A knee injury can occur within a blink of an eye, but the road to recovery can be quite long. For those of us who have experienced this knows exactly what I am talking about.
Twenty years ago, when I was in the Army, I suffered from a dislocated knee cap. Oh, the pain! Without any formal treatment, it took me years to recover, only to have it dislocate again about 5 years later. I was working out at home, doing stationary lunges, to a VHS tape when it slid out. I landed on it with a bent knee, quickly straightened the leg, and shoved the knee cap back into place. I screamed, because the pain was so unbearable. Even after all of that, I did not get any formal therapy, because I thought it would just get better if I wore a knee brace. It wasn't until the third time, about 4 years later, when it dislocated after doing a roundhouse kick in kickboxing class that I thought that it might be a good idea to have a doctor look at it.
Photo Credit: Fluffy Pop Postcards
I looked on the internet for the best orthopedic surgeon that I could find. He was the guy that the Baltimore Ravens Football Team used. How could I go wrong? This guy knew what he was doing! Well, I went into the appointment with high hopes. After 2 minutes of looking at me, this fast talking doctor "guaranteed" me that his procedure was going to prevent my knee from dislocating again, in the future. He wanted to take a piece of my quad (thigh muscle), wrap it around my knee joint, and then reconnect it to the lower part of my leg. Ouch... I was so desperate for answers, and just wanted to pain to end, that I almost went ahead and did what he recommended. My gut told me to get a second opinion, so I did. The second doc that I went to asked me if I was able to perform daily activities with minimal pain. When I told him yes, he told me that surgery should be seen as a last resort, and that there are no guarantees when it comes to surgery. He sent me to physical therapy instead.
Physical therapy was a start, but it did not completely keep my knee from being in pain, nor did my knee completely stabilize. Their recommendation was to "over train" my quadriceps (thigh muscle) so that it would hold the knee in place. Again, my instincts said something different. I was already doing intense weight lifting several times a week, why would I add to that, and what about people who do not do that type of exercise at all?
What physical therapy did teach me is that my pelvis was out of alignment. The electrode-stimulation and regular massages were also pretty cool.
It wasn't until I found the practice of yoga, that my knee really began to heal. Yoga was a great compliment to the strengthening exercises that I was already doing. The poses helped to align the bones, and break up scar tissue in and around the joints. When I began to move with better posture, my body was functioning better. My knee finally stayed in place, and... NO MORE PAIN!!!
Reasons why your knee may be hurting:
Injury: When the joint is compromised, ligaments and cartilage are sometimes damaged. This can lead to osteoarthritis.
Pelvic Misalignment: " When the pelvis is out of alignment, the load of our body weight is distributed into the legs unequally. As a result, any one of the joints in the legs, particularly the knees, can be adversely affected over time." Read More
Flat Feet: When the arches of the feet sink to the floor, the knees drop inward and down. This puts pressure in the knee joint.
Knocked Knees: This can come with flat/pronated feet, putting uneven pressure on the knee joint.
Weight: Being overweight or very tall can put a lot of pressure on the knee joint, causing the cartilage to wear down.
Tight/Weak Muscles: Sitting down at a desk all day can make legs weak and cause painfully tight hamstrings and hip flexors .
How do I fix it?
Yoga: Therapeutic Yoga can help to align the pelvis, strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, and increase overall flexibility.
Chiropractic Adjustment: Physically manipulate the body to put the bones back into place.
Physical Therapy: A combination of stretching, massage, and strengthening for the injured/painful area.
Orthodics/ Shoe Inserts: Lifts the arches, so that there is less pressure on the knees.
Last resort: Surgery
Three Great Yoga Poses for Knee Health:
Goddess Pose helps to strengthen the knee and hip joints.
Child's Pose helps to stretch the thighs muscles, knee joint, and hips.
Holding the legs in the air, helps to tone the pelvic floor, lengthen the backs of the legs, and tone the muscles around the knee joint.