knee problems, old man, bowed legs

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knee problems, old man, bowed legs

Postby clarkepeters » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:03 am

I just started training in kung fu and after only two practices have some knee pain in my right knee. No trouble walking, only feel pain when sitting down, standing up, or walking stairs. I'm pretty sure the pain started after my coach forced me into a full horse stance because that's the only difference between day one and day two. By "full" stance I mean wide with feet straight forward and knees forced out over the toes and getting pretty low.

He doesn't speak English so it's hard for me to get accross to him that I"m not whining, just have pain. His students are all teenagers, I'm 50 years old. I used to play university football on scholarship, so I know the difference between good pain (push yourself) and bad pain (potential injury).

I'm 50 years old and I'm also bow legged, I can put a sideways fist between my legs when standing straight up, feet together. This make me wonder if my knees would align differently from other normal students. So is forcing me to do like everyone else causing the problem? Or should there be considerations for my bone structure. If I trun my toes out slightly, say 20 degrees, the stance feels natural. When I put the toes/foot straight forward I get some serious torque on my knees and ankles.

any advice would help.
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Postby Inga » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:16 am

Greetings welcome to the forum. I think given your age, and you are new to martial arts, and you have a potential medical issue it would be worth seeking advice on your knees. You should see if you have an injury now, or are at risk of incurring one. Are you in the UK? I know they aren't big on preventative meds, but perhaps even seeing a nurse at a walk-in surgery or a NHS hotline chat might give you some idea.

The long fist form for ma bu (horse stance) is indeed, toes pointing forward, knees over the toes. I have noticed in my class, people seem to feel discomfort in their thighs when they get low, and I feel it in my knees (like you I am an older student, but I've been training for many years). I try and stay 'relaxed' on top, and settle into the stance, to think about my weight distribution and try and adjust (shift weight a little forward, a little back, a little to the side, etc). Getting low is something that ideally one builds up to, it's awesome, but correct form is imperative. I don't know if having bowed legs prevents you from having correct form. I do know that the white crane ma bu is knees angled in (ideally not even a fist can get between them) and this is always murder on my knees, much more so than long fist ma bu.

One thing I can recommend is massaging the area, above and below the knee, lead qi to it. Do it regularly, make it even an absentminded habit, while you are sitting for a moment at work, at a red light, etc. This has helped my knee discomfort a lot, when they are sore, and I use it as a preventative too, even when they are feeling okay, I massage. I find that the more I use them, they better they feel, sadly I don't have as much time to train as I would like :( life keeps getting in the way haha.

Well best wishes with your training, I hope the bow legged issue is not really a problem, that you are just adjusting to a new routine. Training is tiring and makes us sore, no matter one's age. Injury can happen at any point, and we just train around it, and do our best. As one senior student says in our class (he also practices TCM) "Train hard, train smart". So if you find you are having worries with your teacher, try and communicate with him - if he 'breaks' you, you aren't going to be coming back to train anymore, so it's in his interest as well as yours to stay healthy so you can make progress. Perhaps run a message in his language through googletranslator and print it out, something short that lets him know you want to try hard, and have good form, but getting low might take time. Or if you discover you should splay your feet because of your body structure, let him know that too - but find out first so you have not just a suspicion but confirmation.

Cheers
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Postby clarkepeters » Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:26 am

thanks for the reply.
I had a better practice yesterday; after warming up, the discomfort went away. It is still a lot of discomfort when I walk the stairs, but I'm thinking that I'll just keep on stretching, training, and building strength in the leg muscles for better support. Since the discomfort goes away after warming up, it seems that maybe I'm just adjusting to the routine.
Oddly enough, I found the lower I went the less stress on the knee. Maybe I was staying too high which wasn't really allowing my toes and knees to align properly.

As for the bow legs, no one really seems to know or most think it is not an issue (the other students at my school). the coach didn't seem to concerned about it.
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Postby Inga » Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:21 am

Wow usually lower = more discomfort at the start, not less! That's very fortunate! If your knees are sore, I'm not sure it's your leg muscles that need more conditioning, but your ligaments might be complaining about the new regime. As you say, with time and repetition it should get better. Sounds like you are getting advice and training wisely, glad you feel improved - happy training : )
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Postby alkssmith » Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:48 am

clarkepeters wrote:thanks for the reply.
I had a better practice yesterday; after warming up, the discomfort went away. It is still a lot of discomfort when I walk the stairs, but I'm thinking that I'll just keep on stretching, training, and building strength in the leg muscles for better support. Since the discomfort goes away after warming up, it seems that maybe I'm just adjusting to the routine.
Oddly enough, I found the lower I went the less stress on the knee. Maybe I was staying too high which wasn't really allowing my toes and knees to align properly.

As for the bow legs, no one really seems to know or most think it is not an issue (the other students at my school). the coach didn't seem to concerned about it.


There can be help by easy "acupuncture" (Su-jok): knees are controlled by energy of "Dryness".
You may do moxibustion i.e. heating the nail of index finger right hand by 3 incense sticks tied together, all over the surface to have constant
pleasant feeling of heat, not burn.
30 sec to 1-1.5 min, also good to heat the same nail on right hand after that, as they form an Yin-Yang pair.
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Postby Inga » Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:12 am

Yes, I have used Moxa Sticks too, and it's useful, but I find the massage has been the most helpful.
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Postby alkssmith » Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:26 am

For sure massage is helpful, but it and moxa work somewhat different: moxa supplies heat=Yang energy which erases Yin energies which are behind any trauma.
"Dryness" is referred to knees as it's position in body which is used only in Su-jok medicine.
The actual acu recipe is:
Dryness (knees): Homo (Yin energies, trauma) sedate, Hetero (Yang)
tone up
The scheme by points around nails:
Image

easy for self-treatment.
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