Nate’s Knee Story: Running Back to Nature

Nate’s Knee Story: Running Back to Nature
Pictured: Nate Anderson portaging a canoe in northern Minnesota

People with “bad knees” will know, it’s not just about the joint pain, it’s about not being able to do the things you love. For Nate Anderson, that was running.

“I was having trouble walking downstairs, it hurt painfully to make any lateral movements, and I definitely couldn’t run. I have been a runner my entire life having completed 5 marathons. So, the inability to run (recreationally) the past year was hurting my emotional, mental and physical health.”

Luckily, Nate works very nearby our conveniently located West Loop clinic and sought us out to finally get rid of the pain under his knee cap. Nate learned a considerable amount about his body during the course of his treatment and has grasped one of the fundamental concepts underpinning the type of therapy we deliver.

“We did significant muscle building in and around the knee, but more importantly, at the hip and ankle to distribute the weight accordingly so as not to put so much weight only on the knee. It was methodical, careful, deliberate and consistent.”

Nate was treated by Dr. Kit Durban, PT, DPT, ATC who is experienced with treating athletes through his background as an athletic trainer. Kit had this to say about the focus of Nate’s care:

“What patients sometimes don’t expect is that a large portion of knee rehab involves strengthening and improving control of hip muscles, such as the gluteus medius and hamstrings. A stable and well-controlled hip joint will maintain an efficient line of pull for the knee muscles, resulting in improved strength and force distribution throughout the leg. By preventing abnormal movements that can cause excessive forces through the knee, you can effectively eliminate the pain.”

And eliminate the pain he did, though a large portion of the credit needs to go to Nate for being a diligent patient. All a therapist can do is set you up for success, it’s up to the patient to take an active role in their own healing.

“Kit did a great job at assessing, pushing and encouraging me to do the homework in order to strengthen the proper muscles. After about 4 weeks, I was no longer having pain going downstairs, and in getting in and out of the shower. I could make lateral movements without pain and eventually, after 8 weeks, I was slowly moved into treadmill running.”

Every patient’s timeline will vary based on a whole variety of factors and our therapists are trained to know the milestones you need to hit in order to progress to the next phase of your care plan. Kit was careful not to progress Nate too soon but ensured every intervention was still directly related to his ultimate goal of running pain-free.

“Once strength is improving, the next step is to introduce more dynamic movements in line with the activities that the patient wants to return to. In this case, it was running. Training the muscles in the leg to react quickly and effectively to the impact with the ground is critical.”

Like many of our patients though, Nate had more than just one goal. In addition to running, he also enjoys canoeing.

“Part of my plan to rehab my knee was to get me in shape and healthy for a boundary waters canoe trip (BWCA) to northern, MN with some college buddies. The trip requires quite a bit of portaging canoes (carrying canoes over our heads while walking on fairly technical terrain). I was worried that my knee wouldn’t hold up without the proper therapy.”

Good thing Nate was receiving proper therapy from Kit!

“This was another unique aspect of Nate’s case. In order to avoid recurrence of the knee pain, we had to train his body to accept the weight of a canoe while maintaining control of his knees. This is where tailoring treatment to each individual person’s needs is so important.”

 With tailored therapy, Nate was able to join his buddies on the canoe trip and make countless memories like the one pictured above.

“The trip went very well and my knee was in great shape for the portaging. I no longer have pain with exercises and I feel great. It was a very pleasant experience working with Kit and the Body Gears team. The app for home exercises is perfect and it was a joy being greeted by the friendly staff! Thank you for being so diligent and experienced while offering a fun, personable rehab experience!”

If you’d like to find out if you can achieve the same great results as Nate, fill out our online form to request a FREE Knee Screen with one of our talented therapists.

As always, consult with your Licensed Physical Therapist for individualized advice. For those in Illinois, visit your PT immediately without a prescription or referral.

Give us a call at (877) 709-1090 for more information or fill out the contact us form and we will contact you.

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