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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Road Blocks & Detours. . .


It seems if one thing is going well, another is not!

We are 6 days out from LOTOJA, and there is trauma in the land. . .

This has been an interesting summer of injuries and learning how to deal with those injuries. 

I am still planning to ride, whether or not my knee allows me to finish, time will only tell

Back in my college days at one point in my educational career I thought I wanted to be a physical therapist.  However upon taking anatomy class I discovered that I most definitely did not like the subject matter. . .  I didn’t like the smell of cadavers, I didn’t like learning where all those bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage. . . .  etc., etc., etc. ~ ~ ~ blah, blah, blah. . . attached to ~ ~ ~  Quite honestly, I didn’t care about learning about all that stuff, which in part is how I ended up studying Culinary Arts, as I found the subject matter much more interesting, fun, exciting and it definitely smelled better than those horrid cadavers. . . even on the day we burnt stuff that wasn’t meant to be burnt!  And food didn’t require math, only fractions & percentages ~ ~ ~  those I understand ~ ~ ~  piece of cake!

okay, I realize these are actually amazing blueberry/lemon cupcakes
but I’m sure you get the idea

Then this summer, more and likely as part of the whole getting old thing, which I am in consistent denial about, I suddenly determined it was in my best interest to try to become educated in the topic of muscles, tendons, and ligaments so I could “fix” or correct the things that were going wrong or in other words, help it stop hurting and prevent it from happening in the future.  With the help of the genius I found “google body lab” which has been quite helpful in my learning process.

As a result I have learned about hip flexors, IT Bands, ligaments, tendons, fascia, the glorious benefits of massage. . .  aaahhh. . .  and most recently learned that there are two sides to the meniscus. All of the above mentioned parts are PAINFUL when not working properly, hence the motivation to figure out how to fix or remedy the problem from reoccurring in the future.

I am going to tell you about a couple of the most prominent and memorable challenges I've enjoyed this season~ ~ ~  lucky you!

Let me begin with the “Hip Flexors”

hip flexor 2

These little guys (the ones circled in green) decided to make their appearance know during the run in the CV Super Sprint Triathlon in June.   This is the event I didn’t have my camera present so didn’t post a “race report” but it happened.

It was during the run that this little group of muscles decided to ATTACK, meaning they tightened and constricted and it was a painful experience and they made me stop running for a minute to stretch them out a couple of times during the 3.1 miles that I ran.

The ‘Hip Flexors’ are a group of muscles that, well, flex the hip. There are quite a few muscles that actually flex the hip, but the three that are specifically referred to as hip flexors work together, and help provide stability for the lower extremity.
Your hip flexors can cause all kinds of trouble.  Have you ever been sitting for a while and tried to get up and you feel stiff as a 2X4 and wonder if you will be able to get walking again?  Well, chances are your hip flexors are responsible for that.  They are also a VERY common cause of lower back pain.
I haven’t had this for a happen while so it took me by surprise, but taking a couple of minutes to stretch it out helped and I was able to run 3/4 of the run averaging a 10:30 min/mile (including the two stretching sessions) which is short of the 9:30 I was hoping for, but still over all pleased with the reduction in time from last year.

Then there was. . . .

IT Band

The IT Band.  This band runs from the top of the hip and inserts just below the knee. (The brown in the picture is the IT Band) When this bad boy acts up, IT HURTS!  This is the second time massage came in super-duper handy.  And now, I’m hooked!  I loved my massages this summer and the practice could be somewhat habit forming.

foam roller

In addition to regular ibuprofen, a foam roller is also handy to have at home so you can self massage the band while it calms down and the inflammation reduces.  Yup, it’s a log made of foam, you lay on it and roll back and forth on the affected muscle, or in this case IT Band to lengthen, massage and stretch it.


another handy device is “The Stick”.   This little unit is made of of beads that roll over tight spots in your muscles helping to "massage” them to feeling better. This device is great for locations like the gluteus maximus/minimus/medius muscles, also known as the backside.

I made good use of both the stick and the foam roller throughout the summer. . . .

Oh the life of an athlete, so many cool toys and accessories, even better than shoes and jewelry . . .  well, maybe not the shoes, but it's debatable. . .

Now for the most fatal to my success this upcoming Saturday. . . .

meniscus 2

. . . The Lateral Meniscus

I’ve learned a little more about this little piece of cushion (kind of like a little pillow that sits inside the knee between the top and the bottom of the knee.   I had my left knee repaired six years ago, but back then I didn’t worry much, it hurt, I had it repaired. . . all better.  Kind of like the attitude that I had in my anatomy class.   Now it’s the right knee and it’s interfering BIG time with my goals, objectives, AND lifestyle.

I’ve been to the Doctor, had the MRI, and it’s confirmed

a tear in the lateral meniscus on the right knee.   The meniscus has two parts an inside otherwise identified as the medial, and the outside, known as the lateral.  I have damaged the lateral meniscus on the right knee.

Riding the bike doesn’t bother it, but all running has been nixed from my list of approved activities, which translates to I will not be running the Layton 1/2 marathon in October, instead I’m scheduled for surgery to repair this little beast.

The number one question I’m asked is how did I manage to tear my meniscus, the assumption is always running first, bike second. . .

. . . .The answer

. . . .Swimming

Then I get this odd look, with the most typical response being something like

. . . "I thought swimming was a low–impact sport, how did you manage that one"?

Well the musician (the returned missionary) was trying to teach me how to do the breast stroke kick, I was doing it miserably wrong.  I felt something hurt, but didn’t think much of it until a few days afterwards, when my knee locked up and I couldn’t even walk for a bit.  It was sending shooting pains up AND down my entire leg. . .  translation . . .   not a good thing!

It gradually improved, but then as it was feeling better, it happened again. . . 12 days to LOTOJA, that’s when I freaked out and scheduled an appointment with our orthopedic doctor.

DSC00756 DSC00757

So now I wear this charming brace at all times except when riding and sleeping, to keep me from twisting my knee, which is the action that causes my knee to lock up.   Actions as simple as sitting with my legs crossed will cause it to twist, resulting in my knee totally, painfully, completely locking up.  When the knee locks up there is no walking, sitting, standing, everything hurts, the brace prevents all of that.

Like I said, the bike is fine, fortunately for me I ALWAYS un-clip from the left side first so getting out of my pedals isn’t a problem.  The beefy brace is a little more than I need, but we have two of these kicking around from previous knee surgery’s at our house, so they told me to just use one of those.  It does the trick and has kept me safe, even though I have full bending privileges, it’s a little okay, lets be completely honest here, it’s a big a pain to use. 

As for my LOTOJA we are moving ahead as planned.

The genius has been working on a fun project that I will introduce on Wednesday for LOTOJA

. . .so stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Knees can definitely be a tricky thing. My knee started swelling and giving me problems a few years ago. By the time the doctor scheduled me for exploratory surgery six month slater I was on crutches (couldn't walk) and the muscles in my leg were shot (this was after finally switching doctors, trying cortizone shots, etc). After the surgery it took me a year to walk normal again (but then I've never been good at exercising, etc.). Sounds like you have a great doctor. Good luck on your surgery and recovery. Janet.