Yesterday I had my first visit to physical therapy and my initial evaluation. I'm quite surprised because she didn't think it was a meniscus issue. I clearly do however, have problems with my knees. She said there was indeed some mild swelling going on and on some of the exercises she had me do/did to me they were crackling and stuff. However, on one of the exercises she said that I would have felt pain if I actually had a meniscus tear, hence why shes doesn't think I do, least not a very bad one. On the other hand, she said my patella(s?) not sure how to pluralize that, are tilted. Patella is basically your knee cap. And she said my right knee (which has been "traditionally" been my bad knee even though they seem to alternate) is more severely tilted than my left. And if the patella is tilted, it can rub and cause pain and make you more prone to tendon injury/wear/tear, such as the meniscus. Which I guess makes sense with what I've been experiencing.
Now, I've been wondering why I have these issues and obviously, how to prevent them from getting worse and hopefully actually fixing them. Patella tilting is pretty common, but I have a feeling I know why I have this issue, so I need to quit the "why me?" attitude. When I was sick when I was little (around 5 so I don't remember it well), I wasn't getting enough nutrients, so my legs actually started to get crooked. My right was especially bad, almost a 45% angle. I wore full-leg braces but even today my legs are not totally straight. At the time, my family was grateful I was just able to walk. Now that I've taken my physical abilities for granted for song I just feel lucky that I am able to do all that I can! Regardless of the cause, I am lucky for what I have and grateful I have the resources to work on improving my problems.
Soooo, the goal for my physical therapy is to strengthen my quads and butt more to build muscle to help elevate the knee cap to its proper place and decrease the tilt. I'm a little wary of being able to do enough strengthening in order to accomplish this, especially because it's really a bone alignment issue and, I'm already doing training that would help it. In fact, she told me we only need to meet 2x a week (instead of 3) if I'm already doing workouts at home that include squats and stuff as part of my routine. I was kind of shocked, she actually gave me the go ahead to pretty much do whatever I wanted and was doing as far as exercise, as long as it doesnt cause me pain. I stressed that I do a lot of high impact cardio with high knees, jumping jacks, etc. and she still gave me the okay. Which, makes me super happy, but, since there is still a little bit of swelling going on I think I'm going to continue focusing on my minimal impact high strength training workout plan for the next week or so.
Because this kind of shocked me I asked her why then is it that I do seem able to do high impact exercise for shorter times (30-45 min) but not longer (walking over a mile, long hikes, biking, etc) then the pain kicks in. She said it was muscle fatigue that once the muscles get tired they are less able to support my knee, hence it it starts tilting more and causing pain. I need to build muscle to prevent this and of course, always use proper form.
She also gave me a lot of stretching exercises, most of which I do already before/after working out, such as quad and hamstring stretches. I guess the more flexible I am the better, and she said because I used to dance my flexibility threshold is higher than most peoples and she wants me getting back to that. HA! It's called, age, I am no where near as flexible as I used to be, but, I will work on it.
In other "news" I like sharing my trackers so far, even though it doesn't really help, lol. Didn't stop me from not tracking my dinner yesterday and I did go over my calories. Oh well. New day. Also, they are cracking down on funding where I work (the government, so we don't abuse taxpayers money, which yes I support...) BUT they took away our refrigerators and microwaves. So my lunch options just became a bit more limited. Last couple days as you'll see I had a salad for lunch and a sandwich the next day. Today I forgot to put the ice pack back in the freezer
so I had to take things that didn't need to be kept cool. Today is a "grazing food" day where I pretty much have equal calories for morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack. I packed 3 freggies, a tuna packet, low fat string cheese, almonds, and dried edamame for snackies.
Happy Wednesday...week's half over, let's make the rest of the week great!