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My stupid knee!

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My stupid knee!

Post  Tim C on Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:30 pm

So I've had 3 surgeries on my left knee over the years which all started with a football injury back when I was a teenager.  Last surgery was about 3 years ago to clean up some torn meniscus.  Fast forward and it's been relatively good, I wear a neoprene sleeve when I run, and while it will never be as good as new I'm ok.  Ran CIM a couple of months ago and it bothered me just a bit leading up to it but nothing too serious and absolutely no issues with it during the race.

I took a week off after the race and could feel it a bit but nothing bad.  Started running again and after 2 or 3 weeks I noticed some swelling so I took a few days off and when it didn't get better I went and saw my orthopedic surgeon.  He confirmed I had a lot of fluid build up so he drained the knee.  Took a few days off and resumed easy running again.  After about 5 days things were no bueno, swollen again and hurt somewhat.  Called the office and got an MRI scheduled.

The MRI showed nothing structural so doc recommended an injection of monovisc, basically motor oil for the knee.  I got the injection about an hour ago, after he drained the fluid again.  No guarantee this will work but if it doesn't, then he will need to scope to see what's going on.  After the last surgery he did say that I am nearly bone on bone in places and might be a knee replacement candidate at some point.  When I brought that up today he informed me he's been doing this for 30 years and nobody that recently completed a marathon was even close to needing a knee replacement, so that was good to hear.

He wants me to take the next few days off and says I can start some easy running Monday.  That will be 3 full weeks off and I'm terrified about my fitness loss. I have never felt better than I have recently.  I trained hard for CIM and was never in better shape and have no idea what this time off will do but I guess I'll find out over the next couple of weeks...

Crossing my fingers the injection will help as it doesn't work for everybody.  It's also incredibly expensive and I don't even know what my out of pocket will be but likely about $650 as I haven't met my full deductible yet.

I'm trying to stay positive.  I really don't want to go from a serious high after getting a BQ at CIM to a low of finding I can't run long distances anymore.
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  ounce on Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:12 pm

Whoa, Nellie!  You weren't going to Boston until 2017, right?  Sounds like you have a lot of time to convalesce.  Of course, I don't know what you're racing plans between now and then were.  Just get a prescription for some of that medical maryjane and watch the BIG GAME and the Daytona 500 in two weeks.

Baby steps.  You'll get your fitness back.  I've always read that first timers need to just finish.  You'll be fine.
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Tim C on Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:38 pm

ounce wrote:Whoa, Nellie!  You weren't going to Boston until 2017, right?  Sounds like you have a lot of time to convalesce.  Of course, I don't know what you're racing plans between now and then were.  Just get a prescription for some of that medical maryjane and watch the BIG GAME and the Daytona 500 in two weeks.

Baby steps.  You'll get your fitness back.  I've always read that first timers need to just finish.  You'll be fine.
 Yup, Boston isn't until 2017 and if that's the one and only marathon I run in the future, I will be there come hell or high water...

Not worried about immediate racing plans.  I was hoping to run a couple of 5k and or 10k's this year just because I've never really done them.  Planning on running Santa Rosa in August to improve on my CIM time but that is a long ways from now.  Honestly, I'm hoping to not lose too much as I had a hell of a base built but sitting around is killing me...
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  nkrichards on Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:41 pm

That's frustrating news I'm sure!  I know how pumped you were about your CIM results.  I'd say don't push to hard and cause further damage.  Run enough so you don't lose your base but don't try and stay at the level you were at for CIM from now until Boston 2017.  That would be a recipe for overtraining.

Very curious how the injection works as my husband is in a similar situation.  In pain but not ready for a replacement yet.

Take care and let us know how it goes.
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Tim C on Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:52 pm

nkrichards wrote:That's frustrating news I'm sure!  I know how pumped you were about your CIM results.  I'd say don't push to hard and cause further damage.  Run enough so you don't lose your base but don't try and stay at the level you were at for CIM from now until Boston 2017.  That would be a recipe for overtraining.

Very curious how the injection works as my husband is in a similar situation.  In pain but not ready for a replacement yet.

Take care and let us know how it goes.

Thanks Nancy.  Actually, I have very little pain. (well once in a while when i move just a certain way).  It's the swelling and clicking / popping I feel when walking and going up and down the stairs at home.  I had the injection about 3 hours ago now and the popping has already mostly disappeared so I'm optimistic.  The swelling has been the big thing - its been tough to bend the knee enough to get my pants on or pull the covers off to get out of bed.  You know how you pull your heel to your butt to stretch....  I haven't even been able to get close...

