Sports Girl Runs Track to Strengthen Quads

Sports Girl running relay after MPFL surgerySports Girl continues to rehabilitate from her MPFL reconstruction surgery. She is now strengthening on her own rather than attending regular physical therapy sessions. She still has a ways to go to get her left leg as strong as it was before the surgery, or ideally, even stronger.

The doctor gave her the green light at the end of March to run some mid-distance races in spring middle school track, but he told her not to expect to have a stellar season. So her goal at meets has been not to finish last – which is a strange twist for my ultra-competitive Sports Girl. But I’m proud of her for knowing her limitations and pushing herself right up to them.

She is running the 800k and the 1600k and a couple of various legs in relay races. She is pictured above right getting ready to take the baton from a team mate in one of these races.

Overall, she’s had minimal problems other than a little muscle fatigue (which is actually a good thing), and a few instances of strange rubbing sensations and minor discomfort in her left knee while running. Sometimes she said both knees were actually bothering her, so I could chalk up those instances to being out of practice physically.

At first I was concerned when she said her left knee was bothering her, but when she actually fell on her knee recently while roller skating, I saw how worried she became when her knee was causing real pain. Thankfully, the knee felt just fine the next morning – so the pain was not unlike what any knee might feel after colliding with a tile floor.

I think she might just have to get used to some of these new feelings and learn how to read them. My hope is that she can grow confident on this newly stabilized knee and get back to her old aggressive self during competition.

Honestly, I believe the biggest risk facing her right now is incurring an injury unrelated to her previous patellar dislocation issues. With one weak leg, she is predisposed to injuries such as ACL and MCL tears.

As I’ve mentioned before, one key thing we’ve learned about how to protect the knee is to have strong muscles in the quads, but also in the hamstring, hips and abs.  So Sports Girl will spend much of her summer strengthening and conditioning.

After spending well over $100 a week on physical therapy, the fees involved for multi-week training programs in our area now seem like a bargain! I recommend all physically active teens should attend performance training as an insurance policy against a more expensive and time-consuming potential injury.

Sports Girl goes back to the doctor for hopefully the last time on June 2, and at that time she should get approval to start summer training/practicing for soccer and basketball, which start in the fall and winter respectively and require more sudden stops, turns and jumps. So there will be open gyms, skills camps and city leagues to attend this summer, as well. We’re looking forward to being busy with these activities – it sure beats being sidelined from them!

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