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Anybody Seen My Quads?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Help, my quads have atrophied!

I had surgery to correct a spine problem in early November '06. The prognosis regarding my 06/07 ski season was excellent at the time. Doc said that I should be on skis by January 1st. Unfortunately, reality intervened in the form of surgery complications (infections, etc.) The short version of what followed is that I wound up having 4 surgeries over the space of 6 weeks to correct the complications. The good news is that my outlook is great--no reason why I can't resume my pre-surgery athletic activities.

The bad news involves my disappearing quads. Due to convalescence in the hospital--at one point involving 5 days flat on my back in the ICU--my quads have left town. I have heard that inactive quads will atrophy fast, but nothing prepared me for how fast.

The heaing of the surgical wound is the factor determining when I can resume athletic activity, and the way things are progressing, I should be able to get on snow in perhaps a couple weeks. I am about to begin PT to rebuild strength and hopefully salvage some of this season. The big question is whether my quads will be ready for skiing. I would appreciate hearing from any kindred spirits who have experienced rapid quad loss and associated rehab.

I did a search on this site and didn't come up with any direct treatment of this question. Most of the posts address how best to return to skiing as determined by the rehab process for ACL tears and other stuff and don't address the quad rebuilding process directly.


post #2 of 9
They will come back quickly...I had knee surgery a few years ago and my left leg disappeared in about 2 weeks....I looked like I had never walked on it my life and I was a bodybuilder at the time. But once I started PT and my own training, my repaired leg caught up in about 3-4 weeks. Course in my case I was afraid to put too much weight on the knee so that slowed my progress, you should be able to do leg extentions and curls in no time at max weight. Heal well.
post #3 of 9
I'm sure one of the PT people on here are going to post some recommendations that you pursue muscle balance by strengthening both quads and hamstrings. Focusing on one without the other would set you up for injury.
post #4 of 9
Don't need a PT to say that... Having Hamstrings and Quads that are not muscularly balanced can result in injury of the weaker muscle... If the hamstring is as atrophied as the quad is, find a weight that is 'Heavy' for the atrophied leg and work BOTH legs with that weight...

Muscle Balance is very important...
post #5 of 9
Even when you're on your back, you can do 'passive' exercising. Flexing your muscles ...tightening and releasing........is better than just lying about. What did they call that.....isometrics? You can do them sitting down.

Never stop moving.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks, all, for the advice. I am still not yet cleared for PT, but I am allowed to walk. Based on current progress, the wound should close sometime next week. I am hoping at that point that the doc will give me the green light to at least expand that to include treadmill, some cross-country on the flat and some elliptical work.

I definitely have the religion, hydrogen and cirquerider, about muscle balance. My thread focused on quads just for discussion purposes. In any event, I will be vigilant to keep things in balance as my rehab progresses.

post #7 of 9
If you don't mind me asking, Joe...

What kind of spinal problem did you have? And what surgical procedure[s] did you have done?
post #8 of 9
one thing I haven't seen mentioned too much is the importance of adequate amounts of quality protein intake. since after all, protein is the building block of all cells in the body, especially for repairing and building muscle. Ive learned from following some bodybuilding forums that if you are sedentary and your body doesn't get enough good protein from your diet, it will get what it needs from your own muscle. The RDA of protein intake is less than .5g per lb of bodyweight. A typical bodybuilder looking to build/repair/maintain muscle eats at least 1g or more per pound of bodyweight. An easy way to add high-quality protein to your diet is to hit a health food store and get some good whey protein powder for a shake, smoothy or anything you can add it to (i know alot of people may think the term bodybuilder means you are some overly bulging mass of silly look muscle, and think to themselves, like I do, "well... Im not interested in looking like that". But the overall concepts are still the same for anyone looking to 'get or stay in good shape', especially in regards to the nutrition. ie: build/repair/maintain lean muscle and reduce bodyfat, regardless of what extreme you want to take it to)
post #9 of 9
Walk aimlessly!
I had surgery 4 years ago, and because I as concerned about losing my muscle mass, I talked to a PT early on. She said three things help tremendously.
-Healthy Diet
-Breath correctly and be aware of your core
-walk aimlessly around the house, at least 20 minutes a day.

I am sure I didn't go through the type of situation you have gone through, but these three tips can't hurt, and might help.

Maybe you can put up a "Lost" poster up in your neighborhood. Someone may find your quads and return them for the reward money
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