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...