This morning was my first visit with a new physical therapist for my left knee. In case you’re keeping count, this is my third course of PT.
He had me hop up on the table and take my shoes off. He squeezed my knee around the knee cap, and of course, it’s very tender. I laid on my stomach as well and he was down there moving my feet around, checking them out.
I sat up and he told me most of the things I already know:
- My feet pronate and are close to being flat
- I have a valgus knee – this is basically the scientific term for being knock kneed.
- the pronation and valgus knee create awkward angles for my ligaments. Running puts tremendous force on them at the wrong angle.
- my hip has been trying to overcompensate for the force on my knee, and that’s why it’s constantly sore.
The first thing he decided to do was make me some temporary orthotics for my sneakers. He melted down this plastic pieces and then pressed the warm plastic onto my feet. That part actually felt pretty good. Them he sat and molded them around my feet.
I have to get used to wearing them for a whole day. Once I can do that, I am free to use them for running. I can get permanent ones to the tune of $200 out of pocket. They’re made out of carbon fiber. If I want, they can make smaller ones that will fit in athletic shows and dress shoes. As for the temp ones, I have to be careful about not exposing them to too much heat. If I leave them in the car trunk in this weather, they will melt/lose form. Yikes!
About the running…he basically told me that the geometry of my body (the angles from my hip to knee to foot) make it so that my body is not suited for distance running. It becomes a wear and tear issue on my knee from trying to overcompensate. Training for that half in 2009 may have accelerated that wear and tear. I do remember my knees and hips being sore then, but I think my other injury issues overshadowed that.
This hurt my feelings a bit. I mean, I had already decided that I couldn’t/wouldn’t train for any long races at this point. But I do like to run for fitness and I tend to get the most benefit out of intermediate, slow runs of 4-6 miles. It’s one thing to decide on your own, but another to have that decision medically confirmed.
I told him about my current training with TIFL. I basically only run 2x per week. Longer runs in Tuesdays and only 2 miles on Saturdays. I watched his face and I really think he wanted to tell me to ix-nay on the running…but I’m sitting here in front of you with my Ramblin’ Rose shirt on for a reason. I’m serious about this triathlon. He told me to, “see how it feels” with the inserts. I will tread cautiously.
I was given the green light on all the swimming and biking I want to do. Of course! *kicks swimming goggles across the room*
Today’s PT started with ultrasound on my knee and them a 10 minute bike warm up (I need them to really do something about that awful bike seat, lol), followed by 5-6 minutes of the foam roller on my quads and my left IT Band. Hurt like the dickens.
Then back up onto the table for stretching. I cannot explain the stretch he did to simultaneously stretch my quad and IT band, all I can say is I thought my knee was going to crack! My IT band is so tight it’s ridiculous. I tried to do my yogic breathing during that stretch, but I haven’t been to yoga in 4 months. I wanted to kick this dude for the way he had my leg bent back and up. I felt like somebody had me in a wrestling hold.
Our other concentration will be in strengthening my abductor muscle. It’s been working overtime trying to help my knee and it’s pretty weak. I had to use an elastic band around my ankles and do various abductor exercises, at 3 x 10. I never could make it through all 10 in a set without pausing. My hip was on fire! I was close to tears at one point. The last exercise was side stepping with the band on, and a slight squat in my knees. More fire.
After the torture, I was back on the table for about 15 minutes I electrical muscle stimulation and ice, simultaneously. I was given a band to take home to do the exercises on my own, and encouraged to hit the foam roller often.
That’s my life, for the next few weeks. I go back on Thursday at 6:30am. Still waiting for the MRI results as well.
I can’t even pretend to know about other injuries/misalignment issues; all I know is what I go through. This knee issue is no joke. It affects simple things like walking from my desk to the copier. I’m just ready to get it resolved.