Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Minor Curveball

I've been working out hard for over a year.  Almost 16 months if we're being technical.  In that time, I've completed 3 rounds of ChaLEAN Extreme, including a hybrid of Turbo Fire and ChaLEAN, 2 Les Mills Pump rounds at 90 days a piece and all sorts of other miscellaneous TOUGH workouts in between.  I've been back at the pool, running, doing yoga at the hothouse and pushing my body to new limits. I've done my best to listen to my body and give it rest when I felt that it needed it. I've taken 2 full recovery weeks in a 16 month period.  When I think about it, that's a lot of go-hard workouts and not a lot of rest. 

I've been having a little twinge in my knee. Genetics are not on my side when it comes to my knees. I've always had a wonky one and this twinge was reminiscent of my old 5,000-yard-a-day pool workouts in highschool but it was nothing too bothersome...until now.  I wanted to ignore it. Ignoring the fact that my body is not as young as it once was seemed easier than actually listening to what it was telling me. I wanted to keep working hard in my workouts. I didn't want something like this to derail me.  Many people that have been overweight and then face an injury can certainly relate to this. When you make a commitment to yourself, and then put in so much hard work to clean up your diet and start getting active, you CAN'T be derailed. The mission MUST go on. My fight against weight gain and obesity is going to be a life-long one and it's scary to face any sort of break in routine. I CANNOT BE DERAILED.  In that same breath, I knew that the doctor appointment needed to happen. At least I would walk away with some answers...and a plan. You know how much I love a plan! 

I had my appointment yesterday and I was nervous. I almost cancelled. I had been resting it, working out more in the pool vs. high impact cardio, lifting more weights and they seemed better. Even still, as I walked up the stairs yesterday, all I could hear was the resounding "crunch, crunch, crunch" of my old-lady knees in the background.  And then I felt relief because it was the day I would have answers. And a plan.  A new plan, but a plan. I was okay with whatever was coming my way.

The appointment was pretty uneventful. They took x-rays.  I was happy not to have to listen to the click of the MRI machine. The crunch of my knees is enough to know that something is going on in there.  The doctor came in (Dr. Golladay, awesome dude by the way!) and we talked about my weight loss, my exercise and my daily routines.  He congratulated me on a job well done and then he started the exam.  It only took a few bends and twists, a little bit of walking and a good study of those x-rays before he knew what was going on.  He asked me if I knew what I had.  I sat there confused, blank stare.  I joked in return that I was there for him to give me some answers not the other way around. Perhaps he could sense I was an educated gal and liked to pre-diagnose myself.  All true, okay, I agree! And then he said it.  Chondromalacia Patella. A fancy name for "the cartilage behind your knee is crab meat." Doctors words, not mine! Basically, it's just  anterior knee pain due to cartilage breakdown or better known as Runner's Knee.  I have 2 wonky knees and genetics that do not favor them.  I overpronate and have long-worn orthotics for this issue. I stopped over the summer and this is likely what has caused me the pain again.

The plan is a simple one, but it involves some adjustments on my part.  I am so thankful that surgery and further MRI' s are not needed at this time. Perhaps down the road we'll go there, but not now and for that I am grateful. This is a fairly common issue in people as they age or those that workout in a high impact capacity for extended periods of time. Rest, ice, ibuprofen and a modified exercise schedule is what was prescribed.  He also surprised me and told me that I need to eat a lot of antioxidants in the form of dark green/blue/red/yellow/orange fruits and vegetables, continue to take my omega/fish oil supplement and keep exercising. All these things are good for the joints (and lucky for me, I'm already doing them!)  High Five to a doctor that turns you to nature's prescription instead of a pharmaceutical one.  I also have to be fitted with new orthotics and I must be diligent about wearing them as much as possible.  I can handle all of that!

The hard part will be my exercise. I'm a Turbo Fire fanatic, I have learned to love running and high impact exercise is something I actually enjoy for the first time in my life. I also love lifting heavy weights. Squats and lunges have begun to sculpt my legs and booty and I don't want to lose that. The good news is that I don't have to quit any of these things completely but I do need to manage them and be more mindful of how my body responds when I exercise.  I've shifted gears a bit and will be focusing more on getting into the pool for my cardio and modify my weight lifting as needed (no deep squats/lunges/leg extensions etc at least for 3 months).  My 5-6 day workout weeks, might shift to 3-4 days instead and THAT'S OKAY.

This would have been a derailment a few years ago. My old self would have freaked out, thrown in the towel, given up and let all of my progress go.  I'm not that person anymore. I made a commitment to this lifestyle 16 months ago, and I'm not throwing in any towels, unless it's a pool towel into the gym hamper. ;)  It's time for me to dig deep and focus on what I can do and not on the things I cannot do.  Easier said than done I'm sure, but I'm ready to continue tackling this knee issue as I get older and maintain my level of activity.  Sometimes life throws us curve balls.  This one is a minor curve ball and I'm taking it in stride and glad that I have some answers.  Time to move forward!

Has anyone here experienced Runner's Knee or anterior knee pain? What was your prognosis?

1 comment:

Christina said...

Keep at it girl. Thanks for sharing your story.