May 13, 2020

Patient uses physical therapy to recover from an ACL tear

Knee | Sports Injury


Victoria Davis, a 49-year-old, was dancing the night away with her friends during a night out when it took a turn for the worst. Victoria took one wrong move, and she immediately dropped to the floor in agonizing pain. 

She heard and felt a pop in her knee, everyone’s worst nightmare. Victoria initially thought she broke a bone and had no idea what happened to her knee. 

The pain put Victoria’s life on pause. It stopped her from doing just about everything. “It was so swollen, and I couldn’t even walk on it,” she said.  

Victoria did not want to have surgery and hoped physical therapy would be enough to fix her knee. She knew she didn’t want to be participating in any extreme sports and knew she didn’t need to fix it immediately with surgery. Victoria just wanted to get back to her normal daily activities. 

Even though you don’t need a referral to go to OrthoIndy Physical Therapy, Victoria wanted to get a physician’s opinion and receive the proper diagnosis for her knee injury.  

Victoria decided to make an appointment with OrthoIndy sports medicine specialist, Dr. Corey Kendall



Dr. Kendall ordered  an X-ray and MRI of Victoria’s knee so he could properly diagnose her. After reviewing the MRI, Dr. Kendall determined she had torn her ACL. 

Surprisingly, Victoria was relieved to hear her diagnosis. “Dr. Kendall thought it was a bucket-handle meniscus tear, which would require immediate surgery,” she said. “So after we got the MRI results and found it was an ACL injury then I knew I had options!”   

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Physical Therapy 

Victoria’s next step was to begin physical therapy. She went to OrthoIndy West Physical Therapy in Brownsburg, close to her home, where she began rehabbing with Michelle, an OrthoIndy physical therapist.  

Victoria said the hardest part of the entire physical therapy process for her was trying to get there on time with her current job schedule. Her appointments were quick and effective, only lasting 30 minutes, twice a week. “Michelle was so great,” said Victoria. “I was nervous but she is very understanding.” 

Michelle knew she had to push Victoria during her appointments. “Initially, Victoria was very cautious about bearing weight on her leg when walking, so she maintained a flexed knee and used crutches to protect it,” said Michelle. “With any knee injury or surgery, it’s important to obtain full extension (straightening) of the knee early on.” 

“In the beginning stages, we began by controlling swelling with use of ice and compression, then worked to regain the full range of motion (ROM) of the knee,” said Michelle. “Once the patient has improved ROM, we then focus on quadriceps and hip muscle strengthening in multiple planes of movement in order to allow the patient to return to more functional activities – like dancing and Zumba for Victoria.” 
There was one day when Victoria’s pain significantly increased. Michelle stopped the normal physical therapy protocol and just stretched and rolled out her leg. “It hurt, but afterward it was exactly what my leg needed,” said Victoria. “I think this was a huge turning point to my recovery.” 

Once Victoria was able to get her calf and hamstring tightness fixed, she was able to straighten her knee and recovered rather quickly from there. 

Victoria even went beyond her recommended two-month physical therapy rehab. She went another month because she knew it would keep her on track, while also completing her PT exercises at home. 

Every patient’s recovery is personalized. “The patient’s recovery timeline depends on whether the patient is post-operative or chooses to go the non-operative route like Victoria,” said Michelle. “It also depends on their prior level of activity, job requirements and the types of activities they wish to return to. The individual who works a desk job and only exercise by walking, will return to their regular activities sooner than the person who wants to return to recreational sports, works a physical job or has small children to keep up with.” 

After OrthoIndy Physical Therapy 

Shocked is how Victoria would describe her family and friends’ reactions to her quick non-operative recovery. 

Victoria was so impressed by her physical therapy rehab that she even talked her mom into going to physical therapy for her hip pain. Because of that, her mom is now walking better after completing just one month of physical therapy. 

In addition, Victoria is optimistic about her future. “Now, I feel great,” she said. “Like nothing ever happened! I am back to dancing and I can wear my heels again! Life is back to normal.” 

After she recovered, she completed three walkathons in 2019, learned new dances in Hawaii and went on a few vacations with family and friends. Her 2020 goal is to do another mini-marathon before she turns 50; she completed her last one when she turned 40. 

Victoria has nothing but good things to say about her experience at OrthoIndy. “I love the OrthoIndy Physical Therapy in Brownsburg,” said Victoria. “It’s easy to get to and it’s clean. It’s not overcrowded, and everyone is very helpful.” 

Find a physical therapy near you

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000

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