For the past nine months, I've been studying the body and muscles and how the muscles connect to the bones and all that good stuff. I've learned the names of enough muscles that I don't feel like counting them right now, and have discovered that I still have many more to learn if I want to know them all.
I've learned where and how those muscles attach to the bones they move. And I've learned what these muscles do. All of that through books, or generic exercises in the classroom. Lately, I've started a project with a classmate in which we're going back through the old muscle book and learning to palpate each muscle. It's really helping me learn them.
Recently, things have gotten much more personal, and I've skipped ahead from the shoulders (where we had started) to the legs (but no palpation is involved just yet):
It all started when Golf Pro was lured onto a softball team in a league for guys over 50. He's in better shape than most 40 year olds, still runs regularly, and used to play baseball and softball before he focused in on golf. He'd actually been pretty much of a star on his High School baseball team, and played on work related softball teams when he was a young'un fresh out of college. Thus, joining a bunch of guys for softball twice a week seemed like a reasonable and fun thing to do.
He no longer thinks so. Evidently, senior softball is a dangerous sport -- one that has been particularly unkind to Golf Pro's Quadriceps Tendon.
Let's pause, for a moment and take a wee look at the quads and their tendon (with thanks to Floota.com for this image.)
As you can see, the Rectus Femoris transitions from a nice red muscle to a nice white tendon, which then attaches to the Patella (or knee cap). You can also see that it spreads a bit to either side of the patella, and extends beyond it. Here's another view of that tendon. (with a nod to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, from which this image comes). You will note that it passes over the patella, and continues on to hook into the Tibia (shinbone).
That second attachment is what enables you to straighten your leg.
Thanks to an unlucky step in a softball game, Golf Pro managed to tear that tendon. Completely.
(Thanks again Ortho Guys).
The first thing this means is pain. Lots of PAIN. The next thing it means, once you've gotten over the pain, and very impressive swelling around the knee that is your body's attempt to protect you, is that you can no longer straighten your leg. (Oh yes, and more pain).
After several days of hoping that this pain was just a strain, he went to see the Ortho Guys at our local clinic. While I may complain and fret about the billing side of this clinic, it's awfully hard not to shout kudos from the rooftops to the rest of the gang. Golf Pro arrived at 9:15 a.m. for an x-ray, preparatory to a 9:45 doctor's appointment. They swiftly diagnosed the problem, scheduled him for surgery, sent him over to the other building, where they prepped him, and operated. He was awake and able to talk to me on the phone by 2:30 and I was able to pick him up from the surgi-center and get him home and installed in his recliner (with extra pillows to elevate and cushion his splinted leg) before 5:00 p.m. That's five hours from diagnosis to end of surgical repair in a NON-Emergency situation. I'm impressed.
I was also pleased with the doc, who explained the whole surgical process to me. I won't bore you with it, but suffice it to say that drills were involved.
Recovery involves doing wee exercises that sound silly, but which keep you from having blood clots (which I for one count as a good thing). It looks like this:
Why do that? Well, doing that moves the venous blood from your feet, up your leg and well into the venous system. Your blood pressure only moves it as far as your capillaries -- your muscles movement is actually what moves it from the capillaries back to the heart. If you're not walking (which, um, one doesn't do for a while after this kind of knee surgery), you don't have much muscle movement. This at least works the muscles in your calf.
But that gets into a different physiology lesson.... we'll keep that for later.
Once the stitches come out, I should be able to help with massage ....