Weak knee help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-10-2011, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chino Valley, AZ
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Weak knee help

So back in 2007 I had arthoscopic surgery on my left knee for a fairly badly torn meniscus. The surgery was routine and I was walking on it within a few days. However, due to insurance mix ups, I was unable to do the necessary physical therapy.

My knee doesn't usually bother me, but every once in a while, if I'm on my feet too long or do too strenuous of an activity (like walking long distances on a road...hiking doesn't seem to bother me that much), my knee seriously kills.

At first, I thought my troubles mounting from the ground were due to my shoulder (torn rotator cuff from moving 12ft welded steel stall panels at my friend's barn last year), but now that I really examine the issue, I realize that it isn't my shoulder, it's my knee. I can get from the ground to where my knee is at a 90 degree angle, but I cannot get my knee to straighten the rest of the way so I can get up into the saddle.

So, does anyone have any ideas for helping me strengthen my knee? I know that mounting from the ground isn't ideal, but I want/need to be able to, in case I have to dismount on the trail and there isn't a stump or rock handy (northern Arizona trails are notorious for being lacking in handy spur-of-the-moment mounting blocks). Also, I know that some horses will not lead up to, or stand at, mounting blocks, so I need to be versatile (I'm going to be taking lessons, as well, and don't know what horse[s] we'll be using).

Do not tell me I can't...because I will show you that I can.
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-10-2011, 01:40 AM
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Good old fashioned squats are pretty good for that. But , with a bad knee, it's critical that you do it correctly.

Stand with your legs facing naturally forward about should width apart. pull your tummy in. Now, kind of pooch your butt out behind you (and you can counter balance this by putting your arms out in front, as if you are carrying a tray) and sink down as if you are lowering your butt into a low chair.
What is really important is that you make your weight go down through your HEELS. You can even lift your toes up, curl them up, to be sure that you are sinking down into your heels.

Go down as far as you can without pain, then raise yourself back kup to standing. REally stay weighted through your heels . It helps , when coming up, to think of pushing the earth away from you, rather than pushing yourself away from the earth.

Do this about 8 times, rest and do again. Threee sets of 8 to start and add more. But , if it hurts your knee, either bend less or really stick your butt out behind you so that you are going down into your heels.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-10-2011, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds like it'll do the trick...but just reading it makes me hurt! lol I have just gotten to the point in the last year and a half or so where I can squat down for longer periods of time (not real squats like you're talking about, but I think you know what I mean) without my knee locking up or hurting severely...but I still have to have help getting up, whether it's a hand pushing off from the ground or pulling myself up with a counter or nearby surface, if I stay down too long.

I also want to do jumping with Aires when he's ready growth-wise, and I know I'll need strong knees for that.

Thanks, tiny!

Do not tell me I can't...because I will show you that I can.
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-10-2011, 09:06 PM
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I built up the muscles around my weak knee by doing leg extensions. I don't have any equipment, so I just put weights on my ankles and do them sitting on the bed.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-10-2011, 09:32 PM
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If even thinking about that hurts maybe you could wear a knee support while doing the excercises or while riding, incase you have to mount from the ground? I rode with a sprained tendon in my knee for ages around 2 years ago, and the only way I could get on at all (Onto my little 15.2hh mare ) was to be wearing a good knee support. -And against the advice of my physiotherapist I ended up showjumping that way for a few months too

Good luck :)

R.I.P ~ Bubbles - 25yo tb mare - 13.04.2011 ~ 8:30am ~ passed away naturally and peacefully in my arms
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-11-2011, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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I do have a nice knee brace (if I can find it lol) that I could wear.

I know that losing some weight will help take the pressure off my knee and make it easier to get in the saddle. I'm working on it, but as it usually is with weight loss, it's slow going. However, I am down at least one pant size in the past few weeks. Figure this one out: I moved from being a cashier at work to working in the back sorting linens, which is a more active job, and I GAINED enough weight to go up TWO pant sizes in a matter of less than two months! Now that I'm back as a cashier, the weight is almost melting back off.

Do not tell me I can't...because I will show you that I can.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-11-2011, 02:02 AM
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I tore a minor ligament in my one of knees in my 20's. I was going to have surgery, but my sports doctor wanted to try PT first. Some of the exercises we did were squats, weight leg presses (no lifting weights), scooting around on a wheeled stool from room to room, and stairs (lots of stairs backwards and forwards). I always wore a knee brace when exercising so my knee cap wouldn't move around.

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-12-2011, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Oooo! My knee cap has done the shifting thing since I was a kid. In fact, when I was about 13, the doctor who was giving me my sports' physical told my mom that my left knee cap was 1/4" off track. The tendon behind my knee (don't know what it's called) has "knotted" twice since I was in fourth grade: once when I went to stand up to say the pledge of allegiance (hello, random!) and the second time when I was kneeling down waiting for a soccer drill to start.

Anyway, stairs don't usually bother me anymore. YAY! Only if I've been walking A LOT and then try to run up them. THAT hurts!

Gonna start the squats in the next couple of days. Gonna be BUSY with work, Aires, dog sitting for my friend (for over two weeks!), a singing performance...eep!

Do not tell me I can't...because I will show you that I can.
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