennis with my dad the next day. I made sure I didn’t do too much and that whatever I did wasn’t hurting me. When I went to therapy the next day they told me that it wouldn’t be a good idea to play tennis for the next week or so depending on how my knee is feeling. They keep reiterating that strengthening is the most important.

The next week was similar to the past week. Lots of strengthening and pool therapy and no jumping or doing anything that bothers my knee. I just focused on upper body, cardio and ab workouts. My hope is that week 16 I will be feeling back to normal so I can pick up where I left off! My biggest goal is start running again, I can’t wait!

Week 16 Progress –
Progress is my main goal. If I can just get a little bit better and stronger each day that is all I can ask for. I think my knee needed some much needed rest and to just focus on strength the past two weeks because I can feel it starting to respond, feel better and stronger.

I started this week at Andrews Institute where they did my routine 6 week reevaluation. I started with the Y balance test that tests my left leg to my right(surgical leg) as far as strength and flexibility. I was happy with my results as my right leg is really close and was even better on some of the exercises compared to my left leg. I wasn’t expecting this at all since the past two weeks I eased up a lot on my rehab. Then we measured my right knee and up my quad every 5 cm. Again I was happy with the measurements as my quad grew 2-3 cm all the way up and my knee swelling keeps going down!
Week 16
Finally, we were able to test my knee on some exercises I’ve put on the back burner the past two weeks and I was able to do some of those exercises such as squatting without any pain or having the feeling of it wanting to give out. I’m going to take these next few weeks pretty slow and not push it too much. I want to ease my way back into the exercises and jumping that I was doing before.

One of the new exercises I was able to do this week was pushing and pulling a sled with 140 pounds on it. This really tested my quad strength and the power I can exert. I’m so happy I was able to do this without any pain!

The rest of the week I worked with Scott on my strengthening. We made sure not to overdo anything this week and even took a mid-week day off that i’m going to start putting into my weekly routine. I’ve learned that rest is just as important as rehab. Also, I still haven’t played in tennis in the past few weeks. My main goal is get my knee back to where it was and to start progressing into running before I’m back on court.

I’m excited for next week to progress even more!

Click here to check out this video from my rehab this week!

Week 17 FOUR Months! –
4 months! I am so happy with my progress and where I am on my road to recovery. I feel that I am still ahead of schedule, although I know this isn’t a race and and you can’t rush this process. Everyone is different and each person responds at their own pace, but as each day passes and with each benchmark I cross the more excited and antsy I get about being back on court. I’m dying to be back doing what I love and pick up where I left off on tour.

I started my week off as usual at Andrews Institute. We picked right back up on strengthening my right leg. All of the exercises are feeling good and I’m able to go up on weight with each exercise. Today we didn’t do any jumping, but since my knee responded so well to the strengthening and increase of weight they cleared me to get back into doing ladder exercises with Scott this week!
Week 17
When I saw Scott the next day I was feeling a little sore from going up on weight but still felt like I was feeling good enough to do some ladder exercises. I started off slow and progressed my speed with each ladder drill. I am so happy that my knee responded great! We made sure not to do overdo it today but to ease back into it.
Week 17
I had so much progress back to back days but I can tell I’m going to be extremely sore, so to help my body bounce back quickly I went to cryotherapy. It is a nitrogen chamber that gets down to -300 degrees fahrenheit and you’re only in there for 3 minutes! I used to always do ice baths and would be in there for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes but I prefer cryotherapy chambers because its so much quicker and I feel immediate and better results because of the lower temperatures.
Week 17
After a much needed mid week day off to help my body recover I went back to Andrews Institute where I had my pool therapy. My knee and body is responding great to all the therapy this week that they feel that I can get back into my pool running routine! I wasn’t able to get back to the speed I got up to before but I was able to get up to 4.5mph. This week I have been so happy with my progress and how my knee is responding. I’m just trying to get a little bit better each day!

I’m taking a much needed weekend off of therapy to recover and if all goes well and if I’m feeling good then Monday we can progress into running on land! Finally!!

Click here to check out the video of me running in the pool this week!

Week 18 RUNNING –
I’m feeling great and excited today! I had a very well rested weekend and got my body back feeling good and recovered from all the therapy last week. Today, I finally get to try jogging on a treadmill. I can’t explain the amount of anticipation leading up this moment. This is something that i’ve been looking forward to for so long.

