Thursday, November 12, 2015


My arthroscopic surgery for a torn meniscus was performed on Tuesday. I've decided to share my rehab journey with you, not so much to make it about me and my injury, but in an effort to be instructive to those of you who may encounter this or other training-related setbacks.

The summer of 2013 was going well.

After a long, tedious recovery from a torn hamstring in May of 2013, the first major injury of my career, I began to train and race at near the level I had hoped for.

On August 6, I ran an easy 4-miler on a gravel trail. I planned to race in two days, so the pace was relaxed.

The next morning I felt some stiffness on the medial side of my left knee, but thought nothing of it. I jogged 3 miles.

On race day, a 5-miler, I ran pretty well, felt discomfort in my knee, but it did not impede my performance.

When I awoke the next morning, as I tried to stand up, my knee buckled, and running was out of the question.

In retrospect, a race, run in flimsy racing flats, was probably a bad idea.

For the next month or so I visited a chiropractor, tried home remedies, cut back my miles and stayed on soft surfaces, but the pain intensified.

I finally visited my orthopedic surgeon, who ordered an MRI. It revealed a torn meniscus.

His diagnosis?

Wait for two or three weeks, then try to run on it and see what happens.

Had I sought a second opinion immediately, I would be telling you about today's workout rather than relating my tale of woe.

You see, a torn meniscus will not heal itself, so why did I,  "Wait two or three weeks and see what happens?"

Thanks to the urging of fellow runner Samantha Snukis, a 1:21 half marathoner and a physician's assistant for a respected orthopedic surgeon, I DID receive a second opinion, and realized that arthroscopic surgery was my only option.

The lesson for all runners is to ALWAYS seek a second medical opinion.

Compared to the rest of the patients most doctors see, we are freaks.

We are actually in excellent health, we are not overweight, and we are not dependent on drugs to make us feel good.

We don't fit into the medical or surgical models that most physicians work with.

During my pre-op exam, the technician offered concern about my low pulse rate of 52 (which was high because I was nervous). I needed to reassure her that I was a runner.

Thanks to running and its effects, I was out of the surgical facility a little over an hour after I awoke.

Today, on rehab day 2, I walked .6 mile, did stretching and flexibility exercises for a half hour, and I will turn in another half hour this evening.

The knee is sore, and the bandages come off tomorrow. (don't worry, no swollen knee pics)

On Monday I will visit my orthopedic surgeon and he will advise me on how to proceed.

One day at a time.

 Baby steps.

But I'll get there.