Personal Training Client: Tan Su Inn
Personal Trainer: Mattew Chan
In June 2011, I noticed a dull knee pain on my outer left knee after my gym sessions. The pain got progressively worse and I had to stop my regular gym classes. I consulted my family doctor and obtained a referral to consult an orthopaedic. The orthopaedic sent me for an X-ray, ordered a series of physiotherapy sessions and advised that I: make lifestyle changes, ie. less high impact activities which will stress the knees, take Glucosamine supplements, which I had already been doing, go for arthroscopic (keyhole knee) surgery as he suspects that I have a tight knee cap which needs to be loosened. However this should be the last resort as recovery will take three to four months.
The X-rays showed both my knee joints to be normal, while the physiotherapist assessed that I had weak gluteal muscles and taught me some exercises to strengthen them. However after two months, the exercises did not alleviate my knee pain.
In November 2011, I signed up for personal training sessions at a large commercial gym but that did not help with my knee pain either. Instead, the trainer avoided doing any exercise which may stress my knees.
I was aware that my knee pain was affecting my fitness level and quality of life, so I decided to start training with Mattew Chan in July 2012, two weeks before my next orthopaedic appointment. During the initial assessment, Mattew assessed that my lower limb muscles were flexible except for my left iliotibial (or IT) band. It was slightly less flexible than my right, and he thought that it could be the source of my knee pain.
In the next session, Mattew proceeded to release the tightness in my left IT band. Mattew had made the correct diagnosis as my knee was pain-free for the next three days. He also taught me exercises to strengthen my gluteal muscles and re-learn how to engage them correctly in my day-to-day activities, particularly when I walk up the stairs.
What was even better, my orthopaedic discharged me as he said that the muscle release and training work that Mattew has done with me was what he “wanted to do with the knife”. My orthopaedic even advised me to continue my training sessions with Mattew as they have been effective in relieving my knee pain.
Although I have found the source of knee pain and have learnt how to manage it, I continue to train with Mattew as I like the systematic approach he adopts in his training program, ie. there is a reason behind everything he teaches and shares. His knowledge sharing sessions on various muscle groups and release techniques have been very essential to my workouts, and his functional exercises can be used effectively in my day-to-day activities. In a recent holiday to the US, I was able to put to good use the exercises Mattew had taught me - moving heavy boxes and luggage with ease and stair-climbing did not cause any knee pain.
The icing on the cake must be that I can continue my gym classes without any knee pain, even at a higher intensity.