Chondromalacia, Physical Therapy, and Running

Most people who know me or read my blog know that I spend a lot of time running. Unfortunately I had been unable to run for quite some time. If you weren't aware I had suffered some pregnancy complications that caused me to go into heart failure shortly after Ryleigh was born. I would get out of breath with very little exertion and I was told by my cardiologist not to plan on training for a marathon any time soon. 

I started trying to eat healthier to lose the weight gained during pregnancy. I did really well with getting most of the weight off with diet alone, but I wanted to run. I NEEDED to run. 

I started taking small walks just to build up by endurance. Then I started to notice my right knee giving me problems. I bent down to take a picture and screamed in pain. I needed help getting up. After that I noticed my knee causing pain when I would walk down the stairs or get into any kind of squatted position. I asked my chiropractor about it and he told me I shouldn't run anymore. My knee was loose and I could damage the cartilage and tissue underneath. 

I obviously didn't want to settle for this as an answer so I sought the help of an orthopedic doctor. Luckily there wasn't any significant damage to my knee and I was told I had chondromalacia. 

I was told to stay away from squats, lunging, and any deep bending. The good news was that the doctor told me I could run as long as my knee wasn't aggravated by the running. This was great news! He gave me a prescription for naproxen, an anti-inflammatory medication, and referred me to physical therapy. 

I made an appointment for my initial PT exam the next day. The physical therapist that examined me told me that my right side was a lot weaker than my left. Apparently I could have always had a weakness on that side and perhaps a small, unnoticed injury could have continued to weaken my right side, causing the knee pain. He told me that if we worked on strengthening the right side I would help to stabilizing the joints of the knee and help to resolve my problem. The prognosis was good!

I started some simple exercises and realized how much weaker I was that I thought, especially on my right side. Exercises that should have been simple for me were a struggle. I was given exercise homework to do at home. 

Over the past 3 weeks I have been enjoying physical therapy and getting myself back in shape for running. 

I decided to test out the knee (and the heart) by attempting a 5k run. I was able to run 3/4 of a mile consecutively. It's not much, but it's a great improvement over the last time I attempted a run and could barely complete 1/4 mile. That last attempt had me in tears. 

I stopped for a walk break and then did run/walk intervals when I was able. I was able to complete the 5k and my knee seemed okay. I definitely felt a soreness on my right side, but it felt good to be back hitting the pavement. 

My time for the 5k was slow, but now I have a starting point for training. I also felt great after the run, so I am happy.

The next two days were followed by physical therapy so I'm extremely sore, but I plan on running again over the weekend. 

And I might have signed up for my first race of 2016! 
I'll be running the 5 mile race at the Clearwater Distance Classic on 1/17!!
I'm super excited!

Have you ever had an injury? What did you do and how did you feel getting over it?