June 5th- 3 months, 4 days ago. {Update: almost 4 years ago now}. Three miles into the woods at Algonkian Regional Park. The dull pain that I’d felt in my knee on  my last few runs struck again- and struck hard. It didn’t take long for the pain to kick into high gear.

I knew I needed to stop running. But when you’re 3 miles into an out-and-back 6 mile course that lead you down a single path in the Virginia woods, where do you stop?

I quickly discovered it hurt more to walk than it did to run, so I kept running. {Although at this point I felt like I’d finish faster if I crawled….}

Immediately after the run my knee was ok- sore, but manageable. But by the time I got home from the race, I knew I had just done some serious damage. {I was right.}

After icing & resting for a week, I still couldn’t walk. There would be no miraculous recovery- it was time to go to the doctor.

icing knee

Endless x-rays and an MRI later, I learned I had iliotibial band friction syndrome, patellofemoral pain syndrome, swollen knee fat pads, and misaligned tracking of the patella. {This was good news compared to the initial diagnosis of a torn meniscus, which meant knee surgery.}

{And judging by a new set of x-rays, I also have chondromalacia/early arthritis, and severely tilted patellas- & my “good” knee looks worse than my bad knee. Fun.}

runner's knee knee fat pad

Several rounds of physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, and more resting & icing ensued. Along with several snazzy new taping styles:

kinesiotape mcconnell taping

I still couldn’t run.

Yesterday was my “final” follow up appointment. The one the doctor scheduled to make sure I was back on my feet & running again.

When he saw I wasn’t, his reaction: “Well, WHY aren’t you better yet?” Umm I don’t know doc, isn’t that your job?

One of the things the doctor had prescribed in physical therapy was iontopheresis: which uses ultrasound to drive cortisone deep into the joint. The PT had other ideas and never did the treatment.

An internal office showdown ensued. {Hello, you work for the same company, in the same building- can’t you guys talk?!}

The doc decided I had to have the cortisone as a last ditch effort. Of course I’m thinking, great more PT. But he said he’d do it today- awesome, one less visit for me!

Then the nurse came in and pulled out two giant syringes with long exposed needles- and just left them on the counter haunting me for the next 20 minutes. They didn’t mean iontopheresis- they meant cortisone injections.


To skip the details, those things HURT. {I did get complemented on my strength of dealing with the pain. I should have gotten a frickin gold star!}

So then I was sent home to let the cortisone do it’s thing along with some stronger anti-inflammatory creams and instructions to come back in another month.

No improvement by next month? Back to that surgery option.

{On a side note, I reacted to the cortisone and have since felt like I’ve packed an entire 2 weeks of the flu into a single 24 hours.}

I’ve already been sidelined for the 2 races I was most looking forward to this year: Iron Girl & 36 North

So here’s to hoping the cortisone does the trick… adios fall race season. <– spoiler alert. None of this worked. Updated: March 2014

You can follow the “highlights” of my knee injury here:

A Restless Month- MRI Time

And the Verdict Is…

All About IT Bands

Hurts So Good- PT Starts

Adding to the Diagnosis

An Attempt with Kinesiotaping

Trying McConnell Taping

The missing triathlons: More Than a Tri & The Post in Which I Admit Defeat

Have you had a running or sports injury? Are you back to running?