I have had a minor setback in my quest for a healthier life and have been temporarily sidelined with an injury to my left knee that is preventing me from continuing my 5K training.
I last ran on Wednesday 9/19 and during that run I felt some discomfort on the outside of my left knee but nothing that caused me any pain nor did it slow me down. I run was decent and after finishing I did feel a slight stabbing pain in the same area so I iced the knee and went about my evening as normal. I woke up on Thursday and the pain had intensified but not to the point I couldn’t walk and I could bend my knee without increasing the pain. There was no swelling and it was not sensitive to touch. Almost felt like maybe I needed to “pop” my knee if that makes any sense. This wouldn’t be the first time I have woken up with some sort of ache or pain – aging will do that to you – so I wasn’t that concerned and figured it would work itself out by the time I was to run that evening.
That is until I tried to walk up the stairs to my home office.
Very sharp pain ran up from my left knee to my hip. Strong enough that I went up the stairs one step at a time trying not to bend my left knee. Great!! Did I over do it the day before? Like I said earlier – nothing out of the ordinary happened during the run and with no swelling I wasn’t sure what to think. So what does a self-proclaimed internet geek do? He searches the internet for knee pain from running.
Now I am the first person that will tell others not to self diagnose – but I do it all the time because I prefer not to spend money on a doctor when 9 times out of 10 the diagnosis and treatment they give me is the same I found online for free. Most times when something ails me I gave it a few days to see if home remedies will solve the problem first before I seek out a doctor. This method may mean my early demise but this process has served me well for 43 years.
Anyway – after combing through several medical sites I came across a runners syndrome called Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) which is known to cause the exact symptoms I was experiencing. I won’t go into detail of the injury (you can read about it here if it interests you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iliotibial_band_syndrome) but basically it’s a piece of tissue that connects the hip to your knee that can become inflamed and irritated from several factors such as overuse, improper gait or running on the same side of the road to often . If you read enough about any topic you will get the extremes of positives and negatives and some of the things I was reading was really depressing me. The potential existed that this could take several weeks or months to resolve itself which would put my goal of running in my first 5K on 10/28 in jeopardy.
I haven’t been this determined about a goal in a long time so I set my mind to try to resolve this as soon as possible. First thing was admitting that I was not running that day and more than likely would not be running at least through the weekend. My goal was to work on the injury without medical advice over the weekend and if by Monday it was not at least improving I would suck it up and go see my doctor.
Following advice from several different sites I did the normal treatments you would do for most sports related injuries – RICE – rest, ice, compression and elevation. But since there was no swelling I didn’t feel the ice was doing anything, at least not from the stand point of providing any relief. So I applied some heat – yes I know you are not typically supposed to apply heat to an inflammation – but I was at least able to walk up and down the stairs with less pain which was a positive sign for me.
Friday morning came with little change and my spirit sank a little lower that maybe I would not be able to work my way out of this. I decide to give foam rollers a try, and picked one up from the store in the morning and based on some of the things I was reading online it held good promise in my eyes at getting me back on track. It took a few times to figure out how to use it properly and was very awkward to use on the area I was focusing on (hip to knee) but I got the hang of it and was able to use it several times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
By the time Shannan and Jordan had left home on Saturday to go get our pictures taken I had noticed a marked improvement and minimal pain in my knee. YES! Maybe I would be able to get through this faster than some had forecasted online.
As I am writing this on Monday morning 9/24 I only have some lingering soreness and actually was able to get in a round of golf Sunday afternoon.
So maybe I have been able overcome this setback and my first 5K is still in view for October. I am going to give it one more day of rest and then I’m back it on Tuesday.