Road to Recovery: Abbey D’Agostino
There is not much buzz about this Olympic runner since the late summer. Abbey suffered the ‘Unhappy Triad’ during her event back in August, and underwent surgery to repair the knee in September. D’Agonstino and Nikki Hamblin, the other injured runner, were honored with the Fair Play award by The International Fair Play Committee for their righteous acts and sportsmanship during a highly competitive situation.
Typical timeline for recovery following surgical repair of an ‘Unhappy Triad’ begins the moment you open your eyes in the recovery room until about six months after surgery. Within the first two weeks, the most important goal is to achieve full knee extension (straightening out of the leg) and at least 90 degrees of knee flexion (bending the knee). After six weeks, full flexion and extension should be met while focusing on balance, light strengthening, and continued protection of the graft.
Three- four months after surgery, D’Agostino should be able to get into jogging and straight ahead running on even surfaces. She should be able to work more on strengthening the leg and preparing to return to high level sports. Maintenance of strength and pain free activity are key elements to returning to running for Abbey.
Most athletes are able to return to sports at the six-month mark.They must meet some criteria for return to sports, that is usually developed by their physical therapist or physician. They also must be re-evaluated by their doctor and cleared through them after physical examination. Patient education is an important aspect of rehabilitation.
Following any serious injury, it is important to know your limits. Even after being cleared to return to your sport, it may take several more months or years even, to have it seem like nothing was ever wrong. Continued follow up and maintenance of rehabilitative practices can help for long term success of significant injuries. We hope to see Abbey back out on the track real soon as she is approaching her six-month anniversary of surgery in March of 2017!
By: Riki Duncan, MA. Ed, ATC, LAT