I was so nervous for my doctor’s appointment. I felt very prepared (emotionally and intellectually) because I had listed out all my symptoms:
I also brought the Husband’s anatomy book so I could look at an illustration of my knee if necessary. The first orthopaedic doctor I went to didn’t even bother to show me a knee model, which is why I brought this.
Did I mention that I have THE BEST DAD in the entire world? Seriously, my dad deserves a medal. I told him on Tuesday how nervous I was about my appointment, and he offered to drive AN HOUR and A HALF to go with me! It was so great to have emotional support!
Dad, you rule.
I knew that I had picked the right doctor right when we walked in. There was a large display case of signed sports memorabilia from athletes my doctor had treated in the past. By the way, I found this doctor by calling the local running speciality shop and getting a recommendation from one of the running coaches.
The doctor came in, and I handed him my 1/2 page symptom list. After thoroughly reading it, he did a bunch of manual manipulations and watched me walk up and down the hallway.
I have patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or simply "runner’s knee." Here’s an article about PFPS, but my doctor said my primary issue is that my quadriceps are stronger on the outside than they are on the inside, and as a result, my thigh muscles pull my patella bone up and OUT when I bend my knee. Technically speaking, my vastus medialis obliquus (VMO) muscle is being overpowered by the much larger vastus lateralis muscle.
Although he said my prior diagnosis of Chondromalacia was not "wrong," he said Chondromalacia is more of a symptom of PFPS than a disease in itself. The popping noise my knee makes is simply my patella bone being jacked out of position by my muscles and is not due in itself to a weakening of my cartilage.
He did X-Rays to prove that my joint space was normal:
And then… I asked the MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: "Do I have to stop running?" And he said that RUNNING WAS FINE!!!!!!!! He said the pain in my knees is an inflammatory response to my patella being pulled out of place, and although I should not run through serious pain, it is not going to do damage to me if I follow his treatment plan and continue to run safely.
Here’s my treatment plan:
- Go to physical therapy to learn how to strength my VMO muscle.
- Have the physical therapist teach me how to do patellar taping. He said I was on the right track with my knee sleeves, but patellar taping will be stronger and more effective until my VMO muscle can do the work on its own.
- Take an anti-inflammatory OTC drugs before and after my runs.
- Ice my knees after a run to prevent inflammation.
- Get orthotic arch supports because apparently I pronate a little bit, which is making the situation worse.
These are the orthotic arch supports the doctor recommended. They were $30.
And I start physical therapy on TUESDAY!
I am so excited. I literally came home and cried. It was so wonderful to have a doctor who cares and could lay out an intelligent and thoughtful treatment plan.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT. It means SO much to me.