Back on the physio’s table

Tenderising the patient's tight muscles

Fig. 1: Tenderising those tight muscles

Two weeks after my last visit to the physio, I went back for some more treatment tonight. With luck and some diligence, it’ll be my final visit for a long time.

While my right leg felt a lot more mobile and comfortable after the previous trip, I was still feeling slight discomfort in the knee after walking or sitting. So, I wanted to get that last niggle sorted out before I launched into further training.

As it happens, I haven’t been running this week – I’ve had a heavy cold that has spread to my chest. This has been a blessing in disguise, because it has kept me off the streets and away from doing further damage to myself. (Of course, I’m spinning this as me being sensible, listening to my body, blah blah blah.)

Tonight the physio worked on my knee until it was loose and mobile again. Seeing and feeling it now, the difference is remarkable – that kneecap was rigid like a post, but now it swings freely like the well-oiled hinge it ought to be.

So that’s the short-term fix. What about the long-term solution?

Well, after studying me as I squatted on both legs and then just the right, and then as I put my leg in various positions while on the treatment table, my physio concluded that the fundamental cause was, literally, my fundament. That is to say, I needed to strengthen my right glute – and keep loose my quad, calf and I.T. band so that they aren’t taking all that strain to the point of extreme tightness.

To do this, the physio gave me some homework to do diligently every day for the next while.

First, it’s time for me to use that foam roller gathering dust in the corner. For the I.T. band the physio showed me a side-plank roll that’ll do the trick. Then for the quads she demonstrated another roll, on the front of the thighs but holding my right heel up towards the glute for an extra stretch.

And speaking of stretches, I’ve also got two new ones to do. To stretch the right quad properly, I must lie on my left side and pull up my left knee with my hand. Apparently this will stabilise my pelvis during this stretch. Then with my right hand I pull my right foot behind me, keeping my right knee low and pointing forwards. Feel that right quad burn!

The other stretch is for my glute. Lying on my side with my legs together, I bend my knees. Then I raise the top knee to open and close my legs like a clam – feeling the stretch in my glute as I do so.

With no running for the next four or five days until this cold clears, I’ll do my stretches and rolls instead. The absence of running will hurt less when I know that I’m still getting in better shape and making an essential contribution to the long-term war effort.

You keep an eye on me and make sure I stick to it, okay?

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