Wednesday, February 15, 2012

4 weeks... almost

A few days shy of 4 weeks ago I ventured out for a mellow 12 mile run with a friend to keep her company so she wouldn't have to run alone.  About 9.5 miles in, my right leg "misfired".   Have you ever been walking along, and they it feels like your whole leg just died on you for one step.  Kind of like it failed to respond, like it misfired, or like it stepped in a virtual hole, and you say: Wow, what was that?. 
and then you keep walking and that was that.  So that's what happened, but then 4-5 mins later, it happened again.  And then again, and then about every 30 seconds.  Since we were almost home, i just kept going and that was it.  
The next day, my leg felt wonky.  You know, like wobbly, unstable, with nothing supporting the outside of the knee. But this was not a pain like and IT Band.  I know IT Band pains, trust me on that one, so I knew this needed a doctor.  Monday morning I got in to see a doctor, and he said he feared a torn meniscus.  He scheduled me for an MRI to confirm his fear.
Needless to say that a torn meniscus means surgery.  Which to me feels so stupid because i wasn't doing anything but run on a perfectly flat surface at my normal mellow pace.
That same afternoon I went and saw a second doctor to get another opinion without telling him about Doc #1 or the morning MRI.   His diagnosis was the same... 90% sure it was a meniscus tear, probably something that's been dormant since my soccer playing days 6 years and and backwards.
I told a nice little lie to the MRI clinic telling them my results were urgent to ensure that they sent Doc #1 my results withing 24 hours, instead of 48-72.  


There is a 2mm bone irregularity on the femur down by the trochlear groove.  Essentially where the FEMUR and the Patella meet up. However, they are not sure if that has anything to do with my pain, as it may just be something that has been there forever. 

Both my Meniscus and IT band are in perfect condition (with no tendinitis of the IT), which adds to the weirdness of the results, since the tests both docs performed pointed towards a Meniscus tear.  (this is probably a good thing)

The ACL is swollen.  While I definitely have not torn any part of my ACL, there is swelling which points towards a possible sprain or stretch of the ACL.  Both of these two ACL possibilities take a long time to heal, because ligaments "just suck in recovering" <=my doctoral terminology.

Per doctor instructions I waited 2 weeks to run, and went for a fun 5km (3 mile) run on a golf course for a fundraiser.  Leg felt fine.  The next day, I went out with Karma for another run and within 0.3 miles, the knee felt unstable as ever, so i walked back to the car much to Karma's chagrin.  

Now it's been almost 4 weeks and I'm scared to go run because I've read on the interwebs that many of these issues take 5-10 weeks to heal and I don't want to set myself back more then necessary.  Maybe Saturday will be a good day to test it out.  At least a hike with Karma is in order. 

I also lied to the clinic and told them a friend of the family is a doctor and wanted to review the MRI results, so they gave me a DVD and I made this little video out of all the photos in it.  It's probably highly boring to you, but i'm fascinated at looking at my own body.


Larry said...

So..., I have had an issue where my leg just "gives" without warning. Literally just buckles. I had it 2 years ago and it made it very difficult to train for my goal race, Massanutten, but, somehow, I was able to manage through it and have been around 90% good until mid-November when it came back with a vengeance.

Two years ago, I stumped my doc (McCarty) as to the cause and was sent for a lumbar MRI which showed a few bulging discs, but nothing that would point to the issue. Then, I went to have a nerve conduction test done at a neurologist. Let's just say being in that office scared me because it made me wonder if I was at the onset of a distrophy-type muscle disorder. Needless to say, I tested just fine.

Still, my doc was stumped. And, I reverted back to my wife (M.D. by education) who had been telling me the whole time it was sciatic nerve impingement from the piriformis. She began working on it via massage (nice to have an LMT in the family) and it helped. So did stretching out my medial glute, TP ball the piriformis, and hamstring & calf stretches.

Since I'm dealing with the issue again, it has caused irritation of the lower pattellar ligament which is a whole other type of fun when running downhill. I think I may be over the hump after several months. But we'll see.

Back when I first started having this issue a few years ago, I ended up hiking my running mileage, which sucked, but I got really good at powerwalking and it seemed to help the issue.

Extremely long comment, I know, but just wanted to express how I feel your pain. Sometimes, I wonder if we don't become experts in the physical pathology when we have all these issues in running.

Wiley said...

I guess you know exactly the feeling of your leg misfiring!

I greatly appreciate your long answer. Gives me idea on what to do for therapy. You never know what connects to what.
With my 11 month sidelining due to IT Band, i absolutely became an expert and should have received a degree the same way famous people get them for being, err... famous?

I need to go back and get more info from a doc on what to do. My issue is I went to Vachris in the same office as McCarty and Hutchens and it feels weir to ditch him for the other two, or even Chassay who is my official doc. I may go to Spears for his opinion, but I fear his love of the blade.

All I know is after 3 years of great running, someone needs to return my voodoo doll because I'm tired of sitting on the bench. I don't even want to run 100 miles. I'm happy with 50k's if that's all there will be for me.

Thanks for the note!

Muz said...

Hey Mike, Chassay is out unfortunately. He took a job with the state (I dont know what that means exactly, thats what they told me when I tried to schedule an appt). I had my right front meniscus removed when I had my ACL reconstruction surgery approx 10 years ago. I would be very very cautious with ACL and eventually get some PT give some rehab advice. I know it is not the same thing at all but I think it is relevant that there were people I met during my rehab who were having their surgeries for the 4th time since they did not do the PT work. If your ACL is weakened you want to strenghten your muscles that help with all 4 planes of movement. I know you told me right now you can not do it, but once things are better PT man, that is money/time well spent, at least in my exp.