Lesson Learned – Importance of Recovery Workouts
I’ve learned a big lesson recently about the importance of recovery days and recovery workouts.
After 4 months of intense training, teaching, and working out, my knee pain has become so bad I can barely walk downstairs without wincing in great pain. I’ve had knee pain while exercising for over a year but the pain was tolerable and I could manage it by icing and taking Advil after workouts. But, slowly the pain progressed to a constant painful ache while sitting and sharp pain while bending my knee and supporting my weight. Plies were killing me.
My husband finally convinced me to go see a doctor and I found out I have Quadricep Tendonosis. It’s an overuse injury that has caused the quadricep tendon, which connects the quadricep muscle to the patella (kneecap), to become irritated, painful and weak. Any time I flex my quads while walking, running, squating, lifting up my leg, sitting, standing, etc, I have pain above my knee.
How did it happen?
From www.concordortho.com. . . . ..
“There are extrinsic (outside) factors that are linked with overuse tendon injuries of the knee. These include inappropriate footwear, training errors (frequency, intensity, duration), and surface or ground (hard surface, cement) being used for the sport or event (such as running). Training errors are summed up by the rule of toos. This refers to training too much, too far, too fast, or too long. Advancing the training schedule forward too quickly is a major cause of quadriceps tendonitis.
Intrinsic (internal) factors such as age, flexibility, and joint laxity are also important. Malalignment of the foot, ankle, and leg can play a key role in tendonitis. Flat foot position, tracking abnormalities of the patella, rotation of the tibia, and a leg length difference can create increased and often uneven load on the quadriceps mechanism. Any muscle imbalance of the lower extremity (from the hip down to the toes) can impact the quadriceps muscle and affect the joint.”
Check, check, and check, sadly that’s me
I’ve had 4 physical therapy sessions and found out my quads and IT band are extremely tight and are pulling the quadricep tendon like crazy. Bottom line, I overtrained my quadriceps and didn’t balance my intense training with intense recovery. The good news is that the pain should subside with physical therapy, reduced training and muscle rebalancing.
Now I’m going to physical therapy twice per week for about 1.5 hours per session. In physical therapy they heat up the muscles with a heating pad and then give me a DEEP (painful deep) tissue massage on my quads, IT band, hips and glutes. One therapist found the tightest spot on my IT band and when he dug into it I started to sweat. After the massage, I go through a series of leg, hip and butt stretches. And finally, to rebalance my leg muscles, I’m doing exercises to strengthen my hamstring and glutes, which is also retraining my body to be less quad dominant.
More Recovery Days and Workouts
Rest is another key factor to my recovery so I’ve reduced my own personal workouts during the week and have modified my teaching. I’m doing a lot less demonstration and reducing the intensity of the movements. Thankfully I have some awesome regular students who show the advanced and high intensity options on my behalf.
For recovery “workouts” I’m doing lots of foam rolling, yoga and stretching. My Flexible Warrior DVD has been a huge help too:
Once I get back to health and the pain has diminished in my knee, I will return to my workout routine but will change one thing. . . .