Are you a good patient? I am not normally ill and (touch wood) don’t generally suffer from injuries but since an injury a couple of years ago in my left knee, every time I feel a niggle I panic.
I was taking part in the Birmingham Velo 100 mile bike ride in 2017 and very shortly into the ride, with a lot of pain, I was on the floor and out of the event. You can read more about that here. But the long and short of it was I had displaced my kneecap, torn my medial collateral ligament and had crepitus – not the most fun news to hear after my scans but could have been worse.
This year for me has all been about the bike and heading toward the middle of the year the niggles got worse to the point that on a ride about a month or so ago I had to get off and after having a little moment carried on but a lot steadier.
So whats the deal? Well I am seeing an amazing sports therapist and he thinks I have bursitis and chrondomalacia. Bursitis is a painful condition that affects the joints – bursae are fluid-filled sacs that act as a cushion between bones, tendons, joints, and muscles – when these sacs become inflamed it is called bursitis. Chrondomalacia patellae, also known as “runner’s knee,” is a condition where the cartilage on the under surface of the patella (kneecap) deteriorates and softens. I am yet to have a scan on it but will do if only to confirm what he thinks and find out how bad and if there is anything else I should know.
I have been having regular ultrasounds on the knee, acupuncture and getting it strapped and it is helping but it is still not right.
When swimming I do breast stroke and the nature of the movement would not be good for my knee so I am avoiding that and I had intended to start a run/walk programme but was advised against that.
So I’ve rested and been icing it every day too.
My training was quite full on so to go from training 6 days out of 7 to nothing was frustrating. I started on the bike when I had the go ahead to do so with an easy flat ride whilst taped up and again that did not feel right so I went back to resting again.
I didn’t like it and was super grumpy about it.
But there was work I could do and so I added to my home gym a new gym ball and a step. I started with exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee and my glutes, which control the movement of the knee. These include:
- Clamshell exercise: lay on your uninjured side with your hips and knees bent and feet together. Slowly raise your top leg toward the ceiling while keeping your heels touching each other. Hold for 2 seconds and lower slowly.
- Straight leg raise: lay on your back, bend one knee and place your foot flat on the floor. With the other leg remaining straight, raise it to the height of the opposite knee.
- Side leg raise: lay on your side. Bend your bottom leg for support, straighten the top leg and raise it to 45 degrees. Hold for 5 seconds, lower and relax.
- Step ups: place one foot on a step bench, keeping your pelvis level, bend your knee and slowly lower the opposite foot to the floor. Lightly touch your toe to the floor, then rise back up.
- Glute bridge: lay on your back with your feet on the floor and the knees forming a 90 degree angle. Now press yourself up into the bridge position by contracting your glute hard. There should be a straight line from your upper body to your knees.
- Banded walks: loop a resistance band around the bottom of your feet, squat down slightly and walk sideways.
- Bear squat: start in downward facing dog keeping your heels on the floor, sit back on your heels keeping your hands on the ground. Move back into the starting position by completely extending your legs and putting your heels back on the floor.
- Squat hip rotations: stand with feet slightly wider than hip width, squat down with feet flat on the ground and bum not quite touching the floor. Rotate one leg outward, going up on the outer ridge of that foot. Pause for a moment and go back to the starting position. Rotate the same leg inwards until the knee touches the ground next to the other foot. Pause, go back to neutral and repeat with the other leg.
In addition to the above regular stretching and yoga. I will also look at some easy leg spinner sessions on the turbo trainer and have been on some steady rides outside.
I fully planned on being on the start line of the RideLondon 46 miler the weekend before last, even though I needed to be sensible and adapted my ride to take it easier. (I have done the 100 mile several times so it was nice after my main events to do the shorter route for the first time). It didn’t go totally to plan as I reapplied my tape on my knee myself the day before and clearly I am useless at it as it peeled off about 4 miles in! I also stood up as I went over a speed bump and the impact on my knee was rather painful. However, I finished the ride and all good.
I am now doing HIIT and strength training, which may sound crazy but again I am being sensible and I am doing all the modifications necessary and aside from being tough its all good.
Injuries take time and aside from the exercises to get stronger I also need to find some patience from somewhere!
And what is that smell you ask? Jointace! I constantly smell of jointace now ha ha