“I think your calves are just too big…”
I was told this towards the end of my knee rehab for an ACL tear. My therapist and I were working on getting my right knee to bend as much as my left. We had worked for months, but it was still much tighter. She finally decided that I just couldn’t bend it any more because my calf was so big it got in the way. (In hindsight I don’t think my other calf was any smaller ha)
Fast forward about 8 years. I am finally tired of my right knee being so much tighter than my left. Because of my right knee there are certain movements and positions I can’t get into. I had never been able to sit on my feet before in a kneeling position so I decided to start there. About 3 days a week I began to simply sit in this position on the floor whenever I was working on my computer. It took time, but after a few weeks I was able to sink into this position quickly. From here I began to strengthen that new range of motion I acquired. Now I have no knee pain and can pop into and out of deep kneeling positions quickly. My range of motion is finally the same on both sides! Just took a few years….
The key to healing from joint injuries like mine is to keep working the joint’s range of motion. During my rehab my trainer never pushed me to strengthen and focus on my knees’ flexibility. And once I graduated from rehab I just stopped. It was like I reached the end and there was no more to do even though the bulk of the work lay ahead of me.
Once the joint finishes its initial healing and you can move it again movement is essential not just during rehab, but forever. Use it or lose it. If you don’t continue to move through and try to achieve full range of motion that joint will eventually get stiffer and more painful.
Are your knees tight or painful? You can begin working on them like I did, by trying to sit on your feet. If this hurts at first, place a pillow on top of your feet to sit on. You can also add exercises like the one below into your workouts between sets.