Saturday, April 30, 2016

Fixing My Knee Pain

For the last two years, I've been living with hip and knee soreness. I shrugged it off at first. When I ice skate in the Winter, I usually fall once or twice as I figure out my edges again. Of late, the knee soreness graduated to full-on knee pain. It presents itself when I climb up and down stairs.

As the months wore on, the pain never went away. I went to my primary doctor, who at first suggested a regimen of ibuprofen three times a day. This helped for a few weeks, but it was fleeting. As soon as I stopped, the pain blossomed again.

The next time I saw the doctor, he suggested a knee specialist. "These guys could even give you a shot that removes the pain," he said. Later on, my wife asked "Have you ever seen the needles that they use to administer those kind of shots?"

I finally visited the knee specialist this month. Their office took a few X-rays, and when the doctor walked into the room, I was brimming in anticipation. "Our X-rays show nothing wrong!" he announced.

He examined my knee, twisting my leg forwards and backwards and to the sides. He declared I had Chondromalacia Patella. "Your lateral facet has some wear and tear." He suggested I start doing some Iliotibial Band (ITB) stretches. He also said I should do some simple wall squats.

On YouTube (my virtual doctor), I learned a very basic ITB stretch, which involves stretching each side of your body into a curve. I felt a lot of tightness at first. I kept at it for a few days, skeptical that it would lead to anything, and anticipating needing yet another specialist. However, a few days ago, as I climbed the stairs in my house, I suddenly noticed my knee was completely quiet. The pain had gone away!

So now I'm trying to maintain a routine of ITB stretches in the morning and evening. The pain reawakens now and again, but the fact that simple stretching alleviates it is a miracle to me. The ITB connects the hip to the knee, which explains why my hip seemed affected at first.

Maybe I'll try to find an off-season rink, to really test things out!

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