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Author Topic: Tai Chi/kung fu and knee pain  (Read 3022 times)

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Offline tainantim

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Tai Chi/kung fu and knee pain
« on: July 01, 2005, 12:07:02 PM »
I had a full dislocation about ten years ago when performing a front kick during a kung fu form - this was accompanied by a loud snap so I suspect my ACL snapped as well and maybe a lateral ligament. I didn't ask doctors at the time - I wish I had. After open knee surgery (I have a long straight scar over my patella) I had my leg in plaster for a few months, went to physio and got a hundred percent movement back. I have been active for the past ten years with full movement - very lucky I know. However, over the past two years there is a tightness/stiffness like an iron wire running over the patella and sometimes an "acid" feeling under the patella and numbness too. I still have full movement but it worries me. This is especially after I train in Tai Chi or other kung fu. I treat it with ice packs after training and then herbal rubs/plasters. Some months my knee is almost OK. Other months it gets me very depressed - it feels like the beginning of the end. I love my kung fu and I don't want to give up. I always though Tai Chi would be fine as I get older - but I really don't know if Tai Chi is good for knees. In the "empty stance" you take the whole body weight on a bended knee- for a long time because the movements are slower. Anyone else had similar experiences?

Offline Nettan

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Re: Tai Chi/kung fu and knee pain
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2005, 01:07:49 PM »
Have you checked the knee out by a OS specialized on knees lately ?
Maybe help from a phys could do something for you.

Nettan  8)
Surgery 6 times left knee torn meniscus, RSDS,chondromalacia, nervdamage cause constant nervpain,chronic inflamm.
Spinaldamage wheeler 100%.
Right knee damaged aug-06, use brace surgery 4/9-07.LCL tear.

Offline blackbeltgirl

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Re: Tai Chi/kung fu and knee pain
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2005, 01:13:57 PM »
Can't say I've had your experience, but I have had to gice up martial arts in respect to me knee.  I practiced and taught tae kwon do.  When I had "minor" knee surgery, my OS looked around the knee, was amazed that I was doing so much on such a damaged knee, and started trying to fix it up.  I don't know if it will help you, but here's what I've learned about martial arts and knees (specifically damaged articular cartilage).

When walking, most ofyour body weight is on the medial side of the knee (the inside).  YOu will often see people refering to this one side as the weight-bearing side.  And it does carry more weight, but it's probably a 60/40 advantage.

In martial arts, every time you plant your standing foot, and  pivot for a kick, you are shifting most of your weight to the lateral side of the knee - the outside.  And when you kick, you are running your patella over the trochlear groove (the notch the patella runs through).  Articular cartilage can be damaged anywhere on the tibial plateau, anywhere on the femoral condoyle, the back of the patella, or the trochlear groove.  So IF your problem is articular cartilage, martial arts of any sort put a lot ofstrain on the joint. 

If you have torn one or both of the menisci in the knee, it is possible that there is a flap getting caught as you move the knee.  This would cause pain, possibly occasional locking, and can, eventually, lead to damage to the articular cartilage.

If your problem turns out to be muscular, ligament, or tendon related, I can't offer any knowledge.  I've managed to keep my injuries within one family of damage.

It sounds like you prefer to try natural methods first, but in this case, I would recommend finding a good OS, with a lot of experience in knees.  You may even want to find a sports medicine clinic, as they may be willing to be more aggressive to get you back to martial arts.  But cartilage samage cannot heal on its own.  Supplements can help keep the joint healthy, but will not regenerate missing cartialage.  Until you know for sure what is worng with your knee, you will not be able to make an informed decision to keep practicing, cut back, or find an alternative.  Please don't hesitate - the sooner things are diagnosed, the better your chances of limiting damage, and possibly returning to martial arts pain free.

Jess
ACI was supposed to be 2/21/06.  On 6/29/06 Insurance co said have another scope, and if it still looks good, they'll ok the ACI.
Microfracture Dec 7, 2004
   3cm x 6cm lesion, LFC; 3cm x 1cm lesion, trochlear groove; lateral tibial plateau lesion
2nd degree black belt, tae kwon do (had to stop)

Offline tainantim

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Re: Tai Chi/kung fu and knee pain
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2005, 03:03:14 AM »
Just want to say a big thank you to BlackBeltGirl - really appreciate your very detailed reply - it's a big help. I'm going to see an OS as soon as possible

Offline blackbeltgirl

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Re: Tai Chi/kung fu and knee pain
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2005, 10:27:28 PM »
You're very welcome.  I hope you are able to return to practicing martial arts pain free.  No matter what else I do for stress relief, nothing quite compares to a "kick to the head"  :D.

Jess
ACI was supposed to be 2/21/06.  On 6/29/06 Insurance co said have another scope, and if it still looks good, they'll ok the ACI.
Microfracture Dec 7, 2004
   3cm x 6cm lesion, LFC; 3cm x 1cm lesion, trochlear groove; lateral tibial plateau lesion
2nd degree black belt, tae kwon do (had to stop)