Patellar tendonitis

What?  Runner’s knee?

I’ve been running since 1996, starting at the tender age of 11.  I have never really had ‘runner’s knee.’  I’ve had a few other injuries, and I am still not sure if I qualify this as a ‘real injury’ if I can still run through it.  Ha!

Regardless…  beginning with training for SOB, running on the PCT and directly on the course, my knee cap started to feel very slight pain.  I assumed it was from the tilt of the trail, with the majority of the SOB course run on the trail with the right leg higher than the left.  The PCT is constructed like this to prevent water from pooling on the trail and forming washouts.  Obviously, there is some muscular imbalance that would allow my right leg to crush in too much when it is higher on the trail than the left, but whose wouldn’t?

At any rate, training and racing on this course caused some irritation under the kneecap.  It came and went, with the ‘pain’ no more than a simple awareness.  I was just aware that it was there, and irritated.  No visible swelling.  No tenderness.  I ran Le Grizz 50 and didn’t notice anything during the race and not directly after, but I would notice it from time to time on longer training runs.  Especially on runs with hills.  Never during a run, but the day after.

I went to a well-known sports massage therapist after Lithia Loop to get all of my kinks worked out.  The knee had a bit more pain at this time than other times.  I also had quite a bit of perineal tendon pain on both feet, as I always do after long runs.  The massage therapist worked all of this out and suggested that my knee pain was due to a slightly weak gluteus minimus.  I agree.

I took some time off, running never more than 40ish miles a week for two months.  I took a full week off and ran when I felt like it afterwards.  It was the holidays and I was ready for a mental break anyway.  Eventually, I went to an orthopedist to check out my knee… as I was nervous about it being something bigger than what it actually ended up being – patellar tendonitis.  I asked for an MRI, the doc said no.  It would be a waste, as his diagnosis was based on a physical examination.  My symptoms are consistent with it, so I believe him.  Even so, I asked the doctor to swear that I wasn’t wearing into my meniscus or having any lasting long-term knee damage while continuing to run.  He said he is positive it is just patellar tendonitis and it can be fixed with therapy.  He recommended some PT and prescribed doing 2x a week sessions for 8 weeks.

Anyway, I have big race plans for 2014 and can’t be slowed any more by patellar tendonitis.  As a runner for 17 years, more than half my life, I’m surprised that something as simple as this could develop.   I’ll be starting a new training plan and probably using my first race as a long run to gear up for more important races in a few months.  At any rate, here’s to 2014 and good, smart training!  Let’s see if I can run pain free and get better at this sport that I’ve been in for so long!

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