Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Does Anyone Have a 350 Pound Gorilla?

It had been something like 10 months since I saw a doctor for this pain in my left knee.  But clearly, the things I was doing were not working - including not running for essentially the last 13 months - and it was time for a new direction.  So last week, I saw a new doctor for the problem.

They took X-rays of both knees.  He poked and prodded.  He asked me questions.  Finally, he said, essentially, that he felt the problem originated in leg muscles that are much too tight.  The tight muscles pull on the knee and put pressure on it.  He said, after watching me stretch, "You should be able to touch your heel to your butt."  But instead, between my heel and my butt, there was enough space to put New Jersey.

I thought about this, and came up with two possible ways to make my heel reach my butt:

Scenario A: Start eating a 12,000 calorie a day diet.  In  about a month, my butt should be so big that I won't have any problem touching my heel to it.

Scenario B: Lie on the floor on my stomach, and bend my lower leg backward.  Have a 350 pound gorilla sit on my shin, resulting in my heel reaching my butt (and beyond, possibly).

I discussed these ideas with the doctor.  He suggested something even worse - stretching.  Lots and lots of stretching.  I don't like stretching (obviously).  If I have an hour to work out, I want to work out for 58 minutes and stretch for two minutes.  Or maybe one.  I just don't enjoy it.

But I can't afford the groceries to consume 12,000 calories a day, and I couldn't find a gorilla, so I am trying it his way.  If that doesn't resolve the problem in about four weeks, the doctor said come on back and we will do an MRI, and see if there are micro tears in the tendon, or something of similar ilk.

I started with the physical therapist on Friday.  She did a lot of evaluation.  "Boy, are you tight!" she said.  Several times.  "I'm going stretch those quads.  It may hurt a little bit."  Seconds later, I was screaming in agony, crying and sobbing like a little boy.  "Whoa!" she said.  "I haven't even touched your leg yet.  Maybe we'd better skip that one!"  Now, that was embarrassing!

So she asked me to touch my toes.  Piece of cake.  I squatted down, and touched my toes with ease.  "Without bending your knees," she added.  Oh.  So much for that.  "Boy, are you tight!" she added, just to make sure I got the message.

So we worked on all kinds of stretches, and using three pound ankle weights to do five different leg strengthening exercises.  I am supposed to do these every day, and I have for the most part.  I even went out and bought ankle weights.  Do I enjoy it?  Not at all, although I know it is not that bad.  It is just one more thing to try to have to find time to do.  Having to keep working for a living sure takes away time for everything else.

But I'll try to keep stretching.  I want to run again, and at the least, I want to walk and hike without my knee hurting a ton.  In the meantime, if you have a large gorilla....


Happyone said...

Oh I'm the opposite of you here. I think stretching feels good to do and do it often. I can easily touch my heal to my butt and also can put palms down on the floor without bending my knees.
I'm sure you'll get there too if you do a little at a time. Good luck. : )

Racn4acure said...

I'm impressed, Karen. That is great. I have a better chance of walking on the dark side of the moon than placing my palms on the floor with unbent knees. Clearly, I need to adopt the "stretching religion!" I walked about 4 miles tonight with a friend and I did stretch immediately afterwards!