Tip 2: Don’t Self-diagnose!!!
Now that I had handled the mental side of my injury, I now needed to finally understand what was wrong with my knee. It hurt at the front of my knee when I walked and it especially hurt when I sat down, went up and down the stairs or ran, but I couldn’t do this by myself.
The minute I got the injury, I started self-diagnosing. This is something that everyone does at some point in their injury process, because we don’t want to have to admit that our body could actually be injured. I spent two weeks running on and off with my injury, and then decided to rest. I felt much so better now I had “Rebound” (tip 1), but that only focused on my mind, not my body, and I knew I needed to talk to a professional.
It was difficult talking to my coach in Spain as it was so long-distance, so I decided to contact the coach of my new running club, Cornwall Athletics Club. He was very helpful and recommended two phone numbers for local physios. I couldn’t physically visit them or have any treatments to reduce the pain, but I could talk to them. Honestly, calling my new physio was the best step I ever took. She immediately made me feel so much more confident and relaxed because I finally had the answers I had been searching for.
She told me that I had patellar tendonitis, which is an inflammation of the tendon which causes pain at the front of the knee. It is also called ‘Jumper’s Knee’, and occurs due to repetitive stress and overuse of the knee. To learn more about patellar tendonitis: https://www.healthline.com/health/patellar-tendonitis
- To take three weeks off and then see how the knee feels.
- To continue strength training, but avoid activities which cause pain, such as squatting, lunging, and even calf raises!
- To strengthen my glutes and hamstrings because strain on the knee is caused from weakness in these muscle areas.
- To stop stretching because it overstrains the knee.
- To take warm baths, roll, and then ice.
- To continue swimming freestyle or backstroke, but avoid breaststroke.
I followed all of these steps, without a gym and swimming in the freezing cold sea, and was back training in around two and a half weeks. (Don’t worry if you do not have access to a swimming pool or beach, I mainly focused on strength training and only used swimming to break up the monotony) I was thrilled that the advice had worked! I started training again and ran for four days in a row. I experienced slight discomfort in my joints, but on the fourth day of training, I felt a pain on the outside of my right leg.
I went for a walk later that night and honestly couldn’t take another step, so I decided to ring my physio once again (she was probably sick of me by now;). After telling her my symptoms, she told me that I probably had ITB syndrome, and it was a continuation from the tendonitis. I got a little bit panicky again because she told me that it was probably necessary for me to have treatment but she didn’t know when the physios would be open again, but I knew that I had recovered from the last injury, so I knew I could do it again. It just required patience.
She gave me some different advice this time:
- To avoid squatting because it aggravates the TFL which pulls on the IT band and causes pain. She also sent me this link which I found so interesting because I never even heard of some of these parts of the body: https://www.rehab4runners.co.uk/running-injuries/hip-groin-pain/tfl-pain/
- To continue rolling.
I was a bit worried about this injury because I had read online that it can take anywhere from four weeks to six months to heal, so I knew that I needed to continue researching. The main tip that I can give you is to keep educating yourself on your injury; keep looking up every possible stretch, ever possible activity and try them out.
The lesson learnt from any injury is to always see yourself as a student of the sport. There are so many ways your can improve, regardless of whether you are an elite Olympian or simply a fun runner. This is the reason why we run: to challenge our minds and bodies, and learn new things everyday!
Tip 3 on the next blog!
Lots of love,