Last Thursday, I had an appointment to have my knee pain checked out. I was honestly pretty nervous, despite the fact that I wasn’t even feeling pain at the time. Since my pain occurred pretty inconsistently, I was confident that nothing MAJOR was wrong with my knee, but what did I know?
Truth be told, I didn’t spend too much time researching what could possibly be wrong with my knee. I’m somewhat of a hypochondriac, so I was afraid that if I researched, I’d convince myself that I had symptoms A, B, and C and “oh no, this is wrong with my knee and I’ll have to have surgery or maybe I won’t be able to run or even walk ever again!” Once I let my overactive imagination go, who knows I much I’ll be able to freak myself out!
However, since I had about a week until my appointment, I had some time to discuss my injury with a few friends. When I described the pain I felt, almost everyone told me that it seemed like I was suffering from the common injury Runner’s Knee. I really didn’t know too much about it, aside from what I’ve learned from various blogs. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that I had been diagnosed…just needed to get the confirmation and advice for treatment from my dr.
A couple of days before my appointment, I spoke with my brother (who is probably the most serious runner I know amongst those in my inner circle) and he told me that while he wasn’t absolutely sure, he thought that I wasn’t suffering from runner’s knee, but rather another common injury, Iliotibial Band Syndrome. I thought about it, but figured that it was probably runner’s knee, since so many people had originally thought it was.
The BF is awesome and drove me to my appointment for moral support. I got there a little early, filled out some paperwork and waited to be seen. Since I was so early (I was so afraid traffic would get me there late), the doctor wasn’t ready to see me. My doctor is actually the owner of the running store where I had purchased my shoes 4 months earlier, so his office was connected to the store. I strolled around the store, and had to restrain myself from purchasing all the new (adorable) running gear. I also distracted myself by playing with the cute puppy that was roaming around the store.
I was finally called in and met with Dean, one of the other chiropractic associates. He introduced himself to me, and informed me that he’d be helping out with my appointment. I sat down and took out the list of symptoms that I had written up at work earlier that day. Since my symptoms were sporadic, my BF had suggested that I keep a running log of when symptoms occurred, what I was doing when I felt them and how long they lasted. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but of course I lost the first list during our move. I was glad that I re-written the list because I’ve been known to forget details when I am excited, nervous or flustered.
After I had named a few of my symptoms, Dean immediately said that he was almost 100% certain what was troubling me, but that he’d have Victor, my doctor, confirm that. The doctor met with us soon after, and after Dean repeated what my symptoms were, they agreed that I had named a few key symptoms. Victor said that he’d have to do his due diligence and perform the physical tests just to be 100% sure. After performing the tests, he asked if I had an idea what could be wrong with my knees. I let him that I was pretty sure I was suffering from runner’s knee. He corrected me and informed me that I was actually exhibiting all the classic symptoms of ITBS after all. Also, he had me stand in front of a mirror and showed me my knees. They actually fall rather close to each other, and when I run, I can see them moving in towards, each other, causing the pain on the outsides of my knee.
(I informed him that I was pretty surprised that it was ITBS, and that my brother was the only person who correctly diagnosed me. Apparently, my brother is a genius and is welcome to practice with them anytime, haha)
We discussed what my short term training goals were and then Victor recommended that I buy custom orthotics to help reduce the biomechanical strain on my itb/knees. I debated asking about more cost effective options, but decided to go ahead with customs, since it’d be covered by flexible spending and I wasn’t sure I’d use all of my FSA money before the end of the year. They performed another gait analysis test to fit my orthotics, and then Dean proceeded to show me a series of exercises that will help strengthen my muscles. Hopefully these exercises, plus my orthotics and foam rolling will allow me run without needing knee sleeves!
As for now, I am CLEARED TO RUN short distances, but promised to stop if I felt any pain whatsoever. I will also be performing my PT exercises every other day, starting with one set, then eventually working my way up to three.
It feels great to know what’s wrong and what I need to do to fix it =)