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Running injuries and icing

Ice ice baby...

As promised, I’m here to update you on the recovery portion of my marathon injury!

As a quick refresher: I ran a marathon and managed to injure my knees pretty badly.

I took a week off from running (at least more than a mile), but when I tried to run an “easy” six mile run a week after the marathon, I was confronted with a serious issue. I ran about 2 miles before I literally could not move my legs without excruciating pain from my knees.  It felt like someone hit my knees with a bat. It burned and every step was super painful. I ended up crouching on the ground and crying…Adam managed to carry me back to the car (because he’s awesome) and I spent the rest of the day wobbling and bemoaning my misfortune (or, rather, my own mistaken decisions).

I eventually went to PT, and was diagnosed with bruised patellas from an over-exertion of my ab/adductor muscles. In simple words, because I changed my stride during the marathon, I wore out and injured my hip muscles which in turn pulled my knee caps into my leg bones and bruised them.

This isn’t a soft tissue injury (like most bruises I’m familiar with), and will take up to six months for me to recover. There is also no promise of a “full” recovery. I may be running with discomfort or pain for the rest of my life.

In short: I’ve never been this depressed about not running. 🙁

Most days, I “feel” my knees. This means that all my “little things” I used to do are out of the question. I take the elevator instead of the stairs, etc. But most days aren’t bad, and I can get through without grimacing much. But some days are bad. By bad, I mean, I take measures to not move my legs. I get rides across campus, and stick to my desk (instead of walking at “breaks”). I take a couple Vitamin I (Ibuprofen!) and ice multiple times a day. It is painful. I try to rub the pain out, but nothing helps. This recovery is super slow going, but that being said, I am getting better. 🙂

Gotta love the blurry pic...that way you can't tell I haven't shaved....
Post-run icing while still in PT. This is my first icing of the day…

But I’ve learned a great deal from my PTs, other runners and what I can find online. I think its valuable enough to share.

Here’s my knee recovery regimen:

  • PT 5 days a week. 3 days a week is aqua running, 3 days a week is strength training. Strength training focuses on my hips and glutes.
  • Ice for ten minutes (times two, see below) when my knees “feel like it”. This usually ends up in two to three times a day when I’m at work. Bad days….could be more…
  • Ibuprofen when needed. I don’t take them more than 2 times a week.
  • Band workouts everyday. Adduction, abduction, hip extension and flexion.

I was concerned that I was icing too much so I looked up a few articles. This guy sums up icing ANY injury rather nicely and I shall bullet point for you!

  • Ice for ten minutes. Rest and warm up for 30. Ice for another ten minutes.
  • Use real ice. Refrigerated gel packs are dangerous if too cold. I’d say just be safe and use ice.
  • Within 24-48 hours of the injury, repeat the above icing at many times as possible.
  • After 48 hours of injury, ice with the above 10-30-10 method 3-5 times a day, or less, as needed.
  • Use Styrofoam cups filled with water and freeze them for rubbing on shin splints (I used to get them in track and LOVED this technique).
  • Compress and elevate injured parts.
  • Take it easy. Seriously. EASY.
Ice ice baby...
All of my mid-day icings look the same. Usually I try to prop my knees up under my desk…but sometimes I get lazy and pull over my coworker’s chair. 🙂

I can’t tell you how many of my runner friends have had (or still have) injuries. Listen to your body. If there is pain, for the sake of your future running, PLEASE STOP RUNNING. Your body is a complicated machine, and it trying its hardest to repair the injuries you are inflicting on it. It knows when its had enough,  and this isn’t an endurance test, so running “past the pain” is just plain….stupid.

Take it easy out there. If you see me running on the streets, give a yell. I promise I’ll beam you my biggest smile.

-Gimpy out

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