Since the age of 30 I have struggled with tendonitis of the ilio-tibial tract, a fairly stock standard overuse injury for people who run a lot, like I used to and I haven’t been able to run for a couple of years. Recently that knee has been hurting just from everyday use so I decided to see what can be done. I went to see the Doc and explained that I was over the minor pain, but more than that I wanted to run again. I asked what can be done to ‘fix’ this permanently?
He mumbled and muttered and basically said ‘not much…’
So I pushed him harder – ‘If I had 100K what could be done to fix this and get me running again?’
He sent me off with a script for an ultrasound and a cortisone injection (which is now in the bin). He didn’t want to know and once I had realised that I gave up and went thru the motions of listening to him just to get the consult over.
Waste of time.
So I decided to go see my physio – Damian. I like him because he is a straight shooter and knows his stuff. If anyone can fix me, Damian can.
‘So Damian…’ I gave him the history, some of which he already knew and then asked, ‘what’s it going to take to get me running again? If it takes surgery and major effort then I’m pretty much ready to sign up.’
Thankfully he suggested surgery is the last thing I need and probably counter-productive, so both the wallet and the mind breathed a sigh of relief. But, he told me he reckons he can get me running again in a few months. Here’s his plan.
Step 1 is some good shoes. I have good shoes, and have always worn good shoes, but he recommended going to see some of his physio mates who own a running shoe store and getting some that really fit my ‘problem’. Ok – I can do that. Sounds easy.
Step 2 – interval training… I cringed. My last experience of intervals was when I was playing basketball and doing some serious sprint training. Intervals really kicks your butt. Damian’s intervals were 10 minutes walking, 3 minutes light jogging, 10 minutes walking 4 minutes light jogging followed by 10 minutes walking.
‘Are you serious?’ I asked. ‘That’s so lame… I will be embarrassed to even do that!’
Damian tells me, ‘Andrew – you’re not 21 any more. You’re 52 and your body responds differently to exercise. It will take longer to get there, but if we do this right you will get there.’
I just hear the words ‘walking’ and feel like my next step is a gopher. I have always run with the idea that ‘running is running’ and I may walk the dog, but that’s about it.
And then the final stage we are working on now is some exercise to strengthen the muscles that are allowing the ilio-tibial to be overworked in the hope of easing the strain on it.
My hope is that by January I will be able to run 5ks without pain. Then from there I’d like to run a half marathon ( but I think Damian might just say ‘one step at a time…’)
Its hard accepting that I am not 21 any more. I want to put on some shoes step outside and run 5ks. But I can’t.
My body reminds me often that my youth has gone, but I would like it to shut up and start behaving differently. I live in the confident hope that one day I will get a new body – whatever that mean and whatever shape it takes – and I am ready for it. But for now I’d like to ‘re-tread’ this one and get a few more ks out of it before handover.
I’ll let you know how I go…