View Full Version : training with a knee injury

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Rayleen Dehmke
08-17-2011, 09:14 PM
I injured my knee a few months ago, not through Aikido I'd like to add. I thought it would heal on its own, little did I know. Months later I decided to do physio, the therapsit informed me that I may have torn one or both meniscus. I will find out more mid-September when I see a specialist. I would like opinions on training as I know many of you have suffered injuries. My knee is feeling better and I miss training. I will talk all this over with the specialist and therapist, again. As soon as I mention martial arts it's NO NO NO! LOL
I appreciate any advice, suggestions....

Eva Antonia
08-18-2011, 03:47 AM

my teacher has also meniscus problems; I am not a doctor and don't what it mean exactly when he says "I've nearly no meniscus left", but apparently it means something bad. He should get operated but the doctors make him wait. In meantime, he gives lesson 5 times a week, but he cannot go to seminars because the knee doesn't allow him to fall and get up easily, and he also has problems with suwari waza.

I had a torn ACL two years ago and continued training with an orthesis until they operated me; after the operation the doctor forbid me aikido and swimming for 6 months, but I obeyed only in so far that I didn't do movements straining the knee. Which are a lot - all tenkan techniques are out because there is torsion on the knee, which is very counterproductive in the case of ACL problems.

Now everything is fine, and I can do all movements at full speed and without feeling any obstacle or weakness. But healing took its time.

Wishing you good luck,


08-18-2011, 06:38 AM
I damaged my knee with a meniscus tear 22 years ago. I had one operation and was told that there is no permanent fix and that I would have problems with it the rest of my life and I have.

The best things that have worked for me are;

Being extremely aware of alignment of my knee in relation to my foot and hip. Keep my foot, knee and hip lined up on top of each other.

Take liquid glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, collagen when the knee isn't doing well.

I have added turmeric and ginger to my daily diet to keep swelling down.

Exercises to strengthen the knee.

Take the advise of my doctor and physical therapist.

Good luck.


08-18-2011, 07:04 AM
I got a small tear in the medial meniscus on my right knee last fall right before I was about to test. Major bummer. Dr did not recommend surgery as it was a small tear. Treatment for me was as follows.

Ice 20 minutes 3 times a day.
600 mg Ibuprofen 3x a day.
Chiropractic adjustments to keep everything in alignment once a week.
Ultrasound therapy at the chiro's office once a week
Use of joint supplements MSM 1,250 mg, Glucosomine 1,500mg, and condroitin 1,350mg. Which I continue to take.

Professionals choice knee brace to help support it. Mostly while at my job which requires a lot of standing.

I was off the mat for about a month. Very restrained (not much ukemi) training for another 3 months. Did manage to test somewhere in the middle of that.

I'd say it was about 6-7 months before the knee started to feel strong again and I still have to be very aware of alignment.

Turning or pivoting movements are your big cncern.

08-18-2011, 07:24 AM
My knee is feeling better and I miss training. I will talk all this over with the specialist and therapist, again. As soon as I mention martial arts it's NO NO NO! LOL

Training against medical advice is generally not a smart thing to do -- but you need to make sure your medical professional knows just what it is you are doing. "Martial arts" isn't enough information for them to give you a good opinion. Describe in detail the physical movements, and then see what advice they have to give. If it's not what you wanted to hear, don't discard it...work with it instead.

Rayleen Dehmke
08-18-2011, 08:37 AM
Thanks for the reponses everyone. Right now I am doing leg strengthening exercises and getting into cycling. This is after months of doing nothing. I will look into supplements.

I follow the advice of my therapist, I don't plan to go against medical advice. A more in depth discussion of Aikido is needed, I agree. Maybe once my knee is stronger I can do modified training.

Howard Popkin
08-18-2011, 08:55 AM
if it hurts, back off...simple:)

Michael Hackett
08-18-2011, 09:38 AM
I tore both menisci in my right knee in early 2010 and had surgery in May. A course of physical therapy was prescribed and I did every session as if my life depended on it and did the exercises at home as well. As a meniscus repair is simply removing torn material there isn't any "as good as new" result, but I can do anything I want to now on or off the mat without pain. For me, I think the PT was the key for my recovery and results.

I also recommend showing your doctor and physical therapist a DVD of aikido, since most have no idea of the movements required.

Janet Rosen
08-18-2011, 11:47 AM
Every meniscus injury is a little different so some folks should have surgery and others not.
Since the meniscus sits on top of the tibia and absorbs both weight and shearing from the femur, any time an injury or surgery results in gaps in its surface it skews how the femur meets the tibia. Over time this leads to loss of the cartilage at the end of the femur, which is called osteoarthrits or degenerative joint disease (synonyms).
A minor tear in meniscus can often be sewn together with very good results. More extensive damage is basically smoothed and particles or loose bits floating around removed. It's not always clear that this always correlates to less pain or to improved function.
Get to a good sports med ortho and PT and yes most have no idea of the specific demands of aikido and need to be shown.

