The stiffness in my left knee has been getting gradually worse on my longer hikes. My internet self-diagnosis so far is that it’s one of the outer knee varieties of runner’s knee, but I felt the need for some kind of consultation on this. I was reluctant to go to an orthopedic doctor, mostly because I still hope that some kind of self treatment will allow me to avoid the expensive medical establishment. So instead I made an appointment with a sports-oriented physical therapist to see what I could learn. I feel fortunate that I landed in Christine’s hands. She took a lot of extra time with me and I became aware of a few new things that lead me to refine my self-diagnosis to iliotibial band syndrome.
She observed my stride carefully and felt the movement of some muscles and tendons when I lift my legs. After a quick bridge to align my hips, she noted that my left leg extended further than my right while sitting with my legs extended straight in front of me. She did some range of motion tests, and noted my extremely tight hamstring, piriformis, and quadriceps. The iliotibial band on the left was tighter, and my lower back was tighter on the right, probably compensating. After some gentle stretching and adjusting my legs evened out in the sitting position. She prescribed a number of stretches and massage of my IT bands with a foam roller.
Obviously this problem could have a huge influence on my lifestyle. I’m going try everything I can to reverse the trend over the next couple of months with self treatment.