Putting Pain in the Past

Kyle Stewart_2021
PT, DPT
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For Linda Andres, playing with her grandkids without a second thought to her knee or the excruciating pain it used to cause her, is exciting and joyful. Rather than being seen as intimidating obstacles to be avoided, today, toys on the floor are a welcome sign of carefree fun. Thanks to physical therapy after total knee replacement surgery, Andres can simply step over wayward toys, or even get down on the floor to play with them alongside her grandkids.

“The grandkids don’t have to think about being careful with grandma anymore,” Andres said. “That makes me feel good.”

“I stepped in a hole while coaching soccer,” she reflected, nonchalantly.

At the time, physical therapy was not widely considered for musculoskeletal injuries. So, Andres bought a brace and when her knee hurt, she’d wear it until it felt okay again. Despite her diligence, the pain was nearly constant. Sometimes, when she moved a certain way, it was as if a knife was sticking right into her knee.

By the time summer of 2020 arrived, Andres’s knee was beyond repair. She needed a new one.

Knowing herself well enough to recognize she would need to be coached through rehabilitation, Andres set out to find a physical therapy clinic.

“[Therapeutic Associates Pasco Physical Therapy] fit my personality,” she said. The small clinic size and personalized attention made Andres feel confident that she would be successful in gaining back as much mobility as possible, quickly and safely after surgery.

A few challenges following her knee replacement surgery delayed Andres’s physical therapy journey, but working collaboratively with her therapist Kyle Stewart, she progressed quickly once she started rehabilitation.

Through evidence-based, hands-on manual therapy — including cupping and Hypervolt percussive therapy and other modalities — combined with therapeutic exercises designed to increase strength, endurance and range of motion, Andres reached her personal goals.

Goals, she emphasized, are key.

“You have to set goals for yourself and then work with your therapist, discuss what you like, what you feel works well for you … create a custom program.”

Knowing she had a say every step of the way, made Andres feel empowered through PT.

“If I liked something, felt like it helped, then it was incorporated. It feels good to be part of a partnership, to feel like I am doing something myself.”

As Andres’s PT, Stewart gives his patient full credit.

“You have accomplished this,” he reassured her. “It’s not just going to therapy and having them do it for you.”

Homework, Andres noted, was also key in all she accomplished.

“You have to do your homework. It won’t happen in just an hour at a time two or three times a week in the clinic. You get out of it what you put into it.

“Physical therapy comes in hurdles,” she added. “You get over one and you have a new one out in front of you that you jump over.”

Unfortunately, sometimes the hurdles are not related to physical therapy.

When issues with her new knee arose, and her surgeon recommended another surgery, Andres was not looking forward to it. But she faced it with true optimism.

“The light I could see at the end of the tunnel was I knew that after surgery, I had a good partnership in physical therapy to bring me back to where I wanted to be.”

By dedicating herself to her physical therapy journey, not only did Andres get back to the life she loves, but she also opened a door for herself to countless new opportunities.

“I’m not afraid to learn new things now, and that’s important,” she said. “It’s something to look forward to. I don’t feel limited anymore and I’m doing more than I ever have.

“It’s opened up my life to where my knee is not controlling me. I don’t even think about it anymore.”

older adult playing with child

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