Taking time off to heal

Discussion in 'Health Tips for the Martial Artist' started by Orion Nebula, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Orion Nebula

    Orion Nebula Orange Belt

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    I sustained my first karate injury... bursitis in my right knee. I learned Heian Godan a week and a half ago and the jump did quite a job on my knee. There was no pain during class, but I could tell something was up as soon as class was over. The next day I could barely bend my knee, the pressure was so great. The swelling and pressure went down a lot, but I can't do any sort of stance without a lot of pressure and discomfort, and certain movements cause me pain.

    The doc told me to stop doing kicks and anything that could twist my knee for a few weeks and avoid jumps for the foreseeable future. My sensei agrees of course, and also hooked me up with a cold therapy machine to use on my knee. I won't be back in class until I can do a front stance without discomfort. I'm hoping I'll be able to do that by Friday, but I still won't be kicking for a bit.

    For those of you who had injuries that took you away from the dojo, how did you keep yourself from going nuts?
     
  2. Buka

    Buka MT Moderator Staff Member

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    It’s a matter of perspective. You now focus on your hands. How serious you focus is up to you.

    But I have faith in you.
     
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  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    When I had my knee surgery back in 2001(?), I put in a lot of "bench time". At the old dojo, there's a bench for visitors. I'd sit there with my notebook and just watch, observe, look for things people did differently than me. I analyzed a lot and listened to how students explained things to each other (to find new ways to say things, and to see what they were misunderstanding). That was some of the most valuable time I spent at the dojo.

    Once I could safely go on the mats (knee was stable enough, and bent enough to allow somewhat normal walking), I got back on the mats and just did what I could. I couldn't strike any proper stances, so I avoided anything that really depended on them. I mostly did standing work (hand/arm strikes, nearly stationary sparring, standing locks), but there were a few throws I could do, as long as my partner didn't mind that I couldn't take the fall yet. I'd figure out what stance and position worked best of what was available to me, regardless of how it's "supposed" to be done. That helped me a lot in understanding the importance of the structure in stances...as well as how unimportant the exact stance is in most cases.
     
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  4. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Focus on things that do not effect the knee. Let the knee heal, do not push it, if you do push it, take it from one who has pushed it when he should not, you will regret it later. For me, knee surgery on Thursday.I will be focusing on internal work for a few weeks; qigong, meditation, etc.
     
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  5. spidersam

    spidersam Orange Belt

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    I had an injured hamstring for about six weeks earlier this year. In that time, I improved on the punching bag and speedbag, upped my push-ups and pull-ups game, developed a stronger core, and improved my back flexibility (backbends). It’s better to look at it as an opportunity. I also used that time to do some reading on techniques and watched tutorial videos. Now is the arms time to shine. Once your knee is all healed up, kicks will be like getting back on a bicycle so don’t worry about losing skill.
     
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  6. Yokozuna514

    Yokozuna514 Purple Belt

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    Sorry to hear, Orion Nebula. I am actually in the same boat as you are. Injured my knee just over a week ago (strained MCL). I took the week off and have been on RICE. Also went to an Osteopath who freed up the compressed soft tissue and realigned the knee. Been wearing a compression bandage during the day and decided to try it out on Sunday. Seemed to be ok for kata so I put it to the test last night for a couple of classes. There were a few dicey moments but I seem to be on the road to recovery. The key, as your doc said, is to rest the joint.

    When you get back to training, speak with your Sensei about modifying the jump portion of the kata so that you do not go down to a crouch when performing Heien Godan. Although I can still do the kata that way, I typically do the modified version in class to save my knees from the strain.

    By the way, my injury was just a slight sprain of the MCL which made my knee feel 'loose'. No pain and no swelling, just not stable. It sounds like yours is worse so make sure you take off enough time so that it can heal properly. In the meantime, 'planking' is your friend (any core work really). Good luck.
     
  7. Orion Nebula

    Orion Nebula Orange Belt

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    Great advice! We do have some chairs at the dojo so I can spend some time this week observing. It's also nice to know that shoddy stances aren't the end of the world, and that's a great perspective to use the limited stances as a way to study the importance/unimportance of stance.

    That's rough - good luck on your surgery! I'm grateful that I didn't hurt my knee too bad and that rest and ice are mainly what I need.

    You're both right - it is an opportunity to focus on my hands, arms, and core. Thanks for the reminder.

    Sorry to hear about your injury! I don't know if mine is necessarily worse. Maybe just different. It's certainly a pain not being able to really bend my knee much, though. I had a chat with my head sensei the other night and we decided it's best for me to not do any jumps anymore. I suppose I'll modify the kata and do a turning step instead. I've seen the kata done that way on YouTube and it looks all right. We can probably reevaluate that policy when I've lost some more weight. I'm down 30 pounds from when I started four months ago, but I have a long way to go before I'll be in a normal weight range. The doc also said that doing jumps like that isn't a good idea for someone of my size. It's kind of a bummer because jumps are fun, but better to have fun later than trash my knees now.

    Onward to core work!
     
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  8. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Injuries are a great chance to work as an injured person. After knee surgery I trained in a wheelchair and then on crutches, and with a cane. Never ideal but was training and learned how to do help train others who live in a wheelchair or with a cane. Think out the box, have fun. You'll get an appreciation of what people who are invalid go through.
     
