Over a year ago I was diagnosed with chronic ITB Syndrome. Being a physiotherapist one would think that it would be easy for me to get treated and recovery would be quick. Think again! Although I knew what was wrong with my knee and why it hurt so much, I did not get the consistent treatment I required. This meant that my knee was repeatedly becoming problematic. I would aggravate it, get a session or two of treatment from a colleague that would work wonders, and return to intense training without carrying out suitable rehabilitation – this would re aggravate the pain, causing a viscous cycle of pain, inflammation, inability to train and distress.
About 3 months ago i decided it was time to behave as a patient. I went to see an excellent sports orthopaedic consultant, Dr Justin Hughes in the City. Following a thorough assessment and an MRI scan, the diagnosis of my injury was confirmed – chronic ITB Syndrome, also known as Runners’ Knee. The first this Dr Hughes asked was whether I wanted him to treat me as a colleague/physiotherapist or as a patient – I asked to be treated as a patient. Although, this would feel strange, I knew it would be the best option.
Together as consultant and patient, we made a plan:
1. Steroid injection to reduce the chronic inflammation and severe pain
2. Physiotherapy and rehabilitation program
Yes, I was referred to a physiotherapist I had never met before for an assessment, for treatment and for a rehabilitation program. This was the best decision ever!
Within 1 week from my initial appointment I was pain free, but resting the knee from any loading or impact. Within 2 weeks I was beginning to load the knee in single-plane positions. Within 3-4 weeks I was loading in multi-plane positions, and jogging. I am now pain free, and fully back to my previous loading and training routine, with absolutely no pain!
I learnt one thing – to practice what I preach, because it does work! Although rehab exercises may be repetitive and frustrating, they work! Pain is your body telling you there is something wrong so do not ignore it. Getting your injury seen by a professional will prevent you from worsening your injury and recover from it a lot quicker!
Author: Jordane Zammit Tabona
Physiotherapist and Founder – Function360