Saturday, 2 April 2022

First chiropractor visit, first parkrun

19-months after waking up on a Sunday morning with a swollen right knee, I'm still not 100%. Sure, I'm out on my feet every day, I can go hiking, walk the dogs and I can trot along the trails. But I can't run. Like properly run. A good, sweat-inducing run. Well, I can physically run, but if I do, I can expect inflammation.

In August 2020, I went to the physio the day after waking up with an inflammed knee. No structural problems found. It got worse, triggered, as I discovered six-week later, by my new trail shoes, which I'd been wearing casually and that left me limping and sore. 

In early October 2020, I saw an orthopedic surgeon (I was taking my mom there for her post-hip operation check-up). I had x-rays, he checked me out and proclaimed that there was no structural issue.
In mid-October 2020, I saw our local GP, who removed 5ml of fluid from my knee, did an ultrasound to check the soft tissue and confirmed no structural issue.

I then saw a biokineticist (twice) and the physio. 

Then I moved from Parys to George.

I couldn't do any of the exercises given to me by the bio - too painful. Instead, I walked daily - initially only 1-2km and later further, wearing my old road shoes. And daily stretching.

In February 2021, I started with a local biokineticist. She tested my knee and confirmed no structural problems. I then started on a programme to activate glutes, balance left and right (I'd been favouring one side for months), and achieve the correct relationship between muscle groups - like quads and hammies (my quads were too strong). The first three months were the most intensive and then I checked-in every few weeks. 

I remember August-September 2021 being pretty good as I was doing quite a bit of mileage in scouting and preparing for my Checkpoint Challenge event for World Orienteering Day. But then something set me back.

We're now in April 2022 and I'm so tired of not actually knowing what the problem is and why I keep having inflammation flare-ups. I've got low-grade inflammation regularly. I'm not in any pain and my mobility is not compromised, but I know it is not right.

I toyed with the idea of going to a chiro for some time because I haven't had a proper check and assessment since October 2020. I've suspected that the issue is still muscle/tendon/ligament and not bone/cartilage but I've had no plan or way forward out of this, and I've been terrified of doing too much for fear of long-term damage of any sort. 
"Chiropractors are trained to diagnose, treat, manage and prevent disorders of the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints, and muscles), as well as the effects these disorders can have on the nervous system and general health."
Sounds like what I was in need of,

On Friday afternoon, I had my first session ever with a chiropractor. His assessments confirmed that there was no structural problem with my knee - meniscus great, patellar tracking spot on, and joint mobility all normal.

He did find a discrepancy in leg length related to tight right glute and sacroilliac joint and right shoulder sitting a bit higher than left. He sorted this out

In June 2020, I slammed my right big toe into a rock. Head-on collision. I don't recall it giving me any worry until after the knee started and I've suspected it to be a factor. Videos of me on the treadmill at the bio show good form and no problems with foot landing or toe off, but of course this can be part of the problem. X-rays in October 2020 showed joint inflammation and signs of osteoarthritis, which the orthopod confirmed could be as a result of the impact. It has messed with my toe mobility - I can't lift it much. This can affect the toe-off when running and walking.

The chiro worked on my big toe joint, getting more mobility into the joint. This made a big difference.

All in all, a good experience. I'll see him again on Wednesday when he'll check how the SI joint is doing, work on toe mobility and check in on the knee.

Since the George parkrun got going again in October 2021, I've been volunteering - most of the time on barcode scanning. Until this morning, I had yet to run a parkrun since pre-lockdown. 

The house I moved to at the end of January is 1.5km from parkrun, so I've been running to and from parkrun every Saturday. I've been thinking of running early, before the start, and then doing my volunteer duty, but I just have not had the confidence to do so. When a clock is ticking my brain switches into another gear. 

I did think that today would be the day... It was raining early so I figured I'd just do my normal jog to the start, which I did. Just after the start, I began packing up the start items when I was told that only one barcode scanner was needed, another guy was in place, so I could slot in with handing out tokens or collecting tokens. I was picking up dog water bowls when I thought - well, maybe I should run!

I knew it wouldn't take me long so I told the team that I was going to run and that I'd hop into a role when I got back. Off I went. This was maybe three minutes after the start with a trail of walkers leading up to the gate.

I know the trails of the route very well as I'm on these at least once or twice a week. It would be muddy and there are lots of tree roots on the one stretch. I enjoyed passing all the walkers and catching the slower runners, moving steadily up the field. I had two little walkies on hills, and ran the rest. I ran easily and comfortably, focusing on footfalls and posture and form.

My finish time of 32:32 means that my real time was likely just a sub-30, which on this course is rewarding for me for a first running. I'm not unfit - I walk, hike, swim and paddle with odd jogs - but I'm not up to scratch with running at all. Women's winning finish times on this course are not often under 24 minutes and this summer have mostly been over 25.

This was my first parkrun run since 14 March 2020. I have now done 105 parkruns and I've volunteered 127 times (72 of these as Run Director). 

I'm itching. Itching to run hard and fast. I've been really contained these past 19 months. I started running as a teen and I've hardly let up in almost 30 years - until now. My frustration has been tempered by enough other activities and a crazy work schedule. I haven't really had the capacity to deal with my knee situation because I haven't known what it is. This has been eating away at me and has had a big psychological impact.

My knee journey is not over. The knee is the symptom probably of transference from my toe. While slamming it into a rock was the start, the new trail shoes were the trigger that set off this whole situation. Bio helped, keeping active helps. 

I'm hoping that we're now going to find a long-term fix - one that will see me back to the activity that I love most.


Mike said...

Glad your experience with the chiro was a good one. I have been going to a chiro , when required, since the age of 5 years old when I was diagnosed as having one leg shorted than the other which was not the case . Glad my Dad had the foresight to go to a chiro back in the 60's .

I have an incredible Chiro in Dr J J Faure in the CBD of Cape Town and even though I live in a medical precinct , I wouldn't swop him for the world.

Yoga, I have friend who I do yoga with every now and then but shew, I have the flexibility of a pretzel although I really do enjoy some of the moves and definitely feel the benefits. You referred to the lady in the Fightmaster tutorials and I speak to be corrected that she has since passed away. Gone too soon. so we do the Five Parks yoga with Erin Sampson who has almost single handedly killed me lol.

Last observation , my birthday is the 5th May, yours the 4th :-) I'll try to remember !

Stay strong!


adventurelisa said...

You are right! Lesley Fightmaster passed away on 21 November 2020. Her husband and friends are keeping her YouTube channel going so there are Lesley's 600-odd videos plus new additions. Sad news indeed. Hers were the first online yoga videos that I found (I tried a bunch) that really worked for me - her classes are exactly how I like them. In thanks to her, it would be worthwhile working my way through all of them.