Hi there! For the past month, I’ve been knee deep (haha) in knee drama. After trying to do it on my own with consulting collegues and friends about my pain, I finally went to see a sports medicine doctor last week. After x-rays and a physical assessment, I was diagnosed with patellofemoral syndrom aka runner’s knee. So what does that mean?
Ready for your anatomy of the knee lesson? In basic terms, it means inflammation of the patella femoral joint, where the kneecap hits the thigh bone. When you contract your quadriceps, the patella moves into the femoral groove. If there is an abnormality such as structural alignment, poor flexibility and ROM (range of motion), and lastly weak VMO (vastus medialis oblique) and hips you are more likely to have patellofemoral syndrome. Women, knock-kneed or flat footed runners and those with an unusual shaped patella are those mostly with the diagnosis.
Emily, my PT, lead me through different tests to determine what abnormalities I had. Thankfully, she did not do a mental test. We already know I’m abnormal. 😉
Structural alignment – FAIL. Knew that was a given since I pronate and my knee caps track out rather than forward. Although after watching me run, Emily didn’t think my alignment is all that bad.
Poor flexibility and ROM – PASS. That is definitely not a problem although the day of my eval my legs were super tight from my preview of CrossFit at HLS.
Weak VMO and hips – FAIL/PASS. I knew going in that my VMO is not the strongest. My hips however are very strong.
So what’s the plan? Emily showed me two new taping techniques to try. This is the first one with Kinesio Tape.
This actually worked out well. I ran 3.2 miles with it and no knee discomfort. Emily suggested I try this one first. The other technique is more aggressive in that you physically pull the knee cap over and tape it in place.
Yesterday I had a visit with Emily. She started off by using ultrasound to break up tight muscle fibers with heat. She then brought out the torture devices. First up was the Graston Technique. The first words out of my mouth? “HOLY MOLY!” I really wanted to say, “FUDGE!” 😉 I thought the foam roller was painful but good God that was not fun. After what seemed like an eternity, the torture continued with a Tiger Tail. I asked which is better, foam roller or Tiger Tail. Emily believes the foam roller is much better when you are using it on yourself since body weight helps really get in deep to release the muscle fibers.
My legs do feel much less stiff now but I’ve got bruises everywhere. Some from my treatment and others from the kiddos jumping on me while I’m foam rolling at home. They are so helpful. I also now have orthotics in my Mizuno’s for the first time. I’ve heard good and bad things about orthotics so we’ll see how I tolerate them.
Oh and remember this lovely piece of hardware?
I ran with it a few times but it felt really cumbersome and seemed to throw my gait off. Emily suggested not to wear it. Ever. Except if I get a major tear in my MCL. Good to know. Hope I never have to use it again. 😉
So I’m feeling optimistic about my knee. This isn’t anything career ending. I’ve got some strengthening to do of my VMO (more on that soon) as well as stretching the crap out of my IT band, quads and hammies. My feet and knee anatomy aren’t the greatest but I can make it work and get back to running. I’ve got work to do since I’ll be running this 1/2 marathon on September 30th. And since I know I’ll be back in running shape by November, I registered for this too. I felt the pressure to register for it last week after seeing that it was nearly full. That’s my race so I have to do it even if it means walking. I haven’t given up on the full marathon yet either. There just may be one in me before the end of the 2012!