Tag Archives: injury

Runner’s Knee Injury Update

9 Dec

Please, please, please, please fix my knee. Note: not my knees. A little hairy to be mine.

 

Well, I finally did it.  I went to the doctor again for my runner’s knee.  I was really afraid of what he might say…would I ever be able to run again??  Here’s where my runner’s knee was at prior to the visit:

  • It started a little over a year ago predominantly in my left knee, though both ached.
  • I experience pain under the knee cap and the pain increases the more active I am.
  • I went through physical therapy to improve the pain for about 2 months.
  • My runner’s knee is caused from poor “tracking” meaning my hips are too wide and my knee isn’t lining up as it should.

After going through a few months of physical therapy and months of “trying” to run, the pain has persisted.  Though the interesting thing is now the pain is focused much more on the RIGHT knee.  Odd that it has switched.  I have almost no pain in my left knee – which before was the main issue.  So after months of NOT running and continued pain (likely through all my dancing), I decided to head back to the doctor to see if it’s possible something more was the problem.

Upon arriving at my doctor’s office, I was first examined by a resident who did the usual “does this hurt?” examination.  After evaluating my knees in various positions, he said it seems like the pain is identical as I had before (just as suspected).  He left the room and shortly reentered with my doc.  After a series of physical examinations the conclusion was the same: runner’s knee.  My incorrect knee tracking (due to my big womanly hips) is causing my knees to rub continually and cause pain.

Le sigh.  Good that it’s nothing worse… but bad because, well… I already tried to solve this problem unsuccessfully!!!

So what’s the game plan? Here are some suggestions to help improve my knee:

  • Recommit to my PT exercises.  I did them religiously for awhile, but once I started ChaLean I noticed many of my PT exercises were in the videos – so I didn’t do them daily.  Looks like I have more outer hip strengthening to do.
  • Look into orthopedics.  My doc recommended Smart Feet to help improve my alignment.
  • Rest and Ice… yeah the usual.

So the big take away is that I NEED to get this resolved… because clearly running isn’t the only trigger.  I haven’t gone on a run in literally months, yet my knee is still swollen.  Dancing, bending, jumping… it seems like anything agitates it.  Once the wedding is over, I’m going to come up with a plan of attack and really see what I can do…because clearly it’s going to take a much more aggressive approach to get over this injury.

Project February: FIX MY KNEES!

Good news: My knee doesn’t appear to be broken forever.  It can be resolved.

Bad news: It still hasn’t been resolved and I’m kind of a at a loss for what more can be done.

I guess I should be pleased it isn’t anything worse!! :)  Happy Monday!

-Kelly

 

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The Decision Not to Get Knee Replacements at Age 46

3 Jun

This post was supposed to be all about Day 1 of Insanity.  I would write about the difficult fit test (I was pouring sweat).  I would write about how I proudly crossed my workout off my Insanity wall calendar (I almost asked Adam to take a picture of me I was so excited).  I would write about my meals for the day, following the Insanity meal plan (I’ve been surprisingly satisfied).  I would tell you my initial thoughts and excitement (Shaun’s voice is slightly annoying, but I like the set).

Though all those things happened this morning, this post is not about all that…

This morning my alarm went off as usual and I excitedly remembered today was the day to start Insanity.  I laid in bed a few more minutes trying to convince myself to wake up.  No matter how excited I am for something, I still don’t want to wake up.  I must’ve fallen back asleep because I suddenly woke with a huge start, “I have a sports med doctor appointment this morning!!”  I completely forgot about my follow-up appointment and panicked that I was too late.  (How I remembered it in a start I have no idea).  Thankfully it was only 6:50 am and my appointment wasn’t until 8:30.  I decided to just move quickly in order to get through Day 1 of Insanity.  Adam took my before pictures and I watched the DVD.  Hilariously, step 1 was Obtain MD Consent…well isn’t that just convenient.  After finishing the fit test (I was only slightly sweaty and asthmatic), I quickly showered and went off to the doctor.

