Avera Medical Minute: Recovering from a knee injury

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 10:05 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -When you think of an athlete, you probably think of them working hard during a game. But one high school volleyball player has had to work hard off the court recently. And Avera Health is helping her make the most out of that effort.

“It’s really nice getting back to the things that I normally do, like running and squatting, getting back in the gym with my teammates, being able to go home and lift and all that,” said Kairos, Tea Area high school volleyball player Ryen Hawkey.

Hawkey admits that recovering from her right knee meniscus tear comes with ups and downs.

“I mean some of it’s not fun at all, but I know that I have to do it in order to get back to playing,” said Hawkey.

The injury cut her season short in February. But she had surgery right away and has been making progress at the Avera Human Performance Center.

“With these repairs it is more extended recovery, especially back to volleyball and competition. We’re really looking into that four to six month timeline, which we talked about leading into things,” said Dr. Patrick O’Brien

“Ryen’s sitting at about 15 weeks post-op right now. So, we’re just going to start beginning on some treadmill running. She’s progressing in her strength training wonderful. Her range or motion is back to normal, not having any pain, great stability. Just kind of a time thing now,” said Jay Eidsness, Avera Human Performance Center Physical Therapist.

A key piece of the recovery process in the beginning had to do with blood flow restriction.

“Which is a way to perform therapeutic exercise and make it seem, trick the body into thinking it’s doing a heavier workload than it actually is. It’s not safe to do heavy workloads right after surgery, but by putting a tourniquet on their extremity and having them do basic exercises, the body think it’s doing extra work, like it would be heavy lifting. It helps to prevent muscle atrophy and promotes muscle strength in the rehab process,” said Eidsness.

Another important element in the process is trust.

“Like everything he tells me to do, sometimes I’m like ‘Jay, I don’t think I can do this,’ and he’s like ‘Oh yeah you can,’ it’s just a mental thing at that point,” said Hawkey.

All of this is helping Hawkey get to the end goal.

“Hopefully get her back to volleyball, ready to go for the Tea season coming up here in August,” said Eidsness.

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