One of the wonderful things about the Internet is that it contains a wealth of information. However, for someone like me, who can be mildly obsessive about finding the right answer, the Internet is also a curse.
This weekend, I spent hours searching knee woes. On Friday, after seeing Prem, I left feeling hopeful – that there was improvement. Yesterday, I headed out for my walk, as planned, and (gasp) decided to try to run during it. I didn’t even last for 200 metres. My leg immediately hurt and I stopped.
“So why”, I wondered, “was I able to run just 10 days earlier – and run fairly quickly 10 days earlier – but not today. Is there more to this than I think? ” When I got home, I started to research: meniscus tears.
Oh, the dreaded meniscus. Just hearing the word sets panic in me. Please, don’t let it be that. I googled the meniscus and also learned about the ACL, the knee triad, the fibia, and the femur – but I always ended up back with the meniscus. And, the more I read, the more convinced I was that I have a torn meniscus. Of course, I handled it well (cough, cough).
At today’s physio session, I told Prem that it still hurt to run and I was worried about having a tear. “The problem I’m having,” I told him, “is I’m a data person (actually, a data geek) and there isn’t any for this. Everything is subjective and emotions get in the way. How do I know that this isn’t a meniscus tear without having to wait for an MRI?”
Prem did the “meniscus test”, the one when your knee is bent in all direction: no pain. “It’s not your meniscus or you would feel something when I did that.” Relief. And, I remembered that he did that same test weeks ago and I didn’t feel any discomfort then either. More relief.
Then he poked and prodded the way a therapist can and said that the cartilage joined to the meniscus is the cause of my woes and that there is some scar tissue underneath (he mentionned this weeks ago too but I put it out of my mind).
“Can this be corrected? How long is recovery? Could it be anything else? What else can I do?”
I can deal with an injury if I know how long it is going to go on for, but I don’t have the mental strength to follow a “wait and see” approach. If surgery is in the cards for me, I need to know that, when it is going to happen and how long recovery is.
“With rest,” Prem told me, “you’ll be off running for 6 to 8 weeks.” But he also suggested seeing an orthopaedic surgeon – just to make sure.
He also told me that there could also be excess plica – tissue which surrounds the joints, causing friction, pain and discomfort – and that might also be part of the problem. “Your doctor can prescribe anti-inflammatories to help reduce the swelling.”
And after giving me some more exercises to keep strengthening the muscles around the knee, he sent me home, feeling much more relaxed than when I started.
There has been improvement; I saw that today. My flexibility is better, I can squat further and, tonight, I pivoted on the stairs without thinking twice (something that I most certainly would have done last week).
But I’m frustrated. I work with data and I run with data. I need a goal, an action plan and a time-frame. Most of all, though, I need patience – miles and miles of patience.