I’ve been struggling with knee pain and difficulty (sometimes downright impossibility) with any activities that involve putting weight on my knee while also bending it. I can’t squat to watch my guinea pig munch on his lettuce anymore, which is possibly the cutest thing ever. I can sometimes barely make it up and down stairs and my legs shake when I do. A couple of times recently I’ve been faced with steep slopes and not even dared to try.
At my physical last month, my doctor told me to avoid long walks, ice my knee 2-3 times per day, and start taking diclofenac, a pain medication that she prescribed. She scheduled me to follow up a month later, at which point I had run out of the medication and noticed a definite spike in the pain again.
I had my doctor appointment Tuesday and on Wednesday I was at the hospital starting physical therapy. I’m falling apart so badly that the physical therapist, Alice, put me back together with kinesio tape. After the assessment she commented that I have “incredibly weak quadriceps” which was allowing my knee caps to shift slightly to one side and rub the other bones. Ouch.
I learned the six exercises that she started me out with, and scheduled another appointment for today. Both Wednesday and Thursday I stared at the papers of exercise instructions, hoping that I was doing them right. Each exercise has 3 sets of 10 reps, for each leg. As I counted, it went like this on each set: “One, two, three, four, five, six, this sucks, this sucks, this sucks, this sucks.” This is definitely a “things will get worse before they get better” type of situation.
At today’s appointment, Alice had me start out doing six minutes on a cross trainer. It stung a little when around minute four she checked in on how I was doing, I mentioned getting a little tired, and she said, “That’s because you don’t like to do anything.” I know she didn’t intend to be mean, but I almost got defensive – of course I don’t like to do anything, because it hurts and I’m scared I’m going to fall!
Next up were some exercises with parallel bars for support and a small step that is much shorter than those in a set of stairs. Then I was back on a table doing one set of each exercise she taught me on Wednesday and having her correct my form. Then it was over. 20 minutes. She asked if I wanted to ice my knee while I was there, and it hurt a little, but I said I’d be okay until I got home.
I asked for advice about going to the walking trail, because I love the trail and hadn’t been going since my doctor told me not to take long walks. I couldn’t figure out how long was too long. Alice’s answer was that I should stop when my knee hurts. Well, that’s logical, but if I wait until my knee hurts then I still have to turn around and walk all the way back. She did say that I should be fine except if there’s an incline, and there is a big arching bridge a little ways down the trail, so I plan to try walking to the bridge and turning around at first.