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How I got rid of my knee pain (PFPS, Knee tendinitis, lateral patellar tracking)

(EDIT: 2017 – The Knee pain was due to the misalignment of the bone structure due to the L5-S1 spondylolisthesis and spinal alignment.  Upon relocating it into a Spondylolysis, performing knee exercises and utilizing a cannabis anti-inflammatory and awareness regimen, the knee pain cause was resolved.)

Athletes love to abuse their bodies until damage occurs.  Then comes the way of fixing what we broke…

What I’ve done for my knee and back pain in the past:

  • Medical doctor for steroids
  • Chiropractor treatments
  • Massage therapy
  • Physical Therapy (on multiple occasions with the wrong goals)
  • stretching
  • foam rolling
  • strengthening surrounding muscles
  • running
  • corework
  • biking…not biking
  • resting
  • icing and heating…..
….and the list goes on..
I would have flare ups of severe knee pain when I was riding my bike and have residual symptoms throughout the day, akin to a chronic condition of knee pain.  The problem is that each of these treatments addressed a little piece of the puzzle.  Think of it like adding a cup full of water to a blazing camp fire.  Is it going to stop it?  No..but, it will calm it down a little.
Here’s how I fixed it and how I’m maintaining:
After starting PT school, I began my studies of the PT world and a DPT by the name of Kelly Starrett started popping up every once in a while.  Soon I began to watch his YouTube videos of his MWOD’s where each day he shows you a way to help increase your mobility.  His philosophy is that if you have complete joint range of motion for your body without any muscle restriction, while maintaining good posture, you can be pain free.
Its that easy so let me explain.  Your body is connected, right?  That means if you have a tight ankle, this can cause you back pain.  If you have tight hip flexors, you can have ankle and knee pain.  Crazy to think about, I know!  The philosophy of going through your entire kinetic chain and looking for restriction is crucial.
I bet you wouldn’t and couldn’t last 10, 15, 20 years of driving your car without maintenance.  Your body is the same way.  This is a young boy squatting down without any restriction.  Notice how his heels are on the ground.  Why are they on the ground?  Because he has proper hip and knee flexion, and ankle dorsiflexion given to him at birth (like the rest of us).  I bet he doesn’t have back pain or any other chronic pains.
So you may be asking yourself, don’t all people bend over like this?
Nope.  They sure don’t.
People lift with their back, never activate their gluteus muscles, and somehow magically think they get pain.  The stress of daily life and activities lock your joints and muscles.  Unless you’re proactive about undoing the damage every day, you have a long road ahead of you.
Here’s how average people squat down:
Notice something similar about these people?  They all have short heel cords!  This means that the flexibility of their gastrocnemius (calf) is poor.   The calf is a two joint muscle meaning, it has impact on the knee and ankle.  This now means you compensate at the hip which will in turn affect your back and spine.  Most likely these people will develop some kind of pain up their kinetic chain in time.  If they are an athlete, the injury time will be expedited.

Lets say you work at a desk all day. You’re slowly putting yourself in a hip flexed position where stabilizers get weak and muscles become extremely tight.

Now its your turn to try a 10 minute squat test and see how long you can last with both feet planted firmly on the ground:

You probably have some work to do…

Do I sound convincing yet?
Becoming pain free is simple.  Have good posture (learn how to bend over and squat properly), a tennis or lacrosse ball, a stretchy band, a foam roller, neuromuscular re-training (have someone teach you how to reprogram your muscle groups to activate them at the proper time), and internet stalk this guy named Dr. Kelly Starrett on YouTube.
If you don’t recognize the terms of smash, tack and floss, test /re-test, or mobilize, lets talk about it.

First:  Start by educating yourself with Dr. Starrett’s Channel

Second: Here’s his book, BUY IT NOW!
I can’t wait to have a full season of mountain bike racing as I go back to the Expert class to battle while being pain free!
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