Two weekends ago, I ran a 20-miler than felt great all the way till ~19 miles, when my knee started to HURT. Not just “oww, I can run through this” pain, but more like “there’s an ice pick digging into the side of my knee” pain. After 2 days of hobbling, I knew I needed to start going to physical therapy if there’s going to be any chance of me running the Cleveland Marathon on May 16th.
First off, I have to say how lucky I am and how much I appreciate the student health insurance plan here. All the in house stuff is incredible. I’m allowed 25 free physical therapy sessions per semester and I don’t have a co-pay either! My physical therapist, Paul, is great and really listens to my concerns (“This marathon means so much to me… Help me, Fix me!”) and is determined to try anything he can to help fix my bum knee. We’ve determined it’s my ITB and stretching and strength training can help nurse this injury back to normal.
I’ve seen Paul 3 times now and he starts each session with some solid stretching exercises. We’re focusing on loosening up my IT band and glut med.
I have really weak glut med muscles because all I ever do is move in a linear forward motion. If I can strengthen those muscles, it’ll take the strain off the ITB. (So note to self: after the marathon, start weight lifting again!)
I’ve learned a lot of at-home strengthening techniques, too. I’ve been using a large, stretchy rubber band thing, that I tie loosely around my two feet, and I side step 10x to the left and 10x to the right (repeat 3 times). Along with a few other exercises, I try and do that twice a day now.
I’ve been icing every night, too. I used to use a soft ice pack, but I’ve found a new method I like even more: Frozen water in tiny Dixie paper cups. I tare off ~1″ of paper cup around the top (exposing the ice), and holding the cup so that the ice is touching my skin, I swirl the ice around the side of my knee. Afterwards, I can just throw the ice cup back in the freezer to use later.
Ibuprofen (as prescribed) for the inflammation, foam rolling twice a day, and praying to the running Gods have also been on my “Getting Serious About PT” regiment.
I know I need to be realistic about the marathon, but I’m an optimist (and stubborn as hell) at heart. I believe in PMA (positive mental attitude) and hope. 10 days. I’ve still got 10 days.
As I was sitting here writing, Paul (my PT) called and let me know some great news. He was able to contact a doctor friend of his to squeeze me in for an appointment to get a cortisone shot to my knee/ITB this afternoon! I’ve heard the shot really helps! I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow…