The word of the day is "frustration." In the past few weeks, I've mentioned a little bit about the pain I've been experiencing in my knee. Now I have a diagnosis (although not an official doctor's diagnosis because I'm too immature to take the time to find any sports medicine doctor in the D.C. area when I know the best one in the country lives in my hometown - and am also currently too broke because most of the best specialty doctors are damn expensive and not necessarily covered by my plan. I went the cheap way out - maybe should have considered my increased training requirements before making that insurance decision, damn.)
I have Patellar Tendinitis. Diagnosed first by my local running store guy, then by my gym Pilates class teacher (who thinks the solution is to quit running all together and claims he knows all these people who ran all their lives and now their knees are shot...I don't like his answer). And finally by myself via trusty internet research.
My conclusion went something like this from a self-administered questionnaire (meaning I pretended a real doctor from the Mayo Clinic was asking them while I was answering - thus making the diagnosis more legit)
- Is the pain usually located in the section of your patellar tendon between your kneecap (patella) and the area where the tendon attaches to your shinbone (tibia)? - Why yes, that's exactly where it is bothering me.
- Does it occur especially when running or jumping? - Right-o. That and sometimes while pushing the pedals (just the down stroke) in my spinning classes
- The pain in your knee may initially be present only as you begin physical activity or just after an intense workout? Yes, initially this was the case
- The pain my increase as you step up the intensity of your activity? Eh - I don't really notice an increase in pain as the intensity is increased...but now instead of it just being at the beginning of the run it lasts the whole dang time - and when I used to wear the strap there wasn't pain, now the strap can't save me.
- The pain may make going up and down stairs painful? -YES - not so much going up the stairs, but I avoid going down stairs like the plague now.
- The pain may become a constant ache that can make it difficult to sleep at night? - Thankfully NO. But considering I've ticked off everything else on this list I fear if I don't get this healed it's just a matter of time.
And now let's discuss why I'm flippin' frustrated. A) of all, I'm frustrated because I don't understand how it's gotten worse. I mean it's something I've dealt with a little bit since the end of college, and it makes complete sense why. There is a reason it is also called "jumper's knee" - for all of those years of cheerleading I was stunting, tumbling, jumping and just all around bouncing all over the place. But this particular article points to the cause as overuse (i.e., increased mileage, hills, pace), and this I don't understand. I followed a gradual increase of mileage during our 10 mile race training program and throughout that gradual increase of mileage, I gradually added hills, and it didn't get worse. It wasn't until about 2 weeks after that race when it started really hurting (when I hadn't increased my mileage at all and definitely wasn't overdoing it).
Additionally, some point to weaker quad or hamstring muscles and the extra strain those weak muscles place on the knee as a potential cause. For the past seven months (at a minimum) I have been consistently weight training, mostly twice a week. Over the past three months I've put extra focus on my glute, hamstring, and quadricep muscles to even further try and prevent injury. So B) of all I'm frustrated because I feel as though I've been training correctly, stretching, foam rolling, etc. and don't understand why it's gotten worse.
This little rant on my diagnosis has gotten a bit lengthy - thus, I am going to turn this into a two-part series and tomorrow we're going to discuss the prognosis and how that also has me (you guessed it) frustrated.
Can I even use the term prognosis when talking about an injury and not an illness - doctors out there? Oh well, even if it is not medically correct, it helps the titling of my mini-series. It's clearly riveting and nail-biting I know, you will all be rushing back tomorrow. You are welcome.