Why Can’t You Just Magically Fix My Knee?
Knee pain! Two words that can never be construed as fun. Your first reaction when reading this is either “That’s what happens when you get old” or “I’m telling you…running is terrible for your knees.” While both are valid points, that’s not how I hurt my knee.
If you promise not to laugh I’ll tell you. Picture this. Super Dad is pushing his two boys
through the parking lot of Costco and decides to jump on the cart for a little ride. As if that wasn’t good enough, he decides to crouch down to become more aerodynamic. The result is the shopping cart falling on dad and now he has a sore knee. Ok, you can laugh a little.
This truly was not my finest hour but fortunately, because the shopping cart fell on me, my kids weren’t hurt. The only consequence of my stupidity is a sore, gimpy knee. Trust me, I check YouTube daily to make sure the security footage hasn’t gone viral.
My doctor was pretty sure there was no structural damage and sentenced me to six sessions of physical therapy. I showed up with the preconceived notion that physical therapy is all about ice and relaxation and maybe a few things focused directly on my knee. Boy was I wrong. Todd, my therapist proceeded to show me how weak my hips are and how inflexible just about every part of my body is. Admittedly, I haven’t touched my toes or even come close since the fourth grade. Todd put me to work, made me sweat and gave me homework where I get to pay for my lack of stretching and overall stupidity.
I have gain some really valuable insight through this process that is applicable to other areas of life:
- A Holistic Approach Is Best- The body is an amazing network of supporting structures. If my quads, hip flexors and hamstrings are weak and tight, it will put extra strain on my knees. Strengthening my whole leg takes pressure off my knee and allows it to heal. To fix my knee, all of the supporting structures must be targeted as well.
- There Are No Magic Pills- To fix my problem, I had to go to work, sweat a little, be responsible and committed to the solution. There would be no instant gratification in this case.
- Check The Pride At The Door- I screwed up and fortunately a sore knee is the only consequence. I’m learning the importance of asking for help and realizing that expert advice may be different than what I want to hear but necessary that I follow.
- Potential To Come Back Stronger- Through this experience I have learned how to stretch and strengthen properly. Given that my hip strength is nonexistent, by strengthening my hips I become a stronger runner once the knee is healed. That’s exciting.
The last thing I learned in this process is that ice, mixed with electricity, applied to my knee is a wonderful sensation and well worth the work to rehab. My knee isn’t all the way back to normal but after five sessions I see major improvement. The moral of this story is that if you mess up, the road to redemption and healing is not instantaneous and definitely not easy but if you commit yourself to the process there is potential to come back stronger.