Saturday, July 02, 2011

shoe therapy

Three weeks ago I damaged my knee in kung fu class.

This is problematic because I'm supposed to go compete in tai chi at the end of July. I've already booked the (non-refundable) hotel room and registered for 7 (non-refundable) events at the tournament.

I didn't think I'd done any major damage; it didn't really hurt. I could walk just fine, and there was no bruising or popping, but I had some swelling behind the knee, a feeling of weakness/stiffness. I iced it a bit, sat around with it elevated some. I figured a bit of gentle stretching and movement--no extreme up/down movements--would make it better in a few days.

It didn't. After a week or so the stiffness went away but I still had a lump behind my knee and I couldn't do deep knee bends without feeling like there was a knife in my kneecap.

I should mention, I've had no health insurance since I lost my job, and since this injury wasn't impeding my day-to-day activities I didn't think it prudent to see a doctor and spend the money only to be told I needed to ice it and stay off it.

After two weeks of little/no improvement, I decided to not do any training for a week. I hate this--I sit down too much as it is, since I sew or work on the computer all day. I start sleeping badly if I don't get some exercise. And the "week off" for the knee didn't seem to be doing much good anyway. It would be fine during the day, then stiffen up overnight. Or get achy while I was sitting in a chair during the day, then fine when I got up the next morning. And that damn swelling behind the knee would not go down. I knew that was what caused the pain because I could feel it pushing the joint out of alignment when I squatted.

Friday morning it hurt when I got out of bed. Maybe I slept with it twisted, I don't know. I had to squat during my morning housekeeping, and it hurt a lot. I was starting to get really annoyed and worried.

Given that, it may seem strange that I decided to wear my wedge mules to run out and do some errands. They have about a 2-inch heel. But I had noticed that the ache in my knee was most pronounced during walking, when I pushed off on that foot and the knee was fully extended. Walking in the mules seemed to thwart that mechanic. My knee didn't hurt the whole time I was out walking or in the evening after I got home.

This morning, Saturday, I got up and the swelling had all gone down. No more pain. I did three cautious hours of class this morning, no pain, although I was careful not to do any deep-knee bends. The muscles did get tired and I do feel some minor pressure behind the joint, but I'd say it's about 90% recovered.

All I can figure is that wearing the heels somehow realigned things to where the joint could drain. Who'd have thought?

I just hope it holds. I'm going to be really annoyed if I can't do my down posture in the fan form because of this knee.


Freyalyn said...

Fingers crossed it's all sorted itself. The human body is a very strange thing - it doesn't surprise me that a day running around in 'heels' can sort a problem. (No where near as spectacular as my split open knee in the middle of the British Museum, though!) Good luck getting to and doing well at the competition.

Holly said...

that sounds awful enough I don't even want to know!

But yes, the human body is very strange. I mentioned the incident to my brother, who is a basketball coach, and he said the same thing--the change in angle at the knee and ankle probably allowed it to drain.

Here's hoping. Thanks for the good wishes.

Freyalyn said...

The actual accident was falling up the stairs coming out of the loo - my knee wasn't cut at such, it just split horizontally. Ick. The spectacular bit was being carried up the stairs and wheelchaired around the main entrance, then the ambulance on the main front courtyard! (And I still managed to get back in time to see the exhibition before closing).