Way back when we started training I had a bad run one day and an even worse run the next because of my right knee. This nagging knee injury has been with me since I ran my first half marathon. Basically any distance over 10km would aggravate my knee, wearing a brace would get me to 25km and beyond that I was running with pain. So after this particularly bad weekend Dan said enough and made me go see the doctor. I should explain that I am a medical professional so I do not like going to the doctors because inevitably they find something wrong with you. And of course an injury that occurs while taking part in a certain activity is easily fixed by not doing said activity. I was afraid she’d say stop running, but to my surprise my doctor was cool about it. She did not want me to stop running either (I think she just meant marathons, her facial expression changed slightly when I explained what the DeathRace was). Anyway I walked away from her office with requisitions for x-ray, ultrasound, bone scan and MRI (impressively thorough) and a referral for physiotherapy. The first 3 tests I had done within days (it helps to work in diagnostic imaging clinic) and they showed not a lot, mainly just degenerative bone changes which is a little disconcerting since I’m not really at the degenerating age. So on to the physio.
I went to an awesome place called the urban athlete, they are geared to keep everyday people competing like we are elites. Laura was my physiotherapist she was very thorough, but was getting a little frustrated that it was not immediately clear her why I was having pain. In fact it was good to know that I have a good gait and bend in all the correct directions. Finally Laura started to do some physical manipulations with me lying down. My knee joint was being pushed, pulled and bent in all different directions, she assured me this wouldn’t hurt, it didn’t, I just couldn’t watch. By the end of the session Laura was no closer to the cause of my pain. She suggested some exercises to help with some muscle weakness she noticed and said to come back in a week. However, I was not just to return, I was run 15km to get there with no knee brace. Her guess was that I was losing my form when tired and doing something funny with my leg, which lead to knee pain. The following week as I got ready to run to Laura’s office I started to think about my runs after her visit, I had worn my brace for everyone of them but I had no pain at all, including running a faster than I should have around the bay. Hmm, off I went brace free and let me tell you it was lovely, it was actually warm that day so I was rocking some shorts and it felt so nice not having my knee cocooned, and as I finished up my run I was elated to find I had no pain, not even a twinge. When I got the office I was tossed on the treadmill and told to just keep running at my normal pace and not pay any attention to what was going on around me. This was a little difficult because there was a screen in front of me showing me running on the treadmill. It was a little distracting. Laura was zooming in and out and moving the location of the camera. I was finally told I could stop. This is what happened next.
Laura: How far have you run now?
Laura: How’s your knee?
Me: Fine, actually great.
Laura: Your form is fine even when tired. I don’t have a clue what’s wrong with your knee.
Me: I don’t care. I think you fixed it when you were yanking on it last week.
Laura: Well good. Come back if it starts to bother you again and we can keep working on it, otherwise I’d say there is nothing more I can do.
That was 6 weeks ago, since then I’ve been running +80km a week and guess what? No pain!!! To think if I’d just sucked it up years ago and went to see a doctor I could’ve been running pain and brace free. But I’m not going to see one about this thing on my foot, I draw the line where needles may be involved….