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Stephen Collings

How GB is HELPING me with Chronic Knee Pain

 

I have struggled with chronic knee pain for over a year.  I don’t have a definite diagnosis.

 

I am making this post because I want to share with others how radically helpful the use of Gymnastic Bodies exercises have been for me.  Just in a few weeks, pain has radically reduced and I have a much greater range of motion.

 

Ironically, I have put off doing this course for ages, partly because of the trouble I have been having with my knee.  I am glad that I have finally bit the bullet, because the results so far have been almost magical.

 

Firstly, I want to say that the knee can go wrong in a host of ways, and what helps one person and one condition, may well not help another.  I’ve had recommendations thrown my way which have been the opposite of helpful.  But with me, and with whatever I’ve got, certain things have been helpful, and I want to share this experience with people. 

 

Briefly, I'll explain my own condition, and then I'll get onto the gymnastic bodies exercises that have helped me!

 

I’ve experienced chronic knee pain for about 15 months (although I have had some good periods in this time, when I thought it was all over).  But in the bad periods I have had pain walking, and pain cycling (which I have had to stop), and have lived in fear of stairs, steps, and kerbs, and, well, sloping surfaces.  Getting in and out of Ford Transit vans at work has been agony.  Carrying weight (shopping bags, for example) has brought added pain.  Squatting (in general life, I mean) assuredly brought pain, unless I put all my weight on the good leg, which I came to do automatically out of habit.

 

I’ve seen three physiotherapists and one orthopaedic surgeon.  Their diagnoses differ.  Here is one physio’s findings at a time when the knee was actually pretty good, although her testing of my knee had me squealing :  “In prone he had pain on full flexion with tibial internal rotation, this pain reduced on tibial external rotation.  Meniscal testing was mildly uncomfortable only.  All other ligaments were sound.”  My first physiotherapist found irritation in the patella-femoral joint and of the medial meniscus.  I saw an orthopaedic surgeon recently and he ordered an MRI, and this indicated a possible horizontal meniscal tear (which was unexpected, as the possibility of a tear had previously been played down.)   But that is not definite either.  He’d actually have to go in and look to confirm yes or no.  He did say that if it were a tear it couldn’t be stitched together, and the procedure they offer is pulling the surfaces of the shear apart and then roughening them up with the intent of helping them stick together by friction!  (I find this alarming, and I don’t want to hastily do anything that is irreversible).  A week or so before my consultation with the surgeon where we discussed the MRI results and the treatment options, I had started the GB work, and already my knee had radically improved, and my symptoms were minor.  He agreed that carrying on with the rehab exercises was a good idea, and said that he wouldn’t want to operate without symptoms.  And also, if I do go ahead with an op, it is best to have the knee in as best condition as possible going in, as the aids in recovery and healing.  So that’s the situation now.  I am carrying on with a rehab program that includes GB exercises, and my knee is much better that it has been in a long, long while, and I will see the surgeon in a couple of weeks to re-assess, and perhaps decide on an exploratory op.

 

I have had pain or discomfort getting in and out of Ford Transit vans at work for years, but there was an incident one and a half years ago where my knee got suddenly worse.  It was the day after doing some barbell squats, I suddenly had pain in my knee that wouldn’t go.  (That’s the last time I did barbell squats by the way!).  I had been going to adult gymnastics classes two or three times a week, and suddenly things were awkward and difficult.  In their stretching routine they do a hamstring stretch where you sit on one folded knee and stretch the other leg out and lean over it to stretch.  This had not been a problem before, but suddenly it was agony sitting on my left knee.  It was a total no go!

 

Well enough of the pain and problems, I want to tell you WHAT HAS HELPED! 

 

The help I got from physiotherapy made me think that GYMNASTIC BODIES EXERCISES would also help my knee.

 

The first thing that suggested to me that GB exercises would be helpful was the help the physio’s own mobilisations gave my knee (where the physio manipulates the knee to improve range of motion).

 

Secondly the exercises and stretches physios gave me to do, suggested to me that further exercises which further pushed mobility would help me yet more.  Physiotherapists taught me to do lunges and wall-squats-with -a-ball, and these took me from being painful with only a slight bend of the knee, to being able to do full crouches without pain. 

