Physical therapy, round two...
When Tiffany first met Antonio in March 2019, she noticed he was having a tough time getting his right quad muscle to fire, the major muscle associated with the kneecap injury.
“Functionally, Antonio was doing okay, but after performing his Biodex testing, I could see how significant his muscle balance was,” she said.
Biodex is a device used to evaluate strength, endurance, and power of the major muscles in patients before surgery and throughout the rehabilitation process.
“Antonio had figured out how to adapt to his injured right kneecap throughout the long recovery process,” Tiffany said. “He was using his glutes and hamstrings to compensate for not having the appropriate strength in his quads, and because of that, was overcompensating with his left leg. These compensations were putting him at risk for another injury.”
Tiffany began Antonio’s physical therapy by helping him re-learn how to activate his right quad, starting with proper squatting and jumping techniques. But in his case, general squats and leg presses weren’t getting the job done.
“We had a lot of work to do to get the right leg caught up to the left so that he could use it to push off and jump for basketball,” she explained. To make that happen, Tiffany had to get creative with Antonio’s physical therapy.
“We used our Biodex machine a lot to work on activating his quad to both shorten the muscle (concentric contraction) and control the lengthening of the muscle (eccentric contraction) so that he could better control his landing,” she said.
Tiffany also used electrical stimulation on his quad for muscle re-education, as well as Pilates equipment for improved body awareness and stability and the IsoStrength bike to improve his quad muscle activation and endurance.
“Antonio received very individualized attention during his rehabilitation,” Dr. Pacicca said. “Tiffany really thought about him as an individual, not just a protocol, and when he needed extra time, he got it. She took Antonio’s goals into consideration, and found a way to help him achieve them.”
But, that also meant Antonio had to buckle under and work harder than ever.
“Tiffany makes her patients work,” Dr. Pacicca said. “I’m not sure Antonio realized how much he was going to have to do to get back to playing form, but Tiffany is very good at figuring out how to engage young athletes in physical therapy and motivate them.”
Tiffany gives Antonio the credit for making the most of his physical therapy. “After all he had been through, it would have been easy for Antonio to give up. He’d had three surgeries and months of therapy, but instead of getting down, he pushed himself harder so he could play basketball again.”
“In the beginning I was like, ‘I can’t do this,’” Antonio admitted. “But on a scale of 1 to 10, I missed basketball a 10. My goal was to get back to play my freshman year, but Dr. Pacicca and Tiffany wouldn’t release me. They said I wasn’t ready.”
Though Antonio said he was disappointed initially, he realizes now that Dr. Pacicca and Tiffany had his best interests at heart. “I still had a lot of work to do on my own, and I worked harder once I learned that’s what it was going to take,” he said.