The Ride of a Lifetime �?? Overcoming a PCL Tear

By Andrew Grahovec for ATI Physical Therapy
The Ride of a Lifetime ???? Overcoming a PCL Tear

The road to recovery is never without its own slew of setbacks and can often times be afflicted with challenges tougher than the ones that put us there. For Janesville, Wisc., native Evan Webster, his road to recovery saw its beginning after he collided with a deer while riding his motorcycle back in September of 2017. After the accident, Evan quickly began to lose the ability to use his left leg. Realizing this was far from normal, he decided to go see a doctor where he discovered his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) was completely torn. Unfortunately, Evan didn�??t have insurance at the time, so he chose not to undergo surgery to repair his PCL. As a professional roof inspector, this was especially tough for Evan because he relies heavily on his mobility to perform his day-to-day duties.

Performing the simplest tasks at work soon became a struggle for Evan, so much that he began losing the ability to climb a ladder, run, jump and even walk. Terrified that he�??d never recover from his injury, Evan looked to ATI for help.

Evan came to ATI�??s Janesville clinic and met clinic director Ryan Kluck, PT, DPT, CSCS to see if there was anything that could be done. Together, they assessed the strength and mobility of his knee, set a goal and focused on rebuilding the muscles in his leg once a week for three months. As the weeks went on, Evan slowly began to regain his flexibility and strengthen the muscles in his knee. Therapy was tougher than anticipated, but Evan remained committed to working through the pain and never lost focus on making it to the finish line. Thanks to this commitment and the Janesville ATI team�??s support, Evan was able to power through this incredibly misfortunate situation and get back to doing what he loves �?? riding on the open road �?? and working, of course.

Rather than us tell the story, it only made sense to hear it from Evan and Ryan directly. Enjoy!

What circumstances led to you needing physical therapy? About a year ago, I hit a deer on my motorcycle. Upon impact, its body hit my left side and tore the PCL in my left knee. I couldn�??t afford surgery so I was stuck waiting to see what would happen. Over the course of two months, I began to lose the ability to go up and down stairs or get up from a chair without feeling pain. I also began losing the knee strength to do my job, so I knew something had to be done.

What expectations did you have going into therapy?

Going into therapy, I was confident I would regain most of the strength back in my knee, however, I was under the impression that the pain was there to stay. I also thought it was going to be expensive. As fate would have it, I was very mistaken, on both accounts.

What was your treatment like? Was it tougher or easier than you expected?

We first had to determine the strength and flexibility in my left leg compared to the right, so we started with some light flexibility and body weight exercises. As the weeks went on, I slowly began regaining my flexibility and muscles strength. Working on my tissues was also a huge part of therapy and Ryan found adhesion spots to work on every session. It was a lot tougher than I anticipated, but like anyone with a body limitation, working through it with a positive mindset was the most important thing I could do. With the help of Ryan and the entire ATI staff, making progress was easy, but there�??s no substitute for hard work.

In what ways has physical therapy helped you in your daily life?

Physical therapy not only gave me my job back, but it also gave me my life back. I now have the freedom to run, jump and play sports again. Work is pain free and I no longer have to worry about the future anymore.

Was there anything in particular that stood out during treatment?

I really enjoyed how involved Ryan was e during my treatment. He was up to speed on everything going on and was fully invested in my development and helping me regain my strength. I was shocked at his work ethic and the undivided attention he gave me during every visit, especially since I wasn�??t his only patient. This gave me something to look forward to every time and always made my experience a memorable one.

How have things been since graduating from your PT treatment?

Since graduating ATI, I�??ve gotten a lot stronger and I�??m an all-around happier person. Before my accident I had no idea what physical limitations felt like, so I feel like this was a taste of it. Since I�??ve left [physical therapy] I have a new found love and appreciation for everything the ATI team does – they literally save lives.

To learn more on Evan�??s progressions and efforts throughout treatment, we spoke with clinic director Ryan Kluck, PT, DPT, CSCS, to get his perspective on the recovery.

What were the biggest challenges during Evan’s treatment?

Evan was only able to come in once a week, so the biggest challenge was having him keep up with weekly exercises, without me there to watch his form and make sure that he was completing what was prescribed. He also has a very unique job requiring him to walk on very steeply pitched roofs, so trying to replicate the angles he has to navigate was a challenge.

What stood out about Evan during his treatment?

Evan was very motivated to get back to his prior level of function. He learned the exercises quickly and always had a great attitude towards the challenge that lay before him.

What do you feel were the keys to Evan’s treatment successes? 

I credit much of Evan�??s successes to his positive attitude, determination and ability to follow the plan I set for him. He was always into exercising, so that helped him grasp the home program he had to follow. As his function improved and he could do more exercises, he became more motivated to get back to the workouts he was used to doing before his injury.

Are aches and pains getting in the way of your daily activities?

If simple home interventions are not helping to lessen aches, pains and discomfort, it�??s time to see a physical therapist. Stop by your nearest ATI Physical Therapy clinic for a complimentary screening and get back to doing you.

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