My posts have been sparse the last month or so as I’ve dealt with some non-fitness issues, but also because knee pain has once again hobbled my training efforts. Since I’d signed up to complete a 3.5 mi run at the end of May, I was hoping for a quick fix to get me back on my training. Yesterday’s visit to the sports medicine doctor pretty much squashed any hopes I had of running in the race (or in the near term) and have now changed my plans entirely.
When the doctor started off the conversation with “we need to talk about your x-ray”, I knew it wasn’t good. I’d been told the x-ray was just a formality to rule out any obvious damage. So, if we needed to talk….well, yeah, it wasn’t going to be good. The reason I’m having pain and swelling appears to be due to arthritis and narrowing of the joint (also known as cartilage damage). After hearing about my rapid and dramatic weight gain, the doctor guessed that this knee pain/arthritis had been made worse or accelerated due to the weight. Keep running as is, and prepare yourself for a knee replacement (or two) down the road. Ok. Effectively freaked me out now – you have my full attention.
What damage has been done is permanent. The goal now becomes trying to prevent further damage to the knee. After letting the shock set in for a few seconds, the doctor gave me a rough outline of what we can do:
- Get BMI under 25 and KEEP IT THERE: running with the extra weight is causing more impact than the joint can handle. The best way to help improve the situation is to drop the weight. Great. This will be easy, especially since, you know, I can’t RUN.
- Rebuild core strength: the core/abdominals have little strength and hamstrings, other muscles are very tight. We need to focus on improving strength or running will continue to suffer (or the knee will). Kind of knew this, no surprise.
- Orthotics/shoes: I already use New Balance shoes with a Superfeet insert, but stride analysis suggests I need something else. This one is also frustrating since I’ve gone the running store route and thought I DID have a stride analysis done.
I am essentially shut down not only from running, but biking too, at least until I can ride without pain/swelling. Swimming and walking are allowed but man, does that just leave a bad taste. I could not feel more old lady than I do right now.
I’d previously written about what my body weight should be and I guess I have at least a defined target now to aim at. After adjusting my LoseIt app goals I see that if I stick to the calorie limit, I could be there by August…and “stick” I must since I’m terrified right now about not getting exercise calories. Core strengthening moves to the top of the list and I have a few more visits planned with the doc.
In the end, I’m in a bitter and angry spot right now. I sit, it hurts. I bike, it hurts. I run…you get the picture. Realizing if I had only been more successful in my prior weight loss efforts this might have been prevented makes me feel like even MORE of a failure. Although I’ve heard of some folks talk about knee pain improvement and cartilage repair, I don’t know if there’s any truth to it and am not setting high expectations. Over the next week, I plan to revisit some core plans and add in another doc visit. After which, I hope to be more positive than today. Onward..