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Janet Rosen
12-10-2009, 05:42 PM
I've felt like a lone voice sometimes, saying that after an acute knee injury, esp ligament or meniscus damage, it would be prudent to avoid higher-risk activities like shikko, suwariwaza, torquing moves.
Well now there is this article
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/phys-ed-what-causes-early-arthritis-in-knees/
so maybe somebody or bodies who read it will be pursuaded to better protect themselves long term.

Maarten De Queecker
12-10-2009, 06:22 PM
Avoiding shikko and suwari-waza when one's knee acts up is common sense to me. Are there really people who still practice in these waza knowing that they are severly damaging or even downright destroying a very important part of their bodies?

I even read an article of a orthopedist once, stating that walking in shikko is an unnatural movement for your knees and should thus be avoided.

I train five times a week, and if one of my knees hurts even slightly -which happens more than I'm comfortable with-, I don't participate in suwari waza and sitting in seiza, because I know it will only gradually get worse. There's people telling me that I'm only 21, that I'm still young and that my body can handle it, which is probably true, but preventing is better than healing, as a dutch proverb says, and I'd rather go with that than showing off how young I still am and how good I can handle pain.

Michael Varin
12-11-2009, 05:13 AM
Hmm.

I didn't find that article useful or even interesting.

I would never suggest that anyone do an activity that they feel is going to injure their body. We all should try to listen to what our bodies are telling us. But. . .

How can lack of activity produce a healthy human body?

Our bodies were made to be used.

I wonder if an increasingly sedentary lifestyle is causing more of us to be more vulnerable to knee injuries.

I have struggled with knee injuries in the past. I have been focusing on hip and ankle mobility and correcting muscle imbalances, and my knees are feeling great. For quite a while now, I have been doing full (below parallel) squats with the heaviest weight I have ever used, and my knees are pain free.

I found a nifty little e-book. Warning: It is not cheap.

http://www.bulletproofknees.com

I am still very protective of my knees. Shikko doesn't scare me. Torquing and lateral agility motions, on the other hand. . .

Shadowfax
12-11-2009, 07:09 AM
When I was 21 I was thrown by a horse and landed on both knees on a hard packed clay surface. Was black and blue from knee to ankle on both legs. Needless to say my knees probably suffered similar trauma to that of the cows knee in Janet's article.

Yeah I have some knee problems but that does not stop me from being active. It might slow me down a bit sometimes. When it comes to shikko and swari waza I do them when we have those in class. Fortunately not often. But for me those techniques are a part of learning this art and a student should at least be familiar with them.

I like learning them as long as it is in small doses. And I don't push beyond what my knees can take. I generally will take breaks and quit sooner than the rest of the class if I need to in order to protect my knees. I also take join supplements that really do help my flexibility quite a bit.

One thing I have found over the past 20+ years dealing with bad knees. The less you move the worse they get. For a good while I was not riding my horse very much and when I did and got down off her I would have to deal with partial frozen knees and a lot of pain. When I upped my riding to almost daily the pain and freezing up went away. I think the key really was to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee so they can aid and support it as well as keeping the joint moving and working.

Eva Antonia
12-11-2009, 09:18 AM
Dear Janet,

I don't know if I have to thank you or loathe you for that article...just three months after ACL surgery and feeling better than ever - so a very inopportune moment to think about possible or, worse, probable, chronic arthritis....

I don't think I'd have problems in avoiding shikko and suwari waza; the less I see of them the better it is! But for the rest - walking, cycling, aikido as such; it would be a great pain to reduce them.

However, I know two cases of chronic arthritis; one is my nehgibour, who is in her forties and has already been operated twice on her knees because the cartilage is completely abrased due to too intensive sports in her youth; the other one is one of our shodan at the club whose knees don't bear any more his weight and who is waiting for complete reconstruction.

We will see what happens with these knees.

Best regards,

Eva

lbb
12-11-2009, 10:34 AM
How can lack of activity produce a healthy human body?

How does avoiding a particular mechanism of injury translate to "lack of activity"?

Janet Rosen
12-11-2009, 11:15 AM
How does avoiding a particular mechanism of injury translate to "lack of activity"?

Mary you beat me to it. That was exactly going to be my question.
Neither the article nor my post recommends a sedentary lifestyle.
Avoiding high risk activities in no way precludes moderate to intensive participation in lower risk activities.
And yes, many people DO continue to train in ways that hurt themselves (some of us are aware of a shihan who had multiple knee surgeries and never really rehabbed or adapted properly and ended up with unneccessary pain and suffering). For those who choose to do so with eyes open, whether to maintain tradition or to keep up with everybody else, that's their right.
As a nurse, I believe in the principle of "informed consent," and the article IMO is a very important piece of information; each person will or won't act on it as they see fit.

Janet Rosen
12-11-2009, 11:20 AM
I wonder if an increasingly sedentary lifestyle is causing more of us to be more vulnerable to knee injuries..

Michael, did you read the article or just skim it?
The article specifically talks about acute sports injuries, esp blown ACLs and such; these are happening in young, active athletes.
The article specifically recommends that people who have had such injuries and are now at risk substitute lower impact exercises like cycling rather than marathon running.

Janet Rosen
12-11-2009, 11:24 AM
I have struggled with knee injuries in the past. I have been focusing on hip and ankle mobility and correcting muscle imbalances, and my knees are feeling great. For quite a while now, I have been doing full (below parallel) squats with the heaviest weight I have ever used, and my knees are pain free.

Michael, that holistic approach is an excellent one and I'm glad it has worked for you. I think that many sports medicine docs and PTs don't really analyze the entire body structure in devising rehab programs for a specific body part, and that also can lead to creating or perpetuating chronic imbalances and long term joint damage. Thank you for the link to the book.

RED
12-11-2009, 11:42 AM
I have a teacher who has really bad knees and injuries... for some reason he teaches knee work every class at least once or twice...while groaning a bit I mind you lol
I guess he just thinks knee work is that important for his students despite his limitations.

Dan O'Day
12-12-2009, 01:11 AM
I've had knee problems which predated my aikido life. The surawiwaza activities have definitely exacerbated the situation at times but far worse for me were standing techniques when I apllied too much torque in one way or another.

Long story short...Diagnosed as a miniscus tear and I received a steroid shot about a year ago. I've had very little trouble since. I have also found - via the instruction of my sensei - I have the ability to learn to move in such a way so as to not apply torque in a damaging way to myself.

It's a long road for me and it certainly is continuing. I have to say I am a firm believer in the prcitce of moving my body more sensibly, more efficiently...more "aikidolike".

A few years back I bought an elliptical machine which helped with the cardiovascular and took the place of the running three to four times a week for the previous twenty years.

But isn't this another great aspect of aikido - ohhhh, maybe another paradox! The activity which may injure through proper tutelage may cure.

Janet Rosen
12-12-2009, 03:27 PM
But isn't this another great aspect of aikido - ohhhh, maybe another paradox! The activity which may injure through proper tutelage may cure.

So true!

I think one issue is that as newbies we look to our instructors for guidance, and many very experienced and very good aikido teachers aren't - and can't be expected to be - up to date on sports medicine research, "best practices" for warm ups, rehab issues, etc. So one instructor may be a great guide to overall very good body use and another not.