My knee has decided to become useless.
I started experiencing some pain in my left knee after we got back from our ski trip last month. Over the course of a few weeks, it got to the point where I couldn’t run — and then walk — without pain.
I went to a sports medicine doctor, and was diagnosed with jumper’s knee, stage 3, which basically means that it hurts at all times (especially when I try to do… anything). Jumper’s knee creeps up on you – so although the damage probably occurred during our ski trip, I didn’t really start to feel it until now, weeks later.
It’s not the best timing – after a couple months of holiday cookies, I was finally starting to bounce back into my mostly paleo, exercising 5-6x/week self. I know that it won’t get better unless I am diligent about my therapy: physical therapy, stretching, icing, taking anti-inflammatories, elevating, resting.
The last one is the hardest for me — resting. I can handle the active parts of recovery, where I can be in control of my healing, doing something to improve my pain level. The passive part though — the sitting, the waiting, accepting the fact that I won’t be able to hop on a treadmill for at least a month (ironically, longer if I don’t allow myself to rest) — that’s the part that is driving me insane.
My boyfriend is attempting to teach me patience, encouraging me to walk slowly, avoid overexertion, and promote healing in any way possible. I’m a little rebel — hopping on the stationary bike when he’s not looking, walking too fast, skipping icing sessions — to him, I know it looks like self-sabotage. To me, it’s more like self-preservation — protecting myself from the idea of becoming sedentary for over a month. It’s just not like me to sit around, or to believe that sitting around is good for me.
He’s right though — by not resting, I’m guaranteeing myself a longer recovery time, more frustration, and more pain. I can go one of three ways: Continue as I have been, prolonging my pain; rebel against the world, becoming totally sedentary, eating crap, and watching copious amounts of television; OR find healthy, productive ways to promote healing, refocus my energy, and stay positive. (To quote the guy in Shrek: “Pick three my Lord, pick three!”)
TAKING (RESTFUL) ACTION
Take off the Fitbit: I’m not going anywhere, and neither should the step count on my Fitbit. For the first few days after the injury started to seriously affect me, I insisted on wearing my Fitbit so I could at least take comfort in the fact that I was getting some activity. That, my friend, is called a lack of self-awareness: I should’ve known my high-performing nature would kick in, and I would still try to reach my usual 5-figured step count (albeit slowly). If my goal is to rest, having a device encouraging higher step and stair counts is not the key to success. Byebye, Fitbit.
Shift the focus: I began this year with the intention of ramping up my fitness routine even more — and put a lot of mental preparation into the idea that this would be the year that I reached a new peak of fitness. Luckily, I also started the year with another goal: Starting this blog. Working on the blog gives me something to focus on mentally and spiritually in the same whole-hearted way I was going to approach my fitness. It’s excellent timing, really — I can elevate and ice while I blog, resting while promoting healing.
Avoid depressants: My injury came the week of Lent, which I remember from my Catholic school days as a time for self-examination and reflection. I decided to give up alcohol for Lent, for both physical and mental health. Physically, alcohol prevents muscle recovery and growth, plus it’s full of empty calories. Mentally, I know that I’ll have days that are frustrating (I already have), and I know that having a glass or two of wine seems like an appropriate antidote – but for me, it often just makes me more upset. By the time Lent is over, I’ll hopefully be healed and will be able to raise a glass in celebration. Until then, no vino.
Promote healing through food: Although I will be taking my prescribed anti-inflammatories, I’ll try as much as possible to also promote healing through the foods I eat. Bone broth will be my best friend during this time, as well as the anti-inflammatory herb turmeric (stay posted for tons of turmeric recipes). I’m going to try to stick to an anti-inflammatory paleo diet, avoiding dairy, grains, added sugars, legumes, and processed foods and eating tons of fruits and vegetables.
Take energizing baths: Epsom salt baths can reduce inflammation and promote healing. If I’m going to be sitting, I might as well be sitting in a bathtub, right? My goal is to take at least 3 baths a week, with tons of Epsom salts and restorative essential oils like lavender and peppermint to promote relaxation and healing.
It could be much, much worse, and I know it. I’m grateful for this exercise in patience, for everyone supporting me, for the temporary nature of this injury, and for an otherwise healthy body. When I searched for jumper’s knee exercises on Pinterest, a quote popped up that said “Turn this set back into a comeback.” Sounds like a plan.
Any tips on promoting healing? Share them below in the comments section. 🙂