Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ski Goddess fitness challenge, part 3

It's December already! Two more months till I'm skiing pow in Japan and I'm yet to get my sorry arse into a fitness regime.

I did get the rear tyre on the treadly replaced, albeit by a visiting couch surfer (yeah I'm a slack arse OK?).

Sunday I went for a lovely 45 minute bike ride then did some squats and lunges.

The next morning I discovered I had a puncture in the new tyre. I had no repair glue, or spare tubes. I just did some lunges and squats instead.

Tuesday I went and got 2 new spare tubes, and some glue, but took till the weekend to fix it.

I continued doing daily lunges and squats though, only with a difference.

I'm doing all my exercises on wobbly bits of equipment.

Air filled rubber discs and balls that force me to really work my core muscles and push me to keep my balance whilst performing said lunges and squats.

This is because skiing is a dynamic sport with lots of latent instability (it's slippery stuff and very uneven) and because a little niggling knee problem of mine seems to have got quite a bit worse.

Back in 2009 I hurt my left knee skiing. I remember when it happened, it was on Magnum in Powder Bowl at TC, on a powder day, in a lesson with Lara. It was a landing twisting injury and I experienced quite a bit of pain, but managed to get up and ski down the hill. I was sore for the next few days, but not enough to stop skiing completely, and the knee continued to be stiff for months afterwards, sometimes causing me excruciating pain if put into certain positions. I couldn't fully flex the knee and sit on my haunches because it hurt too much. Finally, I saw a physiotherapist who couldn't find anything wrong except a bit of minor laxity in the ACL, and gave me some exercises to do which fixed the problem and the pain went away and I had full movement again.

Still, the knee wasn't quite right, and probably explains, along with the broken arm in 2010, why I developed a lot of fear when skiing, which I hadn't had prior to the knee injury. Only with more exercise and some psychological approaches did I conquer that fear, and my skiing improved exponentially. But a couple of times, when my knee was in certain positions it sort of clunked out, and I had to fully straighten the knee for it to clunk back in again. And ski away...

Well that instability has got worse, such that it's now possible for me to reproduce it whenever I sit back on my haunches, and another trip to the physio now reveals my ACL is indeed somewhat deficient. But I'm not yet ready to go off and see a surgeon, so am working crazily on my functional stability and investigating the pros and cons of a knee brace.

It explains why the left leg has been my weaker side and I've had so much trouble weighting onto it on my turns, though Klaus' trick of getting me to unweight my right leg solved that one. You see the ACL carries important nerve fibres for position sense to the brain, and without this feedback the leg can feel unstable. Not that it's actually unstable in anything but extreme positions, but skiing can be pretty unpredictable!

It means I have to retrain those nerves. The knee isn't exactly popping out all over the place, it's what's called ACL deficient. Most surgically repaired knees are also considered ACL deficient due to the damage to the nerve fibres. I reckon I've still got quite a few firing away though but they need a bit of re-education. With wobbly discs and gym balls!

At least it's given me the motivation to get exercising. Not happy but!

And now the bike tyre has been fixed tomorrow I'm off riding again.

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