DIY Friday: The Mysterious Bum Knee

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*Do it yourself! Every Friday we do a roundup of great posts, videos, or other resources around a theme that help people to turn their bodies from cranky to happy.*

When I was interviewing Christine Jablonski about her rehabilitation from a nasty knee injury, she and I spoke off camera about the fact that the vast majority of knee stuff that we both see with clients is actually not precipitated by an injury, and instead is given that lamest of lame labels (I hate even typing this phrase. I seriously might break out in hives over here.) "normal wear and tear".

Give me a moment while I clear the flash of white rage from my eyes... What!?! I'm sorry but people in their 80's or 90's can talk about "wear and tear" (and even then I've got a lot to say about it), otherwise it is simply far from "normal" for knees to wear out, to the point of requiring either "clean up" surgery or a total knee replacement. So the orthos at some point decided to use the term "wear and tear" instead of the less appealing: "I have no idea why your knee is shot." Or the more honest, "My medical training- which is about performing surgery on people- and world view tell me that our bodies simply wear out for no good reason, so I'm going to throw you into that pile." So get ready for it: If you are using your joints with integrity, i.e. how they are designed to function, then they will not be "wearing" or "tearing". They will simply be doing what they are designed to do, and functioning. 

As Kelly Starrett points out in his book Becoming a Supple Leopardour tissues are designed to last roughly 110 years. Going farther, Starrett clarifies that 1 percent of musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction is due to pathology (i.e. there is some serious disease process going on, for example cancer instead of a torn meniscus), and another 1 percent is due to catastrophic injury (like the kind Christine and I discussed). Which leaves a full 98 percent of dysfunction (98 percent!!!) due to overtension (missing range-of-motion), and open circuit faults (moving in a bad position). In other words, most of our dysfunction, or wearing and tearing, is a result of misusing our own bodies.

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Now before you go shaming yourself into a stupor, please remember that you didn't do this on purpose. Sure you probably ignored some signals that you were pushing it, but mostly it was that you never got the owner's manual on how to use your body with integrity. And sadly we now live in a culture where we are disconnected from that and are doing things our bodies really don't benefit from. Like sitting in chairs, or typing on laptops. But I for one and not going to give up the glory of technology to become a hunter gatherer (I am both sitting and typing on a laptop right now), so let's instead go the route of getting some insight on how not to wind up with the mysteriously bum knee.

Which brings me, finally, to this week's DIY Friday round-up. Both of these posts are courtesy of Vital Gaitway. And sometimes all I can say is, just, wow. Both of these posts are gloriously thorough in explaining how to use your knees with integrity. But as our knees are connected to our everything, they are so much more. If you've ever wondered about healthy standing, walking, or sitting, or just plain how and why do our joints wear out when we're not aligned, well then, this is a treasure trove. It's a bundle of information, and I know we're all time pressed, so I suggest you print them out and make your way through them gradually. The nuggets of wisdom in them are worthy of your time. For reals.

Fixing Your Knees Without Surgery Part 1

Fixing Your Knees Without Surgery Part 2

Enjoy!

*And if you missed it, Christine also gave us her top Yoga Tune Up® therapy ball moves in last week's DIY Friday.

Images by Vital Gaitway

DIY Friday: Meet the Knee Whisperer

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*Do it yourself! Every Friday we do a roundup of great posts, videos, or other resources around a theme that help people to turn their bodies from cranky to happy.*

2270021696_c2997ac4ae_oWell many of you already met "The Knee Whisperer", aka Christine Jablonski, via hearing her story of healing a gnarly knee injury and how she's managed to keep all her own parts (hooray no knee replacement!), but now you get to learn some of her most coveted Yoga Tune Up® therapy ball movements for rehabilitating her knees. Watch them, use them, go for it, but remember that healing from anything is a whole body process, so this is only a piece of the puzzle. For a full on Yoga Tune Up program to rehabilitate your knees, check out the brilliant and very thorough KneeHab DVD here.

Here in the first video she works her magic on releasing the quads by using the plus sized therapy balls to simultaneously work both ends (both tendons) of the rectus femoris. If this all sounds like Greek to you, no worries, just try it and see how quickly it can make your knees happy:

In the second video Christine hops to the backside of the leg and shows you how to work your calves and hamstring tendons at the same time, all while also providing some flexion gapping, i.e. giving your knee joint the space it needs to "breathe", rather than just doing the rote strengthen and tighten regimen that people are most often given. (As she and I discussed in our chat earlier this week, that's a fine thing, but it's only one piece of the puzzle and you need to make sure that joint also has some space so you don't wear away at it.):

Lastly, let's not forget the adductors! Your inner thighs need some lovin' too.  Christine shows you how to give them that love with the alpha ball:

*All therapy ball sizes can be found here!

Photo by coba

Let Freedom Ring: A Knee Recovery Story

christine_head_shot4aWe're kicking off a new series here at The FFF; The Let Freedom Ring series! I'll be talking to people who have healed from a wide variety of injuries and chronic pain conditions to better spread the hope around (you can get better!!) In this first interview of the series I talk with Yoga Tune Up® teacher Christine Jablonski about her nasty knee injury, the repercussions that it had 15 years after the injury, and how she's managed to not only keep all her own parts (knee replacements are unpleasant people), but to become even more functional and mobile over time. Check out the video to hear her story, and stay tuned to this week's DIY Friday as Christine will be back with some videos on how you can work on your own knee rehabilitation! Below the video is a timeline of what we talk about when.

:59 Christine talks about how her knees were pre-injury and that she was very athletic

1:10 The skiing accident that took her knee out

1:27 What the injury actually did to her knee and the structures that were injured

2:00 The surgery that required a lot more than she or her surgeons originally thought.

2:09 Her rehabilitation regimen as strictly a "strengthen and tighten" protocol in an attempt to keep the knee stable.

2:28 Her surgeons doom and glood proclamation about the future of her knee.

2:50 When the proclamation started to come true.

3:09 The search to get her knee healthy again, and 3 different surgeons opinions.

3:38 Her frustration that none of the surgeons were able to give her any tools to figure out a path to healing (other than surgery)

3:48 Christine’s big breakthrough question: “Why after the accident did I have cartilage and now 15 yrs later I don’t?” and where the answer led her.

3:59 How a purely strengthening and tightening rehabilitation program all those years ago was her downfall many years later.

4:09 Give the joint space to breathe!

4:34 The ignored adductors

4:39 The beginning of finding her own healing journey and what that looked like.

5:00 She’s been able to keep all her own parts! No knee replacement required!

5:19 How she actually has MORE strength and mobility in it now. It’s not just holding steady

5:56 And her back came along for the party too!

6:20 The other therapies besides yoga and Yoga Tune Up that helped her to heal

7:02 Why it takes a village to get better

7:20 The fear that gets wrapped up in pain and the importance of managing that

7:38 What she’s playing with and experimenting with now (Krav Maga, Crossfit, other kinds of movement) in order to move away from the knee fear and making the knee “special”. How those movement experiences have integrated things.

The end!

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P.S. You can find Christine at Quiet Corner Body Studio

P.P.S Do you have an amazing story of healing!? I would love to hear it. You can email me at brooke [at] fasciafreedomfighters[dot]com