By BENJIE OLIVEROS
During my last organized long run, a half marathon during the Octoberun, my left knee hurt by the 10 km mark. I pushed on by enduring the pain and shortening my stride. Eventually, I was able to finish the race with a decent but still my worst time of 2:45.
The following week, I ran 10 km at the Nike We Run Manila. My knee hurt again but I still went on to finish. Call it mental toughness or foolishness but I would rather hurt than not finish a race. And so I paid for it dearly. I had to stop running since because of the knee pain.
It was only recently when I had my left knee checked. The diagnosis: an ACL injury on my left knee. The ACL is supposed to keep your knee in place. Otherwise it would pop out of place just like what my friend experienced so many times after waking up in the morning before he had knee surgery. The orthopedic doctor, my nephew, showed me the difference between my left and right knees. Indeed my left knee was moving from side to side.
So I have to undergo therapy for my left knee. The therapy was supposed to strengthen the muscles around the knee through a series of exercises while lying down such as leg raises, moving the legs from side to side, bending the knee toward the body 10 times, crossing my legs, pressing on a towel placed behind my knee then my ankle, among others. Then followed the ultrasound and sending electric current through my knee. Later, I observed that other patients in the therapy room who likewise have knee injuries were doing the same exercises I was doing. Even my brother who had a tear in his meniscus did the same exercises.
Once while undergoing therapy I asked the physical therapist what the ultrasound and electric current were for. At first, I assumed that it was to help my ACL injury heal. To my surprise, both were for the pain.
To sum it up, the exercises were for the muscles around the knee and the ultrasound and electric current were for the pain. So what about the healing? That is the wonder of it all. The therapy was meant to allow my body to heal the knee by itself by easing the pressure on it. Wow, talk about the power and the wonder of the human body.