Thursday, February 23, 2006

What the sports med specialist said

As promised, I am posting an update after seeing the sports medicine specialist, Dr. Lun, today. After going over the history of the injury (since November!), I had to stand, walk normally, walk on my tip-toes, walk on my heels and of course, squat!

After that, I was poked, prodded and had my legs and knees bent in various directions. We heard “crunchies” or “clicks” in both knees and then I got bent about some more. He noticed some hyperflexibility in both my legs and hips. I knew about the hips, but not the legs. I mean, I see those little gymnasts stretching out in the gym, and I used to see dancers stretching, and I don’t even come close to what they do, but I guess for a woman in her mid-30’s, I am flexible. So, he moved me around some more to get a handle on what was a normal range of motion for me, and what could possibly be related to the injury.

I was then sent down the hall – yes, down the hall – for X-rays. They did them right then and there and I walked back the examination room with the films in an envelope under my arm. Cool, eh?

We looked at the films together and then we set out a plan of action. So, the shortened version:


  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome (otherwise known as PFPS, as I found out today) – in both knees, worse in the right. I kind of knew this, though I was in denial about the left one perhaps being better, but no such luck...
  • Mild tendonitis in right knee.
  • Knee bones look normal (i.e. no signs of arthritis; and considering this runs rampant in my family, that makes me very happy!)

Further investigation required for my shin. The doctor isn’t convinced it is a stress fracture, simply because I wasn’t logging a large number of miles. Said it could be a condition where the lining of the bone swells up. (I forget the name… but doesn’t that sound just yummy?!)

We will do a bone scan for more information. That will happen on Tuesday and my follow up appointment with Dr. Lun is March 10.

Also, I need to rest for a solid week. I can lift weights and do my physio exercises, but for cario I can go in the pool and that’s it. Keep icing and using anti-inflammatory cream, too. After that, I can try the run/walk program again… or maybe the elliptical machine.

With a twist… (figuratively speaking…)

I must wear a prescription knee brace, specially designed for PFPS. I made the appointment today and go for a fitting on Monday. I will wear it during impact activity and it should help. When I called to make the appointment for the fitting today, I asked how much it would cost. She asked what my prescription said and then told me it would be about $200, since it is “off the shelf” and not custom-made.

All I can say is… Thank God for Medicare and thank God for student health insurance!! For those of you south of the border, Medicare covered my appointment and X-Rays today, and should also cover the bone scan, since it is prescribed by a doctor. As for the knee brace, hopefully I can claim some of that on the student health plan. I don’t know how much of it will be covered, but every little bit helps.

The whole appointment, with X-Rays and all, lasted about an hour. I must say, I was impressed with the thoroughness of it all. These guys deal with real athletes: varsity sports teams, national team athletes and even Olympians. I thought maybe I’d get laughed right out of the office; I mean… I just started on this path to fitness and health less than a year ago and Lord knows, I still have a loooooong way to go… But apparently, a sports-related injury is a sports-related injury… no matter how novice or expert you are. I was truly impressed.

I’ll update again after getting the knee brace and the bone scan. Until then… I’m going to lift weights, try not to balloon in weight, and maybe just go up to the track every now and then … just to dream a little bit...


Chrystal said...

Wow, sounds like a lot of work ahead of you. Good thing you are being well taken care of. :)

kt said...

interesting about the 'swelling of the lining of the bone' part. that is sorta what mine is. my p.t. guy said it was the muscle pulling away from the bone. does that sorta sound maybe like it?
funny: since he deep-muscle-massaged it LAST WEEK, it has hurt like the dickens. (well, i should say i don't THINK running 2x on it has hurt it any...i dunno)
why can't it just be easy, sarah?
ah me. praise the Lord, anyhow, i say. and i do say it. cuz even tho we're struggling (and you more than i, methinks) we are so blessed, aren't we! we can walk around! =) love ya, sistah-friend!

Turtle Guy said...

Delightfully good news! You're relatively new on the road of fitness, and perhaps this is just a little side excursion so that down the road you will have this experience to take with you - to take care. You certainly have taken on a lot more than I would, or could.

Wonderful news on an alternative to a stress fracture! Not only that, there's action you can take immediately to forward your recovery!


It is said that the Creator never hands us a challenge we don't have the strength, endurance or tools to handle. Of course no one ever said anything about the "challenge" part! You're doing great - keep you chin up and your smile bright.

ipodmomma said...

boy,. you certainly got the overview!

wow, that's a lot of stuff... will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, and hopefully by the time spring/summer arrives you'll be on a new path...

a running path, that is... :)))

Anonymous said...

So, knees are not supposed to have their own language of clicks and crunches? Who knew?

Anvilcloud said...

You are certainly showing great tenacity. I'd be eating a box of donuts on the couch by now. My but that sounds good?

William said...

I've sent you an e-mail to ask for some clarity on symptoms and treatment Sarah, I've been diagnosed with PFPS as well.

zouzou said...

Doing weights may make you gain weight just due to increased muscle mass but it's GOOD weight (I know, it may be a difficult concept) - remember, count inches, not weight! Plus, it will increase your metabolism since muscle needs more energy to build/ maintain than fat does. So don't worry about the ballooning stuff it ain't gonna happen - you'll get definition, strength and as long as you STRETCH, flexibility too(critical component otherwise you'll get literally "muscle-bound"). Carry on!

A. said...

Well -- that's quite the diagnosis you got Sarah. I'm curious about the 'swelling of the lining of the bone part' -- sounds like something I've heard of before.
It's a bummer that you can't run right now, but as ZouZou points out and as you and I have talked about before, there are many benefits to weight training, especially when you're having fun with it!
Well have to trade notes soon!

Janice said...

Hi Sarah,

Still it dosen't sound real good. Tendonites I have too, in both shoulder and in both elbows and now both hands. the bad thing is it dosen't ever go away.


wthenrest said...

Why is it that all these diagnoses sound like some horrible torture machine someone invented. Man those Greeks/Latin speakers are probably rolling in their graves laughing at us for using those words still...anywho, I digress.
I think I have probably said this many times to you...or maybe I have just said it to myself in your company, I can't be sure, but if you can't do it the 'normal' way you will find another way. This is not coping out, before you even say it. Coping out would be to not do anything because you can't do it the 'standard' way. I have faith that you are not of that mindset.
P.S. An hour is not so bad for tests...mmm hate hospital and poking and prodding. yuck

D said...

At least you have a more solid idea of what is going on and an active plan to work through this. Keep us posted.