I have now seen an orthopedic sports medicine specialist and a physical therapist for my knee pain. My IT bands are tight, and so are my quad muscles and my calves. Apparently, the tightnesses in my muscles and the relative lack of flexibility in my arch in combination with my minimalist shoes moved some of the impact that my feet normally would have taken up to my knees. The physical therapist wants to stick a bunch of needles in me to release some of the tightness, I’m taking NSAIDs every 12 hours as an anti-inflammatory, I’ve got foam rolling instructions (still hurts!), calf stretching instructions, and icing instructions. And I can’t run for at least three weeks. The doctor thought I might have ruptured the meniscus in my left knee, but wasn’t sure because squats don’t hurt at all, which they should have had I damaged the meniscus. I’m going to assume everything is fine with the meniscus until told otherwise. I have a follow-up appointment with her so she’ll get a chance to think about it again with more information this time, and that squatting doesn’t hurt has to be a very positive sign!
The physical therapist says I could probably have prevented this with stretching and foam rolling. That makes me feel a little stupid. It’s not like I didn’t know I should stretch and foam roll. But I soothe my ego with that he also said that I’m where a lot of runners are, but most people don’t get help. I even intend to comply with the running ban, unlike a lot of people I know. (And by ‘people’, I mean runners.) If I can prevent this from happening again, it would be silly not to do it.
I can do upper-body exercise and I re-negotiated the total ban on lower-body exercise other than swimming the doctor wanted to impose on me with the physical therapist, and now we have a deal where I’ll cede lunges, plyometrics, and running in exchange for not-very-deep squats, spinning, and lower body resistance exercise with lowered weights to to 10-15 reps instead of 8-12. That means all I really have to do to modify my current routine is switch Tuesday run for a swim, cut the lunges out of Legs & Back, not go very low in the squats, and go down in weight, modify what I do in Fit Club, and switch my long run for a long swim.
I love swimming but haven’t incorporated it into my workout routine because I hate ‘transport’ time to and from my workouts. (I don’t live next to an Olympic-sized pool, as it were. I’ve got something with a fountain in the middle of it, which is hardly useful for actual swimming!) But maybe this recovery from injury is a chance to use my muscles in a new way. It’ll be new and fresh both mentally and physically. I haven’t been swimming for fitness in years – I’m going to do my best to keep moving forward with my fitness, even if it isn’t in the same way I had initially planned for.