The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Strained Leg

For the last six weeks I'd been nursing a sore leg a bit. Didn't interfere with my working out, but a slight tension along the outer thigh of my left leg told me to be careful. Last Saturday I had a "heavy" day and decided to push a little, the protocol called a "fat ripper" where you alternate running and kettlebells. 60 seconds of running, rest thirty seconds, 30 seconds of KB. In this instance, the rather severe KB series created by Steve Maxwell using double KB clean and jerk (and precursive) movements. Well...felt something "ping" a bit in that leg, and paid for it seriously later in the day. And by Sunday it was sore as hell. Seemed to be the Illiotibial band along the thigh. Nothing torn, but it was as if he Golgi Tendon Organs didn't trust me, and were holding on for dear life, refusing to release any flexibility in the protecting and protected muscle groups.

Leading to awful things like having trouble getting up off the ground, or off the sofa. Arrrgh. It was like trying to figure out which way to lean, or curl, or crawl, to move at times. Walking up stairs was an exercise in torture. I hate doing it, but I finally took a couple of Ibuprofin, and that helped. Hot bath and ice packs also helped, and lots of "Body Rolling" pressure-point release techniques. No working out, but lots of yoga in the mornings. By Tuesday it was feeling pretty good, but then I got upset with Jason yesterday morning (he asked repeatedly if he could break a pencil, I said no repeatedly, he did it anyway) and I had him doing yoga with me to calm him down. My emotional piss-offedness wrecked my calm, and my left leg was back in Sunday mode. Arrgh. I was actually trapped on the couch for about 10 minutes, unable to figure out how to get off. Hate when that happens. So...another Ibuprofin, a cold compress, some body-rolling, and a little extra sleep. Feeling better again this morning. Careful yoga, and if Jason breaks another pencil, I'm gonna smile and hand him a pen.


Anonymous said...

Don't you just hate it when kids ask for permission to do something they're going to do anyway? And don't get me started on teenagers!

Anonymous said...

PS - sorry about your injury. Hope you recover quickly.

Steve Perry said...

No longer in the medical field, but my advice is that you go to great lengths to work around this. Do not push it.

However long it takes a nagging injury to heal, it takes longer if you re-injure it.

Think of it as you would a scabbed-over wound. Every time you re-stress it, it's like pulling a scab off and starting the blood flow again. It will slow the healing way down and leave a bigger scar. Scarring in a muscle or connective tissue doesn't want to stretch, and enough of it will cause you problems on down the line.

If you think you can work the injury out by stretching it slowly and gently, consider that notion in the same light as teasing a scab off slowly and gently. It hurts for a reason and going around the pain will cost you. If you have to, you have to, and you pay the price, but you will pay it.

Got to work smarter, not harder, Barnes. You ain't gettin' any younger.

Steve Perry said...

P.S. While the ibuprofen will help with the pain, the primary effect for which you are looking with it is anti-inflammatory, which speeds up the healing process. Don't get that with acetominophen, by the by.

Bennett said...

(Geh, posted this in the wrong spot before) Hey, really glad that you posted about this. I've had a very similar situation (a slightly bum leg due to a strained IT/LCL sorta area, just on the right rather than left), and a lot of stress that I'd just loooove to let bleed into a workout. Hearing this reminded me to be safe and smart about my joints.

Hate it that you wound up as a cautionary tale, but thanks for sharing, and I hope it heals up cleanly for you. Have you seen a physician, by the way, with it having nagged at you for that long? (I ask, even knowing that as male and a martial artist myself, I'm loathe to do it, or take the pills)

And thanks to Steve P for the extra advice, too, I'll be following it as well!

Anonymous said...

Turns out I'm part of the Gimp Squad too, having strained my right hamstring (or is it the right LT band?) during a grueling 6 mile wilderness hike two weeks ago. One too many slippery slopes or whatever means I get an disconcerting strained feeling in various regions of my right leg if I walk the better part of a mile. Since the duration of comfortable walking continuously increases, I presume it's on the mend - but, dammit, I sure wish it would heal up already so I can get on with hiking! Meanwhile, I'm focusing on weight-lighting that targets the upper body, which I've let lapse during my hiking mania. Perhaps my fellow gimps here should do the same while they convalesce.

@ Steve Perry Please ditch this "slow down with advancing years" BS. There are 55 year old and older hikers in our group who exceed 50 miles in a single week, and who put my still-too-weighty 44 year old corpus to shame. Research and experience shows we must FIGHT the grey progression by ever challenging our physical and mental faculties to master that extra mile or concept. To echo Das Guvernator: Time enough for incapacity in the grave.

Ethiopian Infidel

Steve Perry said...

I'm not saying that getting old mean you stop exercising. I'm the oldest guy in my silat class, and more often than not, the oldest guy in the room when I go to the gym. I'm say that if are *injured* you risk making it worse if you don't attend to it properly.

And that as we age, our recovery time does take longer. For every sixty-year-old superjock, there are scores of guys lying on couches because they pushed when they should have eased up and now they are paying for it.

You do have to learn how to fight smarter and not harder. In my experience.

Folks who say there is no such thing as overtraining are generally young enough to be my children and grandchildren. I'll be a lot more impressed if they are still staying that at my age. Well, except that I won't be here to hear it in forty years ...

Part of using your body to best effect is using your mind to best effect, too. My days of staying up all night partying and being able to work all the next day full-out are long-gone. At twenty, you can be bulletproof. At sixty-some-odd, you know better. Or you should.

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