Apr 21, 2011

It's always the knees

I went to PT today! I was supposed to go yesterday, but wrote down my appt time for 30 mins later. Oops.

I'm going to go ahead and share my results and exercises in case anyone else has these problems. Plus, the therapist said these are great exercises for anyone who runs.

So like the internet told me, it is my hip flexor and ab-ductor muscles. I did kind of expect b/c I know I use my hip to lift my leg more than my knees (b/c they are weak and painful. My knees were the first part of my body to start failing. In fourth grade. I started regularly dislocating my knee caps at that age. I luckily haven't had this happen in 11 years. It is indescribably painful and more than a little gross.) So imagine me running with my foot turned about 30 degrees out. I'm sure I look totally crazy.

She said she could see the weakness in my knees and that hip flexor pain is often tied to weak knees and hips. She recommended I focus on making sure my knee is pointing forward at all times, and lengthening my stride. Apparently this kind of pain is relatively common in runners. To be honest, I laughed every time she called me a runner. I don't think my like 12-15 miles per week every single day at a super slow pace really qualifies me as a runner.

She had me stand on one foot than the other and just checked my balance. Then she had me squat on one foot. And by "squat" I mean bend my knee about 10 degrees.
Here is what she saw in me (besides my squishy white legs):

The weak side. See how far my knee goes towards median and how my hip kind of has to pop out wide to balance? Apparently that is bad. Also, in taking these pictures it became very obvious how much weaker this side was. I would turn on the auto timer and then wobble and flop trying to hold myself up for the camera. Most of the first tries showed my hands all out to the side trying to balance.

"Good" side. Ok, so it looks like my knee is pointing out.  Bad self photography. But I can get several inches lower and then don't wobble.

Please ignore the towel in my hallway. My dogs had a crazy time in the wet yard today.

Also, I love these shorts b/c they have full tight shorts underneath instead of the built in underoos. They are just the generic bcg from Academy ($13!) and good for PT so the entire gym doesn't have to see my downstairs.

My exercises
1) Standing side leg lifts with a resistance bands
2) Standing back leg lifts with lifted foot rotated out to perpendicular and standing foot straight ahead
3) Clamshell: lie on your side with resistance band around knees. Keep feet together but lift knee, rotating at   the hip.
4. Bridges: lie on your back, knees bent and up, and just lift your butt. I usually do these on a ball. 

Plus hip flexor and ITB stetches. Good times.


ash said...

I happened upon your blog today, and just had to comment, because I've been struggling with the same thing. Well, actually the opposite. My knee tends too far towards the outside, and I have also had issues with it dislocating in the past. Good luck with your exercises! I've been doing similar ones, and they've been helping.

Additionally, I see you are a dietitian. I recently found out that I am gluten-intolerant, but have not really consulted any professionals regarding what I need to have in my diet to make up for a lack of wheat-based products. any advice? Thanks! :)

ash said...

OH! P.S. seeing a chiropractor alongside of the exercises has really helped me too. they not only adjust backs, but also hips and knees. who would've thought?

Erin said...

I love ITB stretches and ever since I discovered them I no longer deal with hip bursitis (and if it starts to flare up, I just do my stretches)! Goodluck in the healing process! Thanks for sharing this info! Very helpful!