Monday, June 7, 2010

The Verdict : Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

I  keep staring at the screen trying to type a nice witty, pithy, "hey things are bad but it will get better!" pick me up line but I can't.  I returned from my doctor and was told I'm to not run for at least 2 weeks, and to take medication to stop the swelling. Nothing is broken, nothing is damaged permanently, but I am to take it easy while I heal. I can swim and bike, but that's about it. So now my training is derailed officially and  my goal of "Running a strong SF Marathon" changes to "Avoid a DNF in the SF Marathon" or even "walk/run the SFM". I'm also saying good bye to scaling half dome, which honestly would have been a bit much even at 100%, but still it's a dream I will hold on to. I love Yosemite and anytime I am there, I feel awe, joy, and wonder. The big rock will have to wait! My doctor was actually pretty cool about the whole ordeal. When I hestitantly asked him "you aren't going to ask me to stop running right?" he laughed and pointed out that aside from the puffy knee, my blood pressure, weight, etc. were great and that I was (in his words) "in great shape" this made me smile!
A PS to the Women's Race I mentioned below: My girls did great! Both mom and grandma kicked butt, and the post race snack line line was a bit too long. I think she's doing a race review here or elsewhere. I got to meet my twitter friend Layla and we discussed flatland/mountain  running techniques and defying the medical community (childhood doctors told her she couldn't run, she's obviously proving them wrong!). The flatland mountain training? Running in parking garages. Clever! Why'd I never think of that? If When I get better, I'm going to give that a shot! I learn the best stuff from other runners online, you guys all rule!

A short entry for now, thanks for reading and thanks to all my friends for the well wishes! In the big picture, this is not a big deal. I will run again, and I will overcome this obstacle as well.Overpower, overcome!


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  2. I'm so sad to hear about the lapse in your training, but I'm sure you will get right back on your feet with no DNF in Frisco. Smartie pants to the training in parking garages!!!

  3. OK, so it's Runner's Knee. This can be fixed -- says the above-mentioned (thanks!) person who likes proving people wrong who has twice conquered this same injury. The first time was before I even started running, which is kind of amusing; it's like my body was preparing me for the whole running thing.

    1. Strengthen your quads.
    * If you have access to a gym, use the leg extension machine. (Google it ahead of time so you know which crazy contraption to use.) Start out with just a little weight, lift your legs and hold it with your quads doing all the work. If they start to burn slightly, then they're getting the workout they need.
    * Bike. Use your quads. Don't go so hard (resistance levels or outside hills) that you have to stand up to pedal, because that will put a lot of weight on the knees, when the goal is to make your quads stronger.
    * Wall squats. When the knee gets a little better, do a couple of these. Don't overdo it, and I now only do them for maintenance -- a couple of them about once a week.

    2. I now swear by Glucosamine and MSM. The first time around, I limped for months and thought I'd never get better. A friend told me to take it, and since he's not the type to practice all kinds of voodoo, I figured I'd try it. In a couple of weeks, the pain had lessened. I don't think the stuff would have worked entirely on its own, because I also invested in a gym membership at the same time and started trying to strengthen muscles to take the strain off my knees.
    Fast-forward through tentative treadmill steps, my first 5K, my first half-marathon AND my first marathon. Somewhere along the way, I stopped taking Glucosamine/Chondrointon and MSM, because even the best deal at Wal-Mart puts it at a bit under $30 a month. In January 2009 the knee pain came back. My spring half-marathon and marathon plans went out the window. I was beside myself. Then I remembered the magic pills. I bought some more and started taking them daily. That fall, I took 14 minutes off my marathon time. I'm training for marathons four and five. Last weekend I PR'ed my 5K time. Yep, I should probably go find a Glucosamine sponsor!

    Side notes: I've compared the various ingredients of the name brand manufacturers (most have the word "Joint" in the name), then found cheaper brands with about the same amount of the main ingredients. I've also noticed that MSM seems to be necessary.
    Also, it takes at least a week of daily use to start feeling any difference, and more like 30 days for more improvement.

  4. Thank you Daphne and Layla!
    I am icing, taking some vegetarian glucosomine pills, and ibuprofen, it means the world to me to see these responses so thank you both very much!
    Today is the first day that I've seen an actual visual improvement, so - signs of hope? We'll see!

  5. Funny timing -- I just checked in to see if there were any other comments, and I see you just posted. Glad to hear you're noticing some improvement! You WILL get better. And I've always found that getting back to my previous running/fitness level didn't take nearly as long as I'd feared.

  6. I had the same thing. Here is my experience:

    Good luck!

    Despite many studies, there in no evidence that Glucosamine pills do anything.