 

Stretches really helped (once I’d mastered the basic skills of stretching, at least!).  One physio showed me the prone quads stretch, which was very helpful.

 

I still had pain on kneeling, and so I began to practise kneeling whilst relaxing the knee (on a nice soft gymnastics mat!).  This helped, and I turned this into a mobilisation, starting with my weight forward (where it was easiest), and then gradually shifting my weight back (putting a greater stretch and pressure on the knee) whilst continuing to order the knee to relax.  I made clear progress between sessions, with pain reducing and range increasing each time.  So then I added shifting the weight of my torso around in circles, gently approaching the range of pain, and relaxing the muscles as I did so.  Again, this clearly helped, as coming back to the next session, the pain had almost vanished.  And then I added tilting the knees over to the mobilisation (like skiing whilst kneeling) and this helped too.  ALL THIS REDUCED MY PAIN AND DISCOMFORT IN GENERAL LIFE.  [Later, when the GB stretch courses debuted, I was amused to see that kneeling is one of the stretches].

 

All these experiences made me think that if I approached the GYMNASTIC BODIES LEG AND KNEE EXERCISES in the same way (gradually increasing the range of motion, whilst relaxing the pain away) that I might be able to do the GB exercises and gain real benefit from them as well.  It turned out that I was right about this! 

 

I have approached all these GB leg exercises as rehabilitation, not as a strength conditioning program.  I am not following a program of reps and sets.   I am doing what I can reasonably think will help my condition, and I am doing low reps, going only so far as I sensibly dare, and gradually increasing range and control.  I skipped deck squats as they were way too kinetic for my purposes, although I can now do them (which is awesome) thanks to the progress my other exercises have given me.  I don’t go by numbers, I go moment by moment and use my head, and take stock of the feedback my body is giving me.

 

I was attracted to trying TWISTING SQUATS, because I knew that they were something my knee would have BIG  issues with (I couldn’t sit cross-legged without pain, let alone stand up cross-legged!), as I thought, well that’s where I can really make gains!  But how could I make it possible for me to do it?  Doing them from a step stool proved possible, and yes I felt some pain doing them, but also it felt like it was doing me some real good doing them, and the extraordinary thing was, that when I walked away from doing that first session of twisting squats from a stool, my knee was instantly “better”.  I should have had some discomfort walking (as at that stage I normally did have discomfort walking), but walking away from doing those twisting squats that was all gone, and my knee was fine!  That was an extraordinary experience for me, which made me think “Hey!  There is something really valuable here for me!”

 

I did have some delayed pain and discomfort later, that night and over the next few days, so I did not return to doing the twisting squats until a week had passed.  And then, when I got back to them, I was thrilled to find they were easier, and I was doing them with remarkably less pain.  And so it has continued.  Yesterday I did them practically pain free, and with my knee completely fine afterwards, and I am thinking now of working on reducing the stool height.

 

Also, during this period I have worked on COSSACK SQUATS.  These are, again, something my knee was clearly going to have issues with, especially going right down on the calf at the bottom of the squat.   But going real slow and gentle, session by session, the pain has become vanishing, and my movement deeper, AND IN GENERAL LIFE MY KNEE HAS BECOME BETTER AND BETTER!!

 

When I came to try INSIDE SQUATS, I could do them just like that, which was a thrill.

 

So I am working simultaneously with all these exercises, gently, at low reps, and it has done me wonders.  I have no doubt that I will gradually build up the number of reps, and I will eventually be able to get to “mastery” and be able to tackle and complete the rest of the GB legs course.

 

At the same time I am regularly tackling the rest of Foundation One, which is of course helping my all-round condition!  And many of these exercises too have a direct effect on my leg functioning.  The improvement in hip flexibility with SWIVEL HIPS for example, has been remarkable, and an improved hip function directly helps knee function.  And I am now starting on the Stretch courses too, and working on the flexibility elements of Handstand.

