Road to Recovery: The Plan
|May 2, 2012||Posted by Lauren under Running|
Thank you all for not dismissing me as a spoiled, whiny brat after my last post. (And if you thought it, thanks for at least keeping it to yourself). I appreciated every single comment, as well as the reality checks some of you gave me – even if you didn’t know you were doing it at the time.
After a little bit of self-reflection, it became pretty clear that I kept sinking into despair about this bum knee of mine because I didn’t really have a plan. Instead, I was just looking down the long, seemingly endless tunnel of injury without seeing a light. But as Meggie so wisely recommended, it’s much better to take this whole injury thing day by day. As depressing as it may sound, constantly looking ahead to a time when I (might) be able to run again was just doing more harm than good. The only thing I know for certain is that I cannot run today. Which means that today, I need to do whatever I can to help myself heal.
And that means that it was time to sit down and finally work out a plan for this recovery phase of my “training.” As tempting as it is to sit on my butt and drown my sorrows in a bucket of ice cream (not that that has happened…), doing so day after day is damaging to my health and my relationships. And since I don’t really want EC to call off the wedding, I think it’s about time I pull myself together.
Road to Recovery
Step 1: The Plan
I probably don’t need to say this BUT…please remember that I am not a doctor – or any sort of medical professional. This is the plan I’ve come up with by combining some doctor’s advice with a whole lot of research. I can’t even guarantee that it’s going to work for me, so please don’t take it as advice for your own situation.
1.) Stop taking prescription anti-inflammatory medication
Okay, so I know this goes completely against the recommended treatment. Since the pain you feel when you have Runner’s Knee is caused by inflammation, it makes sense to take a drug aimed to reduce that inflammation.
However, I had been taking the pills daily for the past two and a half weeks. Although it was definitely helping my knee, I’m pretty sure it had started giving me some not-so-great side effects. I was feeling fuzzy-headed all the time, not to mention how rough the drugs were on my stomach. So I decided it was time to give myself a little break. I haven’t taken the pills for several days now, and the fuzziness in my head has completely disappeared. Whether there is actual science behind this or it’s all in my head doesn’t really matter at this point.
But, since I understand the benefits of doing something besides icing to keep the inflammation down, I decided to replace the prescription pills with a low dose of over the counter ibuprofen…for now.
2.) No running
As I mentioned a few days ago, I haven’t really allowed myself a long period of time without running at all. The runs that I have gone on have been short and slow. Which means that not only are they not really doing much for me physically (a slow 2 miles isn’t really all that effective when you’re used to running 7), but they most likely weren’t aiding my recovery either. At the moment, I’m on a minimum one week running ban, knowing full well that it could be 2 or 3 (I refuse to think further into the future than that).
3.) Learn to love the bike
Even when I feel motivated to cross train, the stationary bike is my least favorite option. I find it incredibly boring and (to be honest) hard. Biking uses completely different muscles, and that seat is less than comfortable. However, since this activity seems to be the thing that irritates my knee the least, I need to suck it up and get friendly with the bike over the next couple of weeks.
4.) Ice and roll
This is what a foam roller looks like…in case you were wondering.
I should’ve been doing this on a regular basis anyway. The foam roller is torture, but it’s a necessary evil. Tight muscles can contribute to runner’s knee, which means that I need to make rolling a part of my regular routine even after I’m healed.
Because weak/poorly conditioned quads and hamstrings can contribute to runner’s knee, there are specific exercises a person can do to help strengthen the muscles around it and alleviate the pain. I’m sure an actual physical therapy program would have me doing more, but for now I am starting with a select few. I’ll see where this gets me after a week or so.
The exercises I’m focusing on include these straight leg raises explained by Runner’s World, specific hamstring and quad stretches, and leg extensions.
6.) Core Work
A strong core is important for all runners. Us injured folks are no exception. Plus, if I can’t run, I might as well focus on getting a six pack, right?
7.) Stop being a baby
This is probably the most important component of my plan. I get that it’s okay to feel sad and have a little pity party for yourself when you’re injured. But I’ve been spending way more time wallowing than should be allowed. My world is not over. I do not fail as a human being. And a little bit of time off from running never killed anyone.
That’s how I’m feeling today anyway. Talk to me in a week and we’ll see how I’m doing then…