Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Physical Therapy Update

So by my prior blog post, you probably already know that I’m……injured. I hate to say that word – when it’s smaller it seems less intimidating!


Here’s the general idea of what’s been going on:

At first, my physical therapists weren’t really sure what the root cause of my problem was. They said it could have been my back, my weak hips, my knees, etc. so we played a game of trial and error.  Their basic goal for me before Houston was to help me survive the race. I began going to them about a week and a half before Houston. Goal #1: Met.  Race complete.


Monday of this week was a “feel better” day. I received a massage treatment to my knee with electric pulse (feels AMAZING) as well as an ice treatment. Seriously, after leaving their clinic on Monday, my knee felt SO much better. I could finally bend it for the first time in 2 days without any major pain. I was given instructions to take ibuprofen, ice my knee a lot, and keep it wrapped.

Goal #2: Figure out the cause of my knee pain and fix it. On Thursday and Friday (after watching me run), it was determined that I have weak hips and upper thighs. I also run similar to the way a model walks on a runway (one foot in front of the other…literally).  This motion causes my center of gravity to shift with every step and it activates my IT band which in turn causes knee pain. The tendonitis developed rapidly and we speculated that it was because I picked up speed and became faster the past few months (not to mention the time off that I took in December). I did run my fastest Half Marathon in December and PR’d by 7 minutes. I think that’s what did me in. We now call that race the Swamp Stink. We also coined the term “I got Swamp Stomped”.


With the discovery of Goal #2, my Physical Therapist decided to kill me with squats and lunges on Friday - so much so that I groaned every time I sat down over the weekend. He told me to come back on Monday so we could “hit the workout hard”.  OMG really? I thought we did that on FRIDAY!

I was also given instruction to continue running - run until I feel leg fatigue NOT knee pain (which I now fully understand what that feels like).  The reasoning behind my continuing to run is this: if I stop running, then the pain will go away, I’ll loose my fitness level, and I’ll be back at square one – starting over from the beginning. If that happens, then when I attempt a run, I won’t run as fast or as long because I am not in shape. As soon as my level of fitness returns and I pick up speed, my problems would also return because we never addressed the root cause of my knee pain.

Saturday, I met with my running group and ran a little with Heather. She was nice and offered to run with me. I made a conscious effort to change up my form – not one foot literally in front of the other, but two separate steps apart from each other. My strategy along with all of those stupid squats and lunges must have made a difference because I made it to a mile and a half without stopping and no knee pain. I noticed when we stopped that I was starting to feel a “twinge” in my knee and I became paranoid, so we walked the mile and a half back to our group meeting location. However, I never noticed any knee pain! Yay!


I returned to the Physical Therapist on Monday and boy did we ever “hit the workout hard” – once again, I did a ton of squats and lunges – only this time, I held onto 2 eight pound weights as I was doing them. Also, I ran/walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes. We definitely celebrated my 15 minute victory of no knee pain! Woohoo! (To celebrate, I had a little fro-yo after!)  It’s the little things! :0)

So far, I’ve had the Graston Technique performed on my IT band ((Can we say OMG?!)). The Graston Technique is like INTENSE foam rolling. So take your most painful spots on your foam roller and magnify them by 10! Ouch!  I’ve also had a LOT of ice and stim as well as a form of electric stimulation called the Hivamat. I LOVE the Hivamat, seriously. It feels amazing on my knee. It involves another person (PT or PTA) and an electric current – it’s a form of Deep Oscillation. The Hivamat delivers gentle electrostatic pulses wherever needed (for me, it’s my knee). It breaks apart waste and helps move swelling out of the knee. I love it!!

So basically, that leaves me with a plan: continue my at home stretches, icing, wrapping, and iburpofen – also continue seeing the PT on a regular basis (sometimes daily). Work on strengthening my hips and upper quads – also adjust my running form. Last but not least, run the Disney Princess Half Marathon and the Rock and Roll New Orleans Full Marathon with minimal or no pain!

Now you have it!  :0)  Until the next update, things are starting to look up – finally!!


  1. I dealt with IT band issues last year around this time, its not fun, but totally treatable. I hope this isn't the case for you, but it took a solid 3 months for me to not have any knee pain during a half distance. Foam roller and you will be besties before long :)

  2. Wow! It sounds like you are getting some great care. Hope to see you in NOLA.

  3. I am recovering from hip flexor tendonitis and my PT killed me with exercises in December. Then he gave me squat lunges to do after the Disney Marathon, he said I couldn't do them before the marathon because it would make me sore. That should have been my warning to never do them, but I did last week and couldn't sit for about 5 days. :) But I am finally feeling better and continuing the squats so hopefully I can kick my injury in the butt as well.

  4. yay! so glad you are able to get some help, I am so glad, you sound so optimistic!

  5. I left a comment but Im' not sure it went through...glad you are getting better!

  6. Glad to read that running is part of the therapy!

  7. Oh no! I developed patellar tendonitis two years ago so I feel your pain. My PT had me do a TON of squats and lunges, too. I can honestly say I think the weighted squats have made a ton of difference (that and new shoes). I hope you recover quickly!

  8. yay for PT! Im so glad you're starting to feel better!!

  9. I think it sounds like they have an awesome plan in place for you! I also realized how off I am on weak glutes and that was my knee pain issue. Getting them built up is not fun but its working!Glad you are on a good road to recovery! (ps maybe your body thinks it would rather be modeling than running!)

  10. Glad that the exercises and stretching you're doing combined with PT is helping! Wishing you a speedy recovery!


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