Rest for 3-5 days.
This was Kuya BZ’s instruction when I finally admitted that my right knee’s been acting up: Something below the knee was painful, as if it’s been crushed.
Before I packed up my gym bag, I then thought: Oh, I didn’t clarify what “rest” means. Did it mean no run and no crosstraining at all, or no run but moderate crosstraining, or just stay away from the trail? (I bruised and scratched my left knee when I fell on the trail one fateful Sunday, after which I did a long run with Ellen and Raff). So I asked again and got a two-word elucidation that almost left my world in shambles:
Five days later, the pain would still persist whenever I descend the stairs. Five days later, I thought I’ve lost my training rhythm. And five days later, I thought I haven’t recovered yet. What am I doing wrong? I do R.I.C.E. every night. Why isn’t my right knee feeling any better? Why is my left knee still bruised?
Whenever someone would ask about my knee, I’d say “it’s not an injury,'” and insist that “it’s getting better,” because that’s what I’d like to believe is happening. But every morning, I’d dread waking up and finding out that my right knee hadn’t recovered overnight.
So when the recommended five-day rest didn’t work, I thought there’s probably something wrong with my slow recovery. Is it my diet? Should I be doing some exercises?
Gail suggested I do squats. Ellen detailed her R.I.C.E. ritual. Kuya BZ also urged me to see the doctor.
By consulting the Web and the invisible college, I was getting an inkling that I probably have runner’s knee. Further research also led me to this, a page on diet tips for recovery. After what seemed like eternity, I finally ate beef and peanuts again, and forgot about being a BLC bandit.
I gave my knee a few more days to see if the change in diet helped, and the pain was reduced to discomfort (which still bordered into slight pain). After 11 days, I tried pounding the pavement again with knee support.
An easy 10k with some uphill training didn’t leave my knee screaming in pain. Whew. But it worried me—10k is my favorite distance, and the comeback run wasn’t as comfortable as my previous 10k’s. I wasn’t wasted, but the knee just couldn’t feel the “high.” Could it really be runner’s knee?
Finally, a visit to the specialist gave me the “Buddha” moment.
“It’s runner’s knee,” the orthopedist said. “Any swelling?”
Will it heal? How long?
“Kung ako tatanungin mo? Six weeks.”
Huh?! Six weeks?!
“Dapat six weeks rest for the ligaments to heal and for the discomfort to completely go away.”
How about the left knee? It’s still bruised.
“Na-stress yung muscles mo with the fall. It may also take about six weeks for it to completely heal.”
All right. Now I have to admit that I’m not “just in running rehab,” as I previously claimed.
I… I… (geez, acceptance sure is difficult) have runner’s knee.