Physical Therapy: Session #1 a.k.a. Do Not W-Sit

I was given a prescription for physical therapy two times a week, for four weeks by my orthopedic physician to treat my chondromalacia patella (runner’s knee). I attended my very first physical therapy session yesterday (2/22/12). It was an eye-opener.

The physical therapist, Craig Nagata, told me my hip flexors were weak, and my knees have a slight tendency to track inwards towards each other. These are anatomical issues I have to live with, and nothing that requires corrective surgery, but there are exercises they’re going to show me that should help me to keep running. Craig also stressed I should get a good neutral supportive shoe and change them out regularly.

Craig asked if I sat in a w-position as a kid. I said all the time. In fact, I still do it. He told me this is actually what he’s seen in many of his patients with my problem. Sitting that way over the years, and especially in my formative ones, most likely contributed to causing the knees to track inwards towards each other. So I thought I should pass this tidbit along to the Internet at large in case you or your children sit in this position. I found more than a few articles about this, but here’s one from Advance for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine. Shari helped me out with my exercises and also mentioned the fact that women tend to sit with their knees together because they’re taught it’s proper. (I know I was told that as a girl growing up by various adults). It turns out the best position for your knees to be in when sitting in a chair, is with feet spaced moderately apart, feet flat on the ground, knees and feet pointed straight ahead, with the knees aligned over the ankles.

An image from The Free Online Medical Dictionary of a child in the W sit position:

Trying to break life-long habits has been tough. All day long I’ve been trying to correct how I sit in chairs at work, on the floor at home, and even how I position my legs when I walk. I was told to stop running for now, and to stick to the elliptical.

Therapy consisted of a 10-minute warmup on the exercise bike followed by a series of different stretches focusing on the hip flexors and hamstrings. At the end, I had ice treatment with electrical stimulation therapy for 15 minutes. I was there over an hour total. The people were great at Orthopedic Rehabilitation Specialists.


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