I was working with a patient who was complaining of right knee pain and she wanted to get back to doing the following two things: being able to walk at least a mile every morning and taking a bath.  

Those two things that she really enjoyed and missed.

She responded with relief of her knee pain after the initial session and she was what we would call a rapid responder.

On the 2nd session, she says she feels sore today…and could not recall doing anything the day prior that might have cause it.  

Here I am thinking to myself that she wasn’t that sore when I last saw her and that we didn’t do too much on the first day because I didn’t want to throw the “kitchen sink” at her. I wanted to challenge her but i also wanted to make sure she was successful. After all, what good is a challenge if you can’t achieve it.  I will be asking you to fail every time.

So I asked her what she did the day prior. To that she respond, “ I cooked for about 6 hours…”

[light bulb moment] DING DING DING

And I proceeded to ask if she felt her knee being sore DURING cooking. To that, she say “No.”

I then asked if it’s possible that cooking for 6 hours…might have contributed to her knee being sore today…

To that, she responded with a smile, “maybe…”

Tracing back to the activity she did the day prior help me identify what was causing her soreness – something that she might not have been able to recall and attribute to…and you might wonder why. That is simply because we do not account the things we do on a daily basis as part of what might’ve set us back…a little bit.

We are habitually what we do.

And oftentimes, we do not realize them as the focus is on the activity when you’re doing it and not on the knee in this case.

The takeaway of this story is to develop an awareness of the activities you do throughout the day that makes the injured body part better, worst, or same. If you can keep a mental log of it, it’ll help accelerate your recovery. How so? Because now you can identify what flares up your symptoms and you can avoid it. And more importantly, understand what makes it better so you can keep your window of improvement open.

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Dr. Shi-Feng Lin, Physical Therapy

Made in China and have lived in New York City since 9 years-old, Dr. Shi-Feng  graduated from Skidmore College with a Bachelors in Health & Exercise Science in 2010. He went on to pursue his Doctorate of Physical Therapy and graduated from Sage Graduate School in 2013. He has worked in an orthopedic outpatient private practice since graduation and has developed an eclectic approach in his treatment philosophy from his extensive pursue in continuing education.

When he’s not treating, Shi Feng likes to stay active and plays in a friday league basketball, exploring rivers/lakes with his inflatable kayak.  

  • Qualifications: Doctorate of Physical Therapy
  • Born: China
  • Now Lives: New York City
  • Certifications:
    Applied Prevention & Health Promotion Therapist
    Functional Movement Screen (FMS)
    Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA)
    Certified Titleist Performance Institute
  • Hobbies: kayaking, biking, hiking, camping
  • Team:  San Antonio Spurs and New York Giants
  • Show: Whose Line Is It?
  • Food: Korean and Japanese

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