Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

A new day

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I started meeting with my new physical therapist last week. I like her. She seems pretty intuitive, and she picked up on some things before I even told her. She also picked up, rather quickly, that I’m someone who will test my own limits (and, as T-Bone would likely tell you, the patience of my therapists). She described exactly how I’ve been pushing myself the last three years and, basically, worked myself into a negative cycle.

I heard several times that I’m not normal. She was nicer than that, but she did say several times that “most people” aren’t like me. One thing she mentioned was about my knock knees (valgus alignment, if you want to get technical). First, this alignment shifts the load-bearing to the outside of my knee (lateral side), which sucks since that’s where I have cartilage fissures as a result of my original accident. I knew that. But, wait! One of the first things that I told her was that I walk on the outside of my foot (underpronation or supination), and that a therapist last year gave me orthotics to help with this. When she was done watching me walk, she said “Yeah, you do definitely walk on the outside of your foot.” She said she didn’t believe me at first since most people who have knock knees will walk on the inside of their foot (overpronate) to compensate for the misalignment. “You have a unique combination here.” This I did not know.

So my surgeon isn’t the only one to tell me I don’t go by the book.

I like originality. I do. I just don’t like it when it’s screwing up my life. And I wish–HOW I wish– that I was painfully normal when it comes to my knee.

I’m just going to go ahead and blame my mom for this “abnormality.” My new PT mentioned that I have high arches (which might play into why I walk on the outside of my foot), and all I could think about was shoe shopping with my mom when I was a kid. She would ALWAYS check the arch support in the shoe, and we didn’t always get the cool shoes we wanted because the arch supports weren’t high or rigid enough. It worked, Mom. My arches could win a medal.

So what to do? Scale back the exercises. Yep. Way back. As in, we’re starting over with quad sets. Why? Mostly because, while my VMO has certainly gained some strength after I started biking again, it’s not very strong, and it’s not firing correctly. So I need to retrain the muscle to fire when I need it to. Then maybe we can work on some strengthening exercises. So I now have only 4 exercises that I’m to do twice a day. I’ve also cut out all the step-ups, step-downs, wall sits and squats. Yay! I hated those things. I’ll continue with some of the other things like bridges, but they’re no longer part of any prescribed program.

The single most important thing my new therapist said the entire hour was in response to my pleading question of whether or not I could continue to ride. “Don’t stop riding. I think it’s the only thing giving you any sanity right now.” Relief washed over me because I was terrified that I was going to have to stop riding when she started talking about scaling things back. But now she’s my new favorite person.

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Author: Laura

I have a fern I named Frankenstein. I like leprechauns, practicing kung fu moves on my dining room furniture, and pretending that one day I will move to Fiji. I dislike my neighbors' kids, anything that is chartreuse, and Ben Roethlisberger.

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