So after a bit of research, I’ve decided the knee issue is: Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Sometimes referred to as “runner’s knee.” It has many suspected causes, but overuse and stress from high-impact activities (Insanity) and playing tennis on multiple surfaces (my last two matches were on clay) can contribute. Weak, out of balance muscles can cause the knee cap to shift in undesirable ways. However, tight quads can also result in pain.
I think the last singles match on clay, with all the sliding, introduced stress that made my knee unhappy. That the pain blossomed as it did during the Insanity routine is also revealing. When I initiated the warmup, my quads felt tight but that’s not unusual. Everything typically loosens as the warmup progresses. But the pain came on suddenly in the very first routine when doing the Pedal/Power Lunges. I was completely unable to do the next move: Ski Abs/Push-up Jacks/In-out abs/Oblique push-ups. The knee would not bend. The sudden plunge of the Power Lunges must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
So what am I doing about it? Well, I’m not going to see the ortho guy unless this persists or worsens. I’m refraining from playing tennis or engaging in any plyometric activity. To treat, I’m taking Advil as needed, icing the knee as needed and substituting the following rehab (source) in place of my daily routines:
- Quad sets: Sit with legs extended and fully contract the muscles of the front thighs. Hold contractions for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times for three sets.
- Straight leg raises (hip flexion): Lie with one leg extended and the other bent at the knee. Lift the entire leg from the hip so that the heel is about five inches above the floor. Hold this position for five to 10 seconds and then slowly lower the leg. Repeat 10 times for three sets.
- Backward leg raise (hip extension): Lie on stomach with legs straight. Lift one leg as high as possible and hold for five to 10 seconds, then slowly lower the leg. Repeat 10 times for three sets.
- Hip abduction: Lie on side of uninjured leg, so that the injured leg is on top of the uninjured leg. Lift the injured leg at the hip away from the body. Lift the leg as high as possible and hold for five to 10 seconds, then slowly lower the leg. Repeat 10 times for three sets.
- Hip adduction: Lie on side of injured leg, with uninjured leg bent at the knee and foot flat on the floor. Lift the injured leg at the hip toward the other leg. Hold for five to 10 seconds and then slowly lower the leg. Repeat 10 times for three sets.
- Half-knee bends: Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Slowly lower the body weight by bending the knees. Do not perform a full squat, but rather stop at about half of the full squat position and then fully extend the knees. If there is pain before achieving the half-squat position, stop downward travel at that point. Repeat 10 times for three sets
- Gentle Quad Stretching: Grab ankle, and gently pull up towards buttock, stretching the quad.
In all, this rehab takes about an hour to complete. I’m doing it for both legs. Why not? What’s good for one is good for the other. And if there is some weakness I’m addressing, then better to keep both legs “in balance.” Plus, it gives me something to do and it certainly won’t hurt matters. It’s interesting to what extent some of these weightless moves require effort by the third set. So far, I’ve felt the greatest relief immediately after the quad stretches, which reinforces my notion that it’s tightened quads.
Why all this detail? Well, one: it may benefit you if you’ve stumbled upon this post. And two: it helps me keep track of what I did and when as I engage in this journey of discovery.I’m neither a doctor, nor a medical practitioner, by the way. And nuthin’ herein should be construed as constituting medical advice. No way, no how.