Over the past 6 months, I’ve had my knee taped up almost every way you could imagine. I’m starting to feel like Humpty Dumpty, only the “back together again” part isn’t quite working out yet.
Kinesio tape, v.1
Kinesio tape, v.2
Time to try another round of tape:
(That tape goes all the way through my shorts and out the top. Yes, it was as awkward as you’d think to have it put there.)
This time the kinesio tape is supposed to “deactivate” my IT band so it won’t get tight when I run.
Time to go test it out….
After 5 months of “wait & sees”, last week I mentioned I found a new doctor.
One that listened. One that looked at my knees. One that watched me run.
One that’s interested in helping me run again.
I’m a little bit in love, so forgive me if I bring him up too often.
Almost everything he’s said has been the opposite of what the sports medicine doc said.
|Your left knee blows
||You right knee’s ridiculous
|Well, duh, it’s a knee injury
||No, it’s actually a hip problem
|Don’t run, you’ll make it worse.
||Run, or I won’t know where it’s hurting
|Get custom orthotics. Wear them forever & always.
||Ditch the orthotics. You can wear them, but not when you run.
|Stretch, stretch, stretch, & stretch.
||Don’t stretch. Stabilize.
Ding ding ding! Winner is: Doc 2. (Where have you been all my life?!)
I’ve only seen the guy for two weeks and he’s already got me running a mile again. The part that hurts the most? My lungs.
Hello out of shape.
Makes you appreciate how much you can really do when you run half marathons and such.
My December & January races are still cancelled, but I’m already digging through race calendars to figure out what’s next. [I’ve actually already got something up my sleeve…but more on that later. ]
Maybe I should slow down and just run first.
“Hit the stop button. Get off the treadmill. I can’t let you run anymore, you’re gonna get hurt.”
Those words sound horrible, evil, depressing.
But to me, they were magical, beautiful, fantastic.
Those words meant there was something wrong with the way I was running. Seeing something wrong means there’s something to be fixed.
Yesterday was supposed to be the day the orthopedist was going to insist on surgery if I wasn’t running yet.
(I’m not running yet. I only made it to half a mile.)
5 months is a really, really long time when you’re wishing you were running or biking or something. But in the grand scheme of things, 5 months isn’t that long. No way was I letting some doc that saw me for a few minutes every 4 weeks slice my knee open.
So with a deadline impending (and my insurance deductible conveniently met) I searched out other options.
I finally found a guy that was certified in ART- active release technique– which I’ve heard can be quite successful in resolving chronic injuries. The guy sounded good- he had experience, he had advanced certifications, and he was a runner & triathlete. IS a runner & triathlete.
With nothing to lose, I knocked on his door and begged him to fix me.
Bad news: I’m quite messed up.
Good news: It’s likely fixable.
He didn’t say rest and ice and covered it in some pain numbing cream and come back and expect it to be magically better.
He said it was going to take time, a lot of hard work, and some more pain before I was up and running again. But he didn’t say if I was running again.
My head was flooded with so much information I can hardly remember it all, but the gist of it is this:
My left IT band is hurting because my right side is rotating too much when I run. It sounds backwards, but because of the rotation, extra stress is being put on my left IT band and my left leg is working much harder than it should be. My joints are super mobile, but extremely inflexible…aka a bad combo.
(He was convinced from watching me run that I’d had an injury to my right hip in the past. After insisting I never did, and him asking over & over, “are you sure?” I suddenly flashed back to my high school days were I limped and hobbled around with tendinitis in my right hip from dancing.)
I was amazed- the doc just looked at me standing in front of him and pretty much knew right away what he thought the problem was. He did a few more tests- balancing, squatting, rotating, etc and watched me run on the treadmill.
Not one x-ray. No MRI. No poking and prodding. Problem found. Genius. (Or super quack.)
So now starts more therapy, more exercises, more doctor’s appointments. But this time the exercises make so much more sense to me. They’re functional. I can feel how hard they are on the right instead of the left.
And me explaining all that probably took longer than it did for him to diagnose me.
Have you ever tried alternative therapies? What was your experience like?
1. Even if you’re the most carefulest person in the entire world, it can still happen to you.
2. You are not invincible.
3. Even if you have friends with superhuman running powers that do all the things you’re not “supposed” to, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen to you.
4. Doctors don’t know everything.
5. What’s best for person x may not be best for you.
6. It doesn’t matter what any doctor says- only you know if you’re getting better and when it’s time to get back into action.
7. Rest is evil.
8. Rest is oh-so-necessary.
9. You will not spontaneously combust if you do not exercise for a week. Or a month. Or FIVE.
10. Not all doctors are created equal.
11. When all else fails, keep finding something else to try.
12. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.
13. Just because it hurts in your knee, doesn’t mean the injury’s not in your hip. Likewise, just because it hurts on the left doesn’t mean the problem’s not on the right. More on that later…
14. Unless you fell, trip, ran into something, twisted spastically, or did something else completely bizarre, it’s a running mechanics issue.
15. Having a mechanical issue doesn’t mean you failed as a runner.
16. You can get an overuse injury running less than 5 miles a week.
17. You can get an overuse injury running 100 miles a week..although I wouldn’t know about that.
18. If you don’t fix it, it’ll always come back to haunt you.
19. Doctor’s do not know everything.
20. You don’t need a medical degree to know whether a doctor’s treating your injury right. Don’t shush your instincts.
21. Ice is cold. Very very cold. It can be is your best friend.
22. There are other activities in the world besides running.
23. Other activities besides running still hurt.
24. Surgery doesn’t have to be the answer.
25. You’ll run again one day. If you want to. If you rest. If you make good judgments. If you have the patience of saint…or somebody to take your frustrations out on. Or a blog to complain about it on.
