I’ve received a LOT of questions about my knee condition and icing. I’m betting it’s because of all the photographs of me in knee sleeves from Saturday’s 5K Race (read the recap for all the details!).
I’m sure there are some readers who weren’t around when I was dealing with my knee pain, so I want to tell the story about my injury and share some of my tips for preventing the same thing from happening to YOU!
In July/August 2008, I began experiencing discomfort in my knees following long runs. I tried to research the condition online, but couldn’t get a firm diagnosis or an understanding of what I should be doing (besides quitting running, which wasn’t an option). I ran through the pain and completed a 15K and a Half Marathon, as well as several other shorter races.
In October, I went to a doctor because I was in so much pain. You can read about that disastrous appointment in this post.
The doctor diagnosed me with Chondromalacia, which is an irritation of the undersurface of the kneecap or a "softening" of the cartilage. He told me there was NOTHING I could do for my pain except stop running. I left the appointment in tears and had a nervous breakdown in my car.
I completely ignored his advice because I really felt like he had no idea what he was talking about (some doctors graduate at the top of their class, and some barely pass. This guy probably cheated his way through Anatomy). I resigned myself to never running a marathon (my life goal) and stuck to shorter distances, completing another 15K and Half Marathon in February.
However, I ran a 15.4 mile trail race in April and could not walk for a WEEK (literally) afterwards. I couldn’t even take Maggie and James downstairs to let them pee without crying. It was a huge wake up call. I decided I needed to put myself on a "Running Hiatus." Writing that post was one of the worst moments on my blog. While the hiatus was only suppose to last a month, I eventually extended it to two months. Not running for two months was VERY hard at first, but I got used to it.
Three weeks into the hiatus, I wrote:
Yesterday marked the third full week of the Running Hiatus. I will post all my thoughts on the hiatus once it is over, but I have to say that it has been a very positive experience. I feel so much healthier (no knee pain) than I did when I started, and I’ve actually LOST WEIGHT by not running. Amazing, huh? Plus, the Running Hiatus has forced me to re-discover other activities that I love (or am learning to love), like biking and swimming.
In fact, I found that I liked bicycling so much that I signed up for a Metric Century Bike Race (recap here). A Metric Century is 60 long, long miles. I completed the race in June and had a lot of fun!
Three days before the bike race, I decided to go to another doctor, which was recommended to me by the local running store. This appointment (recap here) was VERY successful.
The second doctor was very nice and knowledgeable. He diagnosed me with Patellafemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), which is also called "Runner’s Knee." Although he said my prior diagnosis of Chondromalacia was not "wrong," he said Chondromalacia is more of a symptom of PFPS than a disease in itself. The scary popping noise my knee makes is simply my patella bone being jacked out of position by my muscles and is not due in itself to a weakening of my cartilage. The pain I was experiencing was a result of simple inflammation.
My doctor prescribed the following treatment plan, which has obviously worked WONDERS because now I’m training for a marathon!
- Physical Therapy
- Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medicine after runs
- Icing my knees
- Orthotic arch supports for my shoes (because I pronate and it makes the knee condition worse). I bought Spenco supports from a medical supply store.
Now, if you are having trouble with your knees (or any other part of your body), I definitely recommend you see a doctor. Your problem might not be as simple as mine (stress fractures come to mind!). But, I know it’s valuable to hear about how other people have dealt with their injuries. Obviously, I’m not a doctor, so take what you read with a grain of salt.
Before runs, I stretch and put on my knee sleeves. If it’s a long run, I will also take ibuprofen (I know this is controversial, but it works for me).
When I come home, I immediately shower, fix something to eat, and ice my knees:
I fill up Ziploc bags with ice and leave them on for about 15 minutes (max). Then, I slowlllly bend my knee and refrain from making any sudden movements until the numbness goes away. I usually chuck the baggies back in the freezer and re-use them a few times.
Icing has seriously been my LIFESAVER. I forgot to ice after yesterday’s race and was a mess. I iced this morning after my 5.0 miler and now I’m fine.
I also do my physical therapy exercises three times a week. Hopefully, one day my muscles will be strong enough that I don’t have to ice or wear knee sleeves.
There you have it! My knee situation, explained. As mentioned, if you are having pain while running, SEE A DOCTOR.
In regards to my eats for the day…. I snacked on Chobani + granola around 2 PM:
Then, we went to the grocery store and the Husband fell in love with this balloon:
I bought all the ingredients to make Zesty Carrot Juice (without a juicer!). I am working on mastering the correct portions, but so far, it’s pretty good! Will share the details soon…
I’m currently snacking on some mixed nuts. And for dinner, we’re making thin crust whole wheat pizza (store-bought crust) with veggies and a salad. I’m going to take the rest of the evening off from blogging, because I’m sure you can visualize pizza!
Have an absolutely wonderful night!