My Bizarre Injury – 4 Months Later

In November, I posted on My Bizarre Injury. The short version:

  • During some light stretching in September, I strained my hamstring.
  • Then a month or so later, I began feeling knee pain in both knees.

For two months now, I have been going to physical therapy and the short version is:

  1. I still don’t know why my hamstring popped.
  2. I can still feel some very slight pain in my hamstring.
  3. My left knee, which at first showed signs of improvement, is actually worse now. It has less stability resulting in pain, especially on longer strides.
  4. My right knee, which I thought was healed, now has a slight strain.
  5. I’m beyond bummed.

I’m doing all the exercises assigned to me. And in those movements, I’m getting stronger. But unlike the last time, I’m not getting better.

I even reduced my daily steps significantly from 10,000+ to 5,000. I began taking collagen peptides, curcumin and increased my calories per the advice from the Lyle McDonald Injury book.

I do believe I know the root cause of the problem. My right leg has noticeably more muscle than my leg. Since 2013 I have been favoring the right leg as a way to take pressure off the left knee. Even during my “healed” phase of 2016-2017, my left leg never caught up to my right, even though I was doing leg presses and hack squats twice a week. Plus all those steps.

Homer after lifting with only his right arm.

I’m stumped. Not only do I not know how to get my knees and hamstring better, but if I did, how would I be able to restore my left leg to the strength level of my right without causing yet another injury? The only good news is my knee is much stronger and has more mobility than it during the 2013-2016 era.

Published by

MAS

Critical MAS is the blog for Michael Allen Smith of Seattle, Washington. My interests include traditional food, fitness, economics, and web development.

15 thoughts on “My Bizarre Injury – 4 Months Later”

  1. @MAS
    Are there other younger, athletic folks at your therapy place. I assume so because you live in a “young” town. Just asking, because I’ve seen some older relatives go to therapists where there isn’t really an expectation of getting much better, and the therapists seem to have that mindset. On the other hand, I went to one who helped me fully with a past issue.

  2. @Jim – Since I am able to go to PT in the middle of the day on a Wednesday, I only see people older than me. My guess is the younger patients show up early or late since the place is open from 7a-7p.

    This is the same place that “fixed” me last time.

  3. I have no idea whether this is applicable in your case, but in Researching how to cure my own back pain, I came across a book by Dr. John Sarno called Healing Back Pain. His theory is that many forms of pain, not just back pain, are a result of our brains interpreting extreme stress as pain in our bodies. After all, all pain is essentially in the mind: your brain receives pain signals through the nerves from some part or other of your body. In some instances, it just happens that there’s no actual injury causing the pain. Try googling all this; there are some convincing real life accounts and articles that are very helpful in explaining it. All I can say is that it worked for me: after reading the book, I have no more recurring back pain episodes, and the constant radiating pain I had been feeling down my right thigh for years has gone completely away.

  4. @Catherine
    While maybe not applicable to @MAS’s current issues, I do know several people who were helped by the book. One friend was HIGHLY skeptical before starting the book, and was cured of pain after getting halfway through the book. So, yes, for anyone reading this who has typical back pain issues, the Sarno book is at least worth looking at.

  5. @Matrixik

    I liked this quote:

    As we age, we need to increase our ratio of proper tissue warm up and range of motion practice, relative to actual intense exercise. Tissue becomes less elastic, and motor units lose their signals, so if we don’ use it we lose it. This is true of athletes, and normal civilians.

  6. HI MAS, sorry to hear about the lack of progress with your injury. Similar right hamstring issue for me but less acute and dramatic onset, and just doesn’t seem to be settling despite various physical therapies, time, and activity modification. Maybe an alternative practitioner such as an osteopath maybe worth a look. On the asymmetry issue, do you train leg press using single legs or bilateral. Single leg presses may help with the asymmetry? Also one of the previous respondents to the original post mentioned Egoscue – could the asymmetry be a postural imbalance that could be addressed by this or a similar method. I have read the books which make a lot of sense but haven’t had much luck with the exercises yet as I think they are better learnt with a practitioner rather than from the books.

  7. Just thought I would give some positive feedback, I have had frozen shoulder since March 2017 and did all kinds of things to try and improve the range of movement and ease the daily pain. This January 2018 it just turned a corner in terms of pain – probably reduced about 90% although there is still some stiffness. I think one’s expectations from previous injuries (i.e. my bodies heals fast and well) is not always applicable. It just takes more time as we get older and requires more patience and resilience. Especially if we are doing a number of things with our diet and exercise and have a few projects on the go. It’s useful to take a longer view. Give yourself more time to recover and lower expectations – our minds want to push and hurry the healing process but it often can’t be done. I took the view that maybe my body was asking for rest and recuperation so I tried to relax/rest more, and eat more protein and trust that everything would turn out ok. But I was still amazed when the improvement happened seemingly overnight.

  8. I was aware that magnesium oil plays an important role in bone healing and repair, so increased that to daily application, especially massaging it around any joint that ached. Regular doses of Vitamin B complex (or liver when I had some at home) as well as zinc and Vit C all promote healing. For pain I took Aspirin with food as I prefer it to other pain medicines and it’s anti-inflammatory but always making sure to take Super Vit K complex together with it as that helps with bone healing and clotting. I used a supplement of Iodoral (iodine in pill form) with food, taking a small dose (12 mg a tablet – so half a tablet) twice a week. I found a low dose of bio-identical progesterone cream very calming for pain and inflammation when applied directly on the shoulder and for men maybe pregnenolone sublingual tablets (its a precursor to all the other hormones) in small amounts maybe 1 x 10 mg tablet (broken into 4 pieces) so 2.5 mg over the week or pulse dosing taking hormone holidays frequently. But it requires self-monitoring and doing research on bio-identical hormones so you are aware of their side effects. There is a lot you can do to give your body the support and supplements it needs to heal.

  9. @Pauline – Thanks for the tips. I eat a frozen square of beef liver a few times a week. I ran out of aspirin. I never felt much benefit, but it is too cheap not to start up again.

  10. Yes, aspirin is great for any inflammation in the short term but also know for some people long term dosing can cause side effects. I have stopped taking aspirin since the pain has eased and magnesium oil and progesterone cream seems to keep inflammation in check. When I took pregnenolone sublingual tablets (2.5 mg) even in that small dose all aching stopped within an hour – quite dramatic, the steroid hormones are anti-inflammatory but I was nervous of continued use so only did a trial for a couple of weeks. As we get older and our hormone levels fluctuate (supposedly from our 30s onwards) this may contribute to the slower healing and explain why we hurt more when injured. Stress is also a factor, dealing with the ongoing fallout from injuries is hard to deal with on both physical and emotional levels. So anything that helps to reduce stress will benefit the healing process long term. I found just accepting that this may take much longer and taking the pressure off myself to figure it all out helped a lot.

  11. @Hunter – Thanks for sharing. I watched all 3 videos and sub’d the channel. I’m building out a new program for myself this weekend and I’ll add a few of those ideas into my new routine.

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