Unless it feels like crap Monday I will try an easy run.  That will be a big test.
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:21 pm

You have plenty of time to regain fitness, but having a good knee is better than not - after all, April 2017 is a year away.  I know it is frustrating, but remember that in the summer of 2012 I was down and out with an achilles injury and then I had surgery in November of that same year.  I ran Boston in 2013.  

Stop stressing and let it heal - I know easier said than done.


Last edited by Michele "1L" Keane on Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:29 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Mark B on Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:42 am

I think we all have a sense of how much you want to jump back into things right away to not lose the gains you made in your last training cycle. But beware! One of the biggest mistakes I made was thinking I could quickly bounce back from my marathon PR by restarting training shortly after the race. Total disaster. I still shudder thinking about it.

Anyway, the point is that you'd be ill-advised to not listen to your body and give yourself some downtime. You had knee niggles going on before CIM, then ran the best race of your life on it. It deserves some R&R, if only to ensure that you're fully recovered and energized in time to start your build-up for Boston 2017.


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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:16 pm

To summarize the overwhelming trend of the advice here and, well, pretty much everywhere:

Recovery > form.

We never follow the advice we give, but deep down, you know it's best to rest right now.  You won't fall that far behind.
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Tim C on Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:59 pm

After 27 days of no running, went out for an easy run/walk of 3 miles this morning with my dog.  Probably ran a little over half of that and although the knee felt pretty crappy the first couple of intervals, it calmed down and felt good the rest of the way.  I was actually quite encouraged by things.

Planning on easing back into it very slowly, probably run/walk for a week or two and no more often than every other day.
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Tim C on Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:51 pm

The knee is not getting better.  Swelling is down but I can't run at all as it starts hurting after 10-15 steps.  Had a 2nd DR look at the MRI and will most likely be having the knee scoped in the next couple of weeks.  It will just be a clean-up and I should be back running in 4-6 weeks so I'm just going to get it done.

2 of my goals for this year were to stay healthy and log more than the 1750 miles I ran last year.  0 for 2 on those...
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  fostever on Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:52 pm

Sorry for your dilemma and don't give up. It may need more recovery, but for sure the two goals seem to be in conflict with each other. Being in the same  age range I've found you need to be flexible and willing to take many off days if necessary which doesn't lend itself to mileage goals, just a reflection. Hope you can endure to run again! Running
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Mark B on Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:32 am

If it's still not getting better, it sounds like your surgeon may be right and a bit of 'scoping might be in order.

I hope it turns out to be nothing too significant.

Are you only seeing your orthopedic surgeon on this? I'd be interested to see what a sports medicine specialist might say, or a good PT. Maybe there's something out of balance that's causing the problem? Something else to consider, at least.

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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  nkrichards on Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:12 am

I don't have a lot of advice for you Tim...mostly just sympathy.  I know what it's like to be our age and not be able to get out there and do the things you want to do...we need to take advantage of the good years and good races we have left!

I will say that you have time to figure this out and let it heal before Boston so use that time wisely.  Mark's suggestion to see a sports doctor seems sensible...
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Tim C on Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:41 pm

Well it is confirmed I have a slight tear in the meniscus on the inside of the knee.  I also have a small cyst just below the tear.  I am scheduled for surgery next Wednesday to deal with both issues, along with some slight shaving of a bone spur just below the knee cap that is causing my knee to 'click' almost every step I take.

I'm having a different Dr do this surgery and I really like him.  He is very sports-minded and feels I will be back running in 4-6 weeks.  Obviously I will have to ease back into things as I really haven't run in almost 2 months now.  I really wanted to run Santa Rosa in August but that probably won't happen now, which is OK.  If I can build things back up and train well for Boston next year, I will be a very happy camper...

I've run 3 marathons since my back surgery 2-1/2 years ago so I won't let a minor knee surgery slow me down too much.  

I will let you know how things go.

Oh, and I became a grandfather a couple of weeks ago.  cheers


Last edited by Tim C on Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Tim C on Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:53 pm

" />T

This is Emma and she is 2 weeks old...
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Tim C on Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:01 pm

" />


This is me holding Emma less than 2 hours after she was born.  Yup, pretty special...
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Mark B on Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:13 pm

Good news that the knee issue is fixable... and what a cutie! Congrats, Grandpa. Very Happy

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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:05 pm

Congrats Grandpa!!!  And that is actual good news about the knee.  Boston 2017 is over a year away - plenty of time to get back in awesome shape.
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  nkrichards on Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:34 pm

Better plan on some down time now that you're a Grandpa!  Grandkids are fantastic but they do cut into training time...well worth it I might add.

