Injured Physio Diaries – Deb and her knee

IMG_1023We’ve now heard Chris’s perspective on his lower back injury, how he did it and how he got through it. It was fairly acute which is what we see a lot of the time but then there are those injuries that require the longer term rehab. So this is how the story goes about me and my knee…

Late November 2015 (according to my training log that has a ‘KNEE INJURY’ scribbled all through that page) I started noticing that my right knee was ‘tight’. I thought – no biggie, I’ve probably got tight quads and ITB from training. But despite having Chris rip through my ITB with his elbow (yes, I squirm and whinge just like you) the pain was persistent. It ached at night, it hurt to kneel and that awesomely huge VMO (inside quad muscle) that I thought I had turned out to be swelling. A week of so of anti-inflammatories didn’t do much for the swelling or the pain and after having Chris assess it we both came to the conclusion I could possibly have torn the cartilage so off to the doctor I went for an MRI referral.

Here I am thinking ‘what an earth have I done that could have possibly torn my medial meniscus (cartilage)?’ there was no mechanism of injury but it got to the point where I couldn’t kneel down to the floor and demonstrate exercises for the dance kids anymore. And that’s exactly what I told the MRI technician who stayed back for me that night so I could get the scan done (there are definitely good people in this world!).

The scan came back negative for a cartilage tear (phew!) but it showed wear and tear which is probably a combination of 20 plus years of dancing plus 5 or so years of powerlifting. I’m not saying that it was either of these that were the 100% reason my knee was hurting but yes, even I age and therefore am at risk of such things as wear and tear. I’ve put my body through a fair bit in my 29 years of life – we push ourselves to our limits to achieve the goals we’ve set but I think the biggest goal and lesson for me now would be patience.

I’d competed last year for powerlifting in June last year squatting 112.5kg, bench pressing 50kg and deadlifting 132.5kg – by November last year I was ranked 9th in Australia for the 52kg class and was motivated to hold my position and compete again hoping for an invite to Nationals. I’d conquered a lot of my mental battles with squatting and worked on my deadlift technique but now the new mind game was being patient and rehabbing this knee to make sure I could a) function as a physio then b) compete in powerlifting again. It was time to prioritise and as much as I wanted to squat heavy and continue lifting work had to come first and being able to actually work is pretty important.

In the next blog I’ll update you on how the rehab is going – will I squat heavy again??? (dundundunnnnnn)

Deborah Chen, Physiotherapist