Peng was an avid runner and triathlete who started having knee pain after competing in a Half Ironman back in September. After getting evaluated, he was diagnosed with a meniscus tear and had a surgical procedure called a meniscectomy to clean up the damage in his knee. Unfortunately, he started experiencing swelling in both knees that wouldn’t subside following the surgery, which was slowing down his recovery. He also had a low-grade fever for an extended period of time, and our acupuncturist Mila Mintsis suggested that he get tested for Lyme disease based on this finding. Peng was then tested and the results showed that he had in fact contracted Lyme disease, which was affecting both of his knees and causing the swelling.
With our initial evaluation, we found that he Peng’s status was standard for any patient following a meniscectomy, aside from the fact that there was swelling in both of his knees. Upon starting treatment, Peng simply stated that his goals were to return to running and triathlon competitions after completing a course of treatment from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City.
Peng was treated for Lyme disease from his doctor, and after some time, the swelling eventually subsided. Prior to this, he was limited in his ability to exercise due to the pain and swelling he was experiencing. Swelling in the knees inhibits the surrounding muscles—most notably the quadriceps—and makes the knees less stable.
Strengthening exercises for hips and legs
Peng’s physical therapy treatment program began with exercises to strengthen his hips and legs, which were performed on a treatment table in a series of non-weigh bearing positions. This was a frustrating change of pace for Peng, who was used to being extremely active and wasn’t familiar with performing so many exercises in a non-weight bearing position, but it was necessary for his recovery.
Once the Lyme disease and swelling was under control, we gradually introduced functional weight bearing exercises like squatting, lunges and step-ups to build up strength in his thighs even more. We had to be cautious not to progress too quickly, as doing so could cause the swelling to return. We also found that Peng had a tendency to allow his knee to fall inward while performing step-ups, which we determined was due to the gluteal muscles in his buttocks not properly stabilizing the leg.
After having performed leg raises and exercises using an elastic band for several weeks, Peng’s gluteal muscles grew stronger, but they needed to be retrained to work when his leg was in positions in which he had to bear weight. To accomplish this, we had him perform certain movements with correct form repeatedly in order to help him relearn how to position his legs. Once he could perform all his standing exercises without any pain, with good form and without any swelling developing, we progressed him to exercises to address his agility. After some time, Peng was finally ready to progress to running, the primary goal of his treatment. He went for his first short trial run at the beginning of February and we’re happy to say that he was pain-free when upon completing it.
Since then, Peng has been discharged from physical therapy and is gradually increasing his running distance on his own so he can eventually return to racing. Peng has this to say about his experience with Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City: “I am a foreigner from China. Bridget and other staff members have a great amount of knowledge about meniscus surgery recovery. I feel very safe and comfortable here.”
Contact us today
Peng’s story shows that no matter the injury or issue that may be affecting our patients, we’re determined to get to the source of it in order to help them improve. At Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, we devote our full attention to each patient and never overlook details that might help with their recovery. If you’re dealing with an injury or painful condition, contact us today at 212-317-8303 to set up an appointment, or click here for more information on physical therapy for meniscus tear recovery.