I wanted to say a big thanks for your comments and emails on the Dodgy Knee Update! It was a knee nerds delight and I learned so much from all the links and information shared.
Among the goodies, P posted three really interesting articles from a website called Aligned and Well. This article articulates with lovely bluntness what the osteopath always says about knee problems being connected to other things going on in your body (hello tight calves and hips). And this Movement IS Medicine post reiterated the need for consistent, low-impact movement… as opposed to yo-yoing between high intensity and the couch. Ahem. Thanks P!
So I'm re-learning how to be a Friend of the Knee. It's totally manageable when I stop going out of my way to harm it. Much of the damage came from nutty attempts to keep up. There were countless kickboxing, running, hiking moments etc where the knee was so painful and hot and crunchy and I couldn't straighten my leg properly, but I pushed on because I didn't want to look wussy. I didn't want to miss out. I didn't want anyone thinking, "Fat gal can't keep up". (Sure everyone would have been lost in their own sweaty thoughts, but sometimes there's no stopping the Paranoia Express!)
But now I'm pushing 35 and understand that you only get one life and two knees. The new motto is: What Would Wilma Do?
Way back in 2006 I got an email from a wonderful woman named Wilma who said that she'd had knee troubles all her life but she worked hard to manage them, and as a result was still able to do the activities she loved. She had a comprehensive list of stretches and exercises she did to strengthen the muscles around her knee. She performed these consistently every day. She was a Friend of the Knee!
I bet she is still doing that six years later. Are you out there Wilma? I hope you are well!
At the time I took her advice very seriously… but not consistently. I'd modify my exercise routine and religiously perform the exercises… those tedious moves like squeezing a cushion between your knees that feel so utterly pointless and dammit I'd rather be at BodyPump… but they made a difference. My legs got stronger. But then I'd get frustrated and bored and throw myself into a high impact activity. Then I'd get hurt. Then I'd crawl apologetically back to kneehab. Repeat nauseam for half a decade.
Those days are gone, old chaps. GONE!
Current Friend of the Knee habits:
- Stretchy stuff:
- Daily stretch routine
- Yoga class
- Pilates class
- TRX class – with modifications.
- Lots of Omega-3s
- Wearing sensible shoes – no flimsy flats, no high heels. Zzzzzz… but makes a huge difference.
- The Stork exercise – Up & Runners will groan in recognition… standing on one foot. Brilliant for activating the feet and working the calves.
Things I'm working on:
- Adding in more walks – on even, joint friendly surfaces. Just plain ol' walking seems to help.
- Making sure I don't sit down for too long – that's when it locks up and gets painful
- Look at my diet – I'm reading up on inflammation (thanks for your recommendations!)
- Consistent daily kneehab exercises – dreary, but must strengthen those muscles around the knee. Squeeze that cushion! BE LIKE THE WILMA.
I feel very conscious of being a knee bore, especially knowing that some work colleagues read this (sorry fellas), but this accountability really helps. Thanks for your tolerance!