Monday, May 17, 2010

Physiotherapy Day 1.

Turns out my knee complaint is merely the symptom of a much bigger picture. What an eye opener today. I always knew I had to work on my core strength to keep my back healthy, what I didn't realise is that with all the strengthening I do do, I am still very weak in my core and the impact this is having on the rest of my body is starting to become evident.

Upon arriving to meet the physiotherapist she asked to see my films from the ultrasound and then proceeded to ask me to lay down on my back on the table. She started to manipulate, rotate, extend, flex my ankles, knees and hips whilst asking me questions about what my concerns were that brought me to her today, past history, activities etc etc. After doing that she tested my ROM (Range of Motion), flexibility and found that I have extremely flexible knees which hyper extend backwards - not a problem in itself. However every major muscle group in my left leg and to some extent in my right leg is about as a tight as can be. Problem area No 1 Because my core and back muscles are still weak my lower limb muscles have tightened and become contracted almost in a compensatory fashion.
Problem area No 2 I literally have buns of steel. My gluteus maximus is so rock hard and knotted that I have actual pressure spots in several different regions along my left gluteus that made me see stars when she tried to manipulate and massage the area. This has a direct impact on my lower back and the tighter it gets the more my back flares up - my sciatic nerve has been flaring up as well.
Problem area No 3 My quadricep muscles couldn't get any tighter if they tried. Even with all the stretching I am doing they still are tight and this is having a direct impact on my Iliotibial band which is Problem area No 4. As a result of all of this tightness my left patella is being pulled outwards slightly which does not allow for proper tracking of the knee cap causing undue friction - hence the knee pain Problem area No 5.
Then to add some extra oomph to the mix my Gastrocnemius and Popliteus are tight as well Problem area No 6.

Let me tell you, everywhere she rubbed and stretched I broke out in a cold sweat. The pain at times was too much to bear and I had to ask her to stop a few times, if not more. I always knew I was not that flexible but this made me realise how inflexible I had truly become. Quite scary I haven't torn any major muscle due to the inflexibility.

So, where to from here? I am happy that there is nothing seriously wrong with my knee joint. The pain is merely a reflection of poor core stability and tight muscles. So I have a list of basic exercises and stretches that I have to do 4 times a day till I see her again on Friday. I also have to use a tennis ball to rub up and down my ITB after every cycling expedition to stop it from contracting further. On Friday she wants me to take my runners in and she is going to see my posture and running technique whilst I am on the treadmill. I hope she doesn't laugh too hard.

So all in all, although I am bruised from the deep tissue rub I have an extremely positive outlook and know that this can be managed. I am very happy to say the least.

Your hard work will be rewarded.

"The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and lined with determination. And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way, and may go in more than one direction, it is travelled by belief and courage and conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances" Barbara Cage