A diary of my knee injury and my recovery practices

I fell last week and banged my right knee pretty bad.

I did not fall on the cobblestones. I fell when I was stepping off my bed after I had been adjusting a picture above my bed!
Lost my balance, Stepped the wrong way. And went down hard on my knee. Very hard. Didn’t go to the doctor. I didn’t have broken any bones. There was no bleeding. But I was in a lot of pain and I couldn’t stand or walk.
I began applying everything I know about movement and healing to my knee injury.
Asking myself many times, “What would I tell my clients and students to do if they
were in my situation?”;
Because I know that my fall could have happened to you. And you might have asked me for a suggestion or two. And because I know that my wisdom is only as good as my ability to apply it to myself.
It might be useful to share my injury and healing journey with you. Please remember: my story is unique. It may not apply to your own fall and your resulting injury. You should always listen to your own body. You may have to see a doctor.
The minute after I fell, I knew my fall was serious. The pain was intense. I could not
get up. I could not walk

I listened to my body. I did not move my knee.

I slathered my knee with an essential-oil based heat gel. I wrapped it in an elastic bandage. I iced the area with ice packs. I began uber hydrating with alkaline water. I went to bed. I kept my knee stable and unmoving. Because it hurt to move it!
I chose not to take an over-the counter pain-killer for two reasons. One, their possible side-effects. Two, a pain-killer would mask the pain. And I knew that pain is a messenger.
I moved other parts of my body. While I was resting, supine (on my back), I began to move other parts of my body. I wiggled my toes. I circled my ankles. I moved my arms and shoulders in all possible directions. I practiced intelligent movement everywhere except my injured knee!
I knew that I would need to keep my injured knee still while it healed. I also knew that immobilizing any muscle results in immediate loss of muscle mass.

If I kept my entire body still because of my knee injury, I would create muscle atrophy in all my muscles. Best to keep it isolated in the knee where healing required immobilization! And moving other parts of my body made me feel better!

I started moving my knee as soon as I could. But not into pain.

When my pain started to subside, I began to figure out how to move my knee with the help of other body parts and furniture.
I did not load my right knee (put weight on it) because it hurt when I did! I found ways to compensate for not loading the knee. For a short while, I used a walker I had in my yoga studio. When moving from supine to standing, I held onto something. Or used my hands to provide the support that my right knee usually provided.
Pain was my messenger. When I felt pain, I stopped moving in that direction.
I figured out an alternatives that would help my body compensate for the injury. But I also knew that compensation was my temporary friend. Compensations repeated over and over again are what create chronic muscle imbalances and injuries. I will want to move without compensation as soon as I can.
I recognize that my body is an amazing healing machine. I know that it will recover from most injuries, given the right environment.
In a few days, my knee stopped hurting, except for now and then. I 6 days later I walked the Malecon without pain. But, I know that I will get a twinge still if I walk too quickly or move suddenly. When I walk up or down steps, I still prefer to lead with my left foot and avoid loading my injured knee. I listen to my body. And I am grateful that I can speed up my body’s healing response with these simple practices.

Summing Up:

A knee injury can stop you in your tracks. You can speed your recovery by slowing down and listening to your body. Keep the knee still for a while.
When you start using the knee again, never move into pain. Keep moving other body parts. Recognize that your body has an amazing capacity to heal itself. And provide it with a healing environment.

[Medical Disclaimer: This article is for education and information only. It is not a substitute for a doctor’s opinion.] 

Photo credit:ID 60560316 ©  Wavebreakmedia Ltd  | Dreamstime.com

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