One of the things which will aid your recovery is having friends around you who care for your welfare. Luckily I’m blessed in this regard. If I want to understand life’s complexities I speak to Barry Feyder; if I want to understand the intricacies of how women think, I go to Margaret Carney. If I need enlightenment on the roots of American blues music or the differential calculus, Tony Smuts is the man. For nutrition, I consult Alison Maunder, although she is not to be trusted as she made me give up Milo and refuses to acknowledge its medicinal qualities. For questions about the stock market I consult God, but He says there are some things that even He, with His all-knowing wisdom, does not understand.
For exercise physiology or anything to do with maintaining a blog I speak to Allan Bolton. The former champion triathlete is also a computer pointy head who spent much of his career in the fitness industry.While discussing the blog at a meeting with him last weekend, he happened to notice that I was using leg extension machines as part of my gym rehabilitation. He explained that a leg extension machine puts a lot of pressure on the kneecap.
“It grinds away against the back of the kneecap,” were his exact words. When I explained I was only using 30 kg on the machine, he remained unconvinced and suggested I ask my physiotherapist whether the leg extension machine was a wise move, given that I had broken my tibia high up. This was advice I couldn’t afford to ignore.
After the exercise session on Wednesday I asked Belinda, my personal trainer, whether Al’s comments were true.
“Yes, I agree with him. Definitely. If you had broken your kneecap or there was some abnormality in the joint you wouldn’t be on the leg extension machine. I also don’t allow you to use extreme leverage on the machine which cuts down on the amount of pressure underneath the kneecap. I also don’t allow you to use a heavy weight. Thirty kgs is within your range,” she said. She was referring here to the way a leg extension machine is set up with the bottom bar placed across the shin or just above the ankle but never on the foot. This lessens the leverage and impact on your knee cap.
“But you should ask Dave Sheppard his opinion anyway,”she said.
Good old Dave Sheppard, the Sage of Whistler Street, the Harry Potter wizard from MGS Physiotherapy got the following email:
From: Kieran Kelly [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, 27 October 2015 1:33 PM
To: ‘MGS Admin’
Subject: RE: Attention David Sheppard
Hope all is well with you.
My rehab is going well. However, a friend of mine who has had long experience with broken limbs, was looking at my workout schedule on the weekend and noticed I was doing leg extensions on a gym machine and was up to 30kgs (using both legs). He suggested this was not a good idea. He believes the leg extension machine puts too much weight on the underside of the kneecap. He said I should check with you.
What do you think?
Your friend is correct about leg extension placing more pressure under the knee cap. 30kg on both legs is not however too much for you. Given (or assuming) that you do not have pain behind the knee cap at the moment then it actually becomes a good exercise to do. People that have trouble with their knee cap are often told not to do leg extensions. This should only be for the time that they are having trouble. I would say keep doing them although increasing them is not necessary. The body weight exercises (squats) and leg press are the ones to increase over time because they are more function al and set you up better for the things you want to do.
Keep the bike up as well. Level 10 at 100 rpm is a good workout.
So that settles it. Harry Potter has spoken. These are three separate opinions – all valid. You can’t have too many people around to consult. Don’t be frightened of doing it. You don’t have to recover on your own.