Before I was able to get on to the treadmill though I had to get the blood flowing and warm up on a bike for 10 minutes. Then I had to do about 5 minutes worth of dynamic warm up. Which is essentially stretching but you’re moving your body a lot while doing this so you get a little sweat going. After the dynamic warm up then we had to do some neuromuscular activation techniques that help get your muscles and nerves working together. This included a lot of quick feet movements to get myself ready for running for the first time.
Week 18
Finally, the moment I’ve been waiting for. I strapped on my brace and started with a brisk walk on the treadmill. After 1/10th of a mile they increased the speed up to 4.5 mph, where I began my jog until I reached 2/10th of a mile. We then continued this routine for about 10 minutes, this is phase one of my jogging routine. Jogging again felt pretty weird and was scary. I was so nervous on how my knee would feel,react and respond. Praying nothing would go wrong.

I’m so happy to say my knee responded great. It felt good to jog and I really had to trust it and make sure I was running correctly and not putting more weight on the other leg or shifting my weight incorrectly. After this feat the rest of therapy was a breeze! I continued with all my strengthening exercises and finished my day with another cryotherapy session.
Week 18

The next day I saw Scott and we continued our ladder drills and strengthening. The knee is definitely sore but they say thats normal. I just have to be aware of how i’m feeling and the most important thing is not to overdo it.

Wednesdays are my usual day off now so my body can recover but my therapists said I can start to do the jogging routine on my own twice a week. I was able to do this on my own on the golf course. I would walk for 5 minutes and then jog for 1 minute, for 30 minutes. It felt great but man, I was tired!!

Finally to end my week I went to Andrews Institute for my pool workout. We would change things up and not do any jogging in the pool since i’ve already ran twice this week. Instead we worked on some plyometrics. We did box jumps, lateral running and back peddling in the water. It all felt great and i’m so happy with how my knee is responding to all these new exercises. I can finally start to see light at the end of the tunnel…

Click below to see the video of me jogging for the first time since surgery!

Week 19 – Bracing Up
Week 19
Things are really picking up and my knee is responding to great to all the new exercises I’ve been doing. I feel stronger after everything last week and excited to keep pushing and progressing this week!

I started my week as usual by going to Andrews Institute. We’re vamping things up each time I go there. I started with my normal strength exercises, increasing the weight on everything. And, for the first time I did the leg extension machine! After completing that they told me to put my brace on and we were to go outside for some plyometrics. The first exercise I did was side lunges while throwing a medicine ball back and forth with each lunge. Then we proceeded to single leg plyos, that would be the real test on my knee. I jumped on to one leg, caught the medicine ball and threw it back while then jumping on the other leg, moving side to side.

It was nerve racking at first and I wasn’t completely trusting my knee until the second set. But overall I maintained great balance with each rep and gained strength through the exercise, which was my ultimate goal. I used to do this exact drill on the tennis court. I’m so pumped to be able to do it again and I know I will get better each week! Click here to check out the video of me doing this exercise.
Week 19
The following day I started my morning by going to the gym. I began by getting on the treadmill and moving on to phase 2 of my running routine. This time I would walk for .10 of a mile and jog at 5.0 mph for .20 of a mile 4 times. It ended up being for about 20 minutes. My knee responded great and I am feeling more comfortable each time I jog. After, I did upper body weights and abs.

In the afternoon I went to see Scott at iperformance where I started my rehab with my ladder routine. Each time I go through the ladder my goal is to get to my footwork lighter and faster. After, I worked on jumping and exploding up using the TRX for assistant. My goal for this exercise is to maintain equal balance on each leg through pushing up and landing. I can tell that each week I work on this it becomes easier and my knee stronger.
Week 19
The following day I had my mid-week day off. I worked on stretching and did cryotherapy. I am feeling extremely sore in my knee, quads and hamstrings from the past two days of rehab, cryotherapy is essential for my recovery.

To end my week I went back to Andrews for my pool session. We are progressing more and more each week and making the pool exercises more difficult. Today we increased the speed on my lateral and backwards running as well as my forward running. To end the pool session we did box jumps. We started with the normal double leg jumps and then progressed into jumping with two legs and landing on one. Then to finish I did the most difficult, single leg jumping and landing onto the box. I was able to do this with no problem. I just had to trust my knee and know that doing this in the water takes away most of the force and allows me to get used to the feeling of jumping and landing again on one leg.

Check out the video below from my therapy this week and click here for more videos and pictures from this week!

iPerformance

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