I feel like “past orthopedic injuries” is a loaded question. What haven’t I injured might be better.
On Monday, I went to Nashville Running Company for an injury screening with Results Physiotherapy. I explained where my knee hurt and told him about my fall while trail running. “Are you new to trail running?” he asked. “Uhh, well I’d done it once before, but, yeah, I guess…” I stuttered, not really sure why that mattered. If I fell, I fell, whether I’d done it once or twenty times.
He had me do single leg squats on each leg. He asked if this was the first time I’d had knee pain. I explained that I always had knee pain on long runs, but I thought this was an unrelated issue as it was in a different location on my knee and confined to only the right one. Then he poked and prodded my legs before declaring that all my muscles were weak, I probably need extensive physical therapy, and I should not be a runner. Okay, not really, but that’s how I felt.
He had me demonstrate how I’d been doing my clamshells, but apparently I was doing them wrong. Then he gave me two other exercises (reverse clamshells and single leg bridges) to do three times a day. “I have a problem with getting them in three times a day,” I said. “I’m good doing one set in the morning and one at night, but I have a hard time fitting in the third during the day.” He just looked at me. No sympathy for the busy office worker? Okay.
His final diagnosis was patellofemoral syndrome, or runner’s knee. Which I think actually is my problem…on my long runs. I’m not so sure that’s what’s going on with my right knee. Not that it really matters because I’m sure it all comes down to my weak hips.
On Wednesday, I went down to Fleet Feet for their injury screening, hoping my doctor would be there so I could get him to determine I hadn’t actually done damage to my knee when I fell. He wasn’t there, however, so I met with another physical therapist.
Before I met with the therapist, the woman who greeted me asked me a couple questions about my pain. “I have weak hips,” I explained. “Everyone has weak hips,” she said. That made me feel a little relieved that I wasn’t some crazy abnormality.
Then I met with the therapist and told her about the trail run and showed where my knee hurt. She also had me do single leg squats, but she recorded them and played them back in slow motion for me. Oh geez. I never really wanted to see myself do a squat in slow motion, but here it was.
My legs are so wonky.
While just standing in a normal standing position, my left leg bends in. The squat on that side didn’t look horrible, but my leg does some crazy thing on the right side. Yikes.
Then she poked and prodded, of course. I could really feel the difference in my right knee versus my left with her poking at it. She also had me demonstrate how I’d been doing my clamshells and apparently I did a better job as she approved them. Then she gave me a few more exercises to do (I’m going to have hips of steel soon). She didn’t seem sure about the actual knee issue, but thought that it was possible I’d jammed the joint somehow when I fell. She said it felt really stiff and said I should foam roll and maybe squeeze a tennis ball with the joint.
As I was getting up to leave, she said, “Don’t worry. I don’t see anything that says you shouldn’t be a runner.”
Oh, thank God. That’s all I needed to hear.