News & Updates

Persistence, optimism and walking again

I have had the wonderful opportunity to interact with clients who inspire, surprise, and impress me. This is the story of one little girl who was special for me. She has given us her consent to share a bit about her rehabilitation.

Rachel came to see me in February of this year after having a unique knee surgery in December 2016. Rachel has a condition called osteochondritis dissecans, which means there isn’t enough blood supply to the bone in the knee joint which causes some of the bone to die and loosen. The surgery involved drilling seven holes into the femur in order to restore blood flow to the bone. Rachel had been on crutches before and after her surgery, so hadn’t walked on her right leg for three months.

Rachel near the end of her recovery, with Ashley FradetteTogether we started strengthening. Rachel was surprised at how weak her muscles were! She was great at motoring around with her crutches but wasn’t using her muscles properly to walk. We spent lots of time standing in front of the treatment table learning how to put weight through her leg again. She can probably still hear me cueing, “squeeze your knee, squeeze your bum, think tall!”

One afternoon near the end of February Rachel arrived looking excited. When her mom said to show me what she could do, Rachel couldn’t wait to put down her crutches and walk across the room. There were high fives all around! I think her smile that day will always be etched in my memory.

From this point on Rachel progressed quickly. She was always motivated during our sessions, was never afraid to push herself with a bit of guidance, and had a fantastic memory for her exercises which never failed to impress me. She was bubbly, goofy, and could never wait to give me detailed updates on her progress. If she was ever frustrated or discouraged she never let it show. I always smiled when I saw her name on my schedule for the day.

Pretty soon Rachel was skating, running, and jumping on trampolines with the other ten year olds. Rachel’s latest MRI shows all but a small thumbnail of bone has regrown in her knee. She continues to push her boundaries and inspire me.

An MRI of Rachel's knee.
MRI of Rachel’s knee before surgery – the rounded end of the femur has dark sections where the bone has died.

Rachel’s knee post-op: two access points used to drill seven holes in the femur in order to restore blood flow to the bone.