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Knee Update

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

So I mentioned in my status that I finally got into see the doctor about my knee, but wanted to give just a little more detail than the status will let me do! As you know I've been battling knee pain for about the past month after getting off to a really great start in training for my third half marathon. All was going just fine and then BAM - it kind of came out of nowhere. So I figured I just needed to rest it for a few days and do some extra stretching. Well, every time I would feel like it was getting better, I'd head out for a run and it would be no dice. So back to the drawing board I went...again, and again, and again. I bought a knee support brace and it seemed to really help - until I did 5 miles on Sunday. During the run it felt okay, but afterwards - WHOA. Talk about a throbbing ache all day and all night into the next day. I couldn't even walk down the stairs without doing them one at a time so that I wasn't putting weight and flexing my knee at the same time. It's been a tough month let me tell ya!

I was originally supposed to the see the doc on Friday of last week, but they cancelled. Then when it hurt so bad on Sunday into Monday I knew I needed to get it checked out. And wouldn't you know that by Tuesday when they could get me in it didn't hurt AT ALL!! Okay, yes, I was happy that it didn't hurt, but isn't it frustrating when you see the doctor for what is an imaginary ache at the time of the visit?!? LOL

So I tell the doc that I'm a runner and I've been having knee pain and the first thing I expected was for him to give me "the look". For anybody else that runs out there I'm sure you've seen it before too. "The Look" is the one that non-runners give you when you tell them that you run and the first words out of their mouth are "ooohhh - you'd better be careful with those knees...running is bad for you". But he didn't! Instead he told me that he knew what I was saying because he used to run too - a marathon and lots of half marathons. Woohoo! So he got it when I told him that NOT running wasn't an option.

He tested out my leg strength and said that everything looked really good. My knee moved appropriately with normal patellar motion and my ACL and MCL tendons were nice and strong. Awesome! He did note that my knee joint was low on fluid so it wasn't as smooth as it could be which is probably causing some of the irritation, and I had a slight strain of my LCL tendon.

He gave me a couple options; one that was "fast" and one that was "slow". Fast was getting two injections; one with lubricant in my knee and the other with a steroid to reduce the inflammation in my tendon. The slow method was 4-6 weeks of resting, stretching and icing. I asked him what the drawbacks were to the fast method and he said nothing - just 5 days of no running, regular stretching and icing. So I went with the fast method of course! LOL

Two quick and not all too painful injections later and I was done! I will say that the shot into the tendon was somewhat uncomfortable. A little pressure and a slow shot. But the one into the joint? Like a pinprick. Oh - I also need to start taking Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM supplements. No biggie.

So far everything feels just fine...but it did prior to getting the shots too. The real test will come when I can run again, of course. But I'm hopeful. In the meantime I've done a little research of my own and this comes as absolutely no shock to me whatsoever - turns out that tendon strains are usually caused by tight hip flexors. A constant problem of mine anyways! I swear I come from the world's most un-limber stock. I couldn't do splits if I tried even when I was a young gumby person.

So my plan is to follow doctor's orders, continue doing yoga at least 2 days per week, and adding in additional stretching exercises specific to the knees and hips that I found online.

If all goes as planned I should still be able to do the half marathon in January; however, I am already greatly scaling back my plans for that race. I only have 37 days left, so running it for speed is completely out. I am going to treat this time as base building and just keep the workouts as scheduled, except greatly reduce paces to even slower than normal. Then if the knee is continuing to hold up just fine, I will focus on building speed for the second half marathon in May. I have 16 weeks in between races, so that should work just fine. What is the MOST important thing - and this is exactly what I told the doctor - is that I keep running long-term. I don't want to sacrifice the long-term for a short-term race, PR, or anything else.

So I truly may be on the mend finally!

Has anybody else had to do those types of injections before? What was your experience if you did?
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