So I saw an ortho (knee dude) on Monday. While laying on the table, they twirled my knee around, I suppose to check for involvement of muscles, and of course, all that negative (I don't have much pain when laying on my back). The conclusion was chondromalacia--deterioration of cartilage behind the kneecap (and sometimes the back side of the knee cap is rough--I had my left one smoothed out years ago), and that it's referring pain all around the knee. A prescription for 3 PT visits given, and I have scheduled those. Goal is to strengthen my quads. I've sensed my hamstrings have taken over and can tell from how they look, but honestly, when they do those silly "contract this muscle" tests, it's under pressure, so who knows? Do I really have weak quads? Maybe. Compared to what? Hopefully, in PT they will measure the relative strength of the 2 muscles, because that's where it's at.
I've stopped running and biking, and as of today, I'm also giving water running and elliptical a rest. So nothing but swimming. For the past 2 days, really since I stopped running last week, I don't feel the tightness/pain (whatever it is--I'm not entirely sure) in the gastroc, but continue to feel lateral just above the knee, where the biceps femoris tendon is, pain. Sometimes. It still feels to me that I have an issue with the hamstring, so I'm acting like I do, I guess. In either case, rest from aggravating things is in order. Yesterday I actually got on the elliptical (a different, harder one!) and had zero pain, and zero pain after. I was going up and down stairs with aplomb. But then late afternoon I went outside and picked up pine cones (a service I provide to my neighbor that benefits me, too) and did a bit of leaf and pine needle sweeping, and when I got back inside, OUCH! There was some knee bending involved, but again, that could be the patella or it could just be the hamstring. I'm writing this down so I don't forgot to report all this to the PT.
Obviously, this is very frustrating, and I feel like an idiot for not catching/abating this sooner, and of course, those feelings of being a loser and setting such high expectations for myself come into play. That's a normal reaction, right? I do try and push those thoughts aside, but they do manage to creep into my consciousness a few times a day.
At this point, I would be happy if I knew I could go for a WALK without doing further damage and not being in any pain. I know other people have far worse problems than I do, but this is my passion, and so it makes me sad. I spend a lot of time stretching, doing body work, warming up prior to exercise, getting massages, eating right--all those things I'm supposed to do. Oh and I forgot that the ortho gave me the "you're getting old" talk which really made me feel great (NOT). Only the way he said it was, "You need to realize that at your age you are pushing your body's limits." Same difference!
So right now I'm in that limbo where I really don't know quite what the fuck all is going on with my body. I always say I wish I just had a broken bone--there's a pretty standard protocol and recovery period for those--whereas this? I have no fucking clue, and I'm not even convinced I have a proper diagnosis. I still do have an appointment with the podiatrist, and hope that results in new orthotics. Which who knows when I will get to use them?
Here I thought I had fixed one problem and now this. On the bright side, I'm closer to and higher up the wall with my hands/feet in pursuing a handstand. And I don't need my goddamn knees or hamstrings to do that, either. One day at a time, huh?