After ten days of self-diagnosis and scaring myself with imaginary surgeries, I decided to do what everyone else had been
pestering advising me to do and went to the doctor this morning. Nothing fancy, just my good old GP.
The knee that has been hurting to the point of driving me to tears for 10 straight days decided to stop hurting for pretty much the exact amount of time I spent in the doctor’s office. When the doctor started bending my leg and asked me to tell him when it started hurting, it never actually did. “If you had done that just yesterday, it would have hurt a lot, I swear” I assured him. Mmm Hmm.
My doctor is a fine kiwi chap. On my first ever visit, I remember he told me I was never going to make him rich. Silly man didn’t think I’d get into running, obviously.
I was his first appointment this morning and he welcomed me in a t-shirt, shorts and jandals. Almost five years in New Zealand should have made me blind to this but I can’t help finding it different. Different-good, of course. Different-bad if he accidentally stabbed his toe with <insert name for sharp object found in doctor’s office here because I didn’t go to medical school and, worse, never watched Grey’s Anatomy so don’t know the names of any of those things>. My point is that his relaxed outfit reflects his relaxed attitude. I’d normally worry about something like that, but when I asked him about how long I should go without running for, his answer was something like “you can run when it stops hurting. If you really have to run, try to do it on softer surfaces instead of concrete”. Translated into obsessive runner’s English, he basically ordered me to hit the trails this weekend. Doctor’s orders.
Anyway. He has a bunch of books with images just like the one above (minus my edits, so not quite as insightful as this one) and he touched my knee in a bunch of different places so I suppose he probably knows what he’s talking about. He’s convinced this is ITB syndrome. Iliotibial Band Syndrome, because he called it the proper stuff.
Sounds fancy. Also, kind of validating as far as injuries go. Look at me all real runner with a proper runner’s injury. But also, ouch. According to the fountain of all 21st century knowledge, Wikipedia, here’s what’s going on south of the muffin tops:
The iliotibial band is a superficial thickening of tissue on the outside of the knee, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, moving from behind the femur to the front while walking. The continual rubbing of the band over the lateral femoral epicondyle, combined with the repeated flexion and extension of the knee during running may cause the area to become inflamed. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iliotibial_band_syndrome)
So, really, ew.
I was told to keep icing it, keep taking Voltaren, advised to add Voltaren gel to the equation (because I’m not giving those guys enough money already) and stretch every day (every day? Like, seriously? People stretch every day?). I left the office before he had time to mention the foam roller so that’s my full list of recommendations. My jandal-wearing kiwi doctor also told me that I could do physiotherapy if I wanted to but, for this sort of thing, he finds that “it just doesn’t do much and it’s a real pain in the ass having to go to the sessions”.
After describing a potential treatment as “a pain in the ass”, he told me I could go home and Google more stuff about ITB syndrome to find out more. I like that my doctor openly tells me to look stuff up on the internet. He doesn’t realise I skim it for information on every little pain or itch and always end up dreading amputation.
So far so good, though, I may just be able to keep both of my legs and, here’s the real shocker, this knee might actually heal completely. I’m looking forward to being reminded of what it feels like to walk properly.
(I know you’re all incredibly smart people but I read an article today about a woman trying to sell her kids on Facebook to pay for her boyfriend’s bail so, you know, the world is kind of full of idiots. Which is why I need to add to the bottom of this post that no one should ever, ever, ever, under any circumstance, take medical advice from me. Ever. Take advice from my jandal-wearing doctor and Google your pains away. No, really. Don’t.)
March 14, 2013 at 12:22 am
Speaking of idiots, I saw that a man sued his wife for producing ugly children. He won. And got a ton of money per kid.
March 14, 2013 at 9:44 am
March 14, 2013 at 12:57 am
I have dealt with the IT band. You really need to roll it every day. It will hurt like a mother but it will make it better much, much faster. Also – jandals? Is this a Kiwi thing? Or am I just not with it? What are jandals?
March 14, 2013 at 9:44 am
Haha sorry, yes, it’s the kiwi word for flip-flops. 🙂
March 14, 2013 at 11:47 am
Gotcha. I go to the office in jeans, running shoes and running tees. So your doc is right up my alley!
March 14, 2013 at 1:29 am
I’ve had IT band stuff as well and foam rolling will be come your best (painful) friend. Also doing things like monster walks with a resistance band and clam shells will help strengthen your glute muscles and help prevent the IT band stuff
March 14, 2013 at 9:45 am
There are far too many people recommending foam rolling for it to be a bad idea. I gave it a go on Sunday and might try again today. Thanks!
March 14, 2013 at 1:34 am
Welcome to the inflamed IT band club! It sucks!
PT=pfft. Foam rolling=double-pfft. Stretching is the only thing I’ve found to help.
And, in fact, I ONLY this exercise: http://fitbie.msn.com/sites/default/files/standing-forward-fold-with-crossed-legs-ex.jpg
If I do it on both sides, for a couple of breaths, every time I think about running throughout the day (many times), I am pain free on subsequent runs. If I slack, my knee hurts like a bitch about a mile or two into the run.
Never thought I’d laugh so much reading out a trip to the doctor for knee pain. Thanks for brightening up my morning.
