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Keeping an Open Mind – Knee Pain and ART

You never know what little tip or trick will make all the difference.

In debugging the issue with my knee, I’ve been talking to a lot of people about how to treat it. The opinions I’ve gotten back are both informed and uninformed. The uninformed opinions are mostly to the tune of ‘just rest Ravi, your body needs time to heal.’ A sports doctor even told me that, without much in the way of further diagnosis (I have since found to another doctor 🙂 ).

I agree with rest and relaxation, but without proper treatment injuries will just come back. Getting to the heart of the matter is what I’m interested in not just taking tons of time off.

The informed opinions, provided all kinds of ideas. One in particular, was to try ART – Active Release Therapy, a form of deep tissue massage. Thanks Debbie at Fitness Forward for that tip! She’s a multiple time Iron-woman and Kona finisher and understands the athlete’s mindset. After just two treatments it’s helped tremendously. I will be getting two treatments per week up until Ironman CDA.

In addition, I’m doing the following every day:

  • Icing my knee with two bags of frozen peas every day, typically after training.
  • Foam roller rolling. Focused on the entire leg from the heel to the hip and on the inside and outside.
  • Lacrosse ball rolling. I roll the ball on my quad near my knee, holding it at points where I feel some tightness for 10-20 seconds at a time. Tennis balls also work.
  • Physical therapy exercises. Monster walks with a stretch band. One legged squats. Leg lifts laying on my side. These are designed to strengthen my glutes which will help with knee stabilization while cycling and running.
  • Core. A whole bunch of exercises, 5-10 minutes worth.
  • Yoga. I do the poses at home, focused on quad, hamstrings, calf and hips. Mostly long holds and deepening poses:  Downdog, Updog, Low lunge, Half-pidgeon, Double-pidgeon, Forward fold, Straddle legs forward fold, etc.

Whether or not I am able to actually do the ride/run at Ironman, I’m holding out hope and as a result stumbling onto all kinds of ways to heal my body and get strong for later races and years of training and racing. It pays to be curious and not just commit to a specific course of action without keeping an open mind.