This article is part of the Ultimate Guide to Sports Medicine
For 45-year-old Monte Denehie practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is just part of his everyday lifestyle. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art and combat sport that focuses on ground fighting.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on training individuals to defend themselves against bigger or stronger assailants. The practice promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend himself or herself using proper technique, leverage and taking the fight to the ground.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be used for self-defense classes, competition or physical activity to stay in shape; for Monte, it’s a combination of all three. However, there have been times in his life where he was unable to practice because of various injuries.
Monte originally came to OrthoIndy to see sports medicine specialist Dr. Michael Thieken in 2013 with a completely torn ACL. An ACL injury is a relatively common knee injury and is a sprain or tear in the anterior cruciate ligament.
Dr. Thieken determined Monte would need ACL reconstruction surgery in order to return to his jiu-jitsu training. Surgery is often necessary to return to sports and an active lifestyle; however, a less active individual may return to their lifestyle without surgery.
According to Dr. Thieken, “The anterior cruciate ligament is an extremely important ligament for stability of the knee during twisting and pivoting type motions. ACL reconstruction is a procedure done almost entirely arthroscopically in which we create a new ACL with either some of the patient’s tissue or cadaver tissue.”
“This new ACL graft is fixed in bone tunnels to allow graft to bone healing. With extensive physical therapy and time to allow the graft to mature, an individual can return to the sports and other activities that they love,” said Dr. Thieken.
Recovery after knee surgery
After surgery, Monte worked hard to rehabilitate and return to his active lifestyle.
“I can’t say enough about my experience with Dr. Thieken. He was always extremely realistic and up front with me about my injury, the implications the injury would have on my life, and what I could expect once the injury was repaired,” said Monte.
“Dr. Thieken took the time to get to know me, which was extremely imperative in being able to layout a realistic rehab and recovery plan. By the end of my recovery from the ACL replacement, I considered Dr. Thieken a friend.”
But that wasn’t the end of Monte’s experience with Dr. Thieken. In 2017, Monte returned to Dr. Thieken after he once again injured himself training and competing during Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This time, Monte was having shoulder pain and Dr. Thieken determined Monte had a torn rotator cuff with a partial labrum tear. Monte would need surgery, again.
“Monte’s physical examination and imaging studies showed tearing of his rotator cuff. He continued to have pain and weakness which limited his ability to return to Jiu-Jitsu despite conservative treatment,” said Dr. Thieken. “In order to return to the activities he enjoyed, including Jiu-Jitsu, surgery was necessary.”
A return to a normal lifestyle
After surgery, Monte has been working hard to rehabilitate and return to martial arts. Monte’s 15-year-old son also practices Brazilian Jit-Jitsu so Monte has been able to train with him and develop him into a martial artist.
“Dr. Thieken really takes an effort to get to know his patients. By the time I came to him with my shoulder injury, he already knew my personality, my activity level and my level of rehab compliance,” said Monte. “He took all this knowledge and put it together to thoroughly explain the injury, what he was going to do to fix it and what I had to do to completely rehabilitate the shoulder. Because of this deep personal approach, I am able to get back to doing the activities I love much faster than most.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Thieken please call 317.802.2863 or learn more about sports medicine treatment at OrthoIndy.