Thursday, June 7, 2012

"Ellipticalling": Surviving Chondromalacia Patella

So, last Friday, I went to the orthopedist. He ordered some x-rays and voila, a diagnosis: Chondromalacia patella.
My knee
The technician was funny - I took a close-up pic. & he begged me to discard it. I thought he looked fine - he agreed to let me post this one:
I think he said he's been doing this for 18years!
So after my knee smiled and said, "CHEEEEZE" and I got my diagnosis and begged for cortisone shots.

Me: Pleeeze Doc, You don't understand. I don't drink (well, ok maybe one here or there.) I don't smoke pot. I don't take Prozac, Xanax or Valium ....I run. That's what I do. I've been doin' it for the last 30years! It got me through undergrad school, working as a 23year old on construction sites with some supervisor spitting chew at my steel toed boots, through meetings summoning support for a Corporate, North American Worker's Compensation Safety Program in a male dominated Japanese Electronics Firm, two pregnancies, two terrible two's, the tragic loss of my best friend/husband, graduate school, the worst job I ever had in a completely unsupportive public school, Crohn's disease and now what? Your telling me, 'No Vermont 1/2 on June 10th?'
Doctor: Yes.
Don't you just love doctors?
Sometimes definitive and yet, other times, so vague.

Me: Can't you shoot me up with some cortisone?
I had 2 retinal surgeries. 
Afterward, my left eye still gave me trouble. 
I guess I kept bugging the retina specialist, until one day, 
she sat me down and shot me up with cortisone - 
through the cheekbone to the back of my eye. 
Damn, that hurt!
...but, it worked!

Doc: I could shoot you up with some cortisone, and you can run in Vermont on the 10th. Would you rather do that, run on the 10th ...and forgo running for the rest of the summer?
Like I said, don't you just love doctors?

Me: No (tears welling, up). You're right. So, can you fix me?
Doc: I'll try.
Yeay, why not definitive when you need it most?

Me: How do we fix this?
Doc: No running for at least one more week and Physical Therapy.
I felt like Marty Brodeur after the opening goal of Game#3!
Hey LA, back off on the goalie chants - Marty is a Hall of Famer!
Show a little respect, no?
But I digress....

So, I am waiting for my first Physical Therapy session. Nothing for new patients, until next week. I can't just wait around - so, I looked up on YouTube some treatments and exercises for Chondromalacia Patella, Anterior Knee Pain and Runner's Knee. 

Dr. Goldfarb was helpful on YouTube, as was Coach Shreck on You Tube, although the echo on this video is awful. The idea is to keep the knee cap properly aligned. To do this, the quad muscles must fire together, as one complete unit. Any pulling, left or right, will make the patella move improperly over the cartilage, causing rubbing and this awful freakin' pain! 
YOWSER!
These exercises, stretches and the foam roller have been helping. Even though I can't run (yet), Doc said I could use the elliptical. So I've been "ellipticalling" 2-3miles per day. Today was the first day that I was able to produce some force - and I actually got my heart beat up to 80% of my VO2max!

I have also been seeing my chiropractor and he has been lasering my knee. I really don't understand this whole laser thing, but it's working! I'll have to read up on it. He is a big fan of icing and rubbing Tiger Balm into the knee area (steady, for ~20minutes) before bedtime. 

This is my first running injury. I'm learning that sometimes training smart, means you gotta heal smart, too...
TRAIN HEAL SMART TODAY!


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