Friday, 23 October 2009

A real pain in the....... knee

So way back in the mists of time I put my knee out in an Aikido accident and ended up with water on the knee. That would come and go, eventually leading to an operation to remove some non-cancerous tumors on the synovial membrane about twenty five years ago.

As the years have gone by the knee would often 'go out' and I'd end up with fluid on the knee again. One memorable time it happened shortly after arriving in Florida to visit a girlfriend. Not wanting to go straight back home, I spent the whole two weeks hobbling around on crutches with a bag of frozen pees strapped to my knee consuming copious amounts of Vodka to dull the pain, ahhh the folly of youth. I had to quit several jobs because of it and in Japan when practicing Iaido I had to skip the Seiza (kneeling Kata ) altogether and just practice standing butchery.

So one of the great joys for me of Ashtanga has been that despite all the pretzel poses I've never had any problems with my knee. There was a little stiffness, I seem to remember, last winter but nothing that hindered me in any way.

This week however, no doubt because of the cold weather it's really playing up again. It's not swollen and there's no fluid. I don't seem to have jarred it or twisted it in anyway, it's just started to hurt like hell. It's the left leg on the right side of the knee. It seems to have come on since Tuesday when I went to London and was walking around all day (ahh, just remembered that bit, so that's why).

It was hurting when I woke up Wednesday morning and yesterday also. I managed to get through Intermediate the last couple of days avoiding anything involving the knee too much, Supta V, left side of Bharadvajrasana etc. But today was Primary.

Primary is not the series to practice if you have a dodgy knee, just nowhere to hide. Thankfully I learnt Ashtanga with the Swenson book and had all those variations to full back on, but it was a depressing and unsatisfactory practice. (my Primary, my beloved Primary!).

I'd forgotten about the walking around on Tuesday until just now. I'd begun to think that I was doomed to agonising winters and limited practice every winter.

Anyway yesterday I bought something called cura-heat. It's a knee support bandage that has a little pocket you can put a heat pad in. The heat pads I know from Japan, wonderful idea, you just open the packet and the air activates the pad causing it to warm up. You put them in your pocked to warm your hands and some of them have a peel off sticky strip that you can stick to your clothes where you have muscle ache.

I put it on this morning before practice but it didn't seem to help and just became irritating. The bandage itself isn't bad, much lighter than the usual sports bandages. Come to think of it it seems to be good for apres practice. I'm wearing it now and my knee feels fine.

Anyone have any other ideas, rubbing with caster oil? Please don't tell me I need to go and have needles stuck in it.

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