Since arriving in the UK my right ankle and my right knee have been playing up. I’ve been walking 1-2 hours a day and navigating London’s tube stations which involves a lot of steps. I’ve been spraining the ankle regularly for a long time now but don’t recall actually injuring the knee. Something has happened in the last few weeks and now the knee bothers me when I walk, go up steps and when I get up from sitting. I have a sneaky suspicion it might have been the yoga classes I went to (sigh) and the increased activity levels from having a fixed hip (hooray). As usual I gave it a couple of weeks to settle by itself and as things were getting worse I went back to the physiotherapist I saw when I first arrived in London.
The physiotherapist did a lot of tests on the knee and ankle and has determined that I am lacking in strength in my hamstrings, calves and hips. This combined with the loose ligaments means that my knee joint is getting irritated and she suspects I may have torn my meniscus. She said if it doesn’t get better I may need to go see a surgeon. I told her very firmly that it WILL get better. Hopefully by strengthening around the knee and addressing alignment issues, the injury will heal on its on.
I got a bit tearful during the appointment due to the disappointment of my body letting me down once again, the thought of more surgery and adding another problematic joint to the list of joints that need managing. The cost of private physiotherapy in London is very high, it’s worth every penny but it is an expense that I was hoping to avoid. For some reason I thought if I spent enough time in India doing yoga therapy and got enough distance from New Zealand, then my body would settle and I’d no longer have to deal with these sorts of problems. Apparently not. But I must not forget how far I’ve come and the progress I’ve made since my hip operation. I’m on zero medication, my activity levels have increased significantly, the CRPS symptoms have gone and my hip has almost fully recovered.
How things pan out in London is going to be fully dependent on my attitude. If I choose to make a big deal of this, focus on the negative and get frustrated with the pain – then it will be a problem. If I accept what is happening, listen to my body and follow the advice of the physiotherapist – then in a 6 months or so I should be in a much better place.
The physiotherapist stressed the importance of doing my physio exercises consistently FOR LIFE. I’ve got a pattern of going to physio, doing the exercises and then stopping when I feel better. Then I loose strength and injure myself again. It’s a boom-bust pattern that is painful and expensive. The idea of doing physiotherapy exercises for life is very depressing as I find them incredibly boring. To break the cycle of boom/bust I think I need to do my physiotherapy exercises as told for 6 months (suck it up) and find a way to integrate appropriate exercise into my lifestyle. Then once I have the strength built up and the pain is settled, I should be able to take away the training wheels (of physio) and maintain my condition without help. I was hoping that yoga could do this, but I don’t think yoga is going to be enough. The physiotherapist said I don’t need yoga as I have enough flexibility, she suggested pilates instead. I don’t think she realises that yoga can be strengthening, but I get her point. I think in the short term I’ll do swimming and cycling, then when I’m working I’ll transition to a gym. There is a great gym near my work that has lots of classes (including yoga), a swimming pool, lockers..etc. its expensive but its money well spent in my opinion. I’m not giving up on the yoga as its too important to me, but I appreciate now that yoga alone is not going to help me and is potentially harmful for me right now. So I’ve decided to stop going to classes until I’ve got more strength to protect the joints.