The last time I wrote about my knee was seven weeks after my knee surgery last July. It’s time for an update, and this time I actually have something hopeful to say that might even be helpful to some of you.
A little background: I’ve had chronic knee pain in my right knee for several years now. Last year, the doctors found a cyst and encouraged me to have it removed as it would be a “minor” surgery and it might fix the underlying problem.
So I had the surgery and did my physiotherapy, but the pain persisted. I tried resting. I tried exercising. I tried wearing a knee support. I tried lots of things. Not only did I continue to have the pain I experienced prior to my surgery, but I also had new troubles: my knee constantly felt almost numb.
Finally after all this trying I found myself in enough pain that it was difficult to walk any distance. This was a little over a month ago, well after the surgery. So I went to my GP who took one look at my legs and said “your right leg is noticeably smaller than your left leg – you need more physiotherapy.”
I decided to shell out for a private physio. Her theory was that I had scar tissue in the joint from the surgery that was causing me the weird numbness. Meanwhile, muscle imbalance was the source of the original knee pain. So she prescribe three things:
First, an exercise that involves me sitting in a chair and pushing my right leg into the floor as hard as I can – repeat ten times, for ten seconds each time, three times a day. Second, she massaged my patella to loosen the scar tissue. Third, tape!
I’d heard of “taping” before but didn’t know anything about it. Here’s what the interwebs say: “The taping technique is based on the body’s own natural healing process. Rather than “strap down” the muscle, the philosophy is to give free range of motion and allow the body’s own muscular system to heal itself bio-mechanically.”
The physio described it to me as “retraining” the muscle to do what it’s told. As such, the tape was applied to the same muscle I was working when I did the leg-push exercise.
Well I don’t know if it was the patella thing or the exercise or the tape (probably a combination of all three) but this is the first time I’ve felt real progress with my knee. After only a month, I’m swimming without the pull buoy for the first time in over year. I’ve been dong 20 minute warm-up runs at the gym with no problem. And I’m walking with gusto.
This isn’t to say the problem has disappeared completely. I can still “feel it”, especially after prolonged exercise. (Today I did a 2-hour walk in the country, after which I could feel some stiffness in my knee, but that subsided after a short rest.)
I would love to be able to run properly again for real distances. But that’s one thing I’m NOT going to push. Actually what I’d really like is to be able to go backpacking. I know I’m not there yet, but it’s something to work towards. So, I’m going to try to get out once a week for a “long” walk. If not for me, then for Rocky, because he needs to learn that car trips mean good things (he’s currently a bit whiney in the car).
But now I’m digressing. I look forward to the knee update that says “All better now! Let’s go run a marathon!” Stay tuned!