Runner's Knee

Good news ladies and gentlemen, the prognosis is in and it looks like I’m going to live! Confused? Let me bring you up to speed: It all started 11 days ago when I took off for an 18 mile run. About 3 miles in I felt some tightness in my hip. Around mile 6 I started to feel pain in my knee. For some insane reason I didn’t stop despite the fact that I felt like my leg was at war with itself. When I crossed the finish line I was limping and I felt pretty certain I’d never live to see another day. So I took a few days off and went to the doctor. She told me the pain was a result of overuse and to take the rest of the week off. A week later I tried to run and a mile in had to stop because of knee pain.   

Worried the pain wasn’t resolving I booked an appointment to go to Physical Therapy. Hold on a second while I just hop up on this here soapbox, alright ::clears throat:: Everyone needs to go to physical therapy right now. If you are an endurance athlete just book an appointment and go. No pain? No problem? Doesn’t matter, just go. I learned so much about my form, strengths, and weaknesses in just 1 quick hour.

First my PT did an overall physical analysis. He pushed and pulled my body and limbs every which way. Then he had me run on the treadmill (I know, no thank you to the treadmill). During the run he videotaped me from the side and from the back so he could analyze my form and stride. He went through the different frames with me and drew all sorts of pretty lines all over my body. (The footage not physically on my body.) There was a lot of information to take in but luckily we are going to be doing it weekly so he said it will all make sense as it’s applied. Turns out I have a mild over stride! (Overstride: When your foot comes in contact with the ground ahead of your hips.) He showed me how he wants me to work on pushing my chest forward and lengthening my legs backwards so my initial contact and mid stance happens with my hips directly over the balls of my feet. This will allow me to work on pronating a bit and then propelling my legs backwards so there’s a slight angle before I strike through again.  (Pronating: The turning inwards of the foot.)

I know what you are thinking "Kelly I am so lost, what the heck is runner’s knee?"  Runner’s knee is technically called Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome which means chronic stimulation of the nerves.

My PT was like, “Kelly you have a mild of case runner’s knee.”

 And I was like, “Will I live?”

 And he was like, “What?”

And I said, “Can we save my leg? Do we have to amputate?”

 And he was like, “What?”

And I was like, “Will I be able to run the marathon?”

And he said, “Of course. I actually want you to train normally.”

And I said, “Praise Jesus! Alright, lead me to the promise land.”

And he laughed (that wasn’t a joke…) and we came up with a plan of attack. (By “we” I mean he came up with a plan of attack.)

It turns out these hips of mine have been lying. I have mild hip tightness and decreased strength in my outer hips and that accompanied with my mild over stride has led to my runner’s knee. My PT wants me to continue marathon training plan with no adjustments because even though the dull pain will continue I am not doing any structural damage. His hope is over the next six weeks the strengthening and elongating will help alleviate the pain in my knee and over the course of the next few months we will get rid of it all together.

So here’s his plan:

1. I get to do lots of side stepping with this groovy rubber band. (I’m basically having a three legged race by myself without the third leg.) I take forward steps keeping resistance on the band and then I do criss cross steps like they do in the Wizard of Oz (sans skip).

2. Next I begin the lunge matrix which is very similar to the movie The Matrix. (I actually have never seen The Matrix so this is an assumption. I am assuming they are similar.) Entering the lunge matrix is simple. I merely do forward lunges, side lunges, and then back lunges all with a forward reach; you know to keep it fancy.

3. Then I take the lunges to the next level by doing walking lunges with side rotations.

4. Finally I end with fancy hamstring stretches and foam rolling!

And this is all from the first week! Physical therapy you guys, who knew!? It’s like the Holy Grail. I really honestly wish I would have done this sooner. I know I am not a serious elite athlete but reading Runner’s World and other blogs can only get you so far. It just makes sense to have a professional work with you while improving your health and preventing injuries. I highly recommend it.  

So there we have it, we are back on track! I have a pretty exciting announcement about the New York Marathon coming up in the next week or two so keep your eye’s peeled. I can’t wait to share what we have planned, I am really beside myself. It’s a game changer. Just crossing some T’s and dotting some I’s.  

Alright friends, I am headed to Baltimore and D.C. today for some adventures! I’ve never been so I am pretty excited. Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.