The Bee's Knees

The Bee's Knees

Home Knee Surgery Recovery (Sue’s TKA Rehab on X10)

March 28, 2020

In Home Knee Surgery Recovery
Sue McDonald's Recovery - 45 Years After a Motorcycle Accident
This interview was conducted by Mary Elliott. Click the Play Button above to listen to Sue and Mary's full conversation.

When Sue was 17 years old she was in a motorcycle accident with her boyfriend at the time, now her husband. She did substantial damage to her right knee. She lived with it for nearly 45 years.

In Sue's Own Words
My experience with the X10 began one rainy afternoon in April, 1974. My boyfriend and I (now husband of 44 years) were riding his motorcycle when we were broadsided by a car. I remember the impact, sliding on the wet pavement towards the intersection. People gathered around and someone brought blankets. I heard, “her leg is messed up” and “I see bones”. I knew not to look. It was my first ambulance ride (no siren) and my first hospital-stay (5 days!). Turned out, it was a compound fracture of my right tibia & fibula. I remember not wanting surgery. It was April of my SENIOR YEAR of high school. I had prom, graduation and a whole new chapter in life to get on with. And so in the spirit of teenage invincibility, I was discharged with a full length leg cast.

For the next 30 years, I gave little thought to my broken leg. I lived an active life. Our family did a lot of camping, hiking and biking. Eventually, I started having ankle problems, which I lived with for the next 15 years. However, in 2016 the pain started in my right knee. The pain affected my gait and my left knee started to ache as well. By spring of 2018, I was using a cane. I was referred to both a knee and an ankle surgeon. The X-rays revealed that for the past 45 years, I’d been walking around on a rather crooked leg.

My First Knee Replacement (Right Knee)
I got my first new knee late last year, followed by out-patient rehab three days a week for six weeks. I especially enjoyed their anti-gravity treadmill, although my right ankle and left knee still hurt. It took 10 weeks for my new knee to feel normal again. The surgery to fix my crooked leg happened late February. I have a metal, plate, a rod and a bunch of screws holding the pieces of bone together in a straight line. Because the tibia is the slowest healing bone in adults, it probably will not be fully healed until 2020.

Home Knee Surgery Recovery (with X10)
This is where the X10 and I first became acquainted. My surgeon agreed to replace my left knee, but this time he prescribed the X10 for rehab. The machine was delivered to my home in July, and I began using it to build up my muscles in advance of the surgery. It seemed normal to resume the X10 after surgery, since I was familiar with how it worked. When I told my surgeon that I had achieved full range of motion after only three weeks post surgery, he said I’d kicked ass. He’s not very demonstrative, so I took it as high praise. At five weeks, my knee is back to normal.

Isolating the Left Knee for Rehab at Home
The X10 made it possible for me to undergo a TKR without having full use of the other leg. There is no way I would have succeeded with traditional rehab. The X10 allowed me to do my therapy at home, which in light of my still limited mobility, was a god send.
The X10 also allowed me to take control of my rehab. I was in charge of how much I could tolerate. I enjoyed seeing my progress over the weeks and especially welcomed the encourageme...