Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fixing the Knee

So for the last year and a half, I've had nagging knee pain. I crashed hard at Nature Valley in 2009, and did this:

I landed straight on my knee, and while there wasn't much superficial damage, I knew my knee was hurt. I could still push hard on the pedals, but any lateral motion would cause sharp pain. I never had the injury diagnosed (no insurance, no money, and it seemed to be improving) -- I just kept racing on it. I was pretty sure I'd hurt myself, but had no idea what was wrong. This uncertainty shattered my confidence, and I spent the next month DNFing or getting pulled from every race I entered (it didn't help that I went straight from Nature Valley -- which I finished by the way -- to the 10-stage Tour of America's Dairy Land, where I DNF'd every stage). Eventually I healed up, and the sharp pains subsided, but in the months that followed, I started to develop an ache in my joint whenever I'd hammer hard. I first noticed this pain when I started working at Cycle U last October, after my brief off-season. The ache would come and go, especially when I would do harder, lower torque intervals. I managed this pain all year long, all through training, and all through the racing season. Somehow I'd convinced myself that this wasn't a big deal, that this little ache in my knee was just a minor inconvenience -- yes, a minor inconvenience that forced me to remove pressure from my knee for a few seconds every time I'd go really hard, instead of something that was slowing me down. I'm embarrassed to even share that; I think it's what you call denial.

Well this year, after a very satisfying and lengthy off-season, I returned to hard training, and found my knee ache still alive and well. This time however, instead of rationalizing my knee pain, and writing it off as a nuisance, I realized that it is actually reducing the quality of my training.

So I called around. My search led me to Mike Rogers, and Paragon Fitness Physical Therapy. Mike is a physical therapist, but he's also a cyclist. Apparently I damaged my PCL in my crash. That's the bad news. The other bad news is that I made all sorts of muscular adaptations to protect my damaged knee, and I've got some atrophied muscles to rebuild. The good news is that I don't need surgery, and that with the right physical therapy I can resolve the issue! I can't express what a relief that was to hear -- not just because I'll make a full recovery, but also because it validates my concern. Yes, my knee was damaged in that crash. Yes, I had a valid cause for concern, and wasn't just being paranoid. Also, yes, I'm an idiot for waiting a friggin' year and a half before I took this problem seriously.

Mike, at Paragon Fitness PT, thank you so much for getting me started in this process. I'm thrilled to see what I can do with two fully-functional legs instead of one.


Anonymous said...

Mike is the best. He's gotten countless folks back up and "running".

Galen P said...

tendon injuries suck, and can produce lifelong problems, good to see it's not too bad!

Lang said...

You're welcome

Anonymous said...

I went to see many different PT's before I found Mike and there was no comparison - he's a genius. He's the only person I look to for advice on injuries, training methods,strength training, referrals, etc.