Minor knee injury, mental anguish! Time for some cross training?
Hey all, my doctor has ordered me off my bike for up to a week due to a injury I inflicted upon myself while time trailling on my road bike.
The problem is that I have inflamed the soft tissues/cartelidge around the right front side of my left knee, leading to pain when I move it. The degree of pain has steadily decreased from excruitiating when I got off my bike and could pedal no more, to a now constant ache that should hopefully be hidden by some new more powerful prescribed pain killers I have been given today.
The cause is that I have over-developed my inner quad muscles (especially on my left leg), resulting in my patella being pulled diagonally across the joint with each contraction, wearing on the soft tissues.
This is no where near some of the horror stories I have read here and elsewhere of injuries suffered in crashes, so I know I am getting off lightly.
My current thought as to a prevention of this happening again is some form of cross training. I also need to work on my core strength as well anyway. Can any one field on suggestions on low impact cross training sports / activities I could take up to address these two key areas?
I have been considering: Swimming, Pilates, Kayaking, Rowing and gym based strength training. I dislike using gyms for the cost and I much prefer fresh air, even if its cold and raining.
Swimming has gotten me through lots of injuries, though after kayaking or rowing I have always thought either would be a great workout that puts minimal stress on the lower extremities. Swimming is no-impact, but it will keep your knee moving just a bit, possibly enough to be therapeutic without hurting it more. Depends on how badly it's hurt. Last summer I fell while running (very stupid incident) and bruised my patella (very painful injury), and had to be on crutches for two weeks with no activity using the knee for four. Even swimming was off-limits while I had to be on crutches, but once I was off of them it was amazingly therapeutic. I think it got me back to my activities much faster than anything else.
As for strengthening the exterior quad, I know I developed the opposite problem to yours with running: it strengthens the outer quad, pulling the kneecap outward (I initially began cycling in order to balance this problem). If the impact of running doesn't hurt your knee once it has healed enough to begin use again, I should think it would develop exactly the area you want.
Having seen my doctor this morning, I can talked to some physio's at a walk in centre. Ive been given some strengthening exercises to follow and advised that I am clear to start swimming right away (gently, no breast stroke). The physio also thought pilates was a good idea.
I now must contact my doctor tommorow to be reffered to a physio for a dedicated consultation at the main local hospital. Apparently I might have to wait a couple of months!
I'll see what my doctor says tommorow and if I face a long wait, I might consult the services of a private physio to help me recuperate and plan my training better.
Slightly on a side note, does any one know of any state provision (In the UK of course) for sport specific coaching for adults? I am not talented so the Olympic team certainly wouldn't have me!
I probably have been pushing myself too hard. Despite my rubbish bike, I would like to get involved in some racing and time trails. In the week running up to my injury, I had ramped up my mileage and speed. I need a coach.
I know what you mean about gyms, but that's where I do my Pilates and Spinning. If you get a membership, try an elliptical trainer (Precor) too. It is very low impact on your legs, but will keep them moving. The best thing you can do is get that expert physio working you and giving you the correct exercises for your specific condition. If you have pool access, in addition to easy swimming, try using a boyancy belt and running in place. Lot's of runners have used this when injured. It is deadly boring tho, and you need to trick yourself into sticking with it somehow. Good luck!