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Osteopathy, Sports massage

Knee pain – my experience

This blog is about my recovery from knee pain with the help of osteopathy, kinesio tape, exercise and a foam roller.

About 4 weeks ago I increased my running in preparation for a 10km event and started playing netball again, which was the onset of my knee trouble.

After exercise I experienced a general ache in both my knees, which would subside after a few days rest. However, as I returned to sport the pain returned, increasing in severity each time, to the point I could hardly walk!

When examining my knees the insertion point of my ilio-tibial band (ITB) was very tender. The ITB is a thick band of connective tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh, from the hip to just below the knee.

When running the ITB moves across the outside of the knee as it repeatedly flexes and extends. There is a bursa that allows smooth gliding of the ITB but poor alignment of the lower limb can lead to increased friction and rubbing of the ITB, causing inflammation and pain. This is known as ITB syndrome.

As I looked at my legs in the mirror I noticed that my lower limb alignment was not at its best and this was the likely cause of my ITB syndrome.

So what did I do to treat my knees?

1.Rest and ice 

I banned myself from any exercise for 2 weeks. Even when my knees had started to feel better I allowed plenty of time to heal without re-irritating the injury again. I also iced my knees regularly to ease the pain and decrease any inflammation.

2. Osteopathy

My osteopath colleague was in Australia whilst all this was happening, so although it’s very difficult to treat yourself I did the best I could!
I used massage techniques on the thigh and calf to reduce any muscle tension and encourage blood flow to the area to promote self-healing.
I also used some stretching techniques on the lower limb muscles to improve flexibility. I followed that with some mobility exercises to limit any restrictions that could be placing more stress on the ITB.
One thing I couldn’t do was to check my pelvis to see if there were any rotations that could be placing more strain on the knee and ITB.

3. Gluteal strengthening exercises 

As many of you are aware I’m always talking about the importance of the gluteal muscles! When looking at my knees in the mirror they were internally rotated (rolling in).  Legs that roll in are usually due to weak gluteal muscles not controlling lower limb alignment and leading to poor biomechanics.
I clearly needed to starting acting on my own advice and quickly started my strengthening exercises – please get in touch if you want an exercise sheet demonstrating these.

4. Kinesio Taping IMG_7397

I also used kinesio tape on my legs to help prevent this internal rotation. Kinesio tape realigned my leg into a more neutral position which helped with my proprioception and re-educating the neuromuscular system to know how the lower limb should be aligned, whilst it also gave some support to the ITB.

5. Foam RollerIMG_7394

I used a foam roller on my ITB. As the ITB is a thick band of connective tissue it is therefore more difficult to stretch than muscles. Foam rolling helps to break down adhesions in the fascia – by using your body weight to roll over tight areas the fibres release and lengthen, improving flexibility and reducing tension.

 

And the best news is my knees are now fixed!
I’m back running, playing netball and doing my gym classes pain free!
Most importantly I am keeping up with my gluteal strengthening exercises and foam rolling to prevent recurrence.

So if any of you are suffering with bad knees and want some advice, please do get in touch – it’s not just backs that osteopaths can help with!

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