 

I am so thrilled about the improvement in my knee.  I didn’t think it was possible.  I had to stop doing gymnastics classes (which I totally love) over a year ago, and felt I would never be able to do it again, which devastated me.  Now I think, I will get back to do what I love, but I am in no hurry.   I will complete Foundation before I return.  And I will surprise a few people I think with the good condition that I will be in then!  Perhaps I will have exploratory surgery sometime soon, or perhaps my knee will be so much improved it will not be deemed appropriate.  We shall see.  It’s entirely possible that there is more than one thing wrong my knee, and that the exercises are helping the ligament and muscle and coordination side, and the cartilage is damaged all the same.  However that may be, if I do have surgery, I will be in a much better condition going in, and will have a much better chance of a good recovery.

 

So THANK YOU to COACH SOMMER and the GYMNASTIC BODIES TEAM for bringing these exercises to the public, and helping me solve my chronic knee pain!    THANK YOU!!

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Coach Sommer

Wow.  What a great testimonial.  Thank you for sharing and I am very pleased to hear that your knee is doing so much better!

 

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Mats Trane

Excellent Stephen!

I had similar experiences 2 years ago. The Orthopedist surgeon told he could operate BUT could not guarantee anything and recommend me to rehab for 6 months and come back, so I did bicycling on a stationary bike and the SLS excerises that did not hurt. It took time, patience and a lot of frustration but it worked.

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Stephen Collings

Wow.  What a great testimonial.  Thank you for sharing and I am very pleased to hear that your knee is doing so much better!

 

Thank you Coach!  I am thrilled that you have read my feedback and know how your endeavours have helped me!

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Alan Tseng

Also have a similar experience.  Had ACL surgery a few years back, and I would sometimes get knee pain on the medial side as well as limited knee flexion compared to the healthy knee.  SLS series in Foundation was what fixed both

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Jon Douglas

Very cool :)

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Stephen Collings

Thanks for your interest, folks!

 

I am thrilled to report that just now I reduced the starting height of the twisting squats by TWO INCHES !!  :)

I was using a step stool which (I've just measured this) was 8 & 3/4 inches high, and now I am using an aerobic step which is set at 6 & 3/4 inches high.

And I was fine with this.  Indeed it was no trouble at all, so I am properly thrilled!   PROGRESS!!!!   YAY!!!

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ASForum

Also have a similar experience.  Had ACL surgery a few years back, and I would sometimes get knee pain on the medial side as well as limited knee flexion compared to the healthy knee.  SLS series in Foundation was what fixed both

Nice. How much time did it take you? I am at the initial stages of F1 - PE/iMs so I am wondering at which stage/ how much time did it take  you to get to that point? Please point out without mentioning any specific F1 exercises. 

 

PS: Because 1/2 of the initial leg exercises I am bit apprehensive in terms of my meniscus. 

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ASForum

Thank you Coach!  I am thrilled that you have read my feedback and know how your endeavours have helped me!

I am going read and re-read your essay as it has so many subtle points.

PS: I have a meniscus injury from a twisted knee Skiiing related fall off a hill.. It has never fully recovered or strengthened. 

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Stephen Collings

Thank you crashnburn. 

 

I have been told that my meniscus will not heal at my age.  So logic dictates that I must also have problems with my connective tissue, muscles, and coordination, and that the exercises and mobilisations and stretching have helped with those problems (and that there might be a limit to what I can achieve thereby).

 

I did have a kind of epiphany shortly after I had begun the TWISTING SQUATS.  I have always attempted to get up in a coordinated and smooth way as possible in order to minimise the pain, but in this instance I did get a sudden sharp pain when coming up from the cross-legged position.  That was not a big deal, as I  always expected to be dealing with some pain!  What was interesting was what happened next!  As I continued the motion and stood up and the leg unfolded, the sharp pain dissolved, and the feeling of it dissolving was the exact same feeling of the discomfort of a tense muscle dissolving as it relaxes when I do a stretch.  That same feeling!  And I also felt the chain of muscle in the leg relax and lengthen as I stood up.  I was struck with the realisation that this would all make sense if the sharp pains that I had experienced for so long were extreme forms of muscle tension, and this encouraged me in continuing with what I had been doing.  My experiences today, in having no trouble coming up from a cross-legged sitting postiion from a lower starting height (and actually with far less discomfort than when I started out from a higher stool), just add to my belief that I can help myself in this fashion.

