Walk This Way

I've been battling a pain in my right knee for several weeks now, and finally decided to go see a physio about it.  For those in the US who have no idea what a physio is, and for this program that keeps trying to get me to type psychic instead of physio, it's basically a physical therapist/masseuse/personal trainer/accupuncturist in one.   The physio determined that it was iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, a common knee injury generally associated with running.

He started looking at the difference in my range of motion between the right and left side and noticed that movement on the right side was greatly impaired compared to my left.  That was when I remembered the blood clot I had 5.5 years ago.  It was in my right calf and basically felt like the muscle along the length of my calf was permanently cramping.  

I had flown on a red eye flight from San Diego to New York for my grandmother's funeral.  The following day my butt was really sore but I didn't think much of it.  The next morning I woke up and couldn't move my right leg.  Being just a couple hours before the funeral I took enough medicine to get through the service and then my parents took me to the ER.  They found that I had a pinched sciatic nerve and gave me some muscle relaxers.  We were in New York for a few more days, which I ended up spending either reclined in the rental car or laying on couches of the distant relatives we were visiting because that's the only way I could tolerate the pain.  I even got to see Niagara Falls in a wheelchair because I couldn't walk around.

I was able to fly home and went on with life.  As the pain in my butt got better the pain in my leg got worse.  Three weeks later we went on our annual family trip to Sequoia Lake and our family friend noticed that my leg looked swollen.  After the trip I went to the dr again and they found the blood clot and rushed me to the ER.  6 hours and a very painful warfarin shot later, they sent me home with orders of a week of bed rest and a daily in-home nurse visit.  One very long week later I was able to walk with crutches, and then eventually got rid of those and limped around instead.  After awhile the warfarin doses lessened as did the limp to the point where I was finally able to move normally again.  Or so I thought.

Long story not so short, turns out my body is still compensating from that clot several years ago and being imbalanced ever since.  My right leg muscles are contracted compared to my left and though it was nothing noticeable doing normal walking or running, when I started adding distance and frequency running my IT band finally had enough.

Now I'm taking a break from running while my IT band gets better.  It's a slow recovery - at first the physio had me running short distances a couple times a week, but even that started hurting and now even going down the stairs can be painful.  So no more running for now, but lots of exercises to strengthen the right side of my body.  The physio has also added some drills to reteach me how to run.  So hopefully with a little patience, hard work, and a lot of funny looks from Phil and the animals as I march up and down the hall, my right side will get stronger and I will be out pounding the pavement again soon.
Niagara Falls in a  wheelchair


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