Getting this series of posts up has taken longer than expected! But I think the excuse of having our second child (Maxine Cleopatra Torres-Tresize, born 11/14/2015) is a good one! I’m still working on and around many of these injuries and I’m still eager to share my experience with the hope that someone reading this will benefit, so without further adieu I’ll continue:
In Part I and Part II of this series I described all the injuries I’ve accumulates since 2014, how I was able to overcome one of them (anterior ankle impingement), and the overall lesson I’ve learned treating chronic injuries: Start Small and Build Slowly. In this post I want to go over how I successfully rehabilitated another issue; knee tendinitis aka jumper’s knee. This injury involves a sharp pain around and usually right below the kneecap, and I noticed it cropping up shortly after my ankle issues began. To my best guess, this issue arose because I was working around my ankle problems, and rather than doing a balanced variety of leg exercises, I was limited to a few I could do pain-free and therefor developed imbalances. For my body at least, limiting leg training to nothing but squats and cycling causes problems.
Much like with the ankle, I was determined to find a DIY solution rather than seek a more serious medical solution, and luckily for jumper’s knee the answer was much easier to find. The quadriceps (upper front thigh muscle) is composed of four muscles working together, and with my reduced exercise variety I was giving my vastus lateralis (outer quadriceps) a lot more work than my vastus medialis (inner quadriceps). Over many weeks, this imbalance lead to tension in my knee and pain.
The solution? Train the vastus medialis more! With unilateral exercises like single-leg extensions, single-leg presses and bulgarian split squats this was safe and easy, and within a week my discomfort was noticeably less. Since my ankle is now pain free I am again able to do a full compliment of leg exercises and my knee is completely fine. If only all training issues were this easy to solve!
My biggest take home from this particular injury is: Train unilaterally to avoid imbalances, especially if you are working around an existing injury! Favoring an injured area changes what we do and how we move, and this can very easily lead to more injuries!