Wednesday, August 31, 2011

They tried to make me go to rehab...

I said, "No, no, no".

And by rehab, I mean physical therapy for my knees.
If they want me to go to drug rehab, I'll go, but only if it's somewhere nice.

Physical Therapy
I had been to physical therapy before for my Runners Knee in 2006. Here is how it went:

Therapist: Lay on this table and do 3 sets of 10 leg lifts.
Me: Ok, done. Now what.
Therapist: Uh, do some more leg lifts. Then come back for 3 days a week for the next 8 weeks.
Me: For more leg lifts?
Therapist: Uh, well... yeah.
Me: So I come here 3 days a week and pay you $300 an hour to tell me to do leg lifts?
Therapist: Yes.
Me: Why don't I just stay home and do leg lifts for free?
Therapist: Because I am a professional.

Go back to start... Do not pass go... Lose $2000 
So after lots of doctors visits I was back to where I started from.
All the way back to 2006, in fact. A case of runners knee and no answers.

"Small Steps" wasn't working.
Hell, even "NO STEPS" wasn't working.

Hmmm. Why did it come back? A better question, why did it go away for a few years?

Fortunately I have kept a detailed running log since 2007 that could answer those questions.

Some people think running logs are useless data.

But back in July, I looked at my log and found something very interesting...

To be continued.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Runner's Knee - part 4 , The Knees Strike Back

My continuing saga with "Runner's Knee"...

In Part #1, I declared myself cured from 20+ years of "Runner's Knee".
In Part #2, I enumerated the my long and painfully stupid search for the cure.

In Part #3, I announced that the cure was "small steps".

Now, in Part #4, I retract all that. I was wrong, I am not cured.

A case of 3rd degree runners knee.
In this stage, the knees begin to bleed.

This year the old Runners Knee came back with a vengeance, but I was in denial.
How could I have it again? I was cured! I had it all figured out with the "small steps"!
It had to be something else.

So back in May I went to the same doctor I went to in 2006, the previous time I had quit running because of knee pain. He gave me the same diagnoses as he did back then: Chondromalacia

He said physical therapy would not help me. Instead his recommended treatments were...

Bullshit, in a pill form

Glucosamine Chondroitin
Here is the conversation I had with the doctor. For the sake of brevity, I am paraphrasing.

Doctor: "I highly recommend you take Glucosamine Chondroitin, it helps people with your condition."
Me: "But from what I have read, all the legitimate studies have concluded it is no better than placebo."
Doctor: "True, but we have the really good stuff that requires a prescription. It must work better because it is way more expensive than the over-the-counter kind. And we sell it here!"
More expensive Bullshit, injected directly into the knee

Hyaluronan Shots 

Doctor: "I highly recommend you also get Hyaluronan Shots, it helps people with your condition."
Me: "But from what I have read, all the legitimate studies have concluded those shots are also no better than placebo."
Doctor: "But we sell the Othovisc brand, which does work, because the drug company says it does. Plus we give it to professional hockey players and they say it works for them.

Knee torture

Arthroscopic Surgery
Doctor: "If those  drugs don't work, then we can do surgery to smooth out the cartilage under your knee cap."

Cortisone Injections
I had not run at all for 3 weeks, yet my knees were still killing me. They did not seem to be getting any better, it still even hurt to walk. Since I am not a fan of placebo treatments, I opted for a drug that actual does something: Cortisone.

Unfortunately it did absolutely nothing for me. A few days after the shots, I tried to run the result was the same. I hobbled home after a half mile.

There just had to be something seriously wrong. So I sought out another doctor.

Getting fitted for skinny jeans

Doctor #2
Again I am paraphrasing, but this is what Doctor #2 told me:
  • You have Chondromalacia, which is a fancy name for arthritis. There is really nothing you can do for it.
  • If it hurts to run, then don't run.
  • Glucosamine Chondroitin is bullshit
  • Hyaluronan Shots are even more expensive bullshit
  • "Cartilage smoothing" is an absolute last resort, and the success rate is near zero
  • Your right quad is like half the size of your left, what the hell did you do to it?
  • I am prescribing physical therapy, which we sell right here in the building
To be continued...

Blog Blitz!

Shannon and I have returned from our mountain vacation where we both photographed and ran the Continental Divide 10K Trail Race.

So in the next few days, we will be posting the following things:

  • Photographs from the CDTR 10K
  • Race report
  • What we did on on our summer vacation.
  • Some more observations on runners knee 
We have over 1000 photos that we must sift through, whittle down to 200 or so, and then edit.
This will take a few days, but we should have them posted to picasa and facebook by this weekend.

Unfortunately our photos will be superfluous, as Heiko Rath has already posted his complete set here.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Woohoo! Barefoot!

My knee has gotten a little better, so I have tentatively started running again.

Today I ran "The Dogmile" with Shannon and 3 of our dogs. I went barefoot because, strangely enough, my knee hurts less without shoes on.

Running barefoot, however, can have it's own problems.

I was feeling surprisingly good, just an easy jog, not really noticing the knee at all. We got a half a mile down the greenway, where we usually turn around and head home.
I glanced back and asked Shannon, "Wan't to go a little further?"

Our 85 pound dog Dudley, who was in front of me, apparently didn't understand the question.
He spun around to head home, and we collided head on. It was like hitting a concrete barricade.
First, my fragile foot crumpled into his rock solid leg. Then I was thrown over the top of him, crashing a 7 point landing onto the blacktop.

"Ow." I didn't feel the scrapes on my knees and elbows at all, because one of my toes had been crushed like a grape and the white searing pain blocked out all other sensation.
"OK, maybe we won't go any further."
After sitting on the pavement for a few minutes examining the toe, I guessed that it wasn't broken. "Let's head home"

I was able to gingerly run on it, and on the way back we saw another couple walking by. The guy called out after we had passed, "Woohoo! Barefoot!"

When we got to the end of the greenway, I saw a lot of kids in the street, so I decided to stop and put little Jorge back on the leash.
In a remarkably familiar accident, Shannon, who was running behind me, had turned to look back at Jorge and didn't see me stop.

She crashed into me, stepping hard on that same injured toe. "Oh, no..."
I looked down to see it swelling up into a shape and color of a plum.


The Zen of Barefooting can hurt like hell.

2011 Uwharrie Rumble

Shannon ran the Uwharrie Rumble Half Marathon today, and took some pictures.

Click here for the photo album

I did not run it due to a defective knee, though I really wish I could have.

Shannon found the race difficult as she wilted in the oppressive humidity and steep hills. She still managed to take 1st in her age group and 4th female in a voluptuous time of 2:12.

The 8K starting out

Congrats to all the runners who scored pint glasses.
Pint glasses are the best awards a race can hand out. You can't drink beer out of a medal or a trophy.

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