I recently took a spill on my bike and got some pretty serious road rash; I
hit the asphalt at a pretty good clip. The resulting abrasion covered over half of my left knee cap. The knee was painful only "on the surface" (where the skin used to be!). That was 2 months ago, and the abrasion gradually healed. I wore bandages for about 3 weeks to prevent infection, originally, and clothing from rubbing against it, later on. The wound healed and the scabbing stopped about 2 weeks ago. The front of the knee and the mechanics of the knee feel fine; no clicks, pops, or internal pain.
While I took pretty good care with the cleaning and dressing of the wound, I didn't really think about the affect limping around would have on the knee. I was trying to keep the knee from bending too much to keep the scab from reopening, and I apparently did a good job. Unfortunately, I think that my attempt to keep the left leg straight resulted in a certain amount of atrophe (sp?) in the knee. It feels a bit stiff at times, but the main symptom I notice is this: the tendons and ligaments (I think) of the back of the knee immediately tighten when I attempt to stand up out of a crouch - it's as though they "lock up" when I begin to stand up. Again, the knee itself doesn't seem
to be mechanically wrong. I can walk, climb, run, spin with the knee(s), but certain movements just seem to instantaneously trigger a signal which causes a momentary rigid feeling in the back of the knee.
I assume a stretch exists which can help this symptom, but I cannot seem to
find that stretch, and I'm curious about the underlying problem.
Any ideas? Thanks in advance,
Jerry, "motion is life". By limiting the ROM of theknee as you allowed the skin to heal, you probably allowed a certain amount of atrophy to occur in the hamstrings. The hamstrings function both at the knee, to decerate extension of the knee, and at the hip, to decelerate the hip during forward bending at the trunk and in flexion of the hip. When you sit, th emuscle is in a shortened position at the knee (with the knee flexed) and in a lengthened position at the hip (withthe hip flexed). As you lean forward to stand up, the muscle has to lengthen and contract (an eccentric contraction) at the hip and shorten at the knee. In that you have allowed it to atrophy at the knee, it sounds as if you are overloading it at the moment, and it si responding by going into spasm.
So, you need to do lunges, making sure you get your hands on the floor out in front of your feet in order to recruit both the proximal and the distal ends of the muscle. Make sure you do lunges in all three planes - forward, sideways and sideways with your foot rotated outward.
You should also jump (take off on one leg, land on both legs) and hop (take off and land on the same leg) again, in all three planes.