injury


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 =)

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Today, I was finally able to schedule an appointment to have my knee checked out. I was originally very confused about who I should see. Thinking it’d be best to go through insurance, I called my primary care physician to get a referral. The only problem with this was the fact that I had just changed PCP’s last month and needed to make a “new patient” consultation appointment first. This wouldn’t be so horrible if the next available appointment wasn’t until October 28th!

Knowing that I couldn’t (and shouldn’t/didn’t want to) wait that long, I considered my options. Following the advice of a few friends and fellow bloggers, I decided to ask my local running store for suggestions. I was actually notified via twitter (proof that social media is amazing) that I could go directly to the running store for assistance. It was then I remembered that the owner is actually a Dr. and runs a practice next door. I was told to drop by and  got ready early the next day. Of course,  I called to make an appointment and found that they were actually closed that day.

I left a message and was actually really excited (and nervous) about waiting for a call back. Today, I kept checking my phone all morning, until I realized that they didn’t actually open until 11am. Of course, when the call finally came at 11:32am, I missed it because I have the worst phone in the entire world (seriously? the blackberry storm is a  piece of _____. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst frenemy). Eventually, after a couple of rounds of phone tag, an appointment was finally set for Thursday, September 23.

I’m excited to finally have an answer, slightly nervous that it’s worse than I anticipate it being, and am VERY scared to see a final bill. I’m glad that I didn’t decide to wait for my dr’s referral, because I learned today that my insurance doesn’t even cover it. The thought of that stressed me out, and while I know it’s important to get my knees checked out so I can run (or more importantly walk), I freaked out at the thought of actually having to finance this. Now, I only know the cost of treatment via my new doctor, so I have no idea if it’s a good price or not. My savior was realizing that it would be reimbursed via flex spending. Thank goodness for that!

So now, I sit and wait…and eat lots of cookies to help soothe my anxieties =)

My legs were freshly shaved and moisturized, I’ve been thinking our about first meeting all week, and I got stood up…

by my (potential) sports medicine dr. hahaha. really, there was just a bit of miscommunication. I was told to just drop by this weekend, but didn’t realize I was talking to someone on the store side rather than the dr. office side. It makes a lot of sense that the doctors wouldn’t be in on the weekend, but I was just going with the flow. Oh well. Lesson learned. I left a message and hopefully can make an appointment for this week.

I’m itching to get back on the pavement. Go figure. Not being allowed to run makes me actually want to go out and do it. Human nature gets you all the time. I’m definitely wanting what I can’t have.

So I “ran” the Disneyland Half Marathon last Sunday, and it’d definitely be an understatement to say that it was an interesting experience.

I knew that I would be treating the Disneyland Half more as a “13.1 mile fun run” than as a serious race. Going into the half, I definitely did NOT feel as prepared for it as I should have. I had conflicting feelings of excitement and outright fear. Would I be able to run most of it? Would my knees go out? Would I have to let my friend run ahead of me b/c I didn’t want to hold her back?

I hadn’t been on a real run in weeks b/c I was scared of aggravating my knee. I had only felt pain in my right knee, so I purchased a knee sleeve.

Saturday morning, I woke up and tried to pump myself up. Sure I wouldn’t be running at my full ability, but I was there to have fun!!! Took forever getting ready, checking and re-checking my bags to make sure I didn’t forget any of the essentials (outfit, charged iPod, charged camera, spibelt, water bottle, gu/shot blocks). After dropping the furbaby off with a friend, we headed up to Anaheim to pick up my bib and packet.

We walked around DTD (Downtown Disney for awhile) and went to the World of Disney store to buy a “It’s my birthday” Mickey ear hat for my friend. Carbo loaded at her birthday dinner, and then spent the night at my parents’ house in LA county. I attempted to fall asleep at 9pm but kept tossing and turning. By the time I was able to doze off, it was nearly 3am and approximately 3 snoozes after my scheduled wake up time. Got up, showered (yes, I shower before long runs!) and woke the BF up. Spent 15 minutes chatting with my brother, who woke up to wish me luck and assure me that all would be ok. Then it was time to meet up with my friend, and we carpooled to Disneyland.