 

Also, I've read that the meniscus itself does not feel pain, so my pain must be coming from the other tissues.

 

During the first weeks of tackling these exercises regularly I got knee pain at night, and I took Ibuprofen at night to help me sleep.  Happily I don't need to do that anymore!  I made an interesting discovery when, being in pain, I palpated the knee to see where the pain was.  I discovered that it was in the soft tissue around the leg at the top of the shin and actually below the knee joint.  The pain wasn't actually in the knee!  Again, this made me think my problem, or at least one of my problems, is actually a tightness in the connective tissue (which the stretches and mobilisations are addressing).  That said, I have had and do get pain in the knee joint.  When the knee problem first occured, I always felt it under the knee cap.  That night though, it wasn't there at all!

 

I know that pain has really screwed with my coordination over the last year.  When I began doing COSSACK SQUATS I found I needed a great mental effort to sustain good coordination in the face of the fear of pain.  But the great thing is, that when I succeed at this, I get minimum discomfort (sometimes none!), and I increase my mobility and strength and make progress, and the exercise becomes mentally easier too.

 

Despite all the success that I have been having, I am still concerned about my meniscus.  I don't want to damage my meniscus further, and when I see the orthopaedic surgeon next week I am going to quiz him on what he thinks is going on, whether there really is damage to the meniscus, and whether the exercises might be harming my meniscus (despite the improvements in function) and what he thinks is the best way forward for me.

 

Crashnburn, can I ask you what treatment you had for your meniscus injury?  Did you have surgery? 

 

I am very interested in hearing from folks who have had horizonatal meniscus tears in particular, and whether they had surgical procedures, and whether they thought them a success.  It would help me in deciding what to do.  Thanks!

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Stephen Collings

My TWISTING SQUATS today were much helped by doing LITTLE TOES STRETCHES beforehand.  This helped the outside of my foot get purchase for the push upwards and lowering down.  A real help!

 

My big toe gets a stretch when I do plantar fascia stretches and calf stretches, but I've noticed that my other toes don't get much of the action when I do these stretches, so I thought a manual stretch of the other toes, all together, but with emphasis on the littlest end, would be good for me, and help with the TWISTING SQUATS.  It worked a treat today!

 

Another thing that got me thinking that a little toes stretch would be useful, was a recent experience I had trying on VIBRAM FIVEFINGERS "barefoot" shoes.  They were very difficult indeed to get on, partly because I couldn't lift my smaller toes.  Also, when it comes to actually walking in these things, independent toe action really helps, so, for that reason to, I thought a stretch of the smaller toes would help.  By the way if you ever try these shoes BE VERY CAREFUL.  They left me with pain and swelling in the ball of the foot, and I had to wear chiropractic felt for several days to alleviate the pain.  I've abandoned wearing these shoes (at least for the time being).  They're not for everyone!

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Chris Lane

Hi Stephen,

 

It's really great to hear about your progress with your injury problems. I've had plenty of those myself and i've been looking for a daily movement practice that made sense to me for at least 10 years. I never thought in a thousand years it could be gymnastics. I just had an image that gymnastics was tumbling, flips and things like that, but how wrong i was. It'd be nice to progress onto that one day but i'm happy where i am.

What prompted me to reply was that you said you thought the pain didn't originate in the knee itself, that you felt it somewhere in the shin? I had a lot of success with my injuries, and in one case a dramatic, almost miraculous recovery from chronic pain by using self-applied Trigger Point Therapy, which is the same idea, that a knot or trigger point in a muscle will sponsor pain elsewhere. I just thought it could be worth checking out as a quite inexpensive way of self treatment, along with the stuff you're already doing, which sounds like it's working a treat. There's a great book called The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Clair and Amber Davies if you feel like researching it further, assuming you don't already know about it.

 

All the best with the recovery and strengthening,

Chris

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Stephen Collings

Thank you very much for the encouragement and the advice.  I'll check that out!  Thanks Chris!

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Stephen Collings

I am very interested to hear from any athletes and gymnasts who have had MENISCAL SURGERY, and to hear about their own experiences before and after surgery.  It would be helpful to me to hear from athletes who have gone through that experience.

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ASForum

Thank you crashnburn. 

