I injured my right knee when I was a kid. Later I had the same type of injury a couple of times when playing soccer in college. Each time I recovered after some rest. Thereafter, for 30 years I almost forgot I ever had knee injury.
In 2016, I somehow sprained my knee. I recalled the same type of pain at the same spot just like the injuries I got 30 years ago. After this incident, the same kind of injury started to happen more often. The recovery time took longer and longer on each injury.
I did quite intensive online research and learned a lot about knee, its structure and the functionalities of each component. I self-diagnosed that I had an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage. I tried various rehab exercises, but they did not seem to help too much.
In 2018, my knee became more easily get injured. I had to wear a knee brace for all outdoor activities. The brace did not really do much protection, but it reminded me to be careful with my knee, especially when I turn my body. I developed a habit not using my right leg but letting my left leg to do more job. Cutting lawn at my sloped backyard became an awkward sometime painful job.
I started vibration exercise. I did squat on a VT003F vibration machine, 10 minutes a time, twice a day. After just three days, I noticed I was able to move more easily and smoothly. After repeated injury, I had developed a good sensitivity on my knee for small changes in its functionalities. This immediate improvement from a short time use of vibration exercise really encouraged me to continue the same practice on daily basis.
As I felt the recovering in progress, I started to hold a pair of dumbbells and perform eccentric squat with my right leg, on the vibration plate. After a few months, I felt my knee was back to normal, and I still kept my daily vibration exercise.
In May 2019, I did two major yardwork projects – a 300 yard fence and a 12’x10’ paver patio with a pergola, all by myself. I was so proud about what I did. My knee did not bother me at all.
Later in the year, I thought my ACL was already fixed, I became lazy with my regular vibration exercise. Plus, I travelled a lot. After a couple months of laziness, my knee sensitivity reminded me to go back to my daily vibration exercise routine. I guess that I only achieved marginal recover on my ACL. I needed to keep my good work for a longer time to stabilize the improvement.
Since then, I have been maintaining a vibration exercise routine. I usually do a 10 minutes session squat and 10 minutes tiptoe. It is easy, and it is my YouTube time.
I did research about how vibration worked for my situation. My guess is that my ACL was not able to self-repair after repeated injury, and excessive fibrous tissue formed to replace the living ligament cells. The ligament’s performance became weak, and difficult to repair. Vibration exercise provided a stimulation to break the fibrous tissues and allow new living ligament cells to grow back. Vibration exercise also enhanced my muscles. The repaired ligament and enhanced muscle contribute to the improvement of my knee functionalities.
The damage has been formed for many years, and recover will also take many years. It looks like I will need to live with my vibration plate. It is not a problem, and I feel good after each vibration exercise.
How did I injure my ACL?
I believe the initial injury came from my incorrect swimming posture. I used to swim long distance using breaststroke. My posture was wrong. Each time after kicking out my two legs, I forcefully close them together, considering that would squeeze the water backward and allow me to swim faster. Overtime, the shear force damaged my anterior cruciate ligament. And then, without full recovery, I continued to swim and further damaged the ligament. Excessive fibrous tissue started to form, because the living ligament cells were not given sufficient time to grow back. Fibrous tissue is kind of a dead tissue, and once formed, it is hard to get it converted back to regular living tissue, and the damage became a chronic problem. Excessive fibrous tissue compromises the elasticity and strength of ligament.
How does vibration help?
My understanding is that the high intensive rapid muscle contraction induced by vibration may break the fibrous tissue just enough to allow living ligament cells to grow back.