A PSA and the Chronicles of the Bum Knee

The “big fall” was just about 10 days ago. You know… the fall during which I literally bounced off of my precious patella. I have a PSA for the 5 people out there that actually read my blog: Pick up your darn feet and pay close attention to urban sidewalk potholes. While I feel like I should take some of my aggression out on the City of Chicago and it’s lack of attention to pedestrian walkways, I think a faster solution is probably just to keep my eyeballs peeled for craters in the pavement. Ahhh, the tough realities of an urban runner (On a related note: I’m not sure I would be cut out for trail running…).

So, there’s your advice of the day. Avoid one clumsy moment and you’ll forego a lot of pain.

The fall happened so quickly I don’t even know exactly how it happened. Man, I wish I could see video footage of that. I’m sure it was truly graceful.

The good news is that since the BIG FALL on Sunday, July 20th, I have made considerable progress. Every morning I’ve been able to wake up and think to myself, ‘hm, well the knee is moving better than it was yesterday!’.

Sunday: World of pain. Spent most of the afternoon crying and watching Orange Is the New Black. Enter cry baby status.

Monday: Mantra= “suck it up and get on the damn plane, Jenny!” I had a 4 hour flight to endure but I’m thanking my lucky stars for an available aisle seat. I spent the flight trying my best to bend and straighten my leg (you know, within the inches of leg room that we’re allowed on those metal cans flying through the air). I was in a considerable amount of pain while sitting and walking. I just couldn’t get comfortable. I had a hard time straightening my leg and pulling it backward. I attempted to do a normal quad stretch but the knee was definitely not ready yet. It was tough to really complain once I arrived in LA – “secret” trip, more on that later! 

2014-07-21 15.28.12

Tuesday: “Ok, let’s try to move this thing a bit more.” I woke up early and, while friends went out for a fun run/hike, I resigned to trudging to the hotel fitness center to rotate my knee on the bike. And this is how it went:

No, that video is not in slow motion. That’s the fastest my knee could go on Tuesday. It hurt but not so much that I felt like I should stop. At the end of my 32 minute workout “rotation”, the bike said I had literally moved 0.0 miles. It didn’t feel great, but hey, I considered any type of movement a good sign. I spent the rest of the day being goofy with a few teams from Saucony 26 Strong. Can’t wait to share some goofy pics!

Wednesday: A crazy busy week continued with a 3:30 AM alarm and a trip to the airport. This time to fly to San Francisco for work. By the time I arrived, I was feeling all sorts of weird from a few short hours of sleep. I had a full day of work but tried my best to keep my knee mobile. Any time I spent more than 30 minutes sitting in one position, my knee would tighten up and walking normally would begin difficult again. I didn’t have an opportunity to ice it during my work conference (excuses excuses) but plenty of hydration and ibuprofen throughout the day seemed to help.

This was Wednesday’s “LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!” moment:

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I wasn’t able to bend my knee this far since the fall. Small wins!

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Because bruise pictures are all cool and gnarly. Here you are. It looked much worse on Wednesday but felt considerably better. Woot woot!

I collapsed into bed around 8:30 pm and felt like a brand new person when I woke up the next morning.

Thursday: Lonnggggg day of work. Again, I tried to keep my knee mobile throughout the day. Same as Thursday, it was fine once it was loose but really cranky if I left it in one position for awhile. I capped off the day with a bit of wallowing with Robin over beers and food. The running family is the best, ain’t it? I really wish we could have gone on a planned easy run but beer and food is always a close second.

Friday: Today was the first day since the BIG FALL that I felt like I could walk normally and sitting for longer periods of time didn’t seem to bother my knee as much. CUE HAPPY DANCE! The distraction of a long week full of fun and work was definitely welcome. 5 days of no sweat-inducing activities and I was starting to get a little antsy. The day ended with another long 4 hr flight homeward. And again, I thank my lucky stars for an available aisle seat and an empty seat to my left.

Saturday: All the sleeps and lazies. In a matter of 5 days, I had averaged just 5 hours of sleep each night. It definitely showed. I slept like a rock on Friday night once I got home and couldn’t be bothered on Saturday. I spent the morning sipping coffee and watching TV shows in bed. I doubt I’ll say this many times, but today was one of those days when I was happy to not have a long run. I’m not interested in running through pain and I was mentally & physically ready to sit on my a**. So that’s what I did.

Sunday:  Hey! Look! More progress! After my “spin” the previous Tuesday, I didn’t find the idea of getting on the spin bike all too appealing. BUT the inflammation in my knee had gone down a bit and I thought moving it for 30 minutes could only help it recover. And here’s how it went:

I was SHOCKED that I was able to move my leg that “quickly” (and I had to capture it on video, duh). It wasn’t painful but it was a wee bit uncomfortable so I stopped at 30 minutes. Like night and day to Tuesday’s “spin” session! So, 60 minutes of rotation and 0 drops of sweat for the week.

This is one glorified recovery week! It’s not exactly how I envisioned Week 2 of training for Monumental, but I remain optimistic about my fall goals. It’s just going to happen on a condensed timeline.

That brings us to this week, folks! I’ve been icing my knee for 20 minutes several times a day and taking ibuprofen regularly. I can now bend and flex my leg with only some slight discomfort. I did 30 minutes on the spin bike (very low resistance) on Monday and 45 minutes on Tuesday. Everything is moving in the right direction and I’m really happy that I’m no longer in pain. If you had told me on Sunday that I seriously damaged my knee and I wouldn’t run normally for awhile, I would have believed you. Now, I know that’s not true and I’m recovering just fine. It’s just going to take some more time.

I was able to see a sports doc this morning and the verdict is: prepatellar bursitis. Basically, the top of my knee cap is inflamed. She suggested that I continue to stick to spinning (or elliptical if it isn’t uncomfortable) through the two-week mark, which would be this Sunday. After that I can go for a test run and see how it reacts. Between now and then, I just need to keep icing it and taking ibuprofen to keep the inflammation down. I had a feeling that it wasn’t anything serious considering how much it’s improved in 10 days, but I feel relieved now that a professional has taken a look at it. The doc said that if the inflammation doesn’t go down in a week, we can try a steroid injection (but she doubts that will be necessary).

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It’s tough to tell in this picture, but my right knee cap sticks out further than my left. Inflammation be gone!

Conclusions:

1) Avoid urban potholes, you urban runners!

2) Rest, ice, and ibuprofen sometimes do cure all. (Well, that and puppy cuddles.)

2014-07-29 16.45.19

On the up and up!

- J

7 thoughts on “A PSA and the Chronicles of the Bum Knee

  1. my goodness ): I hope you get better asap. that looks awful ):

  2. I hope your recovery goes smoothly. There’s nothing more frustrating then not being able to run or walk.

  3. Glad your knee is improving and that the doc said it wasn’t serious. As for trail running, I think that it might actually improve your coordination! And at least if you fall, it’s softer ground. I was quite clumsy before I started trail running. My first few times out on the trail, I nearly ate it about 2-3 times tripping on tree roots or rocks. But eventually, I got the hang of it and I bet you would too!

  4. I am the world’s worst trail runner, because I can find every single tree root and trip over it.

    My best story ever is a few years ago, I was checking out my reflection in a passing window, missed a step, and fell flat on my face. I scraped both knees, both elbows, both hands, and my Garmin, and was bleeding profusely. And then I had to walk home 1.5 miles like that. Sigh. It’s hard being a runner sometimes.

  5. I’m behind on reading blogs so sorry this is late. I can’t even imagine how hard that fall must have been to cause so much pain. I was wincing just reading this post. I’m glad you don’t have a video of it! So glad it’s improving and that you still have plenty of time until Monumental to reach those goals!

  6. Pingback: We Wander And Ponder | Bum Knee Be Gone! Back To Regularly Scheduled Programming

  7. Pingback: We Wander And Ponder | Monumental Training Snapshot: The Good Stuff

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