 

I have been told that my meniscus will not heal at my age.  So logic dictates that I must also have problems with my connective tissue, muscles, and coordination, and that the exercises and mobilisations and stretching have helped with those problems (and that there might be a limit to what I can achieve thereby).

 

I did have a kind of epiphany shortly after I had begun the TWISTING SQUATS.  I have always attempted to get up in a coordinated and smooth way as possible in order to minimise the pain, but in this instance I did get a sudden sharp pain when coming up from the cross-legged position.  That was not a big deal, as I  always expected to be dealing with some pain!  What was interesting was what happened next!  As I continued the motion and stood up and the leg unfolded, the sharp pain dissolved, and the feeling of it dissolving was the exact same feeling of the discomfort of a tense muscle dissolving as it relaxes when I do a stretch.  That same feeling!  And I also felt the chain of muscle in the leg relax and lengthen as I stood up.  I was struck with the realisation that this would all make sense if the sharp pains that I had experienced for so long were extreme forms of muscle tension, and this encouraged me in continuing with what I had been doing.  My experiences today, in having no trouble coming up from a cross-legged sitting postiion from a lower starting height (and actually with far less discomfort than when I started out from a higher stool), just add to my belief that I can help myself in this fashion.

 

Also, I've read that the meniscus itself does not feel pain, so my pain must be coming from the other tissues.

 

During the first weeks of tackling these exercises regularly I got knee pain at night, and I took Ibuprofen at night to help me sleep.  Happily I don't need to do that anymore!  I made an interesting discovery when, being in pain, I palpated the knee to see where the pain was.  I discovered that it was in the soft tissue around the leg at the top of the shin and actually below the knee joint.  The pain wasn't actually in the knee!  Again, this made me think my problem, or at least one of my problems, is actually a tightness in the connective tissue (which the stretches and mobilisations are addressing).  That said, I have had and do get pain in the knee joint.  When the knee problem first occured, I always felt it under the knee cap.  That night though, it wasn't there at all!

 

I know that pain has really screwed with my coordination over the last year.  When I began doing COSSACK SQUATS I found I needed a great mental effort to sustain good coordination in the face of the fear of pain.  But the great thing is, that when I succeed at this, I get minimum discomfort (sometimes none!), and I increase my mobility and strength and make progress, and the exercise becomes mentally easier too.

 

Despite all the success that I have been having, I am still concerned about my meniscus.  I don't want to damage my meniscus further, and when I see the orthopaedic surgeon next week I am going to quiz him on what he thinks is going on, whether there really is damage to the meniscus, and whether the exercises might be harming my meniscus (despite the improvements in function) and what he thinks is the best way forward for me.

 

Crashnburn, can I ask you what treatment you had for your meniscus injury?  Did you have surgery? 

 

I am very interested in hearing from folks who have had horizonatal meniscus tears in particular, and whether they had surgical procedures, and whether they thought them a success.  It would help me in deciding what to do.  Thanks!

 

So, I did not have surgery. Also, the Ortho Surgeon is a close friends of my dad so there's positive and negative. He cares for me, but maybe (maybe I am just imagining this) he was a bit chill when it came to rehab. He did say I could get a physio therapist but it would mean doing the same exercises he pointed to me:

1. Isometric Thigh/ Quad Compression - Just simple tighten & release

2. Above with some towel variations

3. Leg Lifts (start with weightless and then with slowly increasing ankle weights) - 

 

In terms of medicine he prescribed an anti inflammatory & a pain killer (which I did not take).. Not big on pills. 

I asked him if there was any medicine or stuff that will help accelerate healing.. and he said No. 

 

But, I knew some Ayurvedic doctors and their answer & my reading on the science was otherwise, (You can google and you'll find Ayurveda proponents in the west as well.. e.g. Vasant Lad, Robert Svoboda, John Douillard (The 3 season diet).. 

 

So I went for it.. and what did help accelerate healing was.. Oil & Herbal therapy at Ayurvedic Hospital. 

 

Due to nature of my life situations and travel, my rehab was fragmented.. so I'd improve and heal and then not have time to do it.. and then I'd start again. Then in a situation somewhere I'd do something to pull back the progress (some twisting leg movement not conducive to this). 

