Thread: Bad knees
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Old 08-23-2006, 05:58 PM   #19
Yo-Jimbo
Dojo: Windward Aikido, formerly at Keewenaw Schools of Aikido (ASU)
Location: Hawaii Pacific University, formerly at Michigan Technological University
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 71
United_States
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Re: Bad knees

I'm concerned about the causal vs correlative relationship between aikido practice and knee damage.
Both my brother and I have recent injuries to the medial/anterior of our right knee's meniscus.
Both of us practice aikido, but...
both of us have the same parents,
play softball and other sports,
are currently slightly heavy (~220# +/- 5# @6'1" +/- 1"),
are of similar age (~31yrs +/- 2.5yrs).
I'm older and my injury is was just barely bad enough to require surgery. I think that we were both fortunate that it wasn't worse.

My point is that I wonder:
If our knees are better or worse due to aikido practice?
If your typical aikido practitioner has better or worse knees then the general population?
If some aspect of typical aikido practice is good or bad for knees?

Two thirds of those polled in:
http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=93
believed that knee-walking and suwariwaza in aikido were not bad for you in the long run.
Just over half say:
http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=27
that they have had some form of knee problems due to aikido practice.
I admit that I'm to lazy to research a comparison to other activities right at this moment.
I'm wondering if constantly using the right leg to get up from seiza is a culprit (or for me, just high speed rounding the bases and sliding into third).

I'd like to see the following poll (what do you think, Jun?):
My:
a) knees are fine; I do aikido.
b) left knee is worse; I do aikido.
c) right knee is worse; I do aikido.
d) knees are equally bad; I do aikido.
e) knees are fine; I don't do aikido.
f) left knee is worse; I don't do aikido.
g) right knee is worse; I don't do aikido.
h) knees are equally bad; I don't do aikido.

With ~200 - 500 answering the polls that do aikido, I think there can be even some discrimination toward a preference in the knee that is most likely damaged.
The most important thing to watch in the lurkers that don't do aikido is whether there is a big difference in their knee health. I doubt that there will be enough respondents in this area for good results; but if the poll is done, I pledge to look up some statistics on the general population and knee health (unless someone beats me to it, MDs).

This would shed some light on whether there is at least a correlation between aikidojin and bad knees; or if to the contrary, aikidojin have better knees on average. Of course, aikiweb polls aren't conducted scientifically, but within whatever biases there are in the readership it would be nice to know. There would still be the question of causation, but that would require some controlled tests.

Meniscus typically gets less pliable with age. Note people's advise on knee care (supplements and proper exercises). Don't ignore clicking or swelling in the knee, by the time there is pain in an area with so few nerves, things are probably worse.

"One does not find wisdom in another's words." -James D. Chye
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