An Athlete’s Guide to Chronic Knee Pain – anthony mychal

An Athlete's Guide to Chronic Knee Pain - anthony mychalGot patellar tendonitis? Jumper’s knee (patellar tendonosis)? How about patellar mistracking? Chondromalacia? Or maybe your knees are always in pain, for reasons you don’t quite know yet?

I’m going to tell you two things. If you’re an athlete with chronic knee pain, you NEED to know these two things.

You have a friend named Kong. Kong likes touching hot things. Don’t ask why. That’s just Kong. He’s a weird guy.

You’re a good friend. You don’t want Kong to burn himself, so you scour his house, getting rid of everything that can potentially burn him. Kong lives happily ever after, right?

Not really. Because Kong is limited to a “fake” world. If he ever returns to the real world, he’s gonna’ get burned. It’s possible to live pain free in a fake world without really being healed.

The root of Kong’s problem is his wacky tendency to touch hot things, not necessarily the pain he experiences as a result of his strange behavior.

So here you are. You can’t run. You can’t jump. You can’t squat. Even standing up from the toilet makes you wince. Your knees are in shambles.

And there you are. In bed. Waiting for a miracle. Waiting for the physiology gnomes to tap your knee with a magical star wand.

Because, well, that’s everyone recommends. Rest. Rest. Rest some more. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest. 

You can avoid the sports and activities you love and feel OK, but when you go back to them…? You get burned.

Most rehab theories are based on an arbitrary concept of being damaged one day, resting for a little bit, then being magically healed overnight.

This is true and false at the same time. Your body is amazing. It can heal itself. But as long as you still have the behaviors that forced the damage, you’re going to continually breakdown.

And if you continually ignore the root of the pain? Your short-term inflammation (knee pain, tendonitis) turns into long-term tissue degeneration (jumper’s knee, tendonosis).

The first thing you need to know is this: rest isn’t going to permanently fix your knee pain. You have to fix the root of your problem, and the root is (not surprisingly) the second thing you need to know.

You can’t make the following logical mistake: thinking your knee is the thing that’s broken because the knee itself is the thing in pain.

Both of these guys are doing vertical jumps. The guy on the left claims a 30″ vertical jump. The guy on the right, 50″. (Which is very high, so let’s just say 40″ to account for internet inflation.) Honestly, the output doesn’t matter much.

Aside from the raw numbers, there’s a difference between the two: I consider one a knee pain candidate, and the other a knee pain conqueror.

Below are more still shots from YouTube, but with NFL combine athletes (a little less random than, well, random YouTubers).

Notice how their body positions are more similar to the guy on the right in the first picture? It’s no coincidence. (Rule 39: There is no such thing as coincidence.)

You might be wondering, “I see the difference, but what the heck does this got to do with chronic knee pain?”

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. You’ve heard that saying before, right? Makes sense. But if you focus on the fire, you arsonist running out of the back door and breaking for the woods.

My name is Anthony Mychal. I’ve written for some fitness magazines and websites, like T-Nation, Schwarzenegger.com, Greatist, Elite FTS, Onnit, and STACK.

Some of the articles I wrote were about knee pain. But I’m not here to tout my credentials. I’m here to show you something.

One of the questions I’m asked most: do your knees still make that noise? And I get asked this because back in 2009 I put a video on YouTube of my snapping, crackling, and popping knees.

I was Googling for answers. I was posting on forums. I had just about every chronic knee pain possible. Tendonitis. Jumper’s knee. Tracking problems.

Here’s the part where I’m supposed to smile and say, “And I haven’t had an knee problems since I’ve found this magical cream!” But that’s not true… I still struggle with knee pain because I ignored my initial tendonitis. I thought I could fight through the pain.

Pshhhh. Ain’t nothing gonna’ stop me from playing my sports and lifting. I’ll get through this pain. Yeahhh. Only the weak care about pain.

And then my tendonitis turned into tendonosis. In other words, my short-term inflammation became long-term tissue degeneration.

If you love your sports and activities, the goal is simple: keep playing. That’s why you play through pain. But when you play through pain you cause long term problems that put you out of the game.

The kicker in my story? It wasn’t like I totally ignored my pain. I followed most highly touted advice, like resting, popping pain pills, and icing. One doctor even told me that my knees would never be quite “right” ever again.

I’ve wasted over $100 in medical fees and supplies in less than one year just trying to feel somewhat healthy. That’s not mentioning the braces, creams, and supplements.

I even tried to train my way out of my pain with leg extensions and leg curls. If you’re in as deep as I was, you’ve probably also done your fair share of terminal knee extensions.

Is when I started to treat my knee as a victim, not a culprit. Your leg is made up of a ton of muscles and is controlled by three main joints: the hip, the knee, and the ankle. Anytime you move… Read more…

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