So this is what makes the magic happen:
My appointment with the orthopaedic doctor was meh.
Some background: I have been experiencing dynamic pain in my knees, lower leg, ankle, and hips since September 21 (two days after a 14.0 mile long run). Obviously, the pain is not debilitating (I would rank it as an average of “3” on a scale of 1 – 10), nor has it prevented me from running 20 – 25 miles a week, a Half Marathon, or a 15K.
However, the pain has been nagging me for a month, and I’ve done enough research on stress fractures to know that I really needed to get X-rays and a bone scan. So, even though I lean towards alternative medicine, I made an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor.
I accomplished the basic things I needed to get out of this appointment: I got X-rays and I got a referral for a bone scan. However, I was SO disappointed with this doctor’s bedside manner. He came into the room and said, “So, your knee hurts?” I tried to explain that it wasn’t just my knee, but you know how doctors are–they just launch into their explanation without really hearing your complaint.
He didn’t ask me:
- How many miles a week I run
- When I started to run
- How many days a week I run
- How I cross train
- What surfaces I run on
How in the WORLD can you diagnosis someone without asking about their history? I just don’t understand it!
I would’ve been more assertive and directed the conversation where I wanted it to go, but I was completely thrown off by what he said within two minutes of meeting me:
“You have to stop running.”
Tears literally welled up in my eyes when he said that. It made me so, so mad. First of all, he didn’t take the time to understand running is MY PASSION. Second of all, he didn’t offer me any alternatives–he just said I had to stop, completely. Third of all, how can he possibly know this in 2 minutes?!
Next up, he rotated my knees. Unfortunately, he diagnosed me with Chondromalacia, which is an irritation of the undersurface of the kneecap or a “softening” of the cartilage. I’ve always known my knees kind of sucked, so I wasn’t surprised to hear this. The doctor then proceeded to advise me that there was nothing I could do to stop the Chondromalacia from progressing, except quitting running.
This also made me quite upset–I don’t believe that stopping running is my only solution. What about supplements or strength training exercises?! I just did 5 minutes of Internet research on the condition and discovered that physical therapy is a great way to heal Chondromalacia, and that “the damage from Chondromalacia is thought to be capable of repair, unlike that seen with arthritis.”
Then, I took my X-Rays. Here are my knees. Clockwise from the top right, that’s my right knee from the side, both of my knees from the front, and my right knee from the top.
Here’s a close up shot of my right knee:
And here is my lower right leg:
One positive thing did come out of my doctor’s appointment: the X-Rays did not reveal any stress fractures or lumps on my bones. However, stress fractures can be super tiny and hard to spot on a X-Ray, so I’m getting a bone scan done next Saturday.
The doctor did say that if my bone scan comes back clean, I am cleared for running (in the next breath, he then advised me to never run again….). If I have a stress fracture, I will be off my feet for 6 to 8 weeks. I’m not really worried about my bone scan revealing a stress fracture, but I want to rule it out completely.
The doctor advised me to not run until my bone scan. Sorry, but I’m not going to listen to him. I don’t believe I have a stress fracture, and I can run without pain (it’s highly intermittent and didn’t bother me during my 5.0 miler this morning at all). However, I am going to take him up on SOME of his advice:
- I will start running in the pool (more on that later!).
- I will replace one of my runs with cross training, so I’m running 4 days a week instead of five.
- As I have already decided to do, there will be no half marathons in the near future. I will stick to 7 miles or less.
In addition, I am making an appointment to see a holistic doctor/doctor of Oriental medicine. I’m going to wait until my bone scan comes back so I can show them the results.
I had my very last Z-Bar in the doctor’s office while waiting for my X-Rays to come back:
And, when I returned home, I made a melty cheese + chicken + spinach grilled sammie.
On the side, I had some grapes:
And two large carrots:
I hope I didn’t offend anyone out there who is a Western doctor or has family that is a Western doctor. A lack of bedside manner and interest in a patient’s history is a frequent compliant from Western medicine patients. Most doctors diagnosis you within the first 5 minutes–which simply isn’t enough time to really know a patient’s history and symptoms. I’m not saying EVERY Western doctor is like this, but unfortunately — I have never had a positive experience with a Western doctor. So, please — do not take my rant personally!
How do you handle discussing medical issues with your doctor? I think I need to start writing down my symptoms and complaints BEFORE I walk in. And I need to be more forceful if I think the doctor is getting off-track.
Sorry to hear your running news, but I think you are smart taking some of the doc’s advice.
I’m all for Eastern medicine! Let us know how that goes!