Over the last month, my recurrent knee pain has greatly reduced.  I have been going to physical therapy twice a week and performing exercises to strengthen my hips at home.  My Physical Therapist is wonderful and tells me I have been making great strides with my Runner’s Knee.  I would agree because my knees no longer ache at rest.  I’ve been feeling good and she even cleared me to start running this week (yay!).  My appointment today was with the sports med doc who originally diagnosed my runner’s knee and prescribed physical therapy.  Honestly I completely forgot about it altogether! (oops!) On my drive over I was contemplating whether or not to tell him I was starting Insanity.  After watching the intro DVD this morning I started getting really nervous.  It showed the proper form for squats, lunges, and jumps…all things my doc previously told me to avoid.  Is it possible Insanity might be harder on my knees than running?

Once I arrived a resident reviewed my symptoms and history.  He examined both knees and I explained the pain (and my decision to run 2 half-marathons sort of against doctor orders).  The resident was a runner and also has done Insanity – how convenient!  When I told him sheepishly I started Day 1 of Insanity today he just sort of shook his head.  He thought for a moment and said, “you know…Insanity will be harder on your knees than running.”  Le sigh.  I was really hoping he wouldn’t say that.  After he finished his exam my doctor came in to take a look.  He was very pleased with my progress and said that he could tell that things were looking better.  (Hooray!)  But… (and there’s always a but) my knees are still recovering and they aren’t fully there yet.  Okay.  I can deal with that.   He said it was time to start running and gave me a 5 week schedule to follow to build back up my mileage.  The first run is .5 mile just to give you an idea of where I’ll start out.  Double sigh.

Should I even mention Insanity?  He’s just going to say no.  If he doesn’t want me to run more than half a mile I hardly think he will allow Insanity.

“Well, I don’t know if the resident told you…but I just started Insanity today and I was hoping to incorporate that daily.”

Look of unhappiness crosses doctor’s face.

“Is that the one full of squats and jumping?”

I started feeling hot as my face turned red

“Yeah…”

After discussing it for a few minutes my doc agreed to allow me to start Insanity but… not bend my knees more than 30 degrees.  I also wasn’t allowed to double up running and Insanity – too much stress on my knees.  I could do one or the other.  I left with a running plan, prescription for orthotics, and a huge lump of disappointment in my stomach.  I couldn’t help but feel depressed.  My plans were all shot now!  I should’ve felt happy that my knees were making such good progress – instead I was so incredibly disappointed.

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Ignore the laughter – 2 convos at once…but you can see where Dr. Adam’s feelings are on the matter.

The rest of the morning I had a bit of a sad attitude and really didn’t know what to do.  Should I do Insanity, but have to modify like crazy and worry about my knees?  Should I push it off for a few months until my knees fully recover?  Should I try it for a week and see how my knees feel? I threw around all the options in my head and landed on what felt to be the smartest decision: I shouldn’t continue with Insanity yet.  (Noooooo!!)

My knees are just beginning to recover, I would be heartbroken if I had another setback with them.  Yes I’m a little heartbroken I can’t get going on Insanity, but the nice thing is: I still have the DVDs and program!  It isn’t going anywhere, there is no rush or time limit on finishing it.  I’m just going to have to be patient and wait until my knees are ‘back to normal.’  At the heart of things I’m a runner, and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that…especially after I’ve seen so many improvements lately.

So I’m sad to report that you won’t be able to follow along with the Insanity program.  No updates, no reports, and no reviews.  I always love following blogs that have goals and programs so it’s disappointing not to be able to write about that journey. But I think there comes a point where you just have to let go of ego (This is where I say get a grip Kelly…your only hard-core dedicated reader won’t care what you write about.  Hi Mom!) and do what’s smart.

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Yeah I even let this thought cross my mind…thank goodness for Adam and auto-correct.

So instead I’m going to come up with a game plan over the next few days and create a program to help strengthen my knees and my running.  I have no idea what that will look like – but I’m sure I will think of something.  Throughout the day I have felt more positive about my diagnosis, and honestly, I’m truly happy to be taking care of my knees.  I believe they will thank me some day.  And maybe, just maybe…I’ll get that sub 1:50 half-marathon.

So until I have a plan…have a happy Monday!

