The WAITING ROOM => GENERAL KNEE QUESTIONS and comments (good for new threads) => Topic started by: indiefan on February 04, 2011, 12:00:51 AM

Title: Post Surgical Life Minus Running
Post by: indiefan on February 04, 2011, 12:00:51 AM
Hello!  I recently had a lateral release and chondroplasty on 12/29/10.  Prior to being diagnosed with this condition, I was an avid runner and was training for a Marathon.  Today I had my second post surgical visit with my Surgeon and while he was impressed with my progress, he told me just how bad my kneecap was.  He told me I had Stage IV Chondromalacia and Degenerative Joint Disease.  I had asked him about running and the look on his face said it all.  I was curious if any other injured runners out there have discovered something that fulfills and inspires them as much as running did?  I am really struggling to accept my life sans running and at the same time learning to cope with the diagnosis and the progression that I know will be forthcoming.  I felt I had such success in P.T. and I guess I have but just still see myself as that long distance athlete.  I guess what I am looking for are some people in similar situations just to commiserate, draw inspiration, or learn from.  I have found this forum so helpful and would be lost without it. 
Title: Re: Post Surgical Life Minus Running
Post by: will1129 on February 04, 2011, 12:38:42 AM
I can't run anymore after surgery ruined my knee and I've taken up swimming and the eliptical machine. They aren't as good as running but are adequate. However, during the warm weather months I go hiking outside and I enjoy that almost as much as I did running. It's a strenuous workout, very sweat-inducing, and allows you to be out in the sun, all of which running does.
Title: Re: Post Surgical Life Minus Running
Post by: Snowy on February 04, 2011, 04:14:30 AM
I was advised to give up martial arts (kickboxing and jiu jitsu) and running after a knee injury five years ago. I have to admit that for me at the time, running was no great loss but the martial arts were a real blow. I spent an embarrassing number of months moping and putting on weight, then got a stern lecture from my doctor that kicked me back into gear. I picked up swimming again initially and then cycling, and found that both were really great ways of getting a killer workout without ruining my knees. I'm never going to be a speed cyclist, but last year I started riding in endurance road races and am loving the long distance cycling enormously.

I should admit that I'm a skier first and foremost, and part of the rationale for giving up other demanding sports was to preserve my knees for skiing. I do know that with my knee issues I won't be skiing into old age, but it is a reassurance that I've got a couple of other sports that I really love and that I know I can count on to keep me fit. (Skiing being seasonal, it's always been important for me to have summer sporting addictions too.) I also agree with Will about the hiking - I love to be out and about outdoors and on a strenuous trail like the Grouse Grind, there's no better workout.
Title: Re: Post Surgical Life Minus Running
Post by: Lottiefox on February 04, 2011, 09:29:01 AM
Hi Indie

I too no longer run. I was never a big runner but I liked spending an hour or so pootling about in the sunshine. Great for weight control and smile factor with some good tunes. I have Grade 4 kneecap degeneration too, and know that running is just too silly to consider now. Plus it hurts too much afterwards! Do you swim at all? Cycle? If you want that competitive edge there are duathlons that omit the running section, or triathlons where you have a different team member doing each part so you again could avoid the running but still feel that you're an athlete and have goals to work to. For me, I like the eliptical, cycling, boxing (without pivots etc - more of boxercise type circuits) and I have recently started exploring Pilates and much more proper core and flexibility work. Boy Pilates challenges you - I thought it was for fatties!! I am also very into my resistance training and enjoy working out routines, plans and new exercises I can do. I've discovered BOSUs, resistance bands, wobble boards, power plates and al sorts! I am working for strength and definition now, as opposed to just the cardio blast I used to get from running. I also agree with the hiking, but I'd invest in some trekking poles to help with the hills, they take a LOT of stress off the kneecaps on hills.

Good on you for making sure you're still staying fit.

Good luck,

Lottie x
Title: Re: Post Surgical Life Minus Running
Post by: indiefan on February 04, 2011, 11:08:18 AM
Thank you all for the great suggestions!  I am just really struggling with the realization that I can no longer run.  I am still in my infancy recovery wise however, all these suggestions are excellent.  I always considered myself a bit of a gym rat but I must admit that I have learned some new and challenging moves at P.T. 
Title: Re: Post Surgical Life Minus Running
Post by: Lottiefox on February 04, 2011, 06:14:27 PM
It probably took me nigh on 12 months to realise my knees weren't going to let me do what I wanted in terms of some training/activity. It was tough. I loved the military type fitness classes, and used to push to compete with the blokes there, along with some running, P90X type workouts and so on. I always knew my knees were my weakest link but stupidly thought they'd get BAD at 65 not 40! Hey ho! I STILL miss being able to do the boot camp type stuff, it is hard to see yourself as someone who is fit, active, strong, yet compromised. I'm in the middle of completing a personal training qualification as I did my gym instructor one when I was knee-normal. I've come to accept what I have and have also realised a massive number of people I termed "super fit and injury free" are riddled with issues! Its actually helped me choose where I want to focus my work when I've done my qualification, as I've learned a lot about rehab, injury and exercise modification, posture and so on. Every cloud etc.....its a cliche but you'll get there. Don't be afraid to be mad for a bit - its tough giving up something you love but something else will take its place. As an aside, have you tried kettlebells? Probably way too soon after your op at the moment, but they give a tremendous cardio blast as well as resistance. Get proper instruction from a ketllebell instructor as a semi squat action is required and they should check your form, test what weight to start with, make sure you're not overloading your knees or hips - but done properly the glutes and hamstrings drive the work, not the knees or quads as primary movers. I can manage it, not for ages, and I have to watch my form, but done properly it doesn't annoy my kneecaps. And you grunt on the upwards swing - fabulous!!

Lottie  :)
Title: Re: Post Surgical Life Minus Running
Post by: mmrocker13 on February 04, 2011, 10:13:39 PM
Frankly, I would get a second particular from a doctor who specializes in athletes, if you can. There are cases where yes, you may have to give something up. But I'd want to hear that from more than one voice. Esp. since there are a LOT of variables: where is your lesion? How big? Are there other therapies or procedures that you could undergo to improve the condition? Will a rigorous strength routine be able to bolster the surrounding area enough to "lighten the load", so to speak? What if you reduce yoru mileage? Etc etc etc

As an example: I have Grade IV lesions covering 3/4ths of my lateral femoral condyle and 1/2 to 2/3rds of my lateral tibial plateau. I am also missing all (save for about 10% of the rim) of the lateral meniscus. (Resulting in kissing lesions) I no longer run 7 dpw or at the level I was when I was, say, in college...but I still run. 3 dpw, lower mileage (half marathon is my max race distance...but I never wanted to do a marathon when I was younger anyway, so no big loss there), primarily soft surfaces whenever possible. I also do a LOT of strength stuff, and cycle.

It may be that this is not possible in your case. It may be your pain thresholds say "No WAY." But I'd at least try and see what a few doctors say.