138 days and still counting

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).

PTOver 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).

bikeI’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.

10259952_10152416462510903_3367224144088528806_nThankfully, 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.

photoAfter 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.

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17 thoughts on “138 days and still counting

  1. So hopeful for you and glad that you’ve found someone that can help. Big smiles from here! I know how frustrated you’ve been and how difficult it is to not get out there and do what you love. I hope you’ve turned a corner and I’m hopeful 🙂

  2. Fingers crossed this IS IT!! You know how I wish you to come back to your happy running self! You are always welcome to join me on one of my adventures on the bike or in the pool, even open water if you feel like it. You’re too fast for me to run with. 😛

  3. I thought for sure this “injury” had lasted 9 months and you named it Ursula (or some other Uuuuu name of course). Guess I’ll settle for pics of the Wolfman instead. 😉

    Glad to hear you are finally feeling some progress! I hope the latest witch doctor’s magic is still holding up. I miss you. I don’t even remember what you look like b/c all you IG is Wolfman and the pUps….

    Miss you MaUrlene! Get well soon!

  4. marlene!!!! you’re alive 🙂

    so sorry that you have been going through so many struggles. there is nothing worse that pain that refuses to heal. i can’t even imagine.

    thanks for the update! so glad that you feel you are on the right path now 🙂

  5. There is no doubt in my mind that you will recover fully and learn a great deal through this experience. It will make you so much stronger and a better coach, too. You are as always….amazing!!:)

  6. Oh man, So sorry to hear the injury is still plaguing you. Keeping everything crossed that this latest treatment is the one that does the trick. Hang in there!

  7. Never a doubt in my mind that you will find a way to “get back” to running when you can….safely! I was sidelined for almost a year after Boston, but I can finally answer that YES I am back to running pain free. I’m certainly not in Boston speed shape, but I don’t worry about that, nor do I feel the pressure to be there again…I’m just happy to be on the road. You will be too, my friend!

  8. Being injured is so beyond frustrating! And a really good reason to hibernate. I had to do the same thing. It’s hard to be “in it” when you are “out of it” but I hope this is it and you are BACK!

  9. What a miserable way to spend nearly half a year- I’d never wish an injury on anybody! Hopefully this new physio is onto something and you’ll be back out there on your own 2 feet soon! Fingers crossed that you can spend the 2nd half of this year doing what you love 🙂

  10. Marlene, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been sidelined for so long. Being injured really sucks! But, it sounds like you finally found a doctor and treatment that is working for you. I hope you’ll be back running again very soon!

    I also wanted to thank you for all the inspiration and motivation you provided during your seasons of triathlon training and racing. Your example inspired me to get back on my bike, and last year, I completed two duathlons. I’ve completed one du this year, with another on the calendar for August, and my hubby and I will be competing in our very first Olympic distance tri in July. We love multi-sport! Thank you for encouraging us (without knowing it) to reach for new goals.

    • Richelle, that makes me so happy – thank you for sharing that! Multi-sport is so much fun. So glad you are loving it! Good luck on your first Olympic distance!!

  11. Hi Marlene! I haven’t checked in on you in a long time either and am just learning about this! Keep up the good spirits as much as you can! I am glad that you got some relief from the new physios treatment. At SMS (Sports Medicine Specialists) @ Yonge-Eg a physio there does running assessments specifically and took me from ITB syndrome where I could not walk at work to running again pain-free. Another suggestion, I know it’s probably the last thing you want to hear! Hope that things start to improve in time for some summer running! Hang in there! xo

  12. Pingback: Off and running | Mission to a(nother) Marathon

  13. Pingback: Chilly Half Marathon Race Report | Mission to a(nother) Marathon

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