By BJ Reyes
If you can get past the dark patch of skin† where the scar runs through, this is what a 55 degree bend looks like on the new knee. This was the measurement after the first day of outpatient physical therapy.
Before the surgeries in September and December to remove the infection, the knee bend was about 120 degrees. There's still a ways to go with rehab, but it's not bad for having spent 17 weeks in a straight-lag immobilizer.
For now, the only exercises are to strengthen the quad and improve the bend. The hip strength will come, but right now there's still more of a danger in tearing the tissues and muscle structure that were rebuilt in that area. Other exercises will help stretch the calf muscles, which should help with endurance when walking.
Despite the fact that temperatures have been hovering in single digits, it still felt good to get out and into the elements to get to physical therapy. That said, it'll be even nicer to get into traveling shape and back to the islands to continue rehab in 80-degree weather.
† The dark patch of skin is most likely the result of constant cutting into the area and resultant bruising from at least nine knee surgeries all along the same set of scars.