07 July 2007


I managed to hurt my knee today. Not sure how well the details will translate for non-taiji players. I was practicing push-hands with Mark, in bow stance with the right foot forward. I began to withdraw my weight to the back (left) foot, while turning my waist to neutralize an attack. Something in my left knee went CRACK! I'm pretty sure that I know what happened: my left hip joint was too stiff and to make up for the lack, my knee turned in a way that it wasn't meant to turn. Too bad it's not a pivot joint, like the elbow. Anyway, I swapped my stance for a left-foot forward one, so that my left leg never had to take all the weight, and continued on for a bit without any real problems.

The interesting thing is that correct taiji moves do not bother that knee. So long as it stays aligned and the foot and leg are relaxed, there's no real problem. Any tension or misalignment and it hurts. So on the bright side, I'm going to have lots of time to practice my taiji skills outside of taiji while it heals. I'll have a better idea how bad it is tomorrow morning. For now, I'm keeping it elevated and using ice packs (well, bags of frozen corn; close enough).

The knees are the most vulnerable joint, and the most common place where improper taiji practice can do some damage. I think a few things worked against me today. First up, I'd been trying to stretch out that left hip joint, but the stretch puts some pressure on the knees and might have made them more vulnerable. Second up, carrying in the AC yesterday might have aggravated them a bit. Third, Don had us working on sinking today, which likely put a bit more strain on them. So then when my hip was tight, the knee was just off-kilter enough to keep turning.

UPDATE: Still bothering me this morning. I wrapped an elastic bandage around it for support, and that helped a lot, so then I went out and bought an actual knee brace. My hope is that the brace will keep me from re-twisting it long enough for it to heal. And I shortened Buster's walk today. Usually we go about 2.5 miles. Today we might have gone half a mile. The knee didn't bother me on that half-mile, but it was starting to tire out. I was also very glad I had the brace on, as Buster still occasionally does a massive tug. There was a faint twinge a few times from this, but no major pain. I expect that without the brace, it would have been bad, in the Ghostbuster's sense of the term. But with less ectoplasm.

No comments: