After having to cut Sunday’s test run short and begin the very cold walk home in -12C weather I knew I needed a plan to get my knee back to a healthy state.
I decided to consult another expert. I think going to the chiropractor for ART is great for a quick fix but I now needed a diagnosis of what is wrong and a plan to help make it better. Luckily I was able to get in to see a physiotherapist on Monday afternoon. I shared my history leading up to my knee injury and talked to her about what hurt (which actually wasn’t my IT band, but right below my knee cap). My physio then did quite a bit of testing to get to the root of the problem. She checked how well my hip, knee and ankle joints moved. She had me squat, then try a single leg squat on each side. She poked and prodded around my glutes.
Based on her assessment I have:
- A very tight IT band on both sides, but the right side is worse
- Extremely tight glutes on both sides
- Extremely tight piriformis on both sides
- Atrophied gluteals
- Right knee cap pulled out of alignment, resulting in irritation of the patellar tendon
When she had me do a single leg squat on my right hand side my whole hip and knee joint went out of alignment and collapsed because of how weak/tight I am. In an ideal world your hips should stay level when you single leg squat. If they collapse or one of your hips hikes up then you’ve got a weakness. It appears that there is work to do!
First things first, running is off the table at the moment. I need to address all of these very tight things in my legs, along with my imbalances, otherwise my knee cap will stay out of alignment and further irritate the patellar tendon. In order to do this I’m supposed to roll my quadriceps, IT band and glutes every day. She advised me to roll very slowly over those areas, and if I found a spot that was painful to hold it there. She also suggested I practice doing mini-squats, making sure my knees align over my toes, to begin to build muscle memory for how my knee should properly track.
After she gave me my homework she “frictioned” the patellar tendon and IT band, then really dug into my glutes and piriformis in an attempt to address those too. She then used a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine, placing the electrodes over my hip on my right hand side. If you’ve never experienced a TENS machine before, it basically feels like you are getting zapped continuously at the electrode site. You have a little control device so that when you get desensitized to the zapping you up the intensity.
She also put a heat pad on my IT band while I got TENS for 15 minutes.
I’ll continue to see my physio twice a week for the next few weeks, so my treatment plan will progress. First things first…loosen up my IT band and glutes.
Do you suffer from weak glutes or super tight hips? What things do you do to stay healthy?