Knee Rehab… it’s going to take time!

Apologies in being remiss in updating this blog over the last two months. 

Rest? Really?

It’s been a busy ole time on the music side of things with the release of the album and the first dates of the tour that I’ve not had a moment to stop and post anything.  I must do better 😉  However, when logging in today I found I had a post fully written ready to go that I had completely forgotten about regarding my knee and the rehab that I was under taking to get myself fit again.

So come back in time with me now, to Sept 9th, the Spartan Race had finished and I was in agony with my knee. So much so that I started to put in some serious research and time into how best to cope with IT Band syndrome and how to heal myself. In the end I consulted my physiotherapist as, to be frank, he’s the person who is going to know best.  His advice, REST, acupuncture, REST, massage, REST, specific exercises and, oh yes, REST.

Me to a tee!

For those who know me well, you’ll appreciate that me being told to take it easy and get some proper rest is like telling the sun to stop rising, it’s just not going to happen. So to hear my physio say, ‘you have no choice, it’s rest, massage, physiotherapy and acupunture, or you seriously pose a risk of never being able to run more than 4km again, ever’, was utterly heartbreaking to hear. Devastation set in and my entire mood took a downward turn.

I live for exercise. It regulates my hormones like nothing else, it staves off the red mist that descends (far less frequently than it used to), it stops me reaching for the snack jar because it keeps me in a happy, positive frame of mind, it actually suppresses my cravings for sweet things (which is great), and it generally makes me feel good.  Everything in my day is made much more positive and joyous by the inclusion of exercise. Plus I love it. I enjoy getting all sweaty after a good cardio session. I love lifting weight and seeing if I can push myself harder.  I love doing plyometrics and seeing how far I can really take my anaerobic threshold. I just plain, flat out, LOVE to exercise.

But that week and the week after, I spent much of it in a low funk. I even cried. I’m woman enough to admit it. I cried like a baby, at the prospect of not being able to compete in the Zombie Run that was coming up at the end of October.  I cried at the thought that my new found love for mud and obstacle course racing would be over while still in its infancy.  I cried at the thought that it might put the block on my dream to become a top class personal trainer in the UK.  I cried, a lot.

BUT, after my first session of acupuncture, my knee seemed to feel, well, normal.  Now I know after one course of treatment that it isn’t going to be cured (and there is a distinct possibility that this IT band irritation will never be wholly cured), but my god what an amazing difference.  Seeing these weird little needles sticking out of your leg is a little..hmm..odd. And feeling them being twisted or stimulated every 5 minutes, again just plain odd. But my physio was right on two counts, 1) I slept like a baby the night of the treatment and 2) the pain comes back excruciatingly but only for a few hours and then you feel like you could do a marathon.

However, I was a good girl and I took his advice. No running at all for 4 weeks, which was hard, but eventually I didn’t run for 7 weeks.  I was not allowed to do any weight bearing exercises other than body weight and no sqauts or lunges were allowed in the 4 weeks rest period.  Anything to decrease the repetative strain, as essentially that’s what it is. OK so that meant TurboFire was out as well, likewise Insanity. So only the upper body portions of P90X? Yep that was good.  So what else could I do to maintain exercising and fat loss, without being tempted to get on the treadmill and squat like my life depends on it with a 30kg barbell?  Well, said my physio, get in the pool and swim! So back to swimming I went.  I haven’t been swimming since I did a severe sprain of my ankle back in 2007.  So I sucked up my pride and  reinstated my membership at my old gym.  This serves two purposes anyway, as once I had the all clear I was able return to my old pump, combat and attack classes that I love so much and I have missed them.  And also pole dancing was still allowed (Get In). Add to that pilates to continue to strengthen my glutes, frequent sports massages, foam rollering and more acupuncture, and the path was well set for a full recovery. *crosses everything and prays to whoever is listening*.

So having had 5 courses of acupuncture, regular massages, lots of foam rollering, and no niggles when I eventually made a combat and some pump classes, I decided that I would now test the knee with a 5km cross country obstacle course race being chased by zombies….because that’s what you do to test if you’ve recovered of course.  But more about the Zombie race in the next blog.  Thankfully the knee, although it did irritate and the searing heat of the IT band inflamation started at about the 4km mark again, the recovery period afterwards was far quicker.  Straight on with the ice patch after the race, knee elevated for the rest of the night at home and the next day no pain when decsending the stairs.  After the Spartan Race it took almost a week for things to go back to normal, now it’s taking less than a day.  This is serious progress.

Last night was the real tester.  I hit the gym for the first time in now almost 9 weeks (I ended up with a very bad cold after the Zombie run so thought it best not to train especially with gigs the following weekend – play it safe).  I decided to go straight back into my old routine (but adjusted my weights down as I’ve lost some of my strength), just to see how I’m doing in the recovery stakes and thankfully I ran for my full 10 minute cardio blast on the treadmil (doing just over a mile) without a twinge.  I did some weighted squats, lunges and single leg deadlifts and still no twinges. So all in all, the rest did me good.  There is still some way to go as I’d like to do the Super Spartan next year and if my knee allows the Beast as well so that I qualify for my Trifecta. But we shall see, something this injury has taught me is that if I want it badly enough then I have to be patient and let my body heal properly.  So for the interim I’m sticking to the 5k races, but it feels SO good to be active again. It’s been a hard lesson to learn.

Anyhoo, until the next entry! 

Be kind to yourselves,
Much love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *