I feel as though I've been hit by a train. Ok, maybe a small train going at a slow pace, pulling empty cars, on it's final approach into the station, using the last bit of it's brakes. You know, just before it stops and the kids jump on for a lap around the mall. I feel like it bumped me and I lost my balance and fell down. That smarts a little.
Since my less than stellar performance at the State Championships, I've been seriously considering getting my knees looked at again for the 4th time. Each time I've seen the doctor, he's only told me that I have worn down my meniscus. I recently found that I also have IT band and hamstring issues. But the diagnosis has always been the same. No surgery needed. Physical therapy and just stop playing tennis. Otherwise, some sort of procedure is imminent somewhere down the road.
I opted for "somewhere down the road" and now I find myself at a crossroads. The pain while I'm playing is restricted to the outside of my lower left leg and I have tightness in both knees. My mobility is significantly impeded. But of course, I try and hide all of this from my opponents during warm ups all the while donning two very noteworthy knee braces. Who am I really kidding?
Between our matches at State we would convene in our captain's hotel room which was strewn with all sorts of foam roller and other rolling out apparatus. I'd heard of the benefits of rolling out before and after a workout a couple of years ago and purchased one right away. I'd even witness my oldest son, who is a golfer, sigh with true elation as his tight muscles are relieved as he rolls out his back. Admittedly, I am one of the wimpy ones who tried it once and put it away because it hurt too much. It turns out, from what I've read, the more it hurts, the more in need you are of a roll out.
So, the evening before my first match of the new USTA season, feeling a little intimidated by our newly assigned level and worried that I might not play to the potential of what I expect from myself, I decided to give the foam roller a go. I won't lie. It hurt. A lot. But I was shocked at how good I felt after only a few minutes. Truly, only a few minutes and I felt completely different. The pain down the side of my leg was reduced and I had a better bend in my knees. I promised myself that the foam roller along with the Marathon Stick (another roller I purchased earlier and only used to decorate my home gym) would now be a part of my new daily regimen.
Although I did not feel like a million bucks during our match, I at least felt like $575,000 USD which is so much better that how I'd been feeling over the past six months. And low and behold, my legs had better mobility that day and therefor my feet moved better on the court and we won our first match of the season. I'm convinced that rolling out will continue to improve the strength and mobility of these tired old legs.
So this train wreck feeling I'm experiencing is probably due to my overuse of the roller. After my match, I was so throughly convinced of it's benefits that I came home and rolled out my entire body while watching a recorded episode of The Voice. I got used to the feeling and fell into that "hurts so good" mode. I read later that using the foam roller is likened to giving yourself a deep tissue massage. Well, I gave myself several sessions that day so I suspect I'll have a couple of days worth of recuperating. Leave it to me to over do it!
Here is the article I read on the benefits of foam rolling. And here is the article which explains the advantages of the Marathon Stick. As always, you should consult your physician before trying anything new to rehab your sore muscles. But if you get the "go ahead", these articles have some information that helped me get on the road to feeling better.
Just doing what I gotta do to play better tennis ;)
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