1

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Can you advise me on how to heal my knees quicker?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 20, 2012 at 5:23 PM

For the past few weeks my right knee has been getting tighter, I think it is from my leg muscles getting stronger from crossfit. Although really I have no idea. Last week we did Tabata B2B wall balls, I used a 14 pound ball and had a very hard time. The next day I was trying to squat but It is veryyy difficult. A little bit of pain but mostly a feeling of stiffness like a tight towel is wrapped around my knees when I bend into a squat or start coming up out of the bottom of a squat. It is really hard to stand up and I can't workout like this. The weakness is in both knees but my right knee is significantly more swolen. The inability to squat started on Friday the day after the wall balls and I iced my knee on and off all weekend and it feels a little better. What can I do to get better faster? How long should I avoid workouts. Just walking around seems to make it worse at this point in time.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 20, 2012
at 08:59 PM

+1 for good advice

Af939911afa817f79a4625d4f503c735

(552)

on February 20, 2012
at 07:54 PM

Yep. Fish oil, ice, rest, foam roller.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on February 20, 2012
at 07:22 PM

i second the foam roller.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on February 20, 2012
at 06:36 PM

The "tight" feeling is likely related to swelling/inflammation in the knee rather than surrounding muscles getting stronger. Although it can be mentally difficult once you get into a workout groove, taking the appropriate amount of time to allow the injury to heal will be more productive in the long run than "working through it". If you don't notice an improvement after taking a few days to a week off, it is time to reach out to a qualified medical professional.

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6 Answers

4
0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 20, 2012
at 06:29 PM

Yes, +1 for taking a break from your knee intensive workouts. You'll want to check inflammation vs tension, as you treat them differently. If you have any inflammation, agreed that you'll want to increase fish oil and turmeric, and ice regularly. Maybe also some arnica. Once you go from inflamed to just tight, you really want to check out what specifically is tight, and see what you can't do about loosening it up. Often, when I have knee pain, it's actually a sign of tension elsewhere (ITB, Hamstring, Quad, hip)--get thee a foam roller and lacrosse ball and commence with the loosening (but only after inflammation is resolved)

Af939911afa817f79a4625d4f503c735

(552)

on February 20, 2012
at 07:54 PM

Yep. Fish oil, ice, rest, foam roller.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on February 20, 2012
at 07:22 PM

i second the foam roller.

1
2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 20, 2012
at 08:59 PM

Clearly don't do any mobility exercises that hurt, particularly if you've already got inflammation in your knee...

But two words: ankle mobility. mobilitywod.com Maybe it sounds crazy that a lack of mobility would cause knee pain, but I've read and experienced otherwise. When my ankles can't handle the workload or movements I'm pushing through, my knees often compensate, and they yell back. Google "knee pain ankle mobility" and see what you can find, but I'm guessing that some limited mobility moves targeting your ankles will help you see long-term improvement. I ditto the squat comment above, too.

You'll still need to ice and rest to get through short-term flare ups. Also, the foam roller is your dearest friend. A good knee wrap/brace doesn't hurt either.

1
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on February 20, 2012
at 05:55 PM

The pain and stiffness you are describing could best be handled by a sports doc.

Personally, it sounds to me like you've done some minor damage, and your knee is now inflamed to the point of restricting movement. A good way to check to see if it's inflammation in the joint or a muscle tear, is to lay on your back, have a partner or friend move your leg from extended, to "knee in the chest", like a one-legged bicycle, but resist any temptation to use the muscle - if there is pain when someone externally is moving your knee, then you've likely got an issue with an inflamed joint. If there is no pain, it's more likely to be a muscle tear.

Regardless - I strongly suggest you immediately take time off the knee, take at least two weeks off the workouts, and get in touch with a sports ortho. In my experience, sports orthos are a bit better at handling treatment for active folks, as well they aren't so taken aback when you tell them how you eat and your aversion to pharmacological solutions.

In the meantime, if it's been 48 hours since the first occurrence, you should now start alternating hot and cold, no more than 24-hours at a time. Very, VERY gentle stretching in between, such as sitting straight-legged on a floor, locking your knees, and touching your toes... if it hurts or you feel tension/pain in unexpected places while stretching, stop immediately. Hamstring tightness plays a very significant role in knee mobility, so I would also stress doing some toe touches and other hamstring stretches, preferably in a hot shower.

And if you do take OTC medication every once in awhile, two days of a taking a little ibuprofen won't kill you (I suggest half a recommended dose), right now your need to reduce the inflammation should be your top priority.

1
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on February 20, 2012
at 05:31 PM

My general advice here is to only do light workouts that involve your knee until it feels better. That means do some low intensity air squats, pistols, light goblet squats, etc. Just to keep the knee moving through full ROM. But don't do anything heavy or intense until it's healed.

Once it's healed, make sure you're squatting correctly. Done properly, the squat is probably the best single exercise you can do, but done incorrectly it's easy to get hurt. I don't know what the quality of instruction at your crossfit is like, so I can't comment there, but make sure your form is perfect before you do anything intense again:

weight on heels

full ROM to the bottom

knees track out over your toes (don't bow out or collapse in).

etc

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 20, 2012
at 08:59 PM

+1 for good advice

0
F80aaa96354eb749a8a5efdda3feba7d

on February 20, 2012
at 06:07 PM

As someone else said reducing your inflammation is key right now. I have issues in my lower back that when I'm inflamed renders me useless. I recommend upping your fish oil to about 5g and taking turmeric pills to help the inflammation. I can manage my inflammation with these extra supplements and cutting night shades out of my diet for a week or more if the swelling doesn't go down. As the nightshades cause inflammation.

0
5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 20, 2012
at 05:35 PM

Acupuncture helped with my knee pain. I also second the keeping it light. Do some extra walking if it doesn't cause you much pain.

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