I had overloaded my patella tendon and it got inflamed. I went to the PT reasonably quickly, but recovery was (is) still a drag. Recovery was focused on
- Give the patella tendon rest by avoiding (too much) repetitive impact stuff like running and walking.
- Do lots of strength work to train the leg muscles so they do not get tired as quickly and can take all the impact.
This document is, for now, a brain dump of the various exercises the PT made me do. I had been meaning to write it all down in a structured manner, but then someone asked about it so brain dump will do. Who knows if and how long it will take to get around to bother with a proper presentation.
I Just Want To Run More
After the first visit, he banned me from running for two weeks. Technically just till our next appointment, but that’s when I saw him next. Then I was allowed to run 20 minutes every third day. I did that for nearly four weeks, but that is because I had to be abroad for over a week and then he had vacation and so it just took forever to get the next appointment. Maybe it would not have taken that long otherwise. After that, I was allowed to up the time by 10 minutes every third run. During the last visit, about 2.5 months after the first one, this was still in effect. He said during that last visit I could up the frequency if there was no hint of the patella tendon any more in daily stuff. “I rather have you run 1h30 every third day, then up the frequency just yet”. Of course, now I just ran 1h30 and I am not sure if I can keep pushing beyond it. Hope I can self-assess that the more frequency is now allowed. I am leaning towards yes, but I will give it another week probably. Possibly. (Of course if you make that switch, cut the distance per run way down!)
Elliptical was allowed throughout. Walking as long as it was not too much (absolute upper limit he gave was 15 km, but that is probably way too much already). Biking was allowed after 3ish weeks. Basically everything with repetitive impact was definitely avoid. Repetitive motion be careful with. Swimming was definitely allowed. He also strongly encouraged stuff without repetitiveness like padel, tennis, …
Listed roughly in the order that I was given them by the PT.
Nearly all of these can be made harder by having your foot/feet on top of a Bosu ball, if you have access to it. Might have to build up to that. PT also had some sort of squishy rubber pillow that was harder than being on regular floor, but easier than being on the Bosu ball. Dunno what that was called.
Many of them involve some sort of balancing. Do not let your knee do weird inward/outward rolls, remain in control.
If you notice you lose control too much, just call it a day rather than forcing through.
The idea with all of these is to strengthen the leg muscles. Stronger leg muscles means they’ll get tired less easily. If the big leg muscles get too tired, then all the smaller stuff has to pick up the slack and those aren’t made to handle it. I found almost all of these very thigh heavy, though he assured me they also trained your calves. Guess my thighs are just the ones that needed the work.
That first visit and first routine kicked my ass. Literally, the thigh muscles were sore for two days. My body also got used to it very quickly though, I started doing them daily and was fine. I later in the recovery commented on it, saying how weak I was during that first visit. He pointed out that he wouldn’t have called me weak compared to many he sees in his cabinet. All that to say, these exercises start where the PT thought they would be a good enough challenge for me. Maybe others need to start with easier exercises. I cannot help you there, but just doing fewer of these reps should also see effects I would think.
These he gave me the first time I saw him for patella tendon inflammation. I was told to do them daily.
Everything was done 15 times each. Together is it one set. Do two sets total.
- Kneel (so lower legs are resting on the floor). Sit down into it (so butt goes towards heels of feet). Hold the stretch for 3 to 5 seconds. Come back up (lower legs remaining on the floor). I do this one daily as the first thing in the set, no matter what routine I do.
- Sit on chair, one foot firmly planted on floor, the other will not be used. Stand up using just the one leg. Sit back down (controlled, not just falling back). Be sure to not use the other leg’s thigh to push down on the chair to help you get up. What I do is slightly lift the other thigh so it cannot help at all. Increase height of the chair (eg with pillows) to make this one easier. Decrease height to make it harder.
- Do it with other leg too.
- Stand on one leg. Squat (just go as deep as you think is feasible, no need to force it). Come back up.
- Do it with other leg too.
- Repeat previous, but have a small weight (he used 1.5 kg for me) lie in front of you. Pick it up when you squat down. Drop it off on the next one.
- Also repeat for the other leg.
This was about two weeks later. He told me to start alternating. One day this set, the other day the previous easier set. I did not like this set much.
Again do 2 sets, 15 reps for each exercise for each leg.
- Stand on one leg, jump forward, squat to pick up 1.5kg weight lying on the floor in front of you. Come back up. Squat again to place the weight down. (he made me jump onto his squishy rubber pillow, at home I just jumped onto my mat, easier balancing without the pillow or the bosu ball he would make me use later one).
- Stand on one leg. Squat for 5 seconds, jump up.
- Stand on one leg. Squat as deep as you can. He told me the goal was to have the knee of the other leg touch the ground, but I am not bendy enough for that. Did not like this one at all.
- Hold the 1.5kg weight in your hand. Do a lunge. While in lunge position, have your arms stretched out before you, arms are together holding the weight. In lunge with the arms stretched out holding the weight, rotate 90 degrees left, rotate 90 degrees right. Hips and below stay in place. I had hurt my big toe some months ago and it was still complaining (painful) as the trailing leg in the lunge position so I did not like this exercise at all either.
This was a bit over a month later. He had given me different stuff to do during sessions, but this one he explicitly said I could do some days with this routine. This is where I realised the two leg ones are more fun since I don’t need to worry about balancing.
- The one legged getting out of the chair from the first routine. By this point he set his height adjustable chair really low and made me use the Bosu ball. At home it was just using whatever chair I had of course.
- Regular squat (so two legs), when you are in the squat, jump twice (so you remain in squat position, you dont come out of it to jump), get back up. I presume deeper = harder, but I am not bendy enough for a deep squat. It was still intense enough regardless. (maybe non-deep even makes it harder since your muscles are working to keep you in the awkward position).
- Regular squat, jump forward, jump backwards, get up. Again, no getting up for the jump part, you remain in squat position.
- For this one I just jotted down “one leg prev”, but now I am unsure whether that included both previous ones or just the last one. Definitely the last one. So ye, do the one legged squat, jump forward, jump backward, get up. This one I found a bit too risky at times, it is easy to lose your balance landing the jump and hurt your knee. I don’t do it as often.
Various Others That Come To Mind
These I did not take explicit notes of, but I have done at some point. All the one leg stuff you need to repeat entirely for the other leg.
- Stand on one leg, squat and hold for 2 seconds, jump and turn 90 degrees while remaining one leg squatted, come up. Do this till you make 5 turns (so 20 reps).
- Calf raises. He gave me this after I said I did not feel my calves in any of his exercises. I felt them then :) Use a staircase or something. Stand on the ball of your foot, with the rest of the foot hovering above emptiness. Push your heel up as high as you can, then go low. Repeat 15 times for each foot. You can hold onto something for balance.
- Standing on bosu ball on one foot, slightly bent knee. Bend forward at your hip to get close to superman position, bend backward at hip as far as feasible. This one was frustrating cause I just could not keep my balance when leaning back.
- One leg squat, jump forward onto bosu ball, landing with a straight leg.