-Kelly

The Dreaded Runner’s Knee

1 May

Well, I finally did it.  I went to the doctor about my knee pain.  As a long distance runner I’m very accustomed to over-use injuries.  Whether it’s stress fractures or sore joints or ankle pain – been there done that.  Normally the recipe for success and recovery is the same sad story: no running, rest, and ice.  When my knee pain started last September I did just that.  I dropped my half-marathon, I stopped running completely, and I let myself totally rest.  About 6 weeks later I began P90X and maybe a month after that I started running again – this time only short distances.  I am pretty “by the book” when it comes to treating injuries, so I really expected a quick recovery.  My body had something else in mind.  When I started training in February for the mini-marathon I experienced little knee pain and felt confident progressing.  About a month ago, however, I had to walk home because the pain was too much.  That was the final straw.  If weeks of rest, strength-training, and limited racing didn’t solve the problem, there had to be more to the story.

Today I found out that I have Patellofemoral syndrome aka ‘Runner’s Knee.’  This is the most common running injury and certainly nothing out of the ordinary.  It’s a relief that this is something pretty standard, but also a bummer that it is bad enough to be qualified as something.  My sports med doc was very thorough, and I left feeling a bit sad but confident about the next steps.  I had a resident in my appointment, which was fantastic because the doc ended up explaining verbally all of his testing and tweaking – which was great for me!  I loved hearing the explanation behind all of the pushing, pulling, and analyzing he did.  Based on my pain, symptoms, and physical exam he came to a swift conclusion that I have runner’s knee.  Yay – no MRI or x-rays needed!  But sad that the pain was real enough to lead to such an obvious diagnosis.

What is Runner’s Knee?

According to trusty Wikipedia, Runner’s Knee is caused by the prolonged repetitive compressive or shearing forces (running or jumping) on the Patellofemoral joint.  The result is the thinning and softening of the cartilage under the patella (hence the pain under my knee cap – makes sense!).  Essentially my kneecap is irritating the groove where my femur is resting.  It is very common, and is found twice as often in women due to wider hips (thanks Ma!).  It’s tough to say exactly what is causing it in my case, but it could be any of the following:

  • Overuse
  • Biomechanical problem – my body just might be more prone to it (something about Q angles?)
  • My quads are weak, specifically the inner quad
  • My hamstrings are tight
  • My gait isn’t aligned appropriately
  • Or a few other things

kneepain

So how do I fix it?

The bad news: no running.  This was to be expected.  I think this is a big reason I’ve been putting off this Dr. visit for so long.  I knew this was going to be the first order of business.  Though he did tell me, “I know you have your races coming up so go ahead and do those.  I’d tell you not to, but I know you wouldn’t listen anyways.”  I laughed and told him he was very correct.  He must be a runner :)

The good news: there is more to the story than just rest and ice.  Obviously rest and ice is the first step, but there are also exercises for strengthening the inner quad muscles.  Additionally I can tape my knee and wear a brace that might provide some support and relief.  The last step: Aleve twice a day for 2 weeks.  That’s a lot more anti-inflammatory medication than I’m used to taking, but he wanted to be aggressive in relieving the inflammation.  I have to admit that it felt pretty good walking out of there with a prescription and Physical Therapy referral, as opposed to just “rest and stop running.”

Hopefully I’ll get my first PT visit scheduled soon and I’ll be on the road to recovery.  I’m still looking forward to my upcoming races, but sad that I’ll have to take a break once they are done.  I’ll be sure to soak up the running happiness and really enjoy them.  Biking and swimming were the recommended replacement activities, but I’m still not sure what my next step will be exercise-wise.  I’m not sure how much this will affect my 2013 Fitness Goals.  Really I’m just trying to process the information.  Let’s see.  Essentially any bending motion irritates it more: so no Plyo, likely no Insanity, lunges, or squats for a few weeks, along with the running.  Sigh.  Should I start thinking more seriously about committing to biking and swimming?  Ugh.  Knees – you can get better!  I believe in you!

I’ll leave you with some old lady advice: take care of your bodies and be sure to stretch and rest appropriately! You don’t want to be sad and benched like me!

-Kelly

How do you handle periods of rest and recovery?  What’s your favorite ‘recovery’ exercise?