 

Recently a close friend & physio therapist is helping me start with - quad compressions - and gradually move up as per her "progression chart" 

 

I am not in bad shape, but sitting cross legged for long periods (I meditate) can get annoying on that part of the knee.. 

 

(My specific sensations are towards where Inner Upper side where Quads connect.. so maybe its not the knee so much but the tissues etc connecting.. as you found in your observation; as outlined on your post). 

 

But, due to this I havent been able to consistently workout or do workouts I'd like to pursue.. 

 

I havent been able to do Sun Salutations without excessively slow and aware attention.. and hence do them as much or as often as I'd like to. 

 

Would love connect and share experiences and notes with you. 

 

Bottomline: I think all medical experts are still not completely 100% in the know of everything.. So, maybe using part of GB and part of what you have and I have might help :) 

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Stephen Collings

Hello crashnburn.  Thank you for sharing your experience.

 

The rehab exercises recommended for you sound basic and gentle (and that make me think you got hurt quite bad!).  The exercises given me by physios were more strenuous : squats (against a wall, with a ball at my back), lunges, and slowly lowering and raising my body weight on one leg (done with one foot on a step), plus hamstring and quads stretches.  Of course, I came in with chronic pain, rather than after an injury.

 

All these exercises were difficult and painful for me at first.

 

The first six GB leg exercises (which I am now doing as well) are a whole order of magnitude more challenging again.  Five out of the six involve the knee in some rotationary motion and/or diagonal forces across the knee.  That's a striking difference between the physio exercises that were given to you and me, which were all "orthogonal".

 

... And that's one of the reasons that I think that the basic GB leg exercises are so effective, and why they help the knee so much in day-to-day life.  In day-to-day life our knees are rarely under just orthogonal strain.  And I think that's why, if we've only done "orthogonal" knee rehab exercises, we are likely to "twist" our knee and have a set back.  The GB exercises build resilience to this.  And moreover, they exercise the knee in a way that it will be exercised in real life, so they restore real-life function.  I actually now use the SKIERS motion to get into bed!  It's very practical!  And with exercises such as TWISTING SQUATS, INSIDE SQUATS, and COSSACK SQUATS, which you are less likely to see per se in day-to-day life, the motion and strains that the knee experiences in these exercises are indeed going to be experienced in real life, because we just don't move just orthogonally - we twist and turn and do all sorts of combinations as we move around, and the twisting squats, inside squats, and cossack squats prepare us for this.

 

I had another interesting experience.  I am working on the MIDDLE SPLIT stretch sequence as well now.  The PIRIFORMIS stretch position brought a sharp complaint from my knee.  However, I responded to this in the same way as I have been doing with knee mobilisations :  when the knee entered the angle of pain I told it to relax, and although I didn't press the knee further into discomfort, I didn't back off either, but instead thought on relaxing the knee.  That brought some relief there and then.  But what's really interesting is that come the next session, I go into the PIRIFORMIS stretch position (expecting pain) but the pain doesn't happen!  I then went hunting for the pain, by changing position, and although I found pain again with a more extreme position, it was overwhelmingly obvious that I had gained a lot or pain-free range of movement.  And that was with one previous attempt at this position!

 

Later, when I attempted the BUTTERFLY, I found again pain (not suprisingly at all, it is a very deep knee bend postion, with the knee under a sideways torque).  Initially I felt dismay - "still with the knee pain", I thought, "I'll never be rid of it!".  But then I recalled the progress I have made with all the other positions of pain, and I thought them that I should instead see this as an OPPORTUNITY to improve further.  And perhaps I will be able eventually to chase the pain entirely away!  So I told the knee to calm down and relax ... and we will see how I go, and whether I can make progress here as well!

 

I am also happy to report that I've again reduced the starting height of my TWISTING SQUATS again, this time to 12cm.  (I do start an exercise session higher, and then reduce to this as I go along).  Doing these in front of a mirror has helped me - I can see how much my hips and knees are flexing, and attempt to improve when my bad sides (left knee, right hip) are being work shy.

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Stephen Collings
Would love connect and share experiences and notes with you. 

 

Bottomline: I think all medical experts are still not completely 100% in the know of everything.