After a 40 minute drive (that I babbled incessantly throughout), we finally arrived in Anaheim. Instead of heading to the race start, I procrastinated a bit at the car (adjusted my bib, took excedrin, fixed my knee sleeve, tied and re-tied my shoes). I consoled myself with the idea of a 5am pre-race massage.

We headed out to corral around 5:15 am and struggled to find a place to stretch out. Around 615, our corral was released out of the gates, and from the moment I passed Mickey and Minnie, everything was a blur.

Remember, the reason I was running this race was to celebrate my friend’s bday with her. I was determined to keep pace with her as long as I could, but promised myself not to hold her back. Turns out, she was not as prepared for the race as I thought she was (or maybe had a bigger case of nerves). I lost her soon after we left the gates, but was determined to find her. The next 13.1 miles were a blur of running ahead, realizing she wasn’t with me, slowing down, and then freaking out. After a few incidents involving a visit to the porcelain god and a turned ankle (both her), I realized that pacing with her and keeping her motivated was more important to me. There would be other races, races I’d be more prepared to go “balls out” on.

Miles 1-8 involved me running what I could, then pacing back to keep an eye on my friend. Somewhere around mile 8, I realized that my bum right knee wasn’t feeling any pain, yay! Bad news was that I should have used sleeves on BOTH knees b/c now the left knee was killllllling me. Around mile 9.5 (past Angel stadium), I had lost my friend (again) and was beginning to feel the stress of the situation. I had to mentally push myself forward and it was a struggle not to cry.

I finally found her around the 10 mile mark, and stayed with her for the remaining 3.1 miles. I told her that all we had to do was complete a 5k, and we’d be done…unfortunately those last 3.1 miles were the hardest miles I’ve endured in my entire life. I had been following the Hal Higdon novice training plan and it has you running up to 10 miles. I definitely want to run the full distance or as close to it as possible when I train for my next half! I definitely did not feel prepared for that last stretch.

I had been drinking my water/gatorade mix throughout the race, and stopping for water and powerade at the aide stations (located roughly every 1.5 miles). I ate a shot block at mile 6, a goo at mile 9 and another block at 12. My legs felt like lead, my knee was killing me, everytime I tried to stretch my foot would cramp up. It was SO HARD to walk that last 5k while staying positive and encouraging my friend, who had her mental breakdown at mile 5, when she turned her ankle. At one point, she asked if childbirth hurt more than what we were feeling, haha.

In retrospect, I’m sure all the stopping helped build the wall I hit, and for my next, serious race, I’m leaving all my friends behind, haha.

I couldn’t even stretch out properly at mile 12 b/c I had to pee soooo bad. I guess all the liquids got to me. Spotting a port o potty at mile 12.5, I made a quick stop and continued on. We finally crawled to mile 13 nearly 4 hours later (siiiiiiiigh). I had texted the BF to let him know our situation earlier on, so that he wouldn’t worry about us collapsing on the course (or being driven by the shame shuttle). I tried to push my friend to run the last mile or so, but she was over it. At that point, I left her behind, and ran as fast as I could towards the finish line (really, I was running towards the big bucket of ice bags!)

It was definitely not the experience I was expecting to have, but it was fun none the less. Pictures with characters! Funny hats! Who doesn’t love it? Plus, my medal is so pretty =)

People compliment me on finishing the half, but I almost feel like a fraud. I hesitate to consider this a new PDR (and in turn, a new PR) b/c I did not give this race my all. I have a few other races I’d like train for, but first things first: Get my knees checked out!

I was going to make an appointment with my Dr. to get a referral for a sports medicine Dr. but she’s booked up until the end of October. I tweeted my local running store instead and made plans to visit their on-site doc to see if he can help out. Hopefully it’s nothing major, and I can continue running soon =) If I can get back to training, the first thing I’m going to invest in is a Garmin…running the half was SOOOO stressful when you’re pacing an injured person and don’t know what pace you’re walking at… and you’re afraid of being picked up by the shame shuttle!