Friday, March 27, 2015

My Landing Knee

My legs have had their fair share of issues since I started skating. When I started off, I had a left hamstring problem that got so bad I couldn't sit down for more than ten minutes without stabbing pain. It also made my back crossovers choppy and everything from spirals, lunges and bunny hops on my left side were out of the question. I then found Dr. Magic and that issue, while a process of ongoing care, has resolved and I am no longer in pain. Not only that, but I have strong spirals on both sides, and hops and lunges on the left are weaker than my right, but coming along nicely. (Dr. Magic does say that my left leg will likely never be as flexible as my right.)

Then my landing knee began hurting. It hurt on the cutback on a left over right back crossover, on jump landings, and anything involving picking in on the right leg. At first I just braced it and stretched it a bit more, but it got worse. I stood up from a backwards shoot the duck on my right leg and almost went down from pain. So I went to go see Dr. Magic.

Once again, he determined it was a glute problem. My right butt is weak, so the hamstring and quad try to take over, ultimately pulling the kneecap out of alignment. He gave me a series of exercises to do in order to strengthen my ass, but in the meantime we had a right leg full of tight muscle.


The Clamshell exercise. This is easy.


  1:03 to 2:10 I do with my lifting leg pressed against a wall and foot flexed out. Starting to hurt...

Then this. This is death.

Three weeks of acupuncture (during which I fall asleep), trigger point (ouch) and electrical stimulation (which is one of the weirdest things I have ever done) and my knee is better. I'm no longer bracing it, and it doesn't hurt on landings or cutbacks anymore. But I'm still on my foam roller after every skate, and still doing glute exercises. Much like my left hamstring, my right knee will likely be an ongoing care project for as long as I skate. Especially as I start doing more jumping and progress on backspins.

But surprisingly, during one of our sessions, Dr. Magic went for my right foot. "The fascia is really tight," he dug in and I thought my foot was going to come off. "Are you taking care of your feet?"

"What? No. Ouch. Please stop."

He did not stop.

My feet have their fair share of skater's corns and such, but I don't pay much attention to them unless they truly hurt. Dr. Magic insists I need to do some foot care in addition to leg care. Everything, from boot to butt, has got to fire correctly or I risk more cumulative injury. Now when I get home from skating I work my butt, roll out on the foam roller, get some coffee and catch up on the internets while rolling a tennis ball under my feet.

It's really weird to see the kids just jump on and off the ice and skate, when as an Adult Skater, there's very much a physical process going on that makes this happen. But it's worth it. Maybe someday I'll get that Stag Jump, and I'll have all these butt workouts to thank for it.


  1. Ouch! Do you happen to have flat feet? In addition to a hip misalignment, I realized that my knee problems were related to my lack of adequate arches (the knee tracking inwards). This exercise has helped a lot:
    Hope things improve-sounds painful!

  2. No, I don't have flat feet. All my problems stem from a pelvic alignment issue that is under control, but needs a tuneup every so often. It's getting better! Rolling, relaxing and strengthening help.

    I can't help but think it comes from years of slinging heavy cables (75lbs +) over my shoulder and resting heavy loads on my left hip. I just never thought about it!