Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sports medicine doctor visit

To review, my current knee problem seemed to start for me when I started taking the Xtend Barre and Butts & Guts classes -- both strength classes with a lot of bent-knee weight bearing. Especially Xtend Barre, where the instructor kept barking, "BEND YOUR KNEES MORE!" It hurt while I was doing it, and it hurt after I did it, and I should have known better. It's hard when I'm getting yelled at like that to listen to my own body. I did stop taking the classes, but apparently not until I had gotten the knee area good and inflamed. And then I tried to do running and swimming and my knee just didn't feel right. It wasn't like my past experiences of Runner's Knee, which hurt under the kneecap. My pain was above the knee and to the side. It wasn't just the pain but also a deep feeling that something was just not right.

I have to admit I was a little nervous about going to a sports medicine doctor. I figure these docs are probably all ex-jocks, so I pictured a super-tan aging dude with a crewcut and big biceps. It, sad to say for my feminist self, did not occur to me that the doctor would be a woman. She may be an ex-jock -- she is very tall so maybe basketball or volleyball.  She was very nice.

I explained my problem and just like my family doc, she asked lots of questions and took my issue very seriously, more seriously than I had taken it myself. I was afraid I was making a big deal out of nothing. She felt around the knee joint and had me bend it different ways. I had worn loose capris to make this easier, and I was glad I did.

She did a quick knee ultrasound and looking at it, even I could tell that something was weird. There was a pointy thing that did not look like it should be there. The doctor went back and forth over it a couple of times and then sent me over to X-ray. The X-ray technician asked, "So this has been going on for about a month?" after checking the films. The doctor showed me the X-rays -- there was a triangle-shaped spur on top of my kneecap, exactly where you would not want a pointy thing. The little black triangle on the drawing is my doctor's illustration of the spur. On the plus side, she didn't see any deterioration in the cartilage in the joint.

Apparently, because of my past problems with Runner's Knee, I have some arthritis and the bone spur is a result of that. Fatiguing and stressing my knees in the new classes caused my knee to track badly, irritating everything. I'm taking anti-inflammatories (just OTC Aleve right now) and I have an appointment with a physical therapist on Friday.  I also have exercises to do at home. A couple of them hurt right now so I might wait on those until after I see the PT. 

I'm doing physical therapy because I want to be back to normal activity as soon as possible. The doctor said I can run "as tolerated" but should probably wait until the inflammation is down.  No more Xtend Barre for me. I did, however, put Pilates Reformer back into my schedule, since the goal for my PT is to increase core and hip strength and decrease pain.

I looked into the Whole30 stuff that Debbi is doing because she said it helped her with her joint pain. I just don't understand the justification for cutting legumes from the diet -- they seem like a good source of vegetable protein. I'm not a vegetarian but I don't like eating a lot of meat.  A lot of other anti-inflammatory diets include them and low-fat dairy. I'm looking into South Beach right now.  The main agreements between these competing plans seem to be:
  • Minimize or eliminate processed foods and sugar
  • Maximize vegetables (and to a lesser extent, whole fruit)
  • Emphasize healthy fats
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners

I don't want to follow a strict diet at this point but I think I can definitely incorporate some of these elements into my life.   


  1. I don't think you should think "diet" nor "strict". I think you would be well served to think of it as a food sensativity test. I would drop it all, while you have free time for the next couple months, and see what happens.

  2. Really glad you got some help with your knee, my sympathies for the pain! And can so relate to not listening to body when someone is yelling at you! Is it arthritis in your knee or osteoarthritis? The latter is meant to be helped by the anti-inflammatory foods. Would love to hear how you get on with the exercises! Always curious to find out new ones :) Good luck!

  3. We each have to find what works for us. I'm a little apprehensive about changing what appears to be working for me now (at least until the Diet Bet is over!). But you can be quite sure that I'll be adding back dairy, legumes and grains, probably in that order, and watching what they do to my energy levels, pain levels (which are practically nothing at this point) and – of course – my weight! Glad you found a good doctor who was willing to listen and pay attention, and that you have some PT lined up. That should be especially helpful.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07