Back in June I had just started riding the spinner bike after 2 back to back foot surgeries. I really never thought much about how much strength I had lost in my quads, especially on the right leg which had a knee scope as well. Looking back, I now realize that I was pretty much in a boot, cast, on a scooter, or on crutches for almost 5 to 6 months from October to through March when I started walking again. Although my upper body stayed strong because I was able to lift weights, my lower body lost a lot of leg strength and the atrophy was obvious. I had a lot of work to do.
After several weeks on the spin bike, the patella area of my knee, especially the medial side, was super inflamed and I was in pain. It hurt to go down steps and my knees just felt fragile and tingling a lot of the time. My Doctor told me I had patellar tendinitis and put a steroid shot in each knee.
Immediately I started to think about what this meant in the long term. Will I always have knee pain from here on out? Does this mean I need a knee replacement? Do I need knee surgery? I was so conditioned to needing a surgery that I had forgotten to use common sense first. I was jumping to all the wrong conclusions without thinking this through first.
I started gathering information about patella pain from YouTube, Google, Medical sites, and squatuniversity.com, which was probably the most helpful site. The philosophy behind squat university is that you can heal your own knee in many cases but doing the right exercises.
I also got permission from my doctor to go and see a Physical Therapist to help strengthen my quads. They had not been used very much in the past 6 months and they needed a lot of strengthening. That combined with hip mobility and strength was the ticket to healing my inflamed patella tendons.
I worked with two amazing PTA's Jodi and Lani at Inspire Physical Therapy. Both are experienced in all aspects of musculoskeletal injuries. After the first session, Lani worked my quads so much that they felt like they were on fire. It felt good to know I was starting to get back so much lost strength. Jodi added different quad exercises along with hip mobility using bands and resistaball. I committed to showing up for my workouts for exactly one month (8X). I can honestly say that it made a HUGE difference for me. The medial knee pain has dissipated significantly in both knees. The R knee still has some feeling of stiffness, but on a much smaller level than before. Going down steps feels a lot better after practicing lowering my heels down on an elevated step many times. My quads feel much stronger which is good for my pedal stroke when riding my bike.
I feel so thankful for the excellent PT I received at Inspire Physical Therapy. Their service is top notch and they truly care about every patient who walks in the door. Below I am sharing most of the exercises we did over the past few weeks. I had so much fun making this video and I hope you will take some of these exercises and use them for your own patella tendinitis.
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