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The Story of Austin‘s Recovery…

…as told by his mother, Stephanie:

“Hockey isn’t just a hobby for Austin, it is truly a passion. He loves everything about hockey, from the strength and conditioning to video review to competing in games. He had a coach tease him one time that making him skate sprints isn’t a punishment because he enjoys it too much. If he wanted to punish Austin, he would make him sit and watch his team skate.

“Austin was playing in a tournament in Hooksett, where they had a four-game weekend. During the first game on Friday night, Austin blocked a shot, but his shin guard shifted a little and the puck hit his knee. He said his knee hurt but not enough to stop playing over the weekend. He went on to play three more hockey games. After the final game on Sunday, he had a lot of trouble getting into the car, so I called Peak to get him in for photobiomodulation (PBM) and isolated cryotherapy, and we went straight there from the rink. The swelling went right down with these treatments, and the pain level wasn’t bad so we really figured it was just bruised. However, Monday morning he still couldn’t walk up/down stairs, so we went to urgent care. The x-ray showed that he had a minimally displaced fracture on his patella. I told the urgent care doctor that we had done the isolated cryotherapy on Sunday and she said that was a great thing because it got the swelling down, and she could fit him properly for a brace. She put him in a brace and on crutches, and we scheduled a followup with an orthopedist.

Image: Austin’s leg x-ray showing the fracture

“We saw the orthopedist Tuesday morning. They got us in right away. Luckily the fracture was only minimally displaced, so no surgery. The orthopedist put him in a leg immobilizer and emphasized the need to keep his leg perfectly straight, because any flexion would cause the tendons to pull the fractured part of the bone away from the rest of the knee cap. Which is why getting in/out of the car and going up/down stairs was so painful. The estimate was four to five weeks in the immobilizer for the fracture to heal and then another couple weeks of PT before getting back on the ice. He thought Austin would be at the longer part of the estimate due to how the fracture was positioned. He scheduled a follow up at the three-week mark to make sure it was healing properly and the fracture didn’t shift. 

“Austin did PBM and Isolated cryotherapy twice a week for the three weeks. We got in as many sessions as we could before the follow-up appointment. We only had to give Austin ibuprofen twice during this healing process. Once was after the final game (before we knew it was broken) and once was after a long day at school without the crutches. Other than that, the treatments completely managed his pain and swelling. 

“We saw the orthopedist on Monday for his three-week checkup and the fracture was almost fully healed! The doctor compared the x-rays. We could clearly see the fracture in the first x-ray, but couldn’t see anything in the second. He got out of the immobilizer and was put in a brace that allows for movement and range of motion. His muscles are tight, but no soreness.”

Not all our clients are as tough as Austin, and if you break a leg, we can’t promise you an accelerated recovery. But Stephanie believes the management of pain and swelling were fundamental to Austin’s success and that getting out of the immobilizer so quickly will get him back on the road to complete recovery before his muscles have a chance to atrophy. So remember us the next time you break a bone. We know Austin will.

Image: Austin, photographed at the doctor’s office the day he got the good news about his fracture.