 

I will message you.

 

And I agree.  I think "medical experts" and scientists don't have a complete understanding.  Ideally one would want a surgeon who is also a physiotherapist, athlete, and a first-class gymnastics coach!

 

Also, and importantly,  I don't think that science itself really has a proper comprehension of human biomechanics and the organisation of human motion and locomotion yet - so one can hardly expect individuals to!

 

On the plus side, this is a great time to be alive, because of all the sharing of expertise that is now possible.

 

One "non-mainstream" thing that I have found helpful is HANNA SOMATICS.  It is rationally-based, and that it works is clearly demonstrable.  I have had just one session of it, and its value was plainly evident.  It sets out to undo the patterns of tension that develop through out the whole body as a response to injury using PANDICULATION, which generates lengthening and relaxing of muscles whilst entirely bypassing the stretch-reflex.  I recommend it to anyone who has had musculoskeletal trauma.  I've also tried pandiculating in GB stretch postions, and found it very effective at getting relaxing and lengthening to happen.  I expect to use it a lot in future.  I have a book on Hanna Somatics called "Move Without Pain", by Martha Peterson.  (It has an excellent review curve on Amazon).

 

Physiotherapists recommend PILATES, and I started this recently.  I've found it to be a good complement to GB.  It is gentle in comparison, but what's great about it is that technique is EVERYTHING with it, so it is great for exercising the brain/body link, and developing disciplined technique.  Gymnastics is one its sources (Joseph Pilates was a gymnast).  As I do GB without a coach, I like it that I have a coach with Pilates who corrects my form, and is always helping me with technique.  I find my Pilates work helps with my GB work, and visa versa.

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Stephen Collings

I had an appointment with my surgeon yesterday. 

 

He told me that I shouldn't (air) squat below parallel (in the movements of general life, let alone exercise), or even bend the knee beyond 90 degrees.

 

Now I don't know what to think - or do!

 

I have spent months restoring these important mobilities/ablities to my knee.  Thanks to the exercises and stretches I can now both crouch and kneel (if I do so calmly and gently and with control).  These are both things that I could not do without extreme pain before I worked on increasing mobility with the exercises and stretches, but now I can.  On a good day, I can even now do, and enjoy, deck squats!  And good days tend to follow days when I do my exercises!

 

I feel that squatting, crouching, and kneeling are fundamental human movements, and it is a bit of a shock to hear that I should not do them, like ever! 

 

What's more, if I stop doing them, surely I will just lose the ability to do them again?! 

 

And a full, or almost full knee bend is part of the exercises, such as the TWISTING SQUAT, that have been a particular help to me!

 

I don't know what to make of it all, and I really don't know what to do!

 

Also, the operation I am offered is not great.  As I understand it now a shaver will be used on the outer regions of the meniscus (where there are blood vessels) in order to cause bleeding, and this will cause "fibrous material" to form which will hopefully bind the two layers of the torn meniscus together.  But the torn leaves of the meniscus in the area of the meniscus without a blood supply will be just cut away.

 

To cut, or not to cut, that is the question!

 

And should I accept reduced range of movement and stop exercising the knee in ways that I have found so helpful?  Or should I carry on doing what has helped me?  I prefer the latter, naturally, but honestly, right now I am very baffled and confused as to the way forward for me.

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Coach Sommer

Time to get a second opinion.

  • Upvote 2

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Jon Douglas

Time to get a second opinion.

This.

According to my local physical training instructor, I also (used to have some crunching sounds in my knee) shouldn't be squatting below parallel and my knees most definitely shouldn't go forward over my toes. Well-intentioned, but incomplete :)

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Stephen Collings

Thank you Coach!  Thank you Jon!

Great and timely advice, which I value immensely! 

 

Yes, I will get another opinion, and I will also seek a surgeon who will consider repair.

The standard procedure seems to be to cut away with tears of my type, but this article says there is still a possibility of repair :

http://www.howardluksmd.com/orthopedic-social-media/can-a-meniscus-tear-heal/

 

This work is innovative, and I imagine that it's not yet generally available.  Nevertheless, the last thing I want is for precious cartilage to be cut away, if there is still the possibility of repair.

 

Thanks again!

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