When I first found out I tore my ACL, my mind was racing. How could this happen? What will surgery be like? How will the rehab be? And the most concerning thing of all was of course the expected long rehab process. I spoke to some of my buddies who had ACL surgery and went through the rehab before, and they told me horror stories of the physical therapist bending their knee right after surgery to the point where they were yelling in pain. I was not looking forward to anything to do with the entire process.
3 days after surgery, I had my first rehab appointment with Nick Licameli and Professional Physical Therapy in Nutley. I was dreading it, and was thinking to myself that I just had surgery 3 days ago, and this is going to be painful. However, when I met Nick, he put my mind at ease by taking the time to explain the injury and what the rehab process would be like. After the first day, I felt like the goal and path to recovery was clear and I felt comfortable that Nick and the rest of the Professional Physical Therapy staff would be guiding me along the way. As I got into my physical therapy for the first few weeks, I quickly learned that the process was going to be challenging, but I also learned that it was not going to be like the horror stories that my buddies told me about. Nick constantly worked with me with great patience to show me all of the exercises I would be doing each day, but he never pressured me into any pain or any bad experience at all (unlike what I’ve heard from my friends about other PT practices). Actually, I started to even enjoy and look forward to going to my physical therapy sessions 3 days per week. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming at Professional Physical Therapy at Nutley, always joking around and having great relationships with all of their patients really gave it a feel of more of like a “hang-out” then a therapy building. And at the same time, I was making great progress. Only 6 weeks from my surgery, my doctor told me that I was doing so well that I could start walking without the brace, which was much earlier than expected. That was all thanks to the great work from Nick and the staff at Professional Physical Therapy.
Then at about two months out from my surgery, the COVID pandemic hit New Jersey, and I was very concerned about what would happen to my therapy sessions and all of the progress that I made on my knee. However, Nick was very quick to reach out and offer telehealth services available by Professional Physical Therapy. These services have been a great experience and have not slowed down my progress at all. Nick came up with a number of great ideas over the telehealth sessions for my exercises at home. Through video conferencing, Nick showed me how I could use water jugs or a case of Gatorade as weight for my exercises. Nick also helped me be very resourceful by using simple things like my chairs to hold on to for lunges, stairs for my step ups and calf raises, and even using a pillow for my step downs. The progress on my knee over the last two months of using telehealth three times per week has been tremendous. I was worried that my progress would slow down not being able to going into the therapy building, but each week I have felt like I’ve been getting stronger. Now I’m even up to the point where I can run on my own for two miles.
To summarize, I can’t say enough good things about Nick and Professional Physical Therapy. Throughout the process of my first 4 months of rehab, Nick has been very patient in answering all of my questions and concerns. He has always been flexible and available at any time, whether in the office, through telehealth, or even over text message, to guide me along the way. He could be working on over 5 patients at once, but he always made me feel like I was the only one. Not only that, but his knowledge and expertise has helped me show continued growth and progress every step of the way with my knee injury. From experience, the rehab process from a torn ACL is not easy and work has to be put in to make it successful, but I’m so glad I chose to go to Nick and Professional Physical Therapy. I know that I could never have done it without Nick, and I would recommend him to anyone who is in need of physical therapy in the future!