Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Knee

Running may not be a contact sport, but it can exact a toll on your body.  I see it every day in my store, usually in the form of plantar fasciitis.  It's a problem that can make life difficult for even non-runners, who I meet on a near daily basis looking for answers or relief.  But this isn't going to be about plantar, that post will come later.  And yes, I've had three bad cases of it over the last 25 years.

No, this is a personal tale about my latest running injury that shelved me for nearly three months.  It all started the week of October 8th.  I finished a three mile run and as soon as I started to walk my right knee started popping.  It was audible, pop, pop, pop.  The knee popped and cracked the rest of the evening.

The next day I got up and the knee felt great.  That night I went on another three mile run and the exact same thing happened.  Day three and it was a repeat performance.  The run went fine and then the knee started popping.

Day four after a nice four mile run my knee almost completely seized up after the run.  It was stiff and sore.  I started with the ice and Advil.  I figured a week of rest and I could get back at it.  When I gave it a go seven days later it felt like someone had shoved a knife under my knee cap.

I could tell after a couple of more weeks of rest that the knee wasn't going to get any better.  I finally went to my orthopedic surgeon who had surgically repaired both of my Achilles tendons more than a decade before.  The MRI showed a right knee with a minor tear in my meniscus.  The surgery was set for November 30.

Surgeon Eduardo Gomez took about 45 minutes fixing the knee.  I later found out that I have signs of arthritis in the knee, not unusual for a runner my age with almost 50 years of mileage under his belt.  I was back at work three days after the surgery and was on an exercise bike that same day.

I did the usual round of physical therapy.  I tried a short run the day after Christmas and it wasn't exactly an uplifting experience.  The eliptical was my friend.  I gave running a real go five weeks after the surgery.  It was slow, slower than slow but I crushed two miles without anything that resembled real pain.

I consider myself lucky.  Yes, I still feel the need to ice and Advil is always at the ready but I'm ready to start training again.  I need to pick a goal, a half marathon or maybe, dare I say it, a marathon.  But I will admit, at age 63 coming back from this surgery is a bear, much more difficult than the invasion abdominal surgery I had 15 years ago.  Running an 11 minute mile is a slap in the face.  I never thought I would get excited over the prospect of breaking 8 minutes in the mile.  Getting old sucks!

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