Michael Varin
08-18-2011, 06:25 PM
Right now I am doing leg strengthening exercises and getting into cycling. This is after months of doing nothing.


What "leg strengthening" exercises are you doing?

The choice matters quite a lot.

Rayleen Dehmke
08-18-2011, 06:49 PM
Hi Micheal,

I'm doing squats while squeezing a ball between my knees, balancing on one leg, getting on a balance board and doing squats, did a step exercise today where I step up and balance on my injured leg, sitting with my legs straight out and flexing the mucles while pressing into the floor and cycling. I've only done 5 physio sessions and notice major improvement. I just cycled about 40 km the other day, easy stuff for sure. Just glad I can exercise, I'm no cyclist, LOL. Just waiting to see what the specialist says in September. The specialist works out of one of the most highly regarded sports centers here, so I feel very confident.

Rayleen Dehmke
08-18-2011, 08:24 PM
I have a muscle stim on too when I do the exercises at the physio clinic. Forgot to mention that.

Michael Hackett
08-18-2011, 08:47 PM
Rayleen, what you describe is very similar to what my physical therapist ran me through AFTER surgery. If you are getting good results from the PT, then I would suspect that you don't have a structural injury. There is no way I could have done those exercises before the menisci were surgically repaired. I hope that you aren't doing more damage in the interim before you see the specialist, and by specialist I assume you mean orthopaedist. Good luck with the whole process. I was six weeks off the mat after my surgery and then careful for another couple of weeks until I grew to trust the stability of the knee.

Rayleen Dehmke
08-18-2011, 08:56 PM
Well, I am surprised at my progress. Still can't run to save my life or do other certain movements. I am very careful about what I do and not to over-do it. I went for months without doing any exercise except for a bit of walking. I did RICE therapy. No PT was mentioned until a friend urged me to go. I am very happy and hopeful now, even more so with the responses people are sharing here.

Michael Varin
08-20-2011, 04:10 AM
Hi Rayleen,

Good to hear you have had positive results. If it's working, fantastic, but the exercises do seem quad heavy to me.

There are three things that need to be addressed to reduce pain and restore function in the knees. They are: hip and ankle mobility, muscle imbalance, and tissue quality.

In my experience activating/strengthening the glutes and hamstrings will be most beneficial.

Squats are great, and will help with hip mobility, but you must go deep and work to pull the knees apart. Many knee injuries occur because the hips and/or ankles are immobile, which forces the knees to become mobile.

And maybe the most important for managing pain is "foam rolling," a form of self massage. You should roll all areas of the body except the neck and lower back, but for knee pain hit the hamstrings, calves, iliotibial band (outside of thigh), glutes and quads.

The hamstrings can be hard to roll and a foam roller likely won't be of much help after the first few sessions. I found that a softball does a good job.

Here is a video to give you an idea of what foam rolling is. There are many more on YouTube.

All of this stuff should be done daily, but only in small amounts. It shouldn't be taxing, although foam rolling will not be pleasant the first few times!

Beyond that, as others said, pay careful attention to the alignment of your body and how you step. Always keep the knees tracking over the toes. Also, I have found that if you have to pivot (which in most cases can be avoided), do so on the heel or the little toe side of the ball of the foot. Pivoting on the big toe side of the ball of the foot seems to be very aggravating.

I had a knee injury that took me to the brink of surgery. I'm glad I didn't go that route. Today my formerly injured knee is probably the healthiest part of my body.

I really should be getting money for plugging this by now, but it was helpful to me, so here it is again.

Bulletproof Knees by Mike Robertson (http://www.bulletproofknees.com/)

09-16-2011, 10:33 AM
I have a historical knee issue that I've had for over 10 years or so that I can count on two hands the number of times it has occurred to me. Something on the right side of my right knee slides out of position when I bend my right knee too far back and place too much weight on it. Best example is imagine a baseball catcher's position, or kneeling before class. Anyways, usually I just stand up and fully extend my right knee and it slides back into position.

Last night during ukemi, I have no idea how or why it happened, but when I stood up I feel that same feeling. This time, no matter how hard I tried I could not get it back into position. Not able to put weight on my right leg whatsoever. I actually went into shock for a brief period of time. Went to ER, EX rays all good. Going to see orthopedic specialist in 3 hours or so who will likely send me for an MRI, but from the sounds of the ER orthopedic guy who looked at me, they believe its an LCL issue.

I am wondering how many of you may have had a similar issue with their LCL? I am 24 and attempting to avoid surgery at all costs.