March 14, 2013 at 1:37 am
Ack! Almost forgot about my IT band (http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=13089128&gsidynamic=GooglePLA-_-SOCKS/RUNNINGACCESSORIES-_-SOCKS/RUNNINGACCESSORIES-_-SKU-13163962&camp=CSE:GooglePLA:13089128). It is supposed to keep the IT band from rubbing off the boney thing. It works for me.
March 14, 2013 at 9:45 am
Thanks Jill! That exercise is precisely the one he recommended!
March 14, 2013 at 3:25 am
Your posts always make me chuckle. I know the feeling of the “self scarring from imaginary surgeries”!
Here’s the thing I’ll say. I had ITB problems a few years ago following my first marathon. I swear to god there was very little things that made me cry more than that pain. I saw a doctor (not a Jandal wearing Kiwi one, unfortunately), and also saw my Chiropractor (he is also certified in athletic training). They both agreed… NO running until there was no pain. Naturally I didn’t listen and they knew I wasn’t going to. I tried KT tape, which worked a little (I had a hell of time getting it to stay on), but the thing that helped the most was using a foam roller. I did this every morning and night, and every time after a run. It got annoying to do, and it was painful but it helped. Between foam rolling, stretching, and Graston Technique by my Chiropractor. ( Not so fun thing, using metal tools to scrape your body)
March 14, 2013 at 9:46 am
Thank you for the links! And alright, alright, alright… I’ll give the foam roller another go. 😉
March 14, 2013 at 5:04 am
You should have listened to doctor Leon and buy a foam roller…..
March 14, 2013 at 9:47 am
I know, I know… In my defense, I did try it on Sunday, before going to the doctor. I don’t really know if I did it right or not but I’ll give it another go!
March 14, 2013 at 9:33 am
I love this quote: “Translated into obsessive runner’s English, he basically ordered me to hit the trails this weekend. Doctor’s orders.”
March 14, 2013 at 9:48 am
Haha thanks Luigi! And I owe you an email reply! Sorry, blame deadline!
March 14, 2013 at 12:38 pm
Hope the pain goes away… I agree with the foam roller comment above. It helps my knee pain! I laughed out loud at your hypochondriac moments – I am the same way!
March 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm
Thanks Vanessa! I’m going to give it another go!
March 14, 2013 at 5:21 pm
I’ve diagnosed myself with nearly every running-related injury, ITB included. Not that I suffer from hypochondria, or do I? I hate going to the doc. However, yours sounds pretty cool. Maybe, I need a Kiwi doc of my own.
March 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm
Ha, the internet really does bring out the hypochondriac in all of us, I think!
March 14, 2013 at 8:13 pm
Danish doctors dress shockingly casually as well. I remember the first time one came into the exam room in jeans & t-shirt and I was like, hey, what’s the cleaning guy doing in here? I hope your knee feels better soon and am glad you don’t have to have it amputated. 🙂
March 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm
Haha cultural shock can be a good thing sometimes. Thanks, Julie!
March 14, 2013 at 8:23 pm
I’d forgotten about jandals. This could get my kiwi citizenship revoked. Spent too much time in Oz with the thongs. Now that does get confusing.
March 18, 2013 at 5:39 pm
Haha how could you forget?! 😉
March 15, 2013 at 8:16 pm
Foam roller all the way. Sorry to throw another thought in there but you should go see my physio, he rocks.
March 15, 2013 at 8:19 pm
Sorry to add a little more. My physio also prescribed ice-cupping. Normally I can run the next day after a little ice cupping and foam roller. Rest is the only real cure but it will get you through an event like Ironman. lol!!
March 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm
Alright, alright, alright… I’m off to use the foam roller now. Hope you’re fully recovered, Ironman! 😀
March 22, 2013 at 7:44 am
Recovered pretty quickly and planning for ITU race and mission bay now, then I will be resting the knee properly to get rid of this ITB problem
March 17, 2013 at 12:01 am
Another chronic knee pain crony here. Just like every one says…you gotta foam roll, especially when it’ll make you cry. I have knots in my IT bands, so whe I get to a sore spot I just put pressure on it until it gives. It hurts like a motherfucker, but makes a big difference.
Other bits of advice:
After each of my marathons I’ve had knee pain. And I’ve always tried to run too far to soon. Wait two month (seriously) and then start running 1 mile and slowly, very slowly start building your mileage up.
Do intervals on the treadmill run a few minutes, walk a few minutes. It helps something (I can’t remember what my doctor told me, but it was good.)
I’m taking a new supplement called Pro-Enz, it’s supposed to help with inflammation and so far it seems to be helping.
Finally (and then I’ll get off my soap box) get frequent sports massages & make sure thye rub the shit out of your IT bands…it should make you cry the first time or they’re not doing it right.
March 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm
Thanks for the heaps of awesome advice, Megan! I’m off to use the foam roller now and hopefully it’ll help. I’m feeling much better, though. Hopefully it won’t take thaaaat long to fully heal! 🙂
Pingback: That time I accidentally ran a half marathon | super generic girl
March 22, 2013 at 5:12 pm
I am great fan of your Blog,i am regularly follow your post, every time you give me very useful information
thats help me lot, i think you are right.
Pingback: An open letter to race spectators | super generic girl
Pingback: Taupo gave me ALL the feelings! | super generic girl
Pingback: A list of things you definitely shouldn’t do while dealing with a running injury | super generic girl
Pingback: My leg isn’t broken so I’m obviously going to run an overnight relay in 2 weeks | super generic girl