Well, I’m injured. (Cue the surprised looks and sympathetic noises.)
The diagnosis by a sports medicine doctor: patellofemoral pain syndrome (a.k.a. runner’s knee).
My right knee started hurting during my long run a few days ago while on vacation. It hurt enough that I popped a couple of Aleve (and I’m not one to take meds unless I absolutely have to). I continued to take Aleve for a couple of days, took three days off from running and did yoga for the past two days.
The knee continued to hurt, so I took advantage of the free injury clinic at my favorite local running store, Playmakers in Okemos, Mich. A sports medicine doctor did a very thorough exam and asked me a bunch of questions before giving me the news about the runner’s knee.
I’d heard about runner’s knee before and had an idea of what it was and how to treat it, but he took the time to explain things in detail and gave me a handy info sheet with symptoms, causes and, more importantly, self-treatment options.
I’m particularly not happy about this new development because I have been training to pace the Gazelle Girl half in a week-and-a-half. That’s not gonna happen now. Instead, my good friend Brandess suggested I volunteer for the race with her. Talk about making lemonade! It’s gonna be great.
So instead of the pacer shirt I just got, I’m hoping I’ll be sporting course marshall duds or something to that effect.
I volunteered for a race this past fall and had a great time cheering on others, and even got to smear Vaseline on a random guy’s nipple and run a runner chica in for her last few miles of her first marathon. THAT was cool.
Do I sound zen about this whole situation? Trust me, I have a lot of experience being injured and having to restart my running. Let’s see… There were the shin splints, the shoulder surgery and ongoing problems with piriformis syndrome. But I’ve always been able to come back and know that if I really do what the doctor suggested, that I’ll be able to do so again.
So, what’s this runner chica going to do to survive the next few weeks post-runner’s knee diagnosis? Follow doctor’s orders, which included:
- Support: Make sure I replace my orthodic inserts. They’re awesome, but they’re also almost 2-years-old and I really need new ones.
- Stretch: The doc gave me a sheet with specific stretches, including a standing quad stretch and the standing hamstring stretch.
- Strength: The sheet also had exercises I can do, including straight leg raises, quad sets, side-lying straight leg raises and seated knee extensions.
- Rest: Pain = not bueno. So, very little running for the next few days and then ease my way back into it.
- Ice: He suggested freezing water in a paper cup, then rubbing it on my knee for a few minutes. It’s supposed to help with inflammation (though he said I don’t seem to have any) and for pain.
- Patience: He obviously doesn’t know me, but does work with tons of runners. We’re not known for our patience, but I promised I would follow his orders since I do want to get back to running.
What’s next? A few weeks of building my core, doing my stretches and exercises. I’ve started doing yoga again, plus I hope to do some biking with el husbando.
In the end, this is familiar — if not necessarily fun — territory. I’ll be OK.
What do you do to survive an injury that keeps you from running? (Other than eating Oreos, that is.)