PainPro™ Helps Jay Harris to Recover from MCL Weeks Earlier than Expected

Jay HarrisThe headlines in the Liverpool Echo on 5th April 2016 featured Jay Harris as he signed a new deal at Tranmere Rovers to extend his stay at the club. Roll forward a year and Jay was once again in the headlines but this time it wasn’t great news as Jay was reported to have suffered a ‘medial collateral ligament’ injury. At 29 years of age on April 13th in 2017 Jay suffered a serious knee injury which could have been the end of his footballing career and if you were to go back in time 30 years it probably would have been the end.

The injury was a terrible blow to the team as they were pushing for promotion but for Jay it was the start of a difficult period and the beginning of a long road back to fitness. Questions would be asked about a return to fitness and if a player about to turn 30 years old would ever regain the form which saw him earn the Vanarama National League Player of the Month for March 2017.

After scans and a full assessment the extent of the injury became apparent and Jay had actually suffered a grade 3 Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) tear.
Serious injuries can be difficult to deal with mentally as the rehabilitation process can be very lonely and motivation difficult to find when it is most needed. Fortunately Jay has great mental strength and a desire which sets him apart from many others. After the operation to repair his MCL Jay was eager to begin rehab and with the help of his friend Barry they set out to see what else could be done to aid recovery.

Jay has been a professional footballer for the vast majority of his adult life and at school was football, football, football and as a result picked up tips and gained knowledge related to wellbeing and looking after his body. He knew the key to returning to training and ultimately playing would be down to how strong he could become and how he could strengthen the areas around his knee. Trying to strengthen muscles within restricted range is a very common problem and will hamper a quick return to fitness. If not worked on the muscles begin to deteriorate and become weaker which clearly isn’t what is required when trying to strengthen around a joint.

PainProBarry helped Jay to seek out a medical device which could artificially strengthen the muscles whilst unable to load bear. Jay would be spending some time with the medical staff at Tranmere Rovers but the majority of the time would be at home recovering. Jay was aware of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) and had also been exposed to Bioelectrical Micro current Wave Technology (BMWT) during his time at professional football clubs. A TENS machine is effectively a pain management device so isn’t really what was required, EMS would be more like what was required and the BMWT would be a great addition. Many studies have been carried out regarding the use of EMS and how it can really help to improve the level of performance in an athlete.

Jay was in full time rehab and training at Tranmere with David Spendiff (club physio) but if something could be found to help outside of the club this would be to Jays advantage. After some research a device was discovered and it became apparent the PainPro™ fitted Jay’s requirements exactly.

PainPro has TENS, EMS and BMWT all in the one portable device. Jay was able to work on strengthening his muscles even before he could walk freely.

The next 12 weeks, yes 12 weeks are all it took for Jay to be back playing and his 1st competitive game he played in the pre-season friendly at Prenton Park against Liverpool on 12th July 2017.

Road to Recovery Diary

0 – 4 weeks
Going back to the injury date the first 4 weeks were pretty painful due to swelling. PainPro™ helped with pain control and muscle actuation in the first weeks whilst his knee was still in a brace. The bending of the leg was restricted to a range of 30° so help was needed to strengthen muscles within the restricted range.

4 – 6 weeks
Attempting to be free from the brace was the prime goal during the 2nd month, the sooner the better. Jay wanted to be working his vital supporting muscles as soon as possible and using the EMS was able to work on contracting and co-contracting his quads which was a huge benefit of using the PainPro™. The muscles around the knee would become very weak if not worked on and he would be relying on strong quads to aid recovery and for future protection once back in full training.

6 weeks
Things began to look really positive and it appeared as though Jay had edged ahead of schedule as week 6 became a significant week in the rehabilitation process. It wasn’t just movement and going through some light exercise Jay had moved on to a full range of movement and took full advantage of this doing squats and a good level of proprioception. The balance and co-ordination was apparent and enabled Jay to begin participating in straight line drills.

7 weeks
Training levels were clearly improving and into week 7 the introduction of progressive dynamic work and out and out speed work with some dynamic reaction work saw Jay once again improve more quickly than was previously projected.

8 weeks
Full single leg squat at just 8 weeks, the recovery rate is now far greater than what has previously been recorded and is certainly ahead of schedule. Being able to squat with power and control at this stage means a full training session won’t be far away as Jay was participating in sport specific drills.

9 weeks
I suppose this day had been in Jays mind since the day of the injury, full training with the rest of the squad. We are just 9 weeks from the operation date and Jay is able to participate in the practices. Clearly contact at this stage would be risky but all forms of training except contact were undertaken.

10 – 12 weeks
Improving strength, general fitness and working extra hours both on the training pitch and in the gym paid off during this two week spell. The gym work was supported by EMS via the PainPro™ and really helped Jay reach new levels of fitness. During testing in pre-season Jays results were now better than previous years. Jumping higher, sprinting faster and more powerful than ever before.

Week 12
Game day, Jay plays his first competitive game in the first team in a prestigious friendly at home against Liverpool. Most people recovering from such an injury would still be training and probably not up to full contact. The past 3 months or so have been amazing journey and Jay has already recovered his form scoring in his second game.

According to studies a player with a very similar or the same injury as Jay would only just be on their return to training programme. Jay has returned 3 to 4 weeks sooner than was initially predicted.

During pre-season all professional players are tested, monitored and checked and have been for many years. Back in the 1980s some clubs would simply take a few measurements and weigh players as they returned from their summer break but in the modern day testing is an important part of a player’s progress and fitness. Over the last few years Jay had scored consistently well in the testing and as a seasoned pro has always had a really good level of fitness. As a little background Jay is a dynamic midfielder who makes bursting runs through the lines and often gets on the end of crosses and through balls and as a result chips in with the goal tally every season. His speed and general agility is a very important part of how Jay plays the game and therefore his times and distances in the testing are serious markers and targets Jay has tried to improve on year on year. In reality the difference from one year to the next has been negligible, well that is until this year. Making full use of the PainPro™ Jay has posted some incredible scores.

Testing Results

  1. The Microfet hand held dynamo (MMT) test showed an increase of power over 4.2 seconds in his injured left leg from 52.4 to 67.3 whereas the right leg was 66.8
  2. Jump has increased by 12%
  3. Squat 1 rep max has increased by 20%

For an elite athlete any small increase is worth noting but Jays scores are a significant improvement on his previous years.

In summary the PainPro™ has aided Jay’s recovery and actually enhanced his fitness and agility.
Speaking with Dave Spendiff BSC (Hons), MCSP the Tranmere physio said the device has certainly helped Jay in recovery and advancing his fitness levels. The isometric and co-contraction work meant the muscles could be worked on and built up without putting any real force through the joint.

To sum up some of the strengths and features of the PainPro™ you would say the following;

  1. Allows joints / surgery time to heal whilst still stimulating muscle groups
  2. Performs isometric quad contraction and co-contraction without entering extension (restricted range of extension in early phase of rehab)
  3. Maintain muscle mass
  4. Prevent muscle wastage
  5. Encourage range of movement {ROM} and limit pain
  6. Control pain and swelling

Since using the PainPro™ extensively and with the help of the dedicated staff at Tranmere Rovers Jay has now fully recovered and played in the  2017 / 18 season opener away at Torquay United on Saturday 5th August.

If you want to purchase a PainPro™ you can do so from our link and remember to use code: jdb10 for your 10% discount.

To learn more and to follow on social media lookout for @painpro17 and follow #painpro