Knee replacement patient Steven Brown skateboarding to recovery.
Patients undergoing total knee replacements at Broward Health North Broward Medical Center’s Joint Replacement Center are now doing more than just conventional range of motion exercises after surgery. Orlando Ruiz, DPT, lead physical therapist for the Joint Replacement Program, recently introduced the use of skateboards in the rehabilitation program.
“Knee replacement patients usually have a nerve block placed in the thigh to relieve post surgical pain,” says Ruiz. “They tend to experience quadriceps muscle weakness while the block is in place, often slowing their rehabilitation for the first couple of days.”
Ruiz, wanting to start the patient’s rehabilitation as soon as possible, started using skateboards the day after surgery. The patients, while seated in recliner chairs, place their foot on the skateboard and slowly move it back and forth. The movement engages the patients’ hamstring muscles, which are not affected by the nerve block, and gradually engages the quadriceps muscles. The exercise provides the benefits of muscle use, range of motion in both flexion and extension, and proprioceptive stimulus from a weight bearing exercise. All patients who used the skateboards obtained knee flexion of 90 degrees or better by the second day post surgery.