As mentioned in my previous article, massage by traditional Thai healers (not your usual over-the-counter masseur) is effective to overcome structural imbalances that bring about conditions like knock knees, bow legs, knee pain and back pain. Such massage sessions are usually very painful as the healer worked to clear blocked channels.
Still, professional therapists who have studied in depth on human kinesiology can help a great deal. From your gait and how your feet arches/flattened and using massage, they could identify which muscles are underdeveloped, stiff and overdeveloped.
They could prescribe exercises to develop weak muscles, use massage to loosen up tight muscles.
My mom seemed to be genetically predisposed to bow legs because a few of her sisters seemed to also have that condition. When my mom started to walk with a bit of instability, I took her to an occupational therapist- that was about 4 years ago.
When I took my mom once to an occupational therapist to help work on her condition, the occupational therapist was also very good. He could effectively diagnose muscle weaknesses that caused my mom’s bow legs and stiff shoulders. According to him, when there is muscle imbalance (either one part too stiff and/or another under/overdeveloped), due to genetics or occupational hazard, the imbalance creates pain and susceptibility towards injuries and falls.
But he spread the treatment over 12 courses, causing about RM100 (more than USD30) per hour. After the course is over, it also requires constant follow up. I would say that Paw Moh’s treatment would definitely be more effective and much cheaper but it’s hard to find Paw Mohs in cities and in developed countries.
The occupational therapist had shared with me that conditions like painful knees could be caused by muscle imbalance- hamstrings (muscles at the back of the thighs) that are stronger/tight and quadriceps muscles that are weak. Being overweight also places a lot of pressure on the knees. As such, it’s important to lose weight, loosen the hamstring muscles and use resistance training to develop the quads muscles. Sometimes, the problem may start from the hip and back- where there are again muscle imbalance that causes the pain.
A lot of people do not want to do all the work- and so they just go for a kneecap replacement surgery. Knee cap replacement surgery may work for a number of years. But if the person’s bone structure is not strong, ie if the person suffers from osteoporosis, and is overweight, the strain from the metal placements and weight may fracture the thigh bones. Or the person may have a fall later, at other places like the ankles or hip, sometimes fracturing the bones there. And the injury takes longer to heal because the muscles are not adept at absorbing the pressure.
Therefore I feel that carefully prescribed exercise programs that are targeted to strengthen muscles is essential to extend mobility and quality of life through old age. That, accompanied by massage (if you cannot find the professional ones or that they’re too expensive, even the normal massage that helps to loosen tight muscles is quite beneficial).