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  9. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Honestly, when im injured i talk more on here. Ill also see what i can do (meditation, bagwork, forms, not utilizing the injured likb) that doesnt interfere with my injury
     
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  10. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Fortunately, when I'm injured I don't really talk more on here. I don't think the servers could take it.
     
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  11. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Sorry to hear about the injury. The "itis" brothers can be a real pain. Look up a list of the anti-inflammatory foods (turmeric, beets, ginger, blueberries, etc...). They do help me. As with others, I have used downtime to work on other areas. I don't know your level but if you have/need any upcoming papers to write, this is a great time to get started. Get inspired by setting in on classes. It is amazing what you will learn when you mind is not focused on what your body is doing.
    It will likely be an interim need to modify your stance on the weaker side, at least shorten it. I found long sets of working my stances as good rehab. Once the doc says you are good to go, don't go nuts. I find I have up & down periods with my knees. When I am feeling froggy I go hard. When they are bothering me I back off. Not saying that as a recommendation, just my reality. The point is there will be a process to full recovery which I hope is quick.
    Keep us in the loop and let us know how it goes.
     
  12. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master of Arts

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    Ah that's a bugger about the injury, sorry to hear!

    Some really great advice above! I had an ankle injury late last year/early this year and I was on crutches for a month before some difficult rehab. All I can say is take your time, and don't push too hard or quickly to recover. Let the body heal and it'll be well worth it. Re-injuring is not fun.. so it'll be a good chance to work on patience. And when it comes time to rehab ease into it, but be diligent and consistent with it.

    And it's okay to feel disappointed and discouraged, all a part of it, but yeah like the others said, it's a great opportunity to work on other areas. I even managed to prop my injured leg up on a chair and still do my kicks with the other leg haha.

    I've also found with every injury I've had, I delve into learning as much as I can about the particular area, and come out of it with such a respect and so much more knowledge about the body, how to look after it, and even just anatomy-wise I learn alot.

    I did go a bit nuts at times haha, but training the things that I could, watching MA vids, reading, chatting on this lovely forum all helped too. Don't be a stranger!

    Hope you heal up real nicely :)
     
  13. Orion Nebula

    Orion Nebula Orange Belt

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    Unfortunately I'm at the beginner level, so there are no papers in sight that I can work on, but that's a good idea for any future downtime.

    I have been munching on some anti-inflammatory foods. Not sure if they helped much. I think the biggest help has been the cold therapy machine. Ice packs weren't too effective, but once I started using the machine, the swelling and pressure really dropped. I'm actually quite surprised that today I have almost no pressure in my knee when I bend it, but there's still some pain. However, I can do a shortened front stance without issue, but I'm not quite willing to try doing some stance work for another day or two.

    Haha, one of my first thoughts after my knee swelled up was "maybe I can just do kicks with the other leg..." I'm definitely feeling a little discouraged just because I was working on improving my round kick, and while it is way better than when I started, it's still not up to snuff. I was hoping that once my college classes are done this week, I could increase my training and get it (and other things) looking really good for the next exam in the summer. We'll see what happens. There's always the fall exam.

    I actually haven't been prescribed any rehab because it's not *that* bad, but I was warned to take it easy while I recover or I'll end up needing it. I'm also supposed to avoid kneeling for a while, and it's surprisingly hard not to kneel in my everyday life. I didn't realize I was on my hands and knees so much around the house.
     
  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    We kneel and crouch much more than we think about, in my experience.
     
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  15. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Whenever something’s hurt, we find out how many things are actually connected to it and how often we do things we didn’t think about. It’s like every injury has a huge bullseye on it.
     
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  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    And if it hurts a long time, it's amazing the compensations we can make. I just noticed this week that I grip with my left foot when I step - a habit of protecting the big toe from bending. So now I have to teach myself to walk normally.
     
  17. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Because I can no longer crouch at all and can only kneel on one knee , you would be amazed how good I have gotten at getting up and down from setting on my butt. If I have to get in a control panel for any length of time I usually end up on my butt. I am used to it now, but definitely something you take for granted until you can no longer do it.
     
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  18. Orion Nebula

    Orion Nebula Orange Belt

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    Well, I headed back to class tonight. My knee (or I guess the bursa around the knee cap) is still a bit swollen, but I've regained most of my range of motion in my knee and I'm not having any pain anymore. We had a good class. I did a few extremely gentle front kicks just to get my legs moving, but in general skipped any kicks and did something else. I started out with shallow stances, but found that I could go a little deeper once I was warmed up. We'll see tomorrow if that was a smart move or not, but so far, the knee feels good.

    It definitely felt good to be moving again. I've spent the last two weeks mostly sitting on my butt with the cold machine strapped to my leg every few hours. I did a lot of stretching and core stuff on Wednesday which was good, but it's not quite the same.
     
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  19. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master of Arts

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    That's awesome to hear, would feel so great to get to class again :) good on ya!
     
  20. JP3

    JP3 Master Black Belt

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    Visualization.

    I'll explain. I screwed up my shoulder and had to have it operated on. Judo practice was ruled out by the surgeon for some reason, so I was in a similar situation and not wanting to go nuts.

    My Aikido teacher suggested that I visualize myself in class, go through the entire class in my imagination. He meant aikido class, but I used it for judo as well. It worked, and through the practice stumbled into the same sort of visualization type of practice used by lots of professional & Olympic atheletes. It worked well for me to bridge the gap while I was healing up.
     
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