32-year-old Andrew is currently serving in the British Army and has done so for over 12 years. He first noticed a pain in his knee in March 2019 after a military exercise and got diagnosed with patellar tendonitis in his left knee. With the help of physiotherapy, shockwave therapy and a rehab course, Andrew was making small steps back to recovery, but it wasn’t until he started to use To Better Days patches that he started to see overnight improvements.
At first, Andrew was worried that it was a placebo effect or a short term fix, but up to this day he has made a 90% recovery. Andrew went from being Medically Limited Deployable due to his knee injury to Medically Fully Deployable, and attributes this largely to To Better Days.
Hi, my name’s Andrew. I’m 32 years old and serving in the British Army. This is the story of how chronic knee pain – patellar tendonitis – nearly affected my career progression, but thanks to To Better Days patches I made a miraculous recovery.
I grew up in Manchester, where I’ve lived all my life. As a child I was growing really fast, which caused some growing pains and issues with my knees – specifically Osgood–Schlatter disease (OSD), which causes a painful bump just below the knee. As a typical Mancunian, I loved football and was always active with sports at school – football, cross-country, you name it. This probably didn’t help with the OSD, which gets worse with activity but better with rest. Once I received treatment, my knees got slightly better.
I always wanted to join the Army – although Premier League footballer was on the backburner 😉 – and applied when I was 20. At the time I had a small tear in the tendon of my right knee, which I was receiving hospital treatment for. It wasn’t a severe injury but it was a setback in my chances of joining the military. In the end, the tear in my tendon sort of resolved itself – I never had any surgery for it – but it did mean I joined the army later than I had hoped. Luckily, I haven’t had any problems with my right knee since.
Over the course of my army career so far I’ve served in Afghanistan and various other locations. Needless to say, this has put strain on my body; in the summer we’d be walking around in 40+ degrees’ heat, carrying water, weapons, ammunition, radios, body armour etc. that easily weighs 50kg. I’m 100kg myself, so you end up carrying half your body weight. Then, of course, there’s the fighting in the middle. You really rely on the strength of your body.
To stay in shape I’m mainly running, weightlifting and doing HIIT training – I definitely manage my body much better than when I was younger. I occasionally play football for the regiment as well – in and out of the team, as I’m not that good anymore, haha.
Last year I did a career course to get promoted from Corporal to Sergeant. The course involved a lot of heavy lifting, carrying pretend casualties over your shoulder, etc. After that I started noticing a pain in the bend of my left knee. I went to the doctor, saw a physio and came out with a diagnosis of patellar tendonitis. This was bad news with an eye to my upcoming promotion.
The knee problem meant that I was downgraded from being Medically Fully Deployable to being Medically Limited Deployable – that’s really not what you want in the military as it can seriously harm your career progression. I went on a rehab course for three weeks in December and was given a programme that I had to stick to, but my performance had gone down considerably – I went from squatting 100kg to only 40kg. There was just too much pressure in my knee, and everything was taking a lot longer than usual.
To make things worse, I injured my knee in January when I slipped on ice going to the gym. That’s how I ended up with two sore spots on my knee: one from the patellar tendonitis and one from the twist.
Then, my wife got an email from a market research agency that she had signed up to at some point, inviting me to trial To Better Days patches. I signed up and tried them for two weeks with one patch on my patellar and one on the more recent twist. And honestly… they made all the difference.
In the beginning I was worried that the improvement was a placebo effect – it was almost too good to be true. What’s more, I was worried about whether the improvement was short term or whether it was actually making the area better. If I’d had to keep using the patches, that would be expensive. So I stopped using them after the trial to find answers – today, my knee still gets the odd niggle or stiffness in the morning, but I’m 90% recovered from my previous knee problem.
In terms of the products I’ve tried to help with my knee pain, this is the best I’ve used. Before, I tried knee supports, heat pads, etc., but To Better Days patches are so easy to wear and so effective at pain relief that I wouldn’t trade them for anything else.
In my job we have access to physio and rehabilitation. On top of that, I had shockwave therapy which aims to recharge and reset the tendon. However, I only really started to feel a change to my patellar tendonitis when I started using To Better Days patches. Ever since I finished my trial my knee problems have disappeared almost completely.
For the moment, all the gyms are closed due to coronavirus so I’ve been using my own body weight – and my kids – as weights. I’m so glad I get to play with my kids again without pain, especially during the lockdown. I’m constantly running around with my four-year-old daughter and keeping my son of 20 months out of trouble.
I can’t thank To Better Days enough and would endorse these patches to anyone. They truly helped my career.
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