Got anything to add to the list?
I guess it’s about time.
Almost 6 months to the day since I wrote Part 2 of my stinky feet story.
Coming up on two years since it all started.
There’s a reason there hasn’t been a Part 3.
See, I always assumed Part 3 would be the one where I would tell you I had a diagnosis.
And seeing as I still don’t have a diagnosis, I don’t have much to tell you.
To be honest, I do everything possible not to think about it. I can’t write a post about it and not think about it, so I just never did.
But the number one most common inquiry I get is “How did you go from Part 2 to half marathons?”
I really don’t have a good answer, but I’ll try to fill in some gaps.
I left you at the part where I started taking medication for fibromyalgia, despite insistence from the doctor that that’s not what I had. It was a combination of a last ditch effort and quite likely a way for the doctor to get me to shut up.
The only sure thing was a had chronic pain. Fibromyalgia is a disease of chronic pain, so on the off chance the medication could help for generic chronic pain, we gave it a try.
And it worked.
It didn’t make it go away. It didn’t make everything better.
But it was enough to start getting back to my normal life. A new normal life anyways.
Running’s harder than it’s ever been. Every step hurts. It takes me 20 minutes to get my feet ready to go out the door. But they hold me up, and I run.
I haven’t worn these beauties in almost 2 years.
I should probably throw them out. Give them to somebody who can wear them. But whether it’s denial or just holding out hope, in my closet they stay.
Getting a “little bit” better has made all the difference in the world. I almost forget what it’s like to feel normal- I just know I feel better than I did last year this time. I guess I’ve just gotten used to it. That’s what people do- they adapt.
Running’s hard for different people in different ways. It may be hard for one person because they have bad hips. It might be hard for another person because they have small lungs. I don’t know. Everybody has their “thing”. This is mine.
I don’t think I’ll ever be thankful for this disease, but I do appreciate how it makes me see things. Everybody feels sympathy for a girl in a wheelchair, or a guy with no legs..but you never stop and think about what their life is really like- what they must go through every single day. I know no matter what I’m going through, somebody else has it worse. And there’s always somebody that has it worse that’s handling it better than you.
So on the days when I start on the landslide to feeling sorry for myself, I think of them. I think about where I am now compared to when I was at my worst. I think about all the things I can do, and I try not to think about the things I can’t, or the things I used to be able to do.
Next time you put on a pair a sneakers and go out for a run like it’s nothing, be grateful. Next time you slip on a pair of cute heels, be grateful. Next time you hammer a sentence out on the keyboard with ease, be grateful.
To me it’s not enough to think about those that have it worse (though I do)- I think about those that have it worse and triumph.
The lady at the ultramarathon that had to drop out of the race because it was so hot her prosthetic leg sweated off.
The teenager that surfs with one arm.
The triathlete that brings three legs with her to the race.
That’s who I’m thinking about.
Here’s my most recent update: The Outcome
Playing weekend catch up?
The manly-man’s perfect meal: pimento cheese smothered filet
Turtle cookies: caramel filled chocolate chip cookies (plus an inside look at casa de SoS)
One hundred and twenty eight days.
That’s how long it’s been since I’ve run.
To be honest, excluding a number of bike rides I can count on one hand, it’s the last time I exercised.
(Oh the irony of having a fitness blog…)
My four-month running injury check-in with the sports medicine doc reveals I’m getting closer and closer to a date with a surgeon.
But I’m stubborn, and luckily my doctor went with the flow. He’s giving me four more weeks to get up and running again or it’s time to seriously talk about going under the knife (which I’m against FYI.)
Countless hours of physical therapy, 128 days of rest, anti-inflammatories, ice, orthotics, cortisone injections, and taping haven’t cut it yet, so this time we’re trying a knee brace.
I resisted going for the knee brace because I assumed it would just mask the problem- not cure it. But that list above is getting pretty long, and I have absolutely no desire to add knee surgery to that.
Apparently my 4 month hiatus of pretty much anything physical (per doctors orders…plus laziness + frustration) has left the muscles in my legs so weak the little bit of strengthening I get from physical therapy exercises isn’t doing my knee justice. The best way to rebuild the muscle is to start running again.
Catch 22 huh? I can’t run because a muscle weakness led to knee injury, but my knee injury is preventing me from correcting the muscle weakness…
That’s where the brace comes in. I only need to wear it when I run, and I’ll continue doing all the other therapy so eventually (fingers crossed) I won’t have to wear the brace.
It’s kinda cool as far as braces go- it has a piece of flexible plastic that pushes my kneecap into place.
Doctors orders: today I get to run 1/4 mile. Woohoo. Hooray!!
If I don’t hurt the day after my super long run, I get to run an additional 1/4 mile the next day, with a 1/4 mile walk in between. And so and so on. If it hurts, I can’t pass go or collect $200.
So now it’s time to go for my run. I’m excited. I’m terrified. I’m restless. I’m going!!
Injury talk on SoS.
The path to injury & recovery.
Never Ending Injury Society.
5 ways to get back to exercising after an injury
Stop running injuries before they start
Learn about 3 common running injuries
Hopefully all that talk will end one day soon. I’m hoping the injury finish line is in sight…
And this would be a super appropriate time to say congratulations to all the Chicago 10-10-10 marathoners!! You guys rock! And way to do it without getting injured 😉