Congrats and enjoy spending time with her while you let that knee heal!
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Tim C on Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:55 pm

So I had my surgery on Wednesday and while it went well, Doc says long distance running is probably not in the cards for me.  He cleaned up some small meniscus tears but found lots of cartilage fraying / tearing and says that I am pretty much 'bone on bone' in places.  He says I should be able to run, probably even train for and run Boston next year, but that continued long runs will not be good for me.  I am comfortable and getting around with only one crutch.  I start physical therapy next week and he says I can start running in 6-8 weeks.

Pics of my knee:  The 3rd is the cartilage on the outside of my knee, which is what things 'should' look like.  First and last are what he found and the 2nd picture is what it looked like after he cleaned things up.  The openings in the 2nd picture where you see the bone are about the size of a dime.

It's pretty obvious why my knee was hurting and I feel very fortunate that I was able to train for and run CIM with virtually no issues.  I'm pretty much an optimist so I'm hoping for the best, but these pics just don't look promising.  He says I should think about cross-training but I have no idea what I may try or like.  Not a real happy camper right now....






Not real hard to tell which are which...
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  nkrichards on Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:12 pm

Tim...definitely looks like surgery was necessary.  Hope it extends your running career as I know that's been the goal.

I know Boston has been a big goal...and you should be in.  The time you post at the race isn't as important as getting there.  Speaking from experience...slow down and enjoy the day!!! 

As far as training for the race.  I managed to BQ with time to spare on a training plan that only included 3 days of running.  I started out with Hal's Novice 3 but realized that it wasn't going to get me there as it was all slower stuff.  I kept the general outline but started doing one day of faster stuff and that eventually morphed into being very similar to Hanson's speed and strength workouts.  I also did a day at marathon pace.  My third day was long run day and I did do multiple 20's each cycle.  In addition I biked and swam as much as I could fit into my schedule (and for my successful BQ attempt I added in some core/strength work).  This worked well for me.  Hope you can figure out a schedule that will get you to the race healthy and ready to enjoy it.

Hope recovery is going well.
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Tim C on Sat May 28, 2016 3:34 pm

So rehab has been progressing slowly, lots of PT, biking at the gym and some leg strengthening.  Still feels funny and I did try to run last week and made it about 50 yards before realizing I'm not ready yet.  Doc wants me to hold off 2 more weeks, which will be 3 months from surgery, before running.  He is fitting me for a brace that he says will unload the inside of my knee where I am bone on bone and it will be interesting to see what that's all about.

I'm curious, have any of you ever taking a long time off and how hard was it to get back in shape?  I haven't run since mid-January so I will have been off 5 full months.  I'm guessing this will almost be like starting all over again, which is really depressing, considering I was in the best running shape of my life 6 months ago.

Still a long time until Boston but I'm definitely concerned about how long it may take to ramp things back up again...
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  KBFitz on Sun May 29, 2016 9:17 am

I think we've all taken a long time off due to injury or life events. And it does take a great deal of effort to recover your fitness after a long time off and the de-training that accompanies it. But it is not exactly like starting all over. I was out of commission and in physical therapy due to injury from December 2009 to April 2010. But I was able to work my way back into great shape and actually set several personal best times by the fall of 2010. Just be realistic about your capabilities (this means don't push your body too hard too quickly) and train consistently (consistency is the key).
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  ounce on Sun May 29, 2016 10:26 pm

I was off 4 weeks for an injury and it felt like being a newb, again.  What made it worse was having all the memories of being able to do short distances with my eyes closed.  I'll get there.

But you have the benefit of not having any time monkeys on your back.  You are starting with an entirely clean slate AND you get to go to BOSTON!  That's unique AND special.  So, you have 10 months to get ready for your victory marathon.  You'll get there, too.
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Re: My stupid knee!

Post  Tim C on Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:17 pm

Just a quick follow-up.  The knee just has not been feeling good and no way could I run.  Lots of cycling at the gym and exercises to strengthen things.  Doc had me get fitted for an Ossur brace and gave me a prescription for Orthovisc injections.  Took about a month to get insurance approval but well worth it - I had to pay a total of $60 for the 3 injections instead of the $1700 going rate....

Got the first in the series of 3 injections 10 days ago and could not believe how much better the knee felt within a day or two.  So I put the brace on Tuesday and tried an easy 1 mile run, with walk breaks, which went ok.  Same thing Thursday with only 1 short stop so I got brave and met up with my normal Saturday group yesterday.  They were doing 8 but my plan was to run the first mile with anyone willing to run that slow and then turn around a run back.  Knee did quite well although I could not believe how winded I was trying to carry on a conversation that first mile - although that first mile is a slight but steady uphill.

Woke up this morning with sore legs.... after a 2 mile run.  Geez.  Oh well, I know it's going to be a long process to get back but I am cautiously optimistic.  I plan on upping the mileage VERY slowly and am hoping the knee continues to improve and get stronger.  I'm still hoping Boston is in the cards...
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