My knee.

I went to the knee doctor this past Thursday and got some answers about what is wrong with me knee. The official diagnosis is Patellofemoral Dysfunction.  I think this is what is commonly referred to as Runner’s Knee.  Basically, it is an injury that occurs at the articulation between the patella (kneecap) and the underlying femur (leg bone). The patella is a diamond-shaped bone which lies in a correspondingly shaped groove in the front of the femur. It is designed to function as a pulley, assisting the quadriceps by providing a mechanical advantage for added strength. My patellofemoral dysfunction occurs when the patella tracks excessively on one side or other of the groove (hence the rather loud grinding and creaking I have heard recently) and does not align properly when in use (i.e. when running). Therefore the injury causes irritation and abrasion of the cartilage of the patella, resulting in inflammation and pain. It gets worse as the injury gets worse.  Here is what the bones and the groove they are supposed to sit in look like:

Mine is just like a pulley that is off it’s track – doesn’t work to it’s full potential and causes problems!  At this time, the doctor said he doesn’t think I need to stop training for the Full Marathon in October – YAY! I was really worried about that, and I do feel some relief, although I am still a little worried about how my knee will hold up over time.  The doc said I also have some arthritis in both knees that won’t get any better as I get any older.  The treatment for my knee is 4-5 sessions of physical therapy to strengthen the other muscles around the femur so the actual patella does not have to work so hard.  Hopefully then, it will stop coming off track so easily and not be as painful.  Once I learn the strengthening exercises, I can do them on my own at home or in the gym. For now, I am supposed to be using pain as my gauge as to how many miles I run, although the doctor did not recommended missing many more long runs if I want to run in October. So far, I have missed two long runs this season. One last weekend because of pain and 10 miles this weekend because I was traveling. 

I’m getting back on track with running (and eating) tomorrow.  I also go for my assessment session of physical therapy at Max Sports Center at Ohio Health.  They referred me to a therapist who is a runner so I am hoping to learn some things too!

So as I said before, it is my time to have an injury, but I think it is a mild enough one that I will be okay in the long run and still be able to accomplish my running goals!  And for that, I am truly thankful.  I know several people who have had to STOP running altogether due to knee injuries so I know it could have been really devastating.

I am just going to have to take it easy between now and then without taking it too easy!

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