Allure of Winter Games hastens Mendes’ rehab
Editor’s note: This is the first of a monthly series chronicling Jonna Mendes’ rehabilitation from a broken foot before the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
On her last run of the best season of her career, Jonna Mendes clipped the tail of her ski on the last gate of the downhill course in March at Big Mountain at Whitefish Ski Area in Whitefish, Mont.
The 22-year-old from the South Shore fell and suffered a very rare injury for skiers – she broke the talus bone in her right foot.
Now, the one-time Olympian has a summer-long rehabilitation facing her before she can make a return to the Winter Games next winter in Salt Lake City.
After breaking the bone, Mendes had surgery to repair the tendons and fix the damage and has been relegated to crutches for the past eight weeks.
She is not expected to walk on it until early June, but has been attending rehab sessions Monday through Friday at the Emerald Bay Physical Therapy.
Her ankle has been massaged and worked on by both Chris Proctor and Jenny Cooper at the clinic.
“The whole time we’ve been working with her, we’ve just been massaging the ankle and trying to keep the muscles ready for when she is ready to start walking,” Proctor said.
Five days a week Mendes works with either Proctor or Cooper getting her ankle in shape for when she will abandon her crutches and move on to the next phase of her rehab.
In addition to her daily massages, Mendes regularly has pool workouts and hits the weight room to keep the rest of her body in shape.
“I’ve been doing a lot of upper-body lifting and training,” Mendes said.
While this part of the rehabilitation can’t be hastened all that much, the entire regimen for Mendes is on somewhat of an accelerated pace.
Because she is a world-class and highly trained athlete, Mendes is far ahead of where a normal person would be at this point after her injury.
“At this point, nature has to do its part,” Cooper said. “We’ve been using the bone stimulator to increase the speed of healing a little, but we can’t rush it all that much.”
In addition to getting her bone to heal, both Proctor and Cooper have been diligently making sure the tendons in her foot are strong enough to bear weight once she is cleared to walk again.
Once Mendes has gained clearance to put weight on her foot and lose the crutches, she will begin the next phase of her rehab.
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