Friday, April 11, 2008

makin' it up as i go along...

Well here I am. Just over 8 weeks since I stopped running..

I know that some members of my family and some friends read my blogs (lurkers, the lot of them) so I won't put a figure on the sum of money I have thrown at my knee injury since then but let me add up:
- 4 physiotherapy sessions at our local sports injuries clinic;
- 4 weeks of paid parking at the bottom of Steep Hill instead of free parking at the top of Steep Hill;
- 1 initial consultation with a podiatrist which resulted in:
- full gait analysis with a podiatrist and the manufacture of custom orthotics;
- new neutral running shoes;
- and the purchase I resent most of all - a pair of flat black court shoes to wear to work, wide enough to fit my orthotics and with no heel so as not to interfere with orthotics magic..

And where am I? Well my friends, not a whole lot further, or better.. When I first went to the physio I was only really in some pain after running a long-ish distance - 8+ miles. Not good at all, given what I want to do with my running, but I was able to generally do the shorter distance without any major discomfort. The pain was primarily in one knee. Since going to the physio and doing twice daily exercises (and laying off running, breaststroke and downhill walking) the pain has become more constant and is now presenting itself in both knees. About 2 weeks ago I decided to stop doing my physio exercises to see if the pain diminished. It did, somewhat. But when I went back to the physio with this information he was convinced that I was just pushing too far or too hard and that I should keep them up, albeit with less vigour. 3 days after doing that I found that I was, once again, getting pain behind my kneecaps, so, once again, I have stopped the exercises. Only about 5 days ago but I do think that things are getting better. In the meantime I picked up my orthoses last week and I have been slowly wearing them in. They seem fine, are not causing me any discomfort and I am now able to wear them all day. I think it is too soon to tell whether they will help - they certainly do not appear to be a hindrance.

But this still leaves me with a mild pain in my knees, sometimes behind the kneecaps, sometimes on top of the knee, sometimes at the bottom, sometimes at the side. I don't really feel I am any further along the road to determining what's wrong or how to make it really better. Stopping running doesn't appear to have worked. I have given the physio quite some time and, if anything, it's aggravated things. The orthoses may well help - the gait analysis showed up a pronation that I've never known about and which my physio had noticed as well.

Now what though? Patience huh? It's not that I'm being impatient (although I am definitely an impatient person, hadn't you guessed that by now?) I would be patient with any particular strategy if I thought it was working.

So I'll tell you what I'm doing now and you can tell me what you think:
- I've cancelled next week's appointment with the physio. I need time to consider whether I want to go further down the road, and further down the road with this physio - however much I like him and think he is trying to help me;
- I've booked an appointment with an osteopath. I did suffer from runner's knee before my NYC marathon and he managed to help me then without stopping me from running (it helps that he's a sub 3 hour marathoner himself). I didn't go to him straight away this time because I thought that I might be helped more by a physio but now I'm beginning to doubt that thinking.
- I've started running. Yes.. I know. I got so fed up (and so excited by the thought of my new running shoes and trying them out with orthotics) that I decided to try - very slowly. I went out for 1.4 miles yesterday and today. Fine both times - no pain - and no increase in pain / soreness afterwards in the evening. I figured I could try this over the weekend and see what my osteopath says on Monday.

Then there is the appointment with Chris Griffin, the ChiRunning instructor in California in 2 weeks as well. My physio thinks that it is likely that the cause of the pain is biomechanical as I have it in both knees (although he does always mention the option of surgery as well) and my podiatrist agreed. ChiRunning should address biomechanical issues quite directly..

Am I crazy? I don't know. As long as I'm not making things worse by going on (very short) runs, I guess I'm not. Am I? And I guess I don't know whether I am making things worse..

I wonder how much of everything is mental as well. I find myself constantly checking in with myself - are my knees sore? If so, where? Honestly, I bore myself rigid and you as well, no doubt. I'll stop now.

But any thoughts / ideas / inspirations / experiences on your part would be very welcome...

And let me not forget - the wonderful Drusy is running the London marathon this weekend. Big shoutout for that wonderful lady who has trained so hard and so well, and raised lots of money for the Guide Dogs. I will be following it on TV all day and hope to catch sight of her.