Economic Cycles

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Long Road to Recovery

with 4 comments

I saw the highly recommended Lee Carmen with Pain Solutions Inc yesterday morning. Originally I was going to see an MD knee specialist, but I decided against it. Like my fiance has taught me, I need to find the root cause of my knee problem and attack that. Sure, I could get a shot in my knee and solve the problem in the short-term, or just stay off of it for a couple months until the inflammation and swelling completely subsides. But that won’t prevent my knee pain from coming back later. I’d be reduced to resting, getting shots, taking Advil, icing, and all that stuff the rest of my life.

So what’s the root cause of my problem? In a word: imbalance. Our bodies are made up of different parts that are all completely interconnected. When one part is off, it affects many other parts. Our bodies are also very good at adapting to imbalances and sub-par mobility. After time, our body can compensate for inadequate parts by calling on other parts to work double duty so to speak. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had extremely tight muscles. I was born maybe the most rigid person on the planet. I remember being a little kid and getting a physical. It was evident that I was inflexible and had a limited range of motion. My Mom asked the doctor, “Will Justin ever be able to touch his toes?” “No, probably not,” the doctor responded. School assemblies were the worst. All the kids could sit quietly, “Indian style.” I physically could not sit that way. I was forced to sit with my feet in front of me, knees tucked against my chest, while my arms wrapped them up into a tight-knit ball. It was extremely uncomfortable. I would sit there not paying attention to the assembly due to being so uncomfortable and wishing I could sit like everyone else. As a young baseball player, I couldn’t even mess around and play catcher some of the time. Why? Because I couldn’t crouch in a catcher’s stance. I was too inflexible to sit on my heels. It was truly pathetic.

Now it seems like my rigid body structure and extremely limited range of motion has come back to haunt me. Over the years my body has learned how to adapt and overcome these deficiencies by calling on some muscle groups to turn off, while working others overtime. I have a twisted pelvis due to tightened quad muscles and an overcompensating hip flexor. When sitting on the bike, my twisted hips create the illusion that my right leg is shorter than my left. Therefore, my right leg has to compensate for that by overreaching. My glute muscles have been basically shut off for quite some time, as my quads and the muscles in and around my hip are constantly firing. My tight quad muscles and IT band pull on my knee cap and throw it off track. Therefore, my knee cap doesn’t sit straight. Rather, it sits off to the right side and tracks at an angle instead of straight up and down. My knee problems are simply a symptom of this long list of imbalances and deficiencies. When my crank spindle broke and put my pedal sagging at an angle, it forced an already over stretched right leg to stretch further. Again, the broken crank and ensuing knee pain are just one manifestation of an overall, much bigger structural problem.

The good news, and I believe there is a silver lining to all these problems, is that there is no telling how good I can be on the bike once my body stops fighting me and starts working with me. It’s amazing I’ve gotten as far as I have with a body so out of whack. Now I have the ability to reach new levels of fitness when I finally straighten myself out. This part is exciting. In the short term however, I’m not exactly sure how this season will go. I’m not sure if I can race much at all. And if I can, I might be racing at half speed due to decreased training levels. I’m most worried about my participation in the Tour of the Gila. I was really looking forward to that race. I’m going to do everything in my power to get back on track and race the Gila – even if I’m just a helper for a teammate.

For now I’m going to be seeing Lee a few times a month working on straightening me out. I’ll also be attending Jon Heidemann’s functional movement class at Peak to Peak twice a week, in addition to the exercises and stretching I’ll be doing on my own. I’m going to continue to train, but only 1 hour at a time until my knee can handle longer duration. Unfortunately, my fitness is going to take a big hit. Finally, I’ll be wearing kinesio tape on my right knee from time to time to help it to track properly. So if you see me out there training, I might look like Lucas Euser here:


Written by jlongo12

March 25, 2011 at 9:28 am

Posted in cycling

4 Responses

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  1. Don’t forget the Chiro and Nutritional help from yours truly… and my boss of course. 😉

    You’ll realize this is super common, and most people don’t realize a problem until it starts showing symptoms. I believe you’re in good hands!


    March 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    • That explains the things I have noticed; the left leg more inboard on upward swing, maybe even the foot problems eh?
      Hey man, you just got to loosen up!
      Don’t sweat the time off training. I know that’s easily said, but the roads, hills and comraderie will be there when you return full strength. Jeepers, I may have a hard time keeping on your wheel then…

      Good call Brika….


      March 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm

  2. Way to look at this as a positive and not a negative. You’ll be just fine, bro. Keep your dobber up!


    March 26, 2011 at 4:40 pm

  3. Just wanted to echo what JT said. Also, good you’re taking time to listen to your body. A lot of people don’t, and it only compounds the harm, which at some point causes them to have to cease entirely the activity they like.

    Pete Eyre

    March 29, 2011 at 8:38 am

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