Knee update

I’ve been fairly quiet on the old blog recently due to the obvious matter of not doing much running as of late. I probably owe you guys a bit of an explanation of where I’m at with that (if you care!).

So post-Chicago Marathon I had a full nine weeks off of running due to my knee giving me a lot of grief. Grief when I walked, grief when I would bend down and even grief just lying prone in my bed. After a few physio appointments with different people, different diagnoses, a clear MRI (“structurally perfect”  apparently), lots of rest… it did eventually get better. Better in terms of daily life mostly. Bending my knee completely was still super stiff and uncomfortable, but walking was fine. Running? Nope.

After lots of trial and error, advice from people with more brain cells than me, and Internet searching, I found some good rehab exercises to get my affected leg stronger. As it had been quite a while that I had been feeling discomfort my brain and muscles were now protecting the movement on that side and had consequently those muscles had weakened. I added lots of single leg strength exercises several times a week to get it back up to strength.

Previously these exercises would be too painful to do. Now they were fine (rest does help, imagine that!). And the difference between the two legs was obvious. I mean I’d clearly done a good amount of strength on my left leg post-hamstring issue before Chicago and my poor right leg was now lagging behind. Ah injuries, don’t we love them and their patterns? So this time I worked both legs consistently (slow clap for Anna).

The good days of my leg were now outweighing the bad days. Things were looking up. And perfectly in time for the Christmas parkrun. Not wanting to ruin anyone’s Christmas (or just annoy people in general) I decided to do my first run BEFORE the parkrun so if it went badly I could skip the parkrun and just enjoy Christmas, rather than it potentially go badly and then feel a bit pants about it. However, both runs (easy 5ks) seem to go quite well.

The trouble was afterwards. My knee felt very niggly, grumpy and tight. It was like taking a step back from where I had previously been. I foam rolled, I iced (does any of that ever work? Mentally I needed to do something) and it slooowly got better again but reluctantly. Frustrating.

During this time of year it seems every runner is doing something (races, festive parkruns, 12 Days of Christmas running bonanzas, etc.). It can be mentally very difficult to be injured at this time. You want to join in, you want to be out there running along looking like a pilock in your Santa’s hat. It’s a great time to run as well because you’re so well fuelled from all the chocolate, mince pies and festive treats 😉

And being the stubborn idiot I am, as soon as my knee felt reasonably better, I tried another run. During the run I knew it wasn’t working. It didn’t hurt per se but you know when a run feels crappy. Something wasn’t right. My knee felt off and like at any moment it would start to hurt.

This entire injury period (and my hamstring too) I’ve felt like I’ve been very controlled and not done stupid stuff that Past Anna might have done. But here I regressed. I ignored my family saying wait a bit longer, I ignored Kyle asking what the rush was. And I ignored that my knee wasn’t feel super great. I just wanted to get out there and be part of that world again. And of course I made things worse.

So here I am, almost two weeks from that last run. I’ve been sensible, consistent with my rehab and not pushed anything. I also had the very welcome and helpful advice from a friend on Twitter (the super Steve Bonthrone: @pt_steveb) who gave up over half an hour of his time on a Saturday to video call with me.

He gave me such good advice, talked through my issues and gave me some new exercises and stretches. And things have gotten so much better. To the point I don’t realise anything is different with my knee until I try and bend it very firmly or crouch down and put a lot of pressure on my knee (I avoid this obviously). I’ve also taped up my knee using KT tape (and the help of Kyle and a YouTube video).

I need to bite the bullet and try another run now. I feel strong, my knee feels stable and good and mentally I need to test it. It feels so much better than it did before the other runs. But I feel so scared and worried it’ll regress. It’s so difficult to know when to start again. I hope I’m making the right decision. Finger’s crossed.

Do you find icing or foam rolling helpful when you’re injured?

Do you ever use tape for injuries?

6 thoughts on “Knee update

  1. Oh my, I do love tape. I’ve got a niggling calf (it just tightens, and I’m not diligent enough about stretching) that tends to end up taped for most long runs, and has done for the past 4 years now.

    I like a combination of ice and heat – heat up, to get the blood flowing, cool down, to reduce inflammation.

    And I must get better at my stretches.

    I’m glad to hear that you’re going in the right direction!
    Jane recently posted…Like Mummy, Like LK…My Profile

  2. Hi Anna,

    Many moons ago I had runner’s knee and went through exactly what you’re going through now. I did SO MUCH strength work to try to get my knee to heal, but the only thing that finally worked for me was getting a knee brace to get my kneecap to track properly. It helped to finally reduce the inflammation enough that I could run (yay!), which also allowed me to properly bring the leg back up to full strength. I only wore it when I ran.

    Now I am reading your older blog entries for help in dealing with high hamstring tendinitis. It’s just about as annoying as my old knee issue!

  3. I am never sure about the tape because it looks like it’s just holding the skin in place (but then as I have a plaster allergy I don’t think I could cope with anything for longer than half an hour). You see lots of people with it though. My dad uses a knee brace when he runs just as a bit of extra support and that works for him. When I fell over in the summer I had to ice my knee a lot because it was so swollen- I still have the scars from the grazes now! I do like ice though- when I get a bad back I get one of the physio packs of ice from the freezer and it really does provide relief .
    Good luck with the next attempted run- my fingers are crossed for you.
    Maria @ Maria Runs recently posted…Just before going back to reality- mainly Disney moviesMy Profile

  4. I hear you! Once you have “invested” the time in a proper recovery, you don’t want to risk that by coming back too soon. It sounds like you are being smart and cautious and I wish you the best.

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