I have (in my medical opinion) what looks like a tiny alien in my knee. From the eyes of a license Dr. it's severe Illiotiabol band friction syndrome. Specifically, it's caused a "Baker's cyst" and fluid on the knee with a small edema in the band. Any IT band issues are a very real fear in runners because once you have an issue, it seems to pop up all the time. This is not my knee but it looks very similar to mine. You can see Marvin the Martian just hanging out in there.
How did this happen?
As anybody would, my Dr went to "over use" citing the 81 marathons. However, he also pointed out that I have ZERO cartilage damage in both knees and they actually look great. This is simply a tightness of muscles (from lack of stretching) that was set off by a few bad stars aligning: New shoes that changed my form and a very sloped road in the Hatfield McCoy Marathon.
I am... an over-pronator. Don't judge me! All this time I've thought I had to change, conform, be more like other runners that have ideal sloping arches and ankles that align with the knee and the hips. I've carried this secret shame my whole life and recently tried to change by buying a stability shoe... to my detriment. I told the Doc about my confliction. His advice? Go back to minimalist shoes. Run the way your body wants to. Essentially, if it isn't broke don't fix it!
He went on to point out that each runner's alignment is different and running with a high arch and lined up ankles may NOT be the best thing for ME. He also told me that the fastest runners are the ones that run like me! Overpronation means we use our big toe to push off and it's the strongest part of the foot to use. Heck yeah! So all you overpronators- say it loud and say it proud: "I HAVE FLAT FEET AND I LIKE IT, LIKE IT, YES I DO!"
I complained about the "Herpes of running injuries" to my Doc. After he decided NOT to remove me from the facility he told me that TRULY it wasn't. I'll trust him-- for the sheer fact that he's telling me what I want to hear-- but he says with proper therapy and then preventative measures I can keep it gone forever. What must I do? It's bad... like REALLY REALLY bad. Please, if you're a runner with a queezey stomach, please just skip to the next section...
- STOP Running for THREE more WEEKS! Oooooh no he didn't! I have to admit, the past three weeks have been helpful. My knee doesn't feel like it's popping out of place anymore. It's a challenge mentally. I feel like I'm losing my speed and endurance. In this time I can bike, swim, elipticize, etc.
- Stretching!!! NOOOOOO! I hate stretching more than anything. It takes a lot of time. I'm not good at it and I've never needed it... until now. Let's face it chaps, the old body just isn't springing back the way it used it.
- Physical Therapy. OH THE HUMANITY! Ok this one may not be so bad. I have my first appt today, so I'll let you know how that goes.
- Minimalist Shoes! YAY I like this one. Getting back to my old alignment, although it doesn't help that I cannot run yet.
He said 2-3 weeks, but unfortunately I'll be in Cardiff, Wales next week so no PT for me. I guess it's the elliptical for me for a few more weeks... pray for the soles of the people that have to see me every day. There is no way they're all making it out of this alive.
-Stephanie"Run to Win" -Meb