Saturday, April 5, 2008

Recovering from Runner's Knee - One Expert at at Time

It’s been a while since I have taken the time to post. That usually means I’ve been goofing off, but not this week. I made it to the gym six out of the last seven days, which has been my plan all along. I’ve actually been spending a lot of time researching runner’s knee.

Sports medicine turns out to be a lot like nutrition -anybody with a keyboard and an internet account can be an expert. I have read every possible variation on how to treat this injury, from ice to heat, from compression bandages to surgery. The one that finally made the most sense to me was Dr. Lewis G. Maharam on Runner's World. (It is me, or does The Running Doc look like he could be Christopher Hitchens' sober younger brother?) Basically he says, “Look, your knee hurts because the muscles around it aren’t strong enough yet. Until you fix that, you will just keep hurting your knees. Here are some exercises that will help you make them stronger.”

I know -- just another expert. But this one made even more sense than the last one who seemed to make sense so I gave his treatment a try. I also started stretching for a good long time before and after my workout, and slathered the old Ben-gay® on quite liberally.

The aroma does not make me particularly popular on the gym floor, but the cure is working. I have decreased my range of motion on both the leg presses and extensions to focus on the quads without grinding my knee cap any further. I’m also spending a lot of time stretching the hamstrings and the groin. Stretching the quads will have to wait until the knee is better, unless someone can suggest a way to stretch your quads without bending your knee.

I’ve also put the ice pack back in the freezer. It may be that it’s done all it was going to do, or it may be that it was just making the joint stiff, I don’t know. What I do know is that knee feels better when I get home, and feels almost fine when I wake up in the morning.

I may keep the little knee strap for a while. (Pennsy's knees are - well - meatier.) It’s kind of a mental crutch and Mrs P thinks it makes me look sexy.

And that, as they say in the Visa Commercials, is priceless.

The last two days, I’ve tried splitting my workouts, upper body one day and lower body the next, with half an hour of cardio after. I don’t exactly have a program yet, but at least I have a plan.

I have snuck a peek or two at the scale this week, and it looks like the lighter workouts are going to show up at my weigh-in tomorrow. I would rather not slow down the weight loss, but I thought it made sense to slow down and get the knee back in shape. I really want to be up and running soon, but I want to be ready.

Peace,
Pennsy

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. –George Bernard Shaw

( Is it me, or does GBS look like he could be SC's older drunken brother?)

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