Lauryn was diagnosed with patellar instability, which occurs in about six out of every 100,000 adolescent patients, including traumatic injuries. At this point, the cause of atraumatic dislocation or instability in unknown, but it is suspected that the alignment of the limb may play a role.
To correct the problem, Lauryn had a surgery called an osteotomy to address alignment issues in her right leg.
The osteotomy was performed on June 3, 2019, at the Children’s Mercy Adele Hall Campus. During the surgery, Lauryn’s femur, or lower thigh bone, was cut and reshaped to take pressure off the knee joint and improve alignment.
Six weeks later, Lauryn began physical therapy at Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center Village West, working with Michael Denning, DPT, CSCS, sports physical therapist.
Michael focused on traditional physical therapy exercises, helping Lauryn regain the strength and flexibility in her right leg, but he also recommended she see his colleague, Kayla Greiner, PT, DPT, OCS, physical therapist at Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center Village West, to incorporate a few sessions of aquatic therapy into her rehab.
Working in the Village West state-of-the-art therapy pool helped Lauryn feel like she was making progress during the early stages of her recovery. The buoyancy of the water reduced the weight on her right knee.
“The pool was really cool,” Lauryn said. “The pool floor raised up so I could get in easier. It was like something out of a science fiction movie. Plus, they were able to put a stationary bike on the floor and lower it down so that I could ride the bike under water. It was pretty impressive.
“I wasn’t able to fully walk or ride a bike on land, but in the pool I could. It was a nice change after being on crutches for so long, and It helped me get my confidence back,” Lauryn said.
Michael added techniques like blood flow restriction training, or BFR, to Lauryn’s therapy regimen. BFR training involves wrapping a restrictive device, similar to a large blood pressure cuff, around a limb during different forms of training and movement. Studies show BFR increases muscle growth.
“By using BFR, you get similar benefits to the muscles that you would from traditional strength training,” Michael explained. “It stresses the muscles so they get stronger, but protects the joints since it is typically just body weight exercises.”
After several months of rehabilitation at Village West, at the end of 2019, Lauryn was re-evaluated and was still going to need the second surgery.
“Lauryn’s kneecap was still loose, and it was going to get better on it’s own, so we decided to move forward with the second surgery,” Chelley said.
At first, Lauryn said her therapy focused on the basics—just walking and bending her leg correctly. “I had lost a lot of muscle in my right leg,” Lauryn said.
Lauryn returned home the same day, and a couple of weeks later started rehabbing her knee again, just about the same time the COVID-19 pandemic hit.