Not looking for medical advice, just thoughts on what the doctor might say (and whether he’s the right one to see).
OK, so I took up running last year, having progressed from walking while I lost 75 pounds. I ran my first 5K in April 2010, then progressed to a few 10Ks and my first half marathon in September. Kept up a moderate amount of outdoor running through the winter, then started gearing up in March or so for my second half marathon this past April 30.
All this time I’ve been doing fine, no pain other than normal soreness after really long (for me) runs. But about a month ago I started feeling a “twinge” in my right knee. Not really pain, just “hmm, something going on there.” Didn’t affect my running at all.
But the Sunday before the half, hubby and I were going to do a slow, easy 10-mile run to town and back. I made it about 1/2 mile and the knee said, “Stop.” Couldn’t run on it. Kind of like a pinched nerve. So I walked it off, and after maybe another 1/4 mile it felt better. So we walked some more, and our 10-mile run turned into a 10-mile walk/run, with more emphasis on “walk” than “run.”
So I figured perhaps I’d been overtraining a bit, and I rested it all that week before the half: only walking, and maybe a 12-mile slow bike ride on Friday.
At the half on April 30, I took a very easy pace, babying the knee. Started feeling the minor, doesn’t-affect-my-pace twinge around mile 2. But I ran through it and was feeling pretty good until about mile 8½, when it shouted “Uncle” again and I had to walk. I finished the half with about 5 walk breaks from that point to the end.
Well, crap. I figured I’d have to start paying close attention and decide if I should see a doctor, because I am (was? say it ain’t so!) supposed to start a marathon training program with the local running group on May 21. We were scheduled for a 5K race this past Saturday, so I thought I’d give it more rest and see what happened. Again, walking only (which bothers it not at all), and no biking (only because the weather was too rainy).
At the 5K this past Saturday (May 7), I was doing fine until about mile 2½ – dammit! Had to walk again. Managed a baby jog across the finish line. This is definitely wrong. I should be able to run a stupid 5K.
There was a medical tent at the race (there was also a half marathon at the event), and I stopped in to talk to the sports doctor there. He had me lie down and bent me this way and that and asked me questions. He said my kneecap looked out of alignment and I might have patellofemoral syndrome. And that because I wanted to start marathon training, I should definitely see a sports doc and get an assessment and see about possible PT, exercises, training plan, etc. That made me feel better, to know that I wasn’t being paranoid.
I called my GP this morning and got in right away. She took a look, ordered an X-ray, and asked me who I wanted to see. I had brought a printout from my insurance company’s Web site, but when they called, they were told that the docs on that list weren’t current. So my doc set me up with a Dr. M. Appointment is next Monday.
I got home and looked him up, and he’s listed as an orthopedic surgeon. Surgeon? I’ve got a minor glitch in my knee. I don’t think we need to talk about surgery! But perhaps I’m focusing too much on “surgeon” and not enough on “orthopedic”?
I guess I want to know more about what to expect. I was hoping to see someone who would be specifically sports-oriented and help advise me on how to fix this problem and still get to my marathon goal. Instead, now I’m picturing a variant of the old joke: “Doc, it hurts when I do this.” “So don’t do that!” Sure, my knee hurts only after I’ve been running for some distance. But I don’t want to just be told not to run. It helps me keep my weight down, and I’ve really gotten to enjoy it, and I’ve spent all this money on fancy gear.
I’d hate to be a doctor shopper, but I’m envisioning having to do homework on local sports medicine specialists (more like the guy I saw at the race) and go back to my GP and saying, “This time, please refer me to one of these guys” and handing over a (new) list.
Hoping more knowledgable Dopers can ease my mind.