It’s time for a long overdue update. I didn’t mean to disappear for so long, but have not been able to bring myself to admit that yes, I am still injured.
At last count, it had been 26 days without running thanks to my pesky patellofemoral pain syndrome. I have since gone from counting days to weeks to months. My last run, except for one very short test run on an anti-gravity treadmill, was January 16th. I’ve been benched through nearly two whole seasons, staring longingly out the window at runners wearing decreasing amounts of clothing as the weeks go by. I remember trying to look on the bright side and telling myself that I picked a good winter to be injured, certain that I would be running again by spring. And yet, here we are…
I have done everything I can think of (or that anyone has suggested) to beat this thing: countless sessions with 3 physiotherapists, a chiropractor, 2 osteopaths, an acupuncturist (next up, podiatrist); a fistful of supplements recommended for joint/cartilage issues; an x-ray, an ultrasound and an MRI; 3 separate sports doctors to discuss and review the results. Each and every practitioner has agreed on the diagnosis of PFPS and yet each one remains stumped that it is just not getting better, despite extensive treatments and rest. I have a roster of PT exercises which I have done diligently at times and neglected at other times (thank you Miss Zippy for this reminder – I needed it).
Over the past few months I have gone through all levels of optimism and discouragement. There are days where I have been very positive, reminding myself that this too will pass and confident that I can come back stronger than ever, eventually. Other days I have been so depressed that nothing could motivate me beyond a bowl of popcorn on the couch. Hubs has done his best to drag me out of the trenches when I’ve been feeling really down and out, and promised me that it will get better “soon” (even if I don’t believe him anymore since he’s been saying that since January). I’m grateful to my running friends who have checked in on me frequently, kept me in the loop and offered so much support. I’m especially grateful to friends like Kelly who have gone the extra mile in encouraging me to get to the pool, the gym or out on my bike (and kept me company doing so).
I’ve stayed connected to my running
group family as much as possible – providing aid stations on their long runs, tagging along on a couple of runs on my bike, cheering them on at races. On one hand it feels good to stay connected and feel in the loop, but it’s also extremely difficult to see everyone out there doing what I love so much while I am stuck on the sidelines.
Thankfully, there is a dose of positive news after all of that doom and gloom. I saw a different physio (at my usual clinic) last week and she had a couple of new ideas, trying a few different things. In particular, she suggested that my VMO (vastus medialis oblique) may not be activating properly, causing an imbalance and preventing the kneecap from tracking correctly. She hooked me up with electrical stimulator directly on that muscle (and cranked it – yowzas!) while I did short intervals of squatting. What a a bizarre sensation. She also did some suction in and around the knee, and tried a new tape job.
After five months of absolutely no relief or improvement, my knee felt amazing the next day. And the next day. And the day after that. Something that she did actually helped. I was in such disbelief and so paranoid that I would “jinx” it, I didn’t even admit to anyone that it was feeling better until 24 hours later. It is clearly still not 100% and has regressed slightly over the last couple of days, but hopefully this means I am finally on my way to long-term improvement and relief. After five months of absolutely no relief or improvement despite everything I have tried, there is a glimmer of hope and maybe even a light at the end of this tunnel. I will see my new knight in shining armour again on Thursday, and we’ll go from there.
Thanks so much to everyone who has continued to check in on me through this ordeal. I hope to have another more positive update soon.