The experience of a major injury or surgery is a traumatic one. Costs, pain, loss of wages, recovery, and rehabilitation can take several months. It is difficult for some people to resume activities and hobbies they enjoyed before the injury. The risk of re-injuring that area, or suffering a new injury altogether, is terrifying. Movements are slower, activities are curtailed, and more time is spent resting at home.
Getting Back to Regular Activities
Fear may subside in time, but the memory of the incident can have debilitating effects on everyday life and activities. Some people who are involved in automobile accidents, for example, are hesitant to drive or ride in a vehicle once driving again is possible. Many combat that particular issue with a safer vehicle than the one that was destroyed. More airbags, a rear camera, and all-wheel drive for the winter helps people feel secure.
It may not be that simple when it comes to joints. Broken bones typically heal faster and with less pain and effort than moving joints. A broken forearm heals solidly, but a broken wrist or elbow will always have weakness, become inflamed when strained, and develop scar tissue. Physical therapy exercises will strengthen joints and tendons that are damaged, but re-injury is always a risk.
Pressure and Repetition
Joints are used constantly and sustain a great deal of pressure. Consider the knees. They lift and carry the entire weight of the body, absorb several pounds of pressure with every step, and are engaged when sitting, standing, walking, cycling, bending, and twisting. Lack of stability and flexibility makes even walking around the house scary, let alone walking outdoors or climbing stairs.
Proper shoes, paying attention to the terrain, and selecting one of many possible types of knee braces can keep the fear of that knee buckling at bay. Recovering patients can begin with a hinged knee brace for superior stability when standing and flexibility when sitting. The hinges can be locked while in motion and disengaged to allow bending when sitting down.
A Fine Line
As full strength and confidence begin to return, a lesser knee support can be selected for intermittent use. It is important to realize there is a fine line between being careful and being dependent. Consult the physical therapist for recommendations regarding the type and usage of Mueller braces and supports during and after rehabilitation. Follow instructions and wean off supports as directed to ensure